Cannabis Strains

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Cannabis Strains

Cannabis consumers have a hard time choosing the right strain because of botanical issues, naming issues, and numerous choices.

1. Botanical Issue

  • One of the most common methods of choosing a cannabis product is the indica versus sativa method, which entails differentiating between cannabis products by their taxonomic definition. However, the definition of the terms changes based on the type of specialist the consumer asks, as botanists, medical researchers, and common cannabis users differentiate between indica and sativa strains in different ways.
  • This botanical issue mainly addresses the morphology and original geographic distribution of the plant. The classification basically refers to the height of the plant, its stalk, and optimum growing climate.
  • The terms indica and sativa were used by cannabis enthusiasts in order to describe two distinct kinds of cannabis plants: sativa, a plant that bears a more energetic effect, and indica, a plant with a relaxing and calming effect.
  • Today, a lot of websites claim that “sativa” products are more uplifting, energizing and generally produce a cerebral head high, while “indica” products are more calming, relaxing, sedating, and help with pain relief.

2. Name Issue

  • Since cannabis is an unregulated plant, breeders could grow anything and call it whatever they wanted, which means that strains that bear the same name may not be genetically related.
  • The name of a cannabis strain does not necessarily mean anything unless it is stabilized and certified. As such, unless active compounds are specified, the name will not be an effective indicator as to what to expect.
  • Growers and breeders combine different cannabis strains to create unique characteristics that provide specific effects and uses. The name of their new strains can tell a lot about its makeup and how to use it.
  • A strain with “purple” in its name gives more sedative effect while a strain containing the word “haze” offers a dreamy, mental feel.
  • Strain names give a hint about what effect it has on the consumer, but these are not definitive, as some growers may accidentally or purposefully mislabel cannabis flowers, especially in the illicit market.
  • As a consumer, it is important to keep a list of the effect, taste, smell, and name of the specific strains, as it can help narrow down the choices.
  • 3. Hundreds of Choices

  • Choosing the right strain for a medical condition can be a daunting task since there are over 800 varieties that have a varying effect on the consumer.
  • By using complex breeding processes and technical growing methods, innovative cannabis cultivators have created thousands of unique strains. However, because of rampant crossbreeding it is difficult to consistently classify many strains as either exclusively indica or sativa.
  • For example, many cultivators tend to crossbreed the strains of sativa and indica to select specific cannabinoids and terpenes within each strain and create a unique and desirable mix.
  • "Breeders can mix and match between well over hundreds of different strains, creating an endless array of hybrid options. The ability to create hybrid strains from already pre-existing strains opens a whole new market for the overall cannabis industry."
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Cannabis Strains 2

According to researchers, choosing the right cannabis strain primarily begins with the product/consumption method that provides the best experience to the user.

Determining the THC and CBD and Terpenes Components in the Cannabis Strain

  • With this method, based on the desired effect selected, the next step is to perform research regarding cannabinoids such as CBD and THC and Terpenes concentrates that produce this effect, and ultimately choosing a product with the closest profile to what the investigation indicates.
  • The strain's THC level needs to be considered as well as how it will eventually play into an individual's high. Additionally, individuals should determine the importance of CBD towards their medical condition.
  • People should scrutinize their strain selection according to the THC level they are capable of managing. For those that are new smokers, it is recommended that they avoid levels higher than 15%. Smokers with experience are able to go higher.

Insights on Consumption Methods

Experimentation with Different Cannabis Strains

  • Researchers mention that cannabis strain as a validated treatment for certain ailments cannot be generalized as the results are not consistent for everyone and every condition. The experimentation method supports choosing stabilized strains that are certified from a reliable source with cannabinoid ratios mentioned.
  • Users can document each experience in terms of the cannabis compounds of the strain, how was it consumed, and how was that experience for the user and its effectiveness.
  • With this documentation, users can create a personal database of their preferences, goals, the effectiveness of various products, and the ways they contributed to their well-being.
  • With these insights, it would be very simple to pick out the right cannabis strain based on the user's needs and activities.

Indica/Sativa Strains Not a Reliable Mechanism

  • While the Indica and Sativa method is not scientifically oriented, it is primarily based on the experience of other individuals administering a specific strain.
  • According to Ethan Budd Russo, M.D., "the sativa/indica distinction as commonly applied in the lay literature" is subjective and not considered a reliable mechanism in choosing the right cannabis strain as mentioned by researchers.

Research Strategy:

To gain insights on how to choose the right cannabis strains, we scoured through several cannabis-related articles from Subastpharm, Cannabis Talk Network, Leafly, Remedy Columbia, and Bakers Seattle. These articles mentioned insights related to the ratio of cannabinoid compounds in the cannabis strain, consumption methods, and experimenting with different cannabis strains.