Dosing and Consumption
Your tolerance to cannabis, the amount you consume (dosage), and the consumption method will also determine how a strain affects you. Consider the following questions when looking for the right strain or product.
How much experience do you have with cannabis? If your tolerance is low, consider a low-THC strain in low doses.
Are you susceptible to anxiety or other side effects of THC? If so, try a strain high in CBD.
Do you want the effects to last a long time? If you do, consider edibles (starting with a low dose). Conversely, if you seek a short-term experience, use inhalation methods or a tincture.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a strain, but if you find that indica strains consistently deliver a positive experience, then by all means, stick to what you know. However, if you’re still searching for that ideal strain, these are important details to keep in mind.
What is sativa?
While not all sativa marijuana strains will energize you, most consumers notice a tendency for sativas to produce a “head high,” an uplifting, stimulating effect. They also often report sativas as being helpful in mitigating stress or anxiety, and many consumers enjoy sativas to sharpen focus and boost creativity/motivation.
Common effects associated with sativa strains include feeling happy, uplifting, euphoric, and energetic. Sativas are often thought of as “daytime” strains, used for feeling productive, creative, and focused, and for getting chores done.
Popular sativa strains
There are many sativa strains to try, and you’ve likely heard of some of the most popular. Most dispensaries should stock at least some of these sativa weed strains as they’re generally a crowd-favorite.
- Sour Diesel
- Jack Herer
- Green Crack
- Durban Poison
- Strawberry Cough
- Amnesia Haze
- Super Lemon Haze
- Super Silver Haze
What is indica?
Not all indica strains will put you “in da couch,” but nevertheless, many consumers associate indicas with full-body effects, for example, heavy limbs or a tingly face. They also report indicas as being helpful in aiding relaxation and curbing insomnia.
Common effects associated with indica strains include feeling relaxed, euphoric, happy, and sleepy. Indicas are commonly known as “nighttime” strains, used for relaxing and unwinding at the end of the night.
Popular indica strains
There are many indica strains to try, many of which you may be familiar. Check your local dispensary for these popular indica weed strains.
- Purple Punch
- Granddaddy Purple
- White Rhino
- Bubba Kush
- Northern Lights
- Grape Ape
- Blue Cheese
What are hybrids?
Hybrid strains are bred from both indica- and sativa-descended plants. Due to the long history of crossbreeding cannabis strains—much of it was historically done underground to evade authorities—strains that have pure indica or pure sativa lineages are rare. Most strains referred to as “indica” or “sativa” are, in fact, hybrids, with genetics inherited from both subspecies.
Since hybrid weed strains derive genetics from indicas and sativas, their ensuing effects can also pull from both indica and sativa strains. Common effects include happy, euphoric, uplifting, energetic, relaxing—it all depends on which hybrid you consume and what effects its “parent” strains are known to produce.
Looking at a hybrid’s lineage (its parent strains) may give you a better sense of what kind of effects it will produce; for example, if it has more indica in its lineage, it might have effects more associated with those strains.
Popular hybrid strains
There’s certainly no shortage of hybrid strains on the market, and some of the most popular you’ll come across are also among the most iconic.
- Blue Dream
- Wedding Cake
- OG Kush
- White Widow
- Pineapple Express
How to choose a strain?
Choosing the right cannabis product or strain for you can seem intimidating, but if you keep the following suggestions in mind, you should be able to find something that works for you:
Shopping for a specific mood or effect? Start there. If you’re hoping for a specific experience (like you want to relax and watch a movie) or if you’re looking to treat something like insomnia or nausea, use the corresponding filters on Leafly or let your budtender know so he or she can narrow down their recommendations.
Don’t lead with “I want an indica/sativa” or “I don’t want an indica/sativa.” Remember that not all indicas are sleepy or heavy, and not all sativas are energetic and uplifting. For example, if you’re prone to anxiety and want to avoid an uncomfortable, racy experience, if you tell a budtender you hate sativas because they make you anxious, they may hand you a THC powerhouse like White Fire OG simply because it’s not a sativa. Meanwhile, a “sativa” like Harlequin—with low levels of THC and high levels of CBD—might actually be a better fit. Revert back to our first point and start with the mood or effect you’re either trying to achieve or want to avoid. You may end up with a surprisingly great fit, regardless of whether it’s an indica or sativa!
Be mindful of your tolerance when it comes to strain potency. Due to advancements in growing and cross-breeding, today’s strains can be a real THC powerhouse. Many popular strains available at your local dispensary are quite potent, and if your tolerance levels aren’t accustomed to high THC levels, you may have a negative, uncomfortable experience consuming them. A strain packing 25% THC might not be as enjoyable to you as one tapping in at 16%, or the balanced THC/CBD variety that provides 10% of each cannabinoid. There’s no shame in opting for a lower THC percentage—you’re trying to find the right level for you and your ideal experience.
Keep track of what you like and don’t like to explore (or avoid) similar strains. While trying new strains, you may discover that you tend to like strains that express similar terpene profiles. For example, if you like the terpinolene-dominant Jack Herer, you’ll likely enjoy Golden Pineapple or XJ-13, which are also terpinolene-dominant. Likewise, if you picked up Gelato and aren’t vibing with its humulene-dominant terp profile, you might want to steer clear of similar strains like Sherbert and GSC.
Talk to your healthcare provider. If you have any existing medical conditions or are currently taking medication, you should talk to your doctor or a medical professional before trying cannabis. They may have suggestions or recommendations for you that complement your existing medical/health regimen.