The first few steps of your cannabis journey can be challenging. Being a novice cannabis user or grower can be overwhelming as well. Whether you walk into a dispensary or a seed bank, the wide variety of products in varying colors, aromas, and sizes can make you nervous and confused.
The secret to having a comfortable cannabis shopping experience lies in developing a good understanding of the strains. Today, there are over 2000 documented strains of cannabis. Each of these strains possesses certain characteristic traits, influenced by the chemical composition. These chemicals are responsible for the many health benefits and effects.
But understanding these chemicals and their correlation to different effects can be tricky for a novice cannabis enthusiast. So is there a simpler way to identify the right strains for you? Well, here is a five-step guide to help you locate the best strains for you.
1. Choose Between Indica, Sativa & Autoflowering Strains
Indica And Sativa are a basic distinction of the cannabis species. Hybrids are a relatively new category of strains that constitute traits of both Indica and Sativa varieties. The strains that fall within these categories carry certain distinguishing traits such as growth patterns.
Indica strains exhibit a dense growth pattern where the plants are typically short and bushy. Although the variety is strongly cold-resistant, it is quite sensitive to hot temperatures. These strains are most suitable for indoor grow areas.
Sativa strains, on the other hand, tend to grow tall but with low bud density. These strains are often heat resistant but seldom tolerate cold weather. These strains are most suitable for outdoor cultivation.
Both these varieties are heavily dependent on photoperiod to start blooming, which could be tricky for novice growers.
Lab-tested autoflower seeds are the ideal choice for those growing cannabis for the first time. These strains are a hybrid variety that carries favorable traits from both categories. Here, the plants have a short life cycle and higher resistance to weather conditions to support a larger yield throughout the year. Based on your grow area's capacity, you can choose the right category to pick your strain.
2. Weigh The Effects
The distinction between Indica and Sativa determines growth parameters and also influences the strains' effects. For example, Indica and shatter strains are known as night time strains as they induce heavy relaxation. They carry relatively higher CBD levels compared to THC and are useful for calming the mind and body.
On the other hand, Sativa strains are THC dominant strains. They induce an intense cerebral high or trippy feeling. The strains are an energizing variety that can improve focus, creativity and boost energy.
Hybrids are the most popular choice today. They balance the extreme effects of the two dominant categories and provide a soothing and enjoyable experience for both recreational and medical cannabis users. You can identify the type and intensity of the effects required to choose the right strain category.
3. Identify The Right Cannabinoid Ratio
The ratio of the two dominant cannabinoids, THC and CBD, heavily influences the effects of consuming cannabis. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for inducing a cerebral high and euphoric feelings, whereas CBD or cannabidiol is responsible
for the therapeutic benefits.
Even though these cannabinoids possess specific effects and benefits, they work best in unison. They exhibit a phenomenon known as the entourage effect, where each cannabinoid elevates the other's positive traits while alleviating the adverse effects. For example, competent CBD levels in a THC dominant strain can curb the adverse effects of intense cerebral high and give the user a relatively smooth experience.
Typically, choosing strains with moderate THC levels, up to 20%, is recommended for novice recreational users. Low THC and high CBD strains are appropriate for treating conditions such as anxiety and seizures, whereas high THC strains are most suitable for pain relief. Based on the purpose of usage, you can decide the right strains for you.
4. Put Your Senses To Work
Apart from cannabinoids, terpenes or the fragrant oils of the cannabis plant also play a crucial role in influencing therapeutic properties. Each terpene contributes to a unique benefit that could elevate the properties of the strain for enhanced effects. Hence identifying strains with favorable terpenes can be beneficial for you.
Unlike cannabinoids, terpenes are slightly easy to identify in a strain. While cannabis typically carries an earthy, pungent aroma, substantial concentrations of terpenes such as limonene, myrcene induces a citrus flavor or herbal flavor, respectively, to the plant. The limonene terpene is known to alleviate bacteria or fungi' growth, whereas myrcene exhibits potent anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic properties. Therefore, you can explore the benefits of different terpenes of the cannabis plant to narrow down the strains of your choice.
5. Check Feasibility
Understanding the accessibility or availability of a particular strain is crucial. You might narrow down several strains with favorable characteristics. But remember that not all these strains are commercially available. Some of these strains could be rare, and therefore significantly expensive. Hence, you might need to compare your list with your cannabis source to identify the strains suitable for your needs.
Contact your nearest seed bank or dispensary and discuss your requirements with them. They might also suggest some alternative strains with similar properties as your choice. You can also get in touch with local growers to know more about your region's most common strains to make
a feasible choice.
Use this simple five-step process to identify the best strains for you. These steps will make your cannabis journey simple, effective, and fun.