Much like it is with any other substance, marijuana is not just marijuana. There are all kinds of weed out there and the choice you make will ultimately contribute to the experience of it. Some will give you the body high that you are seeking to help you feel more relaxed, others will provide you with a boost of energy that keeps you going during the day. Then there is a spectrum of other combinations in between.
Cannabis is a very versatile substance and you can experience a vast array of different effects, depending on the plant that you choose to smoke. If you smoke to get a certain effect from your cannabis, you must be equipped with the right knowledge to help you choose a specific strain of weed that will meet your needs. To better help you with this process, we have prepared a guide that will teach you the many different strains you have to choose from and the effects that come with them so that you can choose the right strain, every time. Let’s dive into the world of marijuana strains!
What is a Marijuana Strain?
The specific marijuana strain will be the specific name and genotype of that plant. To get a better grasp on the concept of a marijuana strain, think about a specific type of an animal, such as a bird. There are thousands of different kinds of birds but they all fall into one category. Much like this, there is marijuana but under this broad umbrella term, there are a variety of different strains that make up the marijuana category as a whole. Each of these strains come with their own benefits for those who smoke them.
Technically, while there are hundreds of marijuana strains, they each fall into three separate categories of strains: Sativa, hybrid, and Indica. We will cover each of these categories and the most popular types of these strains as we explore them later on in this guide.
How to Choose a Strain
With all of these large numbers coming up in regards to marijuana, you may be asking yourself, “How are you even supposed to choose a strain if there are almost endless possibilities?” The truth about finding an ideal strain is that it all depends on your goals.
You need to ask yourself some important questions about what you are trying to achieve before you are able to successfully choose a cannabis strain. For example, are you smoking for recreational purposes or are you smoking to receive medicinal benefits from the herb? If you’re smoking cannabis recreationally, what effects are you seeking? Are you looking for a psychoactive mind high or a body high? Are you looking for energy or to sit back and chill? What are some other effects that you are looking for in your weed?
If you are instead using weed for medicinal purposes, what types of symptoms are you seeking to relieve through marijuana? Pain? Insomnia? Depression?
Take notes of all of your desired effects. Once you’ve identified exactly what it is you are looking for, you can better determine what strain you will need. To help you with this part of the process, continue down below to learn more about the different strains you can choose from.
Different Cannabis Plants
As we stated earlier in the article, there are several categories of cannabis plants that constitute the various cannabis strains that fall under these categories. In the following sections, we will break down each of the three categories to give you a comprehensive overview of each and what benefits and effects they will provide for you when you smoke them.
A perfect type of plant to kick off this list, Sativa cannabis is one of the best types of plant strains to smoke for those who do not enjoy the typical characteristics associated with smoking marijuana. This is better suited for those who want to smoke during the day time.
Sativa is a type of plant of marijuana that is known for its energizing, euphoria-inducing effects in its strains. Most strains of marijuana tend to provide the user with relaxed characteristic that you typically get when smoking weed. Sativa instead provides an uplifting psychoactive high that makes it possible for you to smoke your weed and still go about your day with little drawbacks. Basically, Sativa is a strain that is best suited for those who love to smoke weed but who do not want to be down for the count each time they reach for their stash.
Sativa differs from many other strains and so too do its benefits. Some of these benefits include…
- An improvement in mood
- A boost in energy
- Eurphoric, mind-based high
- An increase in focus and creativity
- Can be used during the day
Besides the benefits provided by this strain for recreational users, Sativa also has its benefits for those who use marijuana medicinally. Sativa is well-known for being a great strain to help battle mood disorders like depression and to help combat other disorders like anxiety or chronic stress. In addition, this strain is great for those who are dealing with chronic pain as well as individuals who are having trouble with a lack of appetite.
Popular Sativa Strains
Out of all of the Sativa strains that there are to choose from, here are some of the most popular strains that weed enthusiasts love.
- Jack Herer – A strain characterized by its blissful, creative, clear-headed high
- Sour Diesel – More energizing strain that provides an abundance of uplifting effects
- Green Crack – A potent, aptly named strain that gives a mental buzz and an enormous amount of energy
- Durban Poison – Higher THC levels that result in a strong, energetic buzz
- Silver Haze – An energetic body high that helps to keep you uplifted and battles the negative effects of the day
In between the Indica and Sativa is another known cannabis plant is known as a hybrid strain. This strain is a cross between the two main plants will often show more characteristics of one strain or the other. This depends on if they are Sativa-dominant or Indica-dominant. Hybrids are perfect for those who are looking to experiment with their marijuana to see what combination gives them the best results.
As was stated above, there are no clear set characteristics of hybrid plants. If a strain is Indica-dominant, it will result in the user feeling more of the effects of the Indica while experiencing some of the effects of the Sativa. If the strain is Sativa-dominant, the user will get more benefits from the Sativa strains while experiencing a few of the effects contributed by the Indica in the mixture. You can learn more about these effects from the categories above and below on this guide.
Some of the benefits that come with using a hybrid marijuana strain include:
- The variety of combinations that can be experienced with hybrids
- Unlimited customizable possibilities between different genotypes
- Provides both psychoactive and body highs and benefits
- Can solve all kinds of issues that other strains may miss
- Help to provide a perfect mix of energy and relaxation
The medical benefits of hybrids generally depend on which strain is most dominant within your choice of bud. However, hybrids are great for relieving issues that affect both the mental and physical such as anxiety, depression, and stress, which all can manifest physically if the condition is allowed to continue without treatment.
Popular Hybrid Strains
Hybrid strains are abundant in today’s market but if you are seeking out a hybrid, you should consider the following:
- OG Kush – The OG Kush strain is one of the most popular one among all weed enthusiasts due to its high THC content and provides an even balance between the two major categories
- Trainwreck – This is known for its strong Sativa effects that are said to be quite mind-altering and euphoric
- Blue Dream – Another Sativa-dominant strain, this bud exhibits more Indica properties to provide a relaxing yet calmly energizing high that helps to mellow the user out
- Gorilla Glue #4 – Aptly named, this strain will glue you to the spot. It provides a heavy relaxation that can chill you out in an instant
- Girl Scout Cookies – This strain is known for being both extremely relaxing and mind-bending. it will surely give an interesting experience each time you smoke this bud.
Finally, we have Indica. Indica is treasured among those who love to get high. Also people who prefer to have a session that results in relaxation rather than attempting to function afterward. Here is what you can expect to receive if you are looking for an Indica strain.
Indica is the plant that one thinks about when one imagines the effects of marijuana. This plant provides a very strong body high and psychoactive high that locks you to the couch. It causes a massive wave of relaxation and euphoria to wash over you, leading to bliss as you let the strain take you away for a while. Put simply, Indica is the relaxing bud that most attribute to the cannabis smoking experience.
There are quite a few benefits associated with Indica, including:
- Allowing the user to completely relax once smoked
- Producing a stronger body high than other strains
- Working on both mind and body to result in a calming experience
Indica has far more medical benefits than it does recreational benefits. For example, Indica’s ability to be so impactful on the body makes it perfect for individuals who are dealing with chronic pain or short-term issues that often require medication.
This plant strain works excellently on mental issues as well and can help to increase dopamine and decrease stress and anxiety. Like other strains, it helps to resolve other issues such as a lack of appetite and insomnia as well.
Popular Indica Strains
If you are a fan of the more relaxing Indica strain, here are some of the most popular Indica choices that other Indica fans have taken a liking to.
- Granddaddy Purple – If you’re looking to go on a trip, this strain of Indica can take you there as it is legendarily potent. It cultivates a potent mind-body experience that will transport you elsewhere after you’ve taken a hit of it
- Bubba Kush – This strain quickly goes towards the head and then spreads to the body, producing a slow spreading experience that relaxes you gradually
- Northern Lights – Much like the lights themselves, this strain provides the user with a calming and euphoric high that you can enjoy comfortably for as long as the show continues
- God’s Gift – As its name indicates, this strain is a mixture of two very potent breeds that will give you a very extreme Indica experience like none you have ever experienced before
- Afghan Kush – If you’re looking to sink into the couch and drift away, this potent strain will do the job and deliver you there with ease
Kush Vs Chronic: What’s the Difference?
Terminology in the marijuana world can be very confusing and you need to make sure that you have your definitions right before you make any choices. Two terms that you may come across include “kush” and “chronic”. You may be wondering if there is any difference between the two and what they indicate when it comes to your cannabis.
Put simply, kush often refers to the indica plants that are known for their potency. Although this term has often become watered down over the years, you need to make sure that the bud of your choice actually hails from the indica cannabis family.
Chronic refers to the sativa plant. It is a much more old school term. Since it was one of the better known plants, this is what was strong in the 80s and 90s.
Overall, the two terms are slang in the industry and they should be taken at face value in this day and age. However, this brief explanation should help you determine the definition of the words if you ever encounter them while you are shopping for weed.
Genotype & Phenotype
Another way that different marijuana strains are determined is by using genotypes and phenotypes. Typically, these things will only matter if you are growing your own plants at home but it can still be great knowledge to know.
To simplify the difference, the genotype of the plant is the genetic code that never changes and the phenotype is the expression of certain characteristics that is a result of the environment of the plant, such as smell, taste, or color. This is a simple explanation of the difference but more can be found online if one is truly interested in the genetic makeup of marijuana plants and how they grow into the favorite strains.
How to Choose the Right Marijuana Strain
In the above sections, we outlined the main differences between specific marijuana strains. These outlines will help you to determine what kinds of weed you are looking for based on the needs we established towards the beginning of this guide.
However, you may also be looking for a quick introduction to some of the best go-to strains that can help you to achieve your cannabis goals. If you have a common need that you expect your weed to achieve, take a look at some of the needs below and some of the best strains that help people to meet these needs.
Best Strain for Energy
If you are in need of marijuana that can help to boost your energy, here are the best strains that you can use.
- Golden Goat – A long-lasting energetic strain that effects you both internally and externally
- XJ-13 – A very therapeutic and euphoric strain that stimulates creativity and conversation
- Afghan Diesel – A strain that energizes the user and provides more of a psychoactive high than a body high
- Harle-Tsu – A calming energy strain that is known for its increased CBD content that helps to mellow out the THC found in the plant
Best Strain for Focus & Creativity
As you may have heard, cannabis can induce the creative side of your mind to open up. This can help if you’re an artist or need to be creative.
- Chemdawg – Made from potent strains, this strain provides a very potent cerebral high that comes along with a massive body high as well
- LSD – Another potent strain, this cannabis delivers a powerful psychedelic experience that is sure to help you boost your creativity
- Amnesia Haze – An earthy and flavorful strain known for its energetic buzz
- Tangie – A fruity, relaxing buzz that spreads through the whole body and feels like a mellow dream
Best Strain for Sleep
If you have trouble sleeping or have a medical issue like insomnia that requires you to use substances in order to deal with it, here are the best strains for sleep.
- Grape Ape – A potent strain that will calm you down and help you to sleep
- Cookie Jar – A strain that will taste good and help to provide euphoria coupled with full-body relaxation
- Tahoe OG – A type of cannabis that will help to deliver the bed-lock effects necessary to knock out with ease
- Ogre – Being much bigger than its competitors, this strain has more than enough THC to help you get to bed and do it quickly
Best Strain for Pain
Besides providing the user with euphoria, cannabis is a great way to relieve pain and to make the symptoms much more bearable. Here are some of the best weed strains for pain.
- ACDC – With very little THC, this CBD-dominant strain is said to be great for handling pain without producing a potent high that some users may not like
- White Widow – An extremely potent strain, this flower can help to kill pain while still making it possible for you to get around and get stuff done
- Purple Arrow – This strain gets right to the heart of the problem quickly and effectively without some of the overpowering effects of other strains
- Blue Widow – This strain provides the blissful relaxation necessary to take care of pain and provide you with the reprieve that you need
Best Strain for Anxiety
Anxiety is commonplace these days and it can be valuable to have a tool to calm you down when you need it. If you have anxiety, here are some of the most helpful strains that can relieve some of the symptoms.
- Cannatonic – While the high is brief, it is powerful and its mellowing effects help you to find relaxation in any anxious state
- Strawberry Cough – Great for social anxiety, this strain provides a powerful euphoric high that lifts the mood and clears the mind
- White Fire OG – This strain is potent but provides mostly psychoactive effects and makes it possible for the user to tackle both their anxiety and function during the day while smoking it
- Purple Urkle – If you have time to sit down and relax, this strain provides a full-body/mind high that mellows you out and creates a deep relaxation experience for those who need it most
Knowing which strain to choose is an important aspect of smoking weed. You don’t want to be smoking weed in order to relax, only to find yourself wide awake and ready to tackle the day or vice versa. When you are more knowledgable about what kinds of cannabis are out there and what experience they can provide for you, you know exactly what to purchase and how to use it. Whenever you are looking for weed to fit a specific need, whether this need pertains to something recreationally or medically, use the extensive guide above as a resource that will guide you through the selection and purchase process so that you always have the type of weed that you need on hand!