When it comes to classifying the different types of cannabis out there, the majority of dispensaries and marijuana delivery services have often split strains into three categories: indicas, sativas, and hybrids.
Indicas are widely known for producing feelings of deep relaxation and pain relief. On the other hand, sativas are known for their promoting creativity and focus. But industry experts are finding that some strains labeled as such may not affect one individual in the same way as the next, which seems to make the indica/sativa classification incomplete.
Other reports have categorized cannabis into three “chemotypes”: THC-dominant, CBD-dominant, and balanced. Despite the similar chemical structures and medicinal benefits between THC and CBD, they don’t have the same psychoactive effects. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is what makes us feel high and helps to promote appetite and relieve pain, which coincides with the effects of indica-dominant strains. CBD is more popular with users who do not wish to feel as intoxicated when using cannabis and is known to also help with alleviating pain and inflammation.
While a lot of research has been put into legal marijuana, it can still be difficult to predict the effects a strain may have on a certain individual because every individual may experience something different. Even if someone who smokes the same strain at different times of the day could experience different results. Smoking cannabis through a glass pipe or using a vaporizer can also alter a strain’s effects due to the differing temperatures the chemicals of the plant are exposed to.
Becoming familiar with the terpene and cannabinoid profile of a cannabis strain could provide you with insight to a strain’s chemical profile, but it may be suggested to explore different strains in order to find the perfect match for yourself. And if you like a particular strain’s effects, consider buying that strain from the same cultivator or brand.
Terpenes & Cannabinoids
While THC and CBD have been the mainstream buzzwords in the cannabis industry for quite some time, terpenes have been getting a lot of attention as of late as they have been found to play an integral role alongside cannabinoids in the medicinal effects of the cannabis plant. Some terpenes are more concentrated in some strains than others, which can be a determining factor in classifying a cannabis plant as an indica or sativa.
Myrcene, for example, is one of the most common terpenes found in Indica-dominant cannabis plants and is known to have anti-inflammatory and relaxing properties. It’s in fact the presence of this terpene that determines whether a specific strain is categorized as an indica or sativa (more than 0.5% myrcene).
What’s in a name?
Skywalker, Sour Diesel, Pineapple Express, Charlotte’s Web…
Many of the strain names we see today were conjured up to convey not much more than a marketing message. While it seems like a new strain with a new name pops up every day, keep in mind that the name of a strain rarely implies anything about its effects; however, it may capture some of the characteristics of a strain.
OG Kush, for example, is one of the most popular THC-dominant strains of recreational marijuana in California and can be found on nearly every cannabis delivery site and dispensary in the state. And because this particular strain’s genetics are not protected, the effects an individual experiences can differ depending on where the strain is purchased.
Because conditions from grower to grower can vary, the slightest difference in how the cannabis is grown, harvested, or processed could alter the composition of cannabinoids and terpenes in the final product. The exception to this is landrace strains — strains that have had prolonged exposure to the environments of their natural geographic locations, such as Hindu Kush from the Middle East, Panama Red from Panama, or Acapulco Gold from Mexico. Unlike OG Kush, these landrace strains are not hybridized through selective breeding by breeders.
Marketing vs Chemistry
As recreational marijuana continues to grow support throughout the world, it’s likely that more new strain names will continue to appear. Rather than choose a strain solely based on the hype of the name, you may want to consider the chemistry and cultivator of the plant before anything else.
What kind of experience do you want to achieve?