There is a growing list of medicinal marijuana strains available to today’s' cannabis cultivator.While there are plenty of winners, how does one decide which ones to grow?

With the amount of work that's been done to selectively breeding cannabis over the last 25 years, there's lots of potent selections. While the finished bud is very important, It is also important to grow within your means and capabilities. Like most happy places in life, it's about having a healthy balance.

Firstly, do you have a special condition that can only be met by a cannabinoid spectrum? Naturally some strains are better for different conditions than others, but how specific are your strain requirements?

If growing outdoors or in a non-climate controlled greenhouse, it important to know whether your chosen strain is able to withstand cold weather or hard rains? If you grow indoors, know that given enough space and time, it is possible to grow any strain to full maturity; although it may not always be practical.

When growing indoors or in a climate-controlled greenhouse, vertical space is typically ample, however, where there are low ceilings or where very stretchy sativa-dominant strains may be limited. As growers gain experience, it becomes more feasible through management practices to control growth rates.

If you are limited by plant counts, as per your local regulations, it may be favorable to select a variety that exhibits aggressive growth traits, while still providing the qualities to you seek or need in the harvested buds.  

With the range of genetics that is available to medicinal cannabis cultivators in this day and age, you don't need to settle for anything, but you may have to manage your expectations. Typically, if a variety has heavy yields, it might not be as potent or finish as quickly as you may like it to. Luckily, a lot of strains meet a healthy balance of these and other important considerations.

Preferences also range when it comes to qualities like flavor and aroma. Some tokers like a nice dank bouquet, while others may prefer something more soft and floral or fruity. Cannabis has one of the most diverse range of flavors and aromas of any plant type: grape, garlic, mango, sandalwood, lemon, bubblegum, eucalyptus, musk....the list goes on.

An interesting thing in practices like aromatherapy -- you tend to choose the essential oil that your body needs, when you simply select by smell for example in a blindfolded comparison.

How strong do you need your medicine? Some people or conditions may require a relatively high cannabinoid content, given a relative psychoactive resin profile, to prove effective with prolonged periods of use. Some varieties are known for their ability to resist the development of tolerance by the patient.

Some may prefer a more “functional” effect from their medicine and choose for less psychoactive properties like THC and a higher degree of the more physically effective components like CBD.  

When grown from regular seed, there can be variations in potency and resin profile from plant to plant, so make a selection for cloning to create identical crops in the future.

By addressing some of the questions and doing your research you stand a great chance of finding the strain that's exactly right for you, and you may even find half of the fun is growing it to find out.