Alternative forms of medication always fall under a cloud of cynicism from the mainstream Western medical establishment. And of the many non-chemical treatment options, none has been more politically charged than the use of medical cannabis also known as medical marijuana (MMJ). That said, it’s become much less controversial in the last decade. 17 states (and D.C.) have passed laws allowing patients suffering from illnesses as diverse as cancer, MS, chronic pain, arthritis, spasticity and some mental illness like depression, eating disorders, and anxiety to purchase or grow cannabis to help treat their symptoms.
I’m not taking a stand on the issue here. If you live in a state (or country) where MMJ is legal, you and your doctor have decided together it’s the best medication for you, and you have a valid prescription, the decision to fill it is entirely yours. If you do opt for MMJ, though, there are some things you should know and lots of iOS apps that purport to educate you. Right now none of them is perfect, but Frweed Pro is the best choice, particularly for the uninitiated.
There are only 400 strains in this app, compared to some that list thousands, and the information isn’t highly detailed, but it covers the most popular “brands” in dispensaries, along with “classic” strains, in a simple and inviting universal interface.
On the left sidebar is the strain list with thumbnails and an indication of whether the bud is an Indica (best for night time use and pain), Sativa (best for daytime use and treating conditions like anxiety and depression) or a hybrid including percentages. Once you select the strain, there are tabs beneath the sidebar that list the primary medical (and recreational) benefits and a converter for those who grow.
The bulk of the screen is given over to details on genetics, flowering time, side-effects, and smell. There is also an “effects” tab and one for growers. Each strain comes with a high-quality pinch-to-zoom image of a typical bud and even a place to take notes on your experience. My favorite feature is the ability to add strains on your own.
There’s much the developers can do to make Frweed Pro more helpful for new and experienced patients. Users should be able to search by medical condition, effects and side effects. I’d also like to see strain reviews, MMJ articles, and galleries of user-submitted images since looks can vary tremendously based on plant phenotype, growing conditions, curing and trim.
Still, this is the rare MMJ app that isn’t buggy or crashy; it’s obvious a lot of thought went into the UI. Frweed Pro stays away from politics, keeping the focus on the medicine, and it looks great on both iPhone and iPad.