In our last blog in our Cannabis 101 series, we discussed how many people believe the only form of cannabis is marijuana. We debunked this myth and showed that there are a wide variety of cannabis products. However, this variety is likely more abundant than you believe, and it’s caused by cannabis strains and cannabinoids.
One can think of the variety of cannabis products like the array of drinks offered at a bar. You can have countless beers on tap, from chocolatey stouts to hazy double IPAs and light lagers. Then, there are countless offerings of different categories of liquors, like tequilas and vodkas, and there are different brands within those categories. And don’t even get started on the swath of wines to choose from. The incredible array of choices of drinks at a bar parallels the choices one gets with cannabis. However, the variety of cannabis products goes even further.
Imagine if each type of alcohol they served you at a bar affected you differently. For example, one drink made you want to party, another gave you an energetic focus, and yet another instantly relaxed your mind and body. For cannabis, this is reality.
Due to the incredible effects of cannabis, the variety is more challenging to parse through than alcoholic drinks. Cannabis aficionados typically separate the types of cannabis into two categories, strains and cannabinoids. However, other elements like terpenes and flavonoids also play a significant role. We will save the last two for a more advanced article, and we will mainly discuss strains and cannabinoids. We will discuss how they work, their effects, and what makes strains and cannabinoids unique — strap in for another lesson in Cannabis 101.
What are Strains?
There is only one cannabis plant, Cannabis Sativa. However, aspects of cannabis vary from plant to plant, resulting in different strains of cannabis. To return to the alcohol analogy, think of strains like wine varietals. There are red grapes, purple grapes, green grapes, and more. However, they are still all grapes. Cannabis strains function in a congruent fashion.
Cannabis comes in three strains, Indicas, Sativas, and Hybrids. One can differentiate these strains by their cannabinoid content, primarily their CBD and THC ratios. As we discussed in our last article, THC causes the well-known high of cannabis. In contrast, CBD creates a non-psychoactive, relaxing effect. Different ratios of THC to CBD result in different highs, and these ratios define strains. Indicas, Sativas, and Hybrids all have different THC-to-CBD ratios and, therefore, result in unique highs. Now that we know what makes strains unique, we are prepared to discuss the highs of each strain.
Strains and Their Highs
First off, we have Indica. Indica strains usually have a high CBD content relative to THC. Therefore, many who use Indica experience a relaxing high. A great phrase to go by is “Indica will put you In-da-couch.” The near-catatonic high is ideal for those who want to take a load off and do something lowkey, like watch a movie, play video games, or take a nice nap.
Sativas are the opposite of Indica. Sativas have a very low CBD content relative to THC. Although Sativas and Indicas may have the same amount of THC, Sativa’s profile is more defined by THC than Indica. Therefore, many who use Sativas experience energetic highs. The energizing buzz makes Sativas a great choice if you are going out to a party.
As you might have already figured out, Hybrids are a hybrid of Indica and Sativa strains. Therefore, the CBD to THC content of Hybrids can vary wildly from product to product. Some Hybrids can result in a Sativa-like high, others are similar to Indicas, while some feel like neither. When it comes to Hybrids, it’s best to try them yourself and come to your own conclusions.
The Differences Between Strains and Cannabinoids
We know now that strains exist because of varying CBD and THC content. Changing the ratios of the CBD and THC cannabinoids results in wildly different highs. However, CBD and THC are not the only cannabinoids.
Scientists estimate that there are nearly 200 cannabinoids in cannabis, significantly more than the three strains of cannabis. So far, we learned about two cannabinoids, the psychoactive THC and the non-psychoactive CBD. The other 200 cannabinoids all have unique effects of their own. Some are incredibly psychoactive, while others are utterly benign. This cannabinoid variety really brings out the unique elements of cannabis.
Unlike strains, which are defined by two cannabinoids, cannabinoid products can contain any amount of any cannabinoid. However, most cannabis products centered around cannabinoids contain one specific cannabinoid. This lets the user enjoy the unique effects of one particular cannabinoid, much like a strain. For those that are adventurous, one can combine these cannabinoid products, much like how a strain mixes THC and CBD. These mixtures result in a wide range of highs that showcase the uniqueness of cannabinoids.
Should I Try Strains or Cannabinoids?
Likely, you are just starting out on your cannabis journey. Maybe you have never tried cannabis before or are looking to further your education. Everyone is at a different point in their cannabis adventure, and it is essential to ask if you would rather experience different strains or cannabinoids.
Ideally, you do both. Experiment with new cannabinoids and sample several strains. However, we are well aware this experience is overwhelming for many cannabis novices. Therefore, we have a few recommendations to jumpstart your thought process.
Suppose you have never tried cannabis before and are looking to experience it. In that case, we highly recommend starting with strains of cannabis. Taking a good-old mixture of THC and CBD is how many stoners fell in love with smoking in the first place. Sampling strains is an excellent way to form a baseline experience with cannabis and discover what you like.
If you have tried cannabis before but want to experience something completely new, we highly recommend trying cannabinoid products. These products, like Delta 8, HHC, and THC-O, both feel similar to the marijuana high and different. It’s like running into an old friend after several years – you recognize them, but a lot has changed. If you are looking for recommendations on what cannabinoids to try, look for our next Cannabis 101 blog about the world of alternative cannabinoids.