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Cannabis Novice’s Guide to Finding the Perfect Strain

When it comes to cannabis, finding the right fit can be tricky.  While some lucky smokers can come home, spark up a fatty and enjoy the benefits of ancient plant medicine, there’s always a chance you’ll end up lying awake all night, heart pounding, too out of it to even follow an episode of Simpsons.

Cannabis is a personal experience. Some people enjoy the herb while they’re out with friends, while others prefer to use it for solo introspection and creative exploration. As such, it’s essential to find products that fit into your life and provide the experience that is most meaningful to you. Wondering what cannabis is right for you? This guide will help you find your perfect experience.

The first step toward crafting the perfect cannabis experience is knowing how you’d like to feel. With that idea in mind, it’s easier to narrow down products that may fit your desired mood. If you’re craving focus and clarity, for example, it’s probably best to avoid plants that make you sleepy. Similarly, if you’re seeking something calming, finding a plant that is unlikely to produce anxiety is a good recommendation. 

If you don’t already have an idea about which strain you want to grow, it helps to start by narrowing down your list to just a few possible strains. When researching for a new grow, start with a seed bank, that will give you lots of helpful information about each strain.

The Different “Types” of Cannabis

Clear Indica

These strains are on the lighter side of Indica, but still offer pain relief and relaxation with less intense sedating effects. Most patients use clear indica strains such as Critical for nighttime medicating

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

This strain of cannabis delivers full-body pain relief with a relaxing head high. Depending on the patient’s tolerance and preference, indica-dominant hybrids such as Northern Light, Sensi Star or Big Bud are good for nighttime medicating (sleep) or daytime medicating (minor pain relief without intense sedating effects).

Even Hybrid (50/50)

Even hybrid strains such as Gorilla Glue are frequently used to alleviate stress, headaches, and depression with the perfect balance of head and body effects. These strains are appropriate for any time of day, depending on the patient’s preference and tolerance.

Sativa-Dominant Hybrid

A sativa-dominant hybrid such as Moby Dick or Amnesia Haze delivers a cerebral high with a relaxing body effect. Patients experience calm, clear-headed physical and mental relief with sativa-dominant cannabis strains, which are typically used during the day.

Heavy Sativa

Heavy sativa strains such as Sour Diesel, Green Crack or Special Lime Haze are ideal for patients who want an intense and uplifting body high with a heavy head effect. These strains boost focus and creativity and can relieve depression and anxiety in patients. Heavy sativas are great for daytime medicating.

Clear Sativa

This strain classification is recommended for patients who are looking for mental effects and little-to-no physical effects. Clear sativas such as Durban Poison or Kali’s Mistery are stimulants that are known to help with depression, nausea, chronic pain, and focus, and are best for daytime use.

What about “terpenes”?

Cannabis has its own language. When reading a product label, there are a few keywords and initialisms worth knowing. Most importantly, THC, CBD, and CBN. Each of these initialisms refers to a specific chemical compound produced by the cannabis plant. These compounds are among the most important active constituents found in the herb, and they provide the bulk of the plant’s experiential effects. Knowing which active compounds are present in a cannabis product is essential for understanding its overall level of psychoactivity. 

Recognizing these individual components and understanding what they contribute to a product will help you select products that better fit your needs. Here is a brief breakdown of the effects that each compound provides:

THC

Short for tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is the primary psychoactive constituent in the cannabis plant. THC is responsible for the euphoric “high” that cannabis produces. In general, the higher the THC content, the stronger and more potent the cannabis experience.

CBD

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is perhaps the second most abundant cannabinoid that the cannabis plant produces. Unlike THC, CBD is not known to produce intoxication in low to moderate doses. The compound does, however, have an effect on mood. If the early scientific research is worth its weight, CBD holds potential as an anti-anxiety agent and may lessen the potency of THC.

CBN

Cannabinol, also called CBN, is a lesser-known cannabis compound. The molecule is a break-down product of THC and is most abundant in aged cannabis. While CBN is not associated with the strong psychoactive properties of THC, it may have sedative qualities. Cannabis products that contain this cannabinoid are thought to produce more tranquilizing effects than their counterparts that contain little CBN.

CBD and THC Ratios

To better understand which ratio is the best for you, play around with CBD and THC strains individually before you dive into hybrids and different ratios. Knowing how your body reacts to each cannabinoid will be helpful in picking out the most beneficial ratio for you.

There are a few standard CBD to THC ratios that can be a helpful guide to follow. These ratios can be found in all forms of marijuana consumption including smoking, edibles, oil, wax, topical lotions and vape.

Ratio aside, all weed consumption follows the same ingestible rules. Smoking will give users the fastest results and edibles will come on smooth and last longer.

Common CBD:THC Ratios

  • 0:1 – contains only CBD and no THC. Great for any type of marijuana user. Strong “high” psychotropic effect that can cause the giggles.
  • 25:1 – contains the highest CBD to THC ratio currently made. Used by all types of users.
  • 18:1 – contains a high overall amount of CBD in one dose. High CBD, Low THC. Used by beginner users or those who don’t want to get high. Never or rarely psychoactive.
  • 8:1 – contains less overall amounts of CBD. High CBD within the dosage, Low THC. Used by beginner users or those who don’t want to get high. Rarely psychoactive.
  • 4:1 – contains a small amount of overall CBD. Considered mid-range and is best for those who have tried THC before. Some tolerance to THC might be useful in a ratio like this.
  • 2:1 – overall, a more balanced amount of total CBD. Medium CBD and THC levels make it great for those that can tolerate THC. Can be psychoactive at moderate doses, so is not suggested for a beginner or first-time user.
  • 1:1 – most balanced ratio of CBD to THC that can be made. For people who can tolerate THC. Suggested for medium to experience leveled users, especially when large doses are used.
  • 1:2 – will give a remarkable high and a small sense of euphoria with underlining calm feelings.
  • 1:0 – no high at all and will give users the most therapeutic experience because it contains zero side effects.

Before picking out your cannabis, it’s worthwhile to reflect on how you intend to use the product. Do you plan on using it mostly for solo time, or would you like to share it with friends? Similarly, would you prefer a gentler option like a vaporizer, or would you prefer a smokable pre-roll?

Once you’ve settled on your mood, your desired potency, your intention, and your format, you’re several steps closer to finding the perfect cannabis for you. When experimenting, however, there’s one golden rule to follow: start low and go slow. It’s better to have a lack-luster experience and gradually work your way up than risk having a bad experience by consuming too much in one sitting. For best results, take a small taste or two at a time, and then wait at least 30 minutes before trying more.

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