On your first visit to a well-established dispensary, scanning through the wide variety of alternatives on the bud shelves can be verwhelming. You’d find an exciting lot of strains and strain blends, each promising unique offers. Lately, we’ve received a truckload of questions from readers (particularly newcomers) about how they can choose among the strain options on the weed market – If you can relate, no worries.
This article shares essential knowledge on how you can make a well-informed decision when looking for a suitable strain to kick-start your cannabis journey – also a good read for old-timers seeking to try out a new strain.Reading on, you’ll discover the different strain categories, their features, and some popular options you may consider trying out
As we delve in, first things first…
What are strains?
Cannabis is one of the most ancient plants known to humans. The plant started out in Central Asia and, over time, spread across the world. As the plant adapted to new environments across different climates, it altered their chemical compositions and physical characteristics, introducing different varieties.These variations become known as strains.
Over time, experimentally, these alternatives were crossed to produce even new strains.These experimentations birthed the increasing variety of marijuana plants currently in existence. Due to the widespread cannabis prohibitory regulations, cannabis cultivation has soared but partly in secrecy. The true attributes of the plant were barely known and researched – except for the truckload of anti-weed propaganda and misconceptions that flew for many centuries. Consequently, unlike plants like tomatoes, cannabis is poorly classified and documented.
The uniqueness of cannabis strains
Several features make one strain different from another. Let’s discuss the primary factors that make the different strains unique:
- Cannabinoid profile
Cannabis is packed full of chemicals that bind with the body’s endocannabinoid system to create a wide range of effects. What cannabinoids a strain contains is a critical distinguishing characteristic among the variants.For clarity, a strain with a higher THC concentration may offer more ‘high’ than a CBD-dominant strain. On the other hand, CBD richer strains deliver more calmness and less psychoactivity.
These refer to molecules found in the marijuana plant, chiefly popularized for their aroma and taste-rich property. Even more, research shows that these compounds may add to cannabinoid’s already-rich therapeutic profile, offering a more robust effect. Interestingly, research, so far, says the cannabis plant may contain over 200 terpenes. Each strain comes with its unique terpene profile. This accounts for the different aromas, flavors, and effects felt.
- Environmental factors
Cultivation practices and grow soil nutrients are among other factors that can influence your cannabinoids and terpenes profile. Hence, possibly, the same seedling grown under different environmental conditions can surprisingly turn out as different strains.
Understanding the strains – Sativa, Indica, and hybrids
The exhaustive list of cannabis strains is grouped into three main classes, namely:
Since there are no established bodies regulating farmers’ activities as to how these strains are grouped, most strain labeling can be misleading.Also, too often, the three strain categories have been used to name the specific effect they offer.For instance, it’s is generally believed that Sativa delivers a cerebral mood-lifting high, while Indica comes with the relaxed couch-lock effect.
Hybrids, on the other hand, are believed to deliver combined effects from both worlds.Originally, the classification was not based on their effects but the unique botanical structures and their different physical characteristics.That is, whether cannabis is Sativa, Indica, or hybrid should be more of a grower’s concern, not a consumer’s as it has widely become.However, when cultivating cannabis, the Sativa/Indica/hybrid classification is a good thing to know.But when deciding the right strain to consume, it may not be as important as we make it seem.
How do I decide the best weed for me?
When checking out the different strains for a most fitting option, here are typical factors to consider:
- Desired effects
The same dose of cannabis can cause two different effects in two users. Settle with a strain that has the impact you desire from your marijuana consumption.For example, if your most-desired effect from weed is high, then a THC-leaning product is your trusted bet. If you need something for a calming and relaxing effect without the head hits, then a strain bred for CBD lovers with linalool, a terpene variant widely celebrated for its stress-relief ability, cuts it.
- Aroma and flavor
Based on their terpene profile, cannabis comes in different tastes and aromas. Choosing from the options should be based partly on how much the smell and taste appeal to you.
It’s common knowledge that potencies vary across cannabis strains. So, settling for a particular strain should be widely determined by your desired effect from doses. For an intense high, look towards highly concentrated THC products; for a more calming effect than a head hit, consider CBD-leaning alternatives.
- Medical benefits
The medical possibilities of strains are dependent on their cannabinoid and terpene profile. That said, you’ll be better off discussing with an expert health practitioner if you wish to use cannabis for medical concerns.
As with every purchase decision, budget plays a huge role while navigating the weed market. Strains are available in virtually all price points – pocket friendly to relatively expensive.So, if limited by budget, you may want to walk through the options first for one that matches your wallet and possibly satisfies most other considerations.
Why you should seek a third-party lab test report
As mentioned, the different strains are made of unique properties and characteristics. You need to be sure what the strains contain and which suits you best. – here, a third-party lab test report comes in handy.Every cannabis product authorized in legal cannabis dispensaries undergoes a thorough lab test to investigate its accurate content – particularly the terpene and cannabis profiles of each product.
These tests also check for harmful pesticides and other contaminants possibly absorbed during the growing process. Such components do not only ruin your herb’s effects and quality, but they can also leave some long-term damaging effects.A lab test result doesn’t only help you compare true cannabinoid and terpene profiles of different strains; it assures you you’ll be consuming a safe and top quality product, regardless of your preferred option.
Still having cold feet?
It’s completely normal to feel so. But with Montrose Cannabis, you shouldn’t. Here, our cannabis experts will walk you through the different strains and give you helpful tips and resources to help you make a well-informed purchase decision, even as a newbie.