Where Did Strains Come From?
Cannabis and its lower THC version hemp have been growing at least for 20 million years on planet earth. Meaning, as long as humans have existed we’ve been enjoying the benefits of Mary Jane and all that it has to offer. Over the course of that time, cannabis seeds have been carried, blown by the wind, and traveled thousands of miles resulting in cannabis that has grown in a wide variety of climates, soil types, and more. Although all cannabis today is the same species, these environmental changes have produced radically different cannabis strains or types. Hence why nowadays you can walk into a dispensary and ask for something energizing or something sedating and just about everything in between.
Characteristics of a Strain
When choosing a strain there are three main components that go into that strain’s potency and effects. The first being the cannabinoid content or the number of compounds such as delta-9 THC or CBD to name just the two most popular ones. Strains with high delta-9 THC concentrations will offer a more “intoxicating” high and will enhance the effects of other present compounds. While on the other end of the spectrum a strain high in CBD, but low in THC will provide a more calming effect without the intense head high. Even then, cannabis has potentially dozens of other cannabinoids such as the now popular CBG which is like the uplifting and energizing version of CBD.
Strain effects are also determined by the variety, concentration, and ratios of terpene’s in the flower. These molecules give cannabis and hemp flower its unique smell, taste, and supporting effects that work in conjunction with cannabinoids. That is why some strains smell sweet like pineapple, and others more earthy and musky like skunk. At the same time, that’s why such distinct benefits can be produced in certain strains like strains that put you to sleep, or ones that relax your muscles but don’t make you drowsy, and so on.
Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid?
You’ve probably also heard these three terms used to describe particular effects of certain strains. For instance, most believe it’s conventional wisdom that indica’s produce a more relaxed and drowsy experience while Sativa’s are more uplifting and energizing. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Indica and Sativa are more so used to describe the cannabis plants’ physical characteristics rather than effects. However, most growers and dispensaries tend to market uplifting strains as sativa even if they aren’t. So for the sake of being a consumer, you can still trust the old “conventional” wisdom.
Choosing a Strain
With all of that being said, which strain(s) is the best for you? The best way to find out is by starting with your goals or what you want from cannabis. For instance, hemp has lower levels of THC and won’t get you high as cannabis will. At the same time, your local dispensary, smoke shop, or online store will likely carry both uplifting and sedating strains that you can pick and choose from. The best of both worlds also exists as hybrids where strains are either mixed or crossbred to produce a relaxing body experience yet stimulating mind experience at the same time. A perfect example of this effect is found in the Biscotti Weed Strain which offers an uplifting and euphoric mind-body experience.