Not all strains are created equal and choosing the right strain for you can be a difficult process. There are plenty of little things worth paying attention to when it comes to each strain. We can’t cover them all, of course, but do have our favourite tips and tricks when you’re picking a new cannabis strain.
10. Choosing Between CBD and THC
Your first big choice these days is all about your cannabinoid preference. CBD oil has made a lot of waves in the industry over the last few years and demand has skyrocketed. It also has a wealth of medicinal benefits. This has led a lot of growers towards cultivating CBD-rich strains. The end result is that there are plenty of strains available for patients who prefer both THC and CBD.
There are also a wide variety of hybrids that have a solid mix of both key cannabinoids. In order to make an informed decision, you have to first know what each has to offer. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that gets people high. It also has a variety of other effects, including increased appetite and drowsiness, the staples of any stoner stereotype. CBD, on the other hand, is non psychoactive and has a lot of medicinal applications.
That being said, CBD does affect the body’s endocannabinoid system in a way that helps to heighten THC effects. This means that people who prefer to avoid a THC high while still making the most of CBD’s benefits should choose a CBD-rich strain with low THC levels. If, however, you prefer to enjoy the effects of THC, choosing a strain with even levels of both THC and CBD could be a good move; the two can play off each other and offer the best of both worlds.
9. Sativa, Indica, and Hybrids
Potentially the most important factor when choosing a cannabis strain at a cannabis dispensary in Canada is whether or not you need an indica or sativa strain. These two varieties of cannabis have very different effects and are key classifications to pay attention to. There are also a large number of hybrids offering varying mixes of the effects of both.
Indica will usually offer a more mellow high and is perfect for lazy days or a quick hit before you go to bed. Indica strains also generally have less THC and more CBD than their sativa relatives. These plants also grow faster and have more buds than sativa variants.
Sativa is all about maintaining energy levels and getting things done. As can be expected, these plants have higher THC levels and also have lower CBD levels than indica strains. They can also have a moderate anti-anxiety effect, which is preferable for a lot of people.
8. So Many Cannabinoids
When you really get right down to it, cannabis has over 100 known cannabinoids. Each of these reacts differently with your endocannabinoid system. Research is beginning to show that some of them may provide profound effects on the human body. None of these seem to be harmful, which is always good to know, but we still don’t know exactly how many of them work.
Even so, there are a few cannabinoids other than THC and CBD that people are starting to pay attention to. Cannabigerol, for example, has been proven to stimulate appetite. It can also help alleviate both pain and anxiety. Cannabinol is only mildly psychoactive and seems to have both immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties. THCV is another heavy hitter, packing antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, anti-anxiety, and pain relieving properties. This cannabinoid is structurally similar to THC. It’s even known to counteract some of the effects of THC while also making them more noticeable at higher doses.
The more we learn about the other cannabinoids found in cannabis, the more we will understand how they all fit together. As it stands, it’s worth looking into each of the top cannabinoids to see what they can do for you. Looking up which combination of cannabinoids is present in any strain in particular is a great way to further tailor your experience to your exact specifications.
With so many known cannabinoids, it can be hard to know which ones to pay attention to. To help make things easier, we’ve put together a quick list of the important ones to focus on.
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabichromevarin (CBCV)
7. Follow Your Nose
Back in the day, all you had to guide you when it came to a new strains were your immediate senses. As it turns out, following your nose is still just as useful as it used to be. The aroma that a particular strain gives off will always be a useful way to gauge what you should expect. At the very least, it’s good to pick a strain that you think smells good.
Smell goes a lot farther than that, though. Smell can also be used to determine what type of strain you’re looking at. Earthy, musky tones usually mean you’re working with an indica. Sativas usually have a sweet, spicy, or fruity smell.
Last, but not least, a stronger smell generally means a stronger high. There are always a few exceptions to any rule, but this one’s a biggie. Smelling your weed also alerts you to any potential quality issues, like mold. Letting your nose guide you isn’t your only trick you should be using, but it’s a good start.
6. Taste Testing
Knowing what a strain will taste like is a big deal for a lot of people. Many people, for example, prefer a smoother taste. Cannabis with a harsh taste can be a drag for some, but other people actively seek it out. The taste of a strain is also particularly important if you plan on making edibles or cooking with your weed.
Each strain has its own, relatively unique, flavour profile. That being so, playing to their strengths or adjusting your strain to fit your palate is worthwhile. Categorizing strains by taste isn’t anything new, but it’s definitely come a long way in recent years; it’s definitely worth keeping in mind the next time you’re at a cannabis dispensary in Canada.
5. The Importance of Terpenes
The terpene profile of a particular strain can be just as varied as the cannabinoids it contains. Terpenes are present in plenty of plants other than cannabis and we know quite a lot about them. Still, we’re finding new medicinal properties for many terpenes all the time. They can even affect the effects of many cannabinoids, altering how they work. Terpenes also provide their own flavour and scent to a plant.
Most strains these days tend to be myrcene dominant. There are plenty of alternatives, though. Myrcene is known to have a calming effect on the body, but others have more medicinal uses. These include anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving effects.
The smell that terpenes give off can be quite strong, too. Ocimene is used in perfumes and limonene is used to enhance the citrus smell of some cleaning products. This strong smell will help you with your taste test. Terpene levels can also have a major effect on how THC and CBD are absorbed. Limonene even improves absorption of chemicals through your skin, making it perfect for topicals and ointments.
4. Lifestyle Choices
This tip goes hand in hand with indicas, sativas, and hybrids. It also affects consumption method in a big way. There are a lot of different ways to use cannabis these days. There are oils, tinctures, topicals, vapes, edibles, shatter, hash, dabs, and, of course, dried buds. Each of these has its own effects to a certain extent and they all have their own pros and cons.
Firstly, when choosing a strain you should consider when you plan on dosing and how long you want the effects to last. If you’re always out and about, a sativa dominant strain will help keep you going all day. You could also opt to use a vape or edibles to make dosing on-the-go an easier process. Alternatively, if you dose before you head to bed or you want to relax, choosing an indica will complement your needs.
3. Recreational or Medical Use?
If you’re just using cannabis recreationally, you should go ahead and pick a strain that makes you feel good. If you’re taking cannabis for a medical purpose, however, there are a lot more factors that come into play. Medical users will want to pick and choose strains that fit their needs best.
People suffering from pain, for example, will want a strain that is anti-inflammatory with relaxing properties. Other strains will reduce anxiety or appetite instead of increasing them, which is handy for others. These are pretty basic considerations, but can really help in the long run. A more advanced example is that some strains will relax blood vessels and should be avoided if you’re on blood thinners or some prescription medications.
2. Rotate your Strains
If you already have a Canadian cannabis strain you like, we still suggest rotating it out every now and then. Doing this will help you manage your tolerance levels. If you’re used to a THC-heavy strain, try switching to one that’s high in CBD instead. This will give you a different high and give your body time to lower its tolerance for THC.
People who ingest cannabis on a regular basis eventually find that its effects are diminished after extended use. If you rotate your strains, however, you can counteract this potential issue. It’s also great to mix things up from time to time and keep things interesting.
1. Ask Your Budtenders
As we mentioned before, mixing things up can be a good thing. Sometimes it’s nice to switch strains and try one that you haven’t already tried. This will help you broaden your horizons. You might also find a new strain that you enjoy better than the others. If you don’t try new strains, you can miss out on a lot.
If you dislike certain negative effects like red eyes, cottonmouth, or the munchies, you can try out a strain that doesn’t cause the same issues. The people who work at your favourite cannabis dispensary in Canada will always be able to help you narrow down your options. We’re great resources to turn to and know how to find the perfect strain for you.