Imagine this. A friend gave you some bud. You smoked it and ended up loving it. You ask her what cannabis strain it was so you could get some more, but she doesn’t know. What are you going to do? How are you ever going to find that same fire herb again? You need to know how to identify strains.
Figuring out how to identify strains can be a tricky process. There are well over 700 different cannabis strains, and that number is constantly growing as breeders and growers dream up new ones.
Clearly, sifting through all these possibilities to find one precise strain is going to take some work. Fortunately, there are a few key things you can do to narrow it down.
We’re going to walk you through a step-by-step process for identifying strains. This process will move from the moment you first see your mystery nugs to the time you’ve finally finished up a smoke sesh.
Shape And Size of Pot Buds
The first place to start is by looking at the shape and size of the buds. This is a helpful way to start figuring out if you’ve got an indica, sativa, or hybrid.
Indica strains tend to produce buds that are dense, heavy, and tightly packed. They will look short and stubby.
On the other hand, sativa strains produce flowers that tend to be long and narrow. They are typically less densely packed than indicas.
Any attempt to identify strains should start here. If you’re looking at short, dense buds you know to limit your search to pure indicas or indica-dominant hybrids. And if you have longer, thinner, lankier buds you can focus your investigation on sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids.
Already, in one quick glance, you have significantly narrowed down the range of possibilities.
Color of Bud
Most cannabis strains will produce buds that are some shade of green. And while that means that in a lot of cases, color won’t tell you a whole lot, you should still take a second to look at the color of your herb.
If your bud has purple in it, that narrows down your search big time. Purple shows up in strains like Purple Urkle, Purple Haze, Purple Kush, and Grandaddy Purple. If you see purple, direct your attention to strains like these.
Some strains produce buds with yellow and orange hues. If you see these colors in your herb, you could have something like Kandy Skunk, Alien OG, Grapefruit, or Lemon Kush.
There are also a few strains that grow reddish buds and even black buds. Red strains could be something along the lines of Predator Pink or Pink Flower Shaman. And if you have black-tinted bud, there is a good chance you’re dealing with something derived from a Vietnamese strain.
Environmental factors can also impact color, so you can’t always use it as a surefire identifier. But noting color can still help you narrow down your search by pointing you in a more specific direction.
Smell And Taste Of Bud
Now that you’ve inspected the appearance of the buds, it’s time to start breaking them apart. As you do, pay attention to the smell they give off. And when you start puffing, take note of the flavors in the smoke or vapor as well.
Here are some of the most distinct smells to look for. This list is by no means exhaustive. But it is a helpful starting place for trying to narrow down your efforts to identify strains.
If the herb smells skunky, you could have either a Skunk strain or a hybrid with a strong Skunk component.
If the bud smells chemically, or kind of like diesel fumes, focus your search on Diesel strains. You could be smoking Blue Diesel, Sour Diesel, or a hybrid that came from one of these strains.
Some strains smell like cheese. Notable ones include Blue Cheese and UK Cheese.
Buds that smell earthy are could very likely have some Kush in them. Classic strains like Hindu Kush and Afghan Kush have been used to breed tons of other indicas and hybrids.
There’s a whole class of cannabis strains that smell and taste citrusy. Usually, the names of these strains also include some reference to citrus. If your buds smell and taste at all citrusy, direct your attention to strains like Tangie, Tangerine Man, Lemon Kush, Lemon OG, or Grapefruit.
Does your herb smell or taste like berries? If so, you can probably narrow down your attempt to identify strains. Look for something along the lines of Blueberry, Fruity Pebbles, or Strawberry Cough.
Another big category for cannabis strains is those that have sour smells and flavors. If you’re picking up on strong sour notes, start thinking about strains like Sour Diesel, Sour Jack, and Sour Kush.
Effects Of The weed
At this point in the process, you’ve handled the herb, you’ve broken it apart, you’ve smelled it, and you’ve tasted its terpenes. Throughout each of these steps, you have been narrowing down the list of possibilities.
Now that you’ve finished up your sesh and the high is setting in, the final step in identifying strains is to pay attention to the effects the unknown strain produces.
If you are feeling an intense head high with very little body effects, odds are you’ve got a pure indica or a hybrid that is heavily weighted toward the indica side.
On the other hand, if you feel mentally stimulated or spaced out, and your body is not that affected, you could have a pure sativa or a sativa-dominant hybrid.
And finally, if you are experiencing a well-balanced high that affects your head and body equally you probably have a hybrid that’s pretty evenly split between indica and sativa.