Which cannabis is best for me? Geez, what a question! The short answer is “It depends.” It depends on your height, weight, ages, gender, experience, metabolism, and even more. It depends on what you want and what ails you.
You might be after flavor and aroma, pain relief or a good night’s sleep, or a super high or blackout sedation. You may want to smoke it, vape it, or eat it. So, let’s revisit some basics:
- THC (∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol) cannabinoids produce the legendary euphoric psychoactive highs.
- CBD (cannabidiol) cannabinoids produce soothing and calm feelings.
There are three important strains of cannabis: Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis:
- Cannabis Indica grows wide leaves on a short bushy plant. It grows quickly and produces high yields. It also produces buds with higher CBD (cannabidiol) content than THC (∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
- Cannabis Sativa grows narrow leaves on tall narrow plants. It grows more slowly, requires more light, and deliver more THC than CBD effects.
- Cannabis Ruderalis is not marketed widely. This cannabis strain has survived harsh climates with a very low THC count. Breeders are learning to introduce Ruderalis to hybrids
The major characteristics of the of Indica strain and Indica-dominant hybrids include:
- Recommended for night-time use
- Increased serotonin influence on the brain’s reward and pleasure centers
- Increased mental and muscle relaxation
- Decreased nausea and increased appetite
- Decreased acute pain
Major characteristics of the Sativa strains and Sativa-dominant hybrids include:
- Recommended for morning and day use
- Increased serotonin influence on anxiety, appetite, learning, mood, and sleep
- Increased focus, energy, and creativity
- Reduced anxiety, depression, and chronic pain
Cannabis plants produce terpenes. These are sacks of essential oils secreted during the cannabis growth process. They are the source of much of the flavor and aroma issued by the individual strains.
- Pepper: Smells of freshly-ground black pepper indicate the presence of Beta-caryophyllene which triggers the brain’s CB2 receptors. That connection influences anxiety, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and depression.
- Citrus: Limonene produces sour lemon tastes and aromas. It might also blend with orange and other citrus fruits.
- Pine: Forest, pine, and woody effects come from Pinene. The clean earthy tones are also found in basil, and parsley, and rosemary.
- Cheese: Octanoic acid, hexanoic acid, and other influences smell of ice cream, blue cheese, or Limburger.
- Lavender: The terpene Linalool creates fresh, floral effects. It marks strains with tranquilizing results.
Most strains have some combination. Tastes often differ slightly from aromas, and vice versa.
So, what are you looking for?
You can check out that huge hit, one you can exaggerate to provoke your roommate’s envy. Three super-strong THC strains include:
- Trainwreck is appropriately named. It’s a cross of Mexican, Thai, and Afghani landraces. Easily grown, it produces a heavy harvest. Trainwreck tastes of pepper and spice and smells of citrus and pine. With 90% sativa and THC between 14% and 18% (but testing as high as 21%), it treats ADHD, PTSD, and stress.
- Thai is a legendary result of the Vietnam era. G.I.s returned with the 100% sativa Thai Sticks. An original landrace, it has been bred into many other strains. Thai takes work to raise and produces a low yield. It smells of earth and wood with a citrus and diesel aftertaste. With THC levels reaching 22%, Thai induces euphoria and increases energy levels to keep the mind clear and fatigue at bay while lowering stress levels.
- Destroyer is another sativa bred from Thai and Mexican/Colombian genetics. It grows fast and is mold-resistant. There are a strong lavender fragrance and sweet taste. With THC levels pushing 23%, you’ll feel a high euphoria which still leaves room for an exhilarating and mentally stimulating focus. People use Destroyer to treat depression, chronic pain, and PMS.
Each of these carries a risk for paranoia, especially in new users, and you should not underrate that risk.
If you are a beginner who just wants to chill or to maintain your experience at that level, you’ll opt for low THC content:
- White Widow is a great starter strain. Born of South American Sativa and South Indian Indica landraces, it grows well indoors with an average yield at harvest. It contains a super potent 20% to 25% THC. It tastes of apples and peaches, but its skunky aroma will give you away. Users enjoy benefits for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and stress.
- Blue Dream may be the world’s most popular strain. The child of Blueberry Indica and Haze Sativa, Blue Dream grows slowly and requires lots of water to produce a moderate yield. It smells and tastes of flavors of sandalwood, citrus, grape, and flowers. It’s the choice of party-goers and smoking circles because of its chatty chill. The THC level hits 25%, so you must watch the paranoia, but it does ease depression and stress.
- Jack Herer is named for an early and fabled advocate of cannabis use. It grows well indoors with a moderate yield in 8 to 10 weeks. With a moderate THC amount, it won’t set off some of the drug’s more potent side effects, like anxiety or paranoia. Aromas are earthy and spicy while flavors are sweet and citrus. With THC at 23%, there’s enough CBD to provide the medical therapy it was bred for, treating musculoskeletal pain, muscle cramps, neuropathic pain, Multiple Sclerosis, and more.
These three are high in THC, but they offer a balance generating many health benefits. Beginners will want to start small in dosage and frequency until they build some tolerance, but these are fallback intake options.
You need help
If you want to find the best strain for you, you must do some real and virtual research. You should seek advice from user friends and from dispensary budtenders. You should try some alternatives looking for the balance that works for you.