We are in the age of the cannabis revolution. The plant was once frowned upon that any possible good it may have had was dismissed, but not anymore.
Cannabis, also known as marijuana, enjoys a massive industry worth billions, driven by the continuous discovery of its medicinal properties.
But there’s one thing that makes marijuana a complex plant and contributes to its rapid growth: it has hundreds of strains, with new ones hitting the market every year.
The thing is, the cannabis plant has different strains capable of different effects. That can make it challenging to find the right strain that suits your needs.
But worry not. This guide will help you navigate the world of marijuana strains to find the most suitable one for you.
When discussing cannabis, it would be difficult to get any further without mentioning the various strains. To understand cannabis, you must know what strains actually are.
Marijuana strains are varieties or different versions of the plant with varying physical and chemical characteristics.
Strains can occur naturally, which is what happened when marijuana plants were cultivated away from their original habitat in Central Asia. Over time, the new environments resulted in physical and chemical changes creating new strains.
The original, naturally-occurring strains or varieties came to be known as landrace strains.
These days marijuana strains are created through breeding.
The original landrace strains were crossbred to create new strains. Since then, different strains have been bred to produce new strains with a mix of the chemical properties of the parent strains.
When experts crossbreed different marijuana plants, they usually want to enhance certain chemicals to bring forward specific effects. For that reason, marijuana strains have varying effects on the user.
With hundreds of marijuana strains on the market, choosing one that suits you may not be easy, especially if you’re new to the cannabis industry. It’s not like you can identify a good strain with your eyes. You will need specifics.
When choosing a strain, you need one that meets your needs. These tips will help you select the right marijuana strain for you.
1. Your Specific Needs
Cannabis strains have varying chemical compositions. The cannabinoid and terpene profiles may have therapeutic effects, but each strain is bred to emphasize certain effects over others.
You’ve probably heard of strains that energize and keep you focused for hours. Then there are those recommended for pain relief because the pain-relieving properties are more highlighted.
When choosing a marijuana strain, go for those that researchers have bred to bring to the forefront certain chemical properties that may address your needs.
For instance, you wouldn’t go for strains high in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) if losing weight is what you have in mind. You would want a strain with less THC but rich in Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) because THCV is a strong appetite suppressant.
2. Decide on Category
The cannabis plant has sativa and indica varieties. They are all cannabis, sharing the same chemical compounds like the cannabinoids CBD and THC.
Despite having the same chemical compounds, sativa, and indica varieties can have very different effects. Furthermore, the strains we have today are hybrids of the two, meaning that the indica-sativa categories still exist but only in dominance.
When looking for strains, you will find sativa-dominant ones and indica-dominant ones. This is where it helps to learn the typical effects of each category so that you know where to lean depending on the experience you want.
3. Consider Potency
Potency in cannabis means strength, and that varies widely from one strain to another. Some strains are known to be more potent than others due to the concentration of chemical compounds, primarily the psychoactive THC.
A strain with over 20% THC like Super Silver Haze, is going to be intense compared to one with low THC, like Ringo’s Gift at 1%.
So, definitely, a strain’s potency will help you decide what suits your needs. If you need an intense experience, ignore the less potent strains to narrow down your search.
4. Flavor and Aroma
Terpenes are chemical compounds responsible for different kinds of flavors and aromas. Marijuana strains have varying terpene profiles that determine how each strain tastes and smells.
Depending on how prominent a specific terpene is, marijuana strains will smell skunky, fruity, piney, or like fuel. These flavors and aromas can be intense or mild, and some won’t work for you.
You may find a strain you like but can’t handle the smell. Your budtender can find you a better-smelling alternative with a similar chemical profile.
5. Try Alternatives
There are plenty of marijuana strains that are related chemically, even when they don’t look similar. These are important alternatives in case you choose a strain that doesn’t meet your needs.
Alternative strains should have much in common with your main pick to cause similar experiences. But they also have slight differences you may find better for your needs.
You already know what experience or effects you’re looking for. To find the right strain for your needs, you may have to try a few that share similarities.
Now that you’re on the journey to finding the perfect strain for your needs, you may be wondering how to proceed.
Depending on individual state laws, marijuana can be illegal, legal for medical use, or fully legal.
If marijuana is fully legal in your state, there will be plenty of strains to pick from both in the medicinal and recreational routes. Basically, your budtender is your first point of contact who will show you varieties as per your needs.
If marijuana is only legal for medical use in your state, there may be restrictions on certain strains. Some jurisdictions only allow low-THC cannabis, and that limits your options.
Still, your local budtender should be able to find you something that meets your needs, even with limited options.
Marijuana affects everyone differently, and with hundreds of strains on the market, there’s no telling how a particular strain will feel for you unless you try it yourself. And there you have it. Finding that one strain that is just right may take trial and error.