Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the vast selection of cannabis strains available at a dispensary? Choosing the right one can be daunting, especially when considering cost. This article aims to provide clarity and simplify the decision-making process for you.
Although there has been a fair amount of research done on cannabis, it’s just been the tip of the iceberg. The most important thing to know is that there are basically two types of cannabis used for both recreational and medicinal purposes: Sativa and Indica. Sativa is known for its more energizing effects, where Indica is known more for its calming effects.
Let’s get into this a little deeper:
You might hear someone refer to a Sativa high as “heady” since it can induce creativity and make one feel focused, while someone may refer to an Indica high as “couch-lock,” since it has more of a full body effect, can feel relaxing, and help with insomnia.
However, it isn’t as straightforward as just Indicas or Sativas. A cannabis plants can contain 80-100 different chemical compounds called cannabinoids.
The effects of cannabis use, both positive and negative, are largely attributed to the naturally occurring components found in it. While researchers have yet to fully comprehend the roles of all cannabinoids, they have identified two primary ones, namely tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as several lesser-known compounds.
Both THC and CBD can be present in both Sativa and Indica plants. Though the levels may vary in individual plants, Sativa plants tend to have higher levels of THC than CBD, while Indica plants usually have more CBD than THC. Hybrid strains, on the other hand, possess a mix of both and can lean towards either the Sativa or Indica side, depending on their genetics and how they are cultivated.
To make things even more interesting, amongst the variations of cannabinoids in a cannabis plant there are Terpenes and Flavonoids and each plant variation can have a completely different effect based on the profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. This is where we get into what’s referred to as the “entourage effect.”
Let’s first get into Terpenes.
There are entire books written just on terpenes, so to touch on the subject, terpenes are the compounds responsible for the way most plants smell. They are abundant in cannabis and many other plants, fruits, and herbs. Scientist have identified as many as 150 different terpenes in cannabis plants, but here are the primary ones that you’ll hear about:
Beta-Caryophyllene. Smells like peppercorns. Found in cloves, rosemary, and hops. Has been found to be beneficial for managing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Linalool. Found in lavender. Alleviates stress and promotes relaxation.
Myrcene. Found in mangoes. Known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Has a sedating effect, and is one of the key terpenes in most Indicas.
Beta-Pinene. As the name suggests, this terpene produces an intense pine aroma, as if you’ve strolled through a coniferous forest. It may have potentially both anti-depressant and anti-cancer properties, and may also help boost memory, and reduce pain.
Limonene. Found in citrus. A common terpene found in Sativas and is known for creating focus and its anti-anxiety properties.
Humulene. Found in ginseng. Cannabis strains with this molecule may help reduce inflammation. It is also well as known for its energizing effects.
Flavonoids are another group of compounds found in cannabis plants, responsible for giving them their color. They also have potential health benefits, such as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the most common flavonoids found in cannabis include quercetin, apigenin, and kaempferol.
So, how do you choose the right strain for you?
First, think about the results you want to achieve. Do you prefer to be alert and attentive, or calm and relaxed? For energetic effects, Sativas and hybrids with Sativa-dominant qualities may be the ideal choice, while Indicas and hybrids with Indica-dominant traits may be superior for calming and relaxing benefits.
Second, pay attention to the strain’s THC and CBD concentrations. CBD is non-psychoactive and is well-known for its possible medical advantages, such as pain relief and anxiety reduction; THC is the psychoactive substance that causes the “high” feeling. Lower THC and higher CBD strains may be a better option if you’re searching for a more relaxing high.
Next, consider the terpenes and flavonoids present in the strain. It’s important to pay attention to the strain’s scent and flavor because different chemical combinations can have distinct effects. Make a note of the strain’s terpene and flavonoid profile, then look for others with similar qualities.
In conclusion, choosing the right cannabis strain for you can be challenging because there are so many distinct varieties. Consider the intended effects, the THC and CBD content, the terpene and flavonoid profile, and other factors to help you make an informed decision. Furthermore, keep in mind that every person’s cannabis experience is unique, so finding the appropriate strain for you may require some trial and error.
Michael Warren, aka “The Profit Whisperer” is a cannabis consultant who specializes in streamlining and optimizing cannabis cultivations while boosting profits in the regulated sector. Michael is the founder of GrowthProfit Consultants and the go-to guru for those looking to elevate their cannabis businesses profits.