New to smoking cannabis? Welcome. Shopping around for your next favourite strain can feel intimidating at first, but knowing what you’re looking for will help you narrow down your options and get the most out of your marijuana experience.
The first place to start is narrowing down your choices to sativa, indica, and hybrid. These are three overarching categories that can help to point you toward the strain that delivers the right effects.
Where Do The Terms Sativa and Indica Come From?
Cannabis enthusiasts have been labeling different strains of marijuana as cannabis indica or cannabis sativa for centuries. The difference mainly came from the shape and qualities of the cannabis plant.
Cannabis sativa usually grows tall and skinny. It flowers best in warmer temperatures and will flower for a longer period of time. Cannabis indica does quite the opposite. It’s wide and short plants will flower for a shorter period of time later in the year.
As people started to get picky about different strains, they started to notice a difference in the terpene levels, THC levels, and other qualities of strains that they classified as cannabis indica and cannabis sativa. This eventually evolved into the categories that we know today. With more breeding and experimentation, growers have also created a new category of cannabis: hybrids. Hybrids tend to be a mix of cannabis indica and cannabis sativa strains, producing a wide variety of effects.
Before you narrow your search to a sativa, indica, or hybrid, ask yourself:
- When do you want to smoke? Morning, mid-day, or night?
- Where do you want to smoke? A party? At home on the couch? At home before work?
- Where do you want to feel the high? (In your head vs. in your body)
- Why do you want to smoke? To get the giggles? To get the munchies? To go to sleep with ease?
These questions will help to lead you in the right direction.
Sativa: Heady and Energetic
Do you want to smoke in the morning or at a party? You might want to reach for a sativa. Cannabis sativa strains are more likely to be your “daytime strain.” Rather than helping you wind down at the end of a long day, they pep you up. Partygoers like sativas because they can still move around and enjoy the festivities without worrying about too much couch-lock.
Users are more likely to feel the high creep into their brain. Things may seem funnier or you might feel more focused. Sativas encourage creativity and those wacky ideas you sometimes get when you smoke.
Best Beginner Sativa Strains:
Blue Dream is arguably one of the most popular strains on the market (and certainly the most popular sativa.) This strain has a sweet berry flavour and will lift you up even on a stressful day.
Lemon Skunk is a classic example of a sativa. The happy head high is accompanied by citrusy flavours and aromas. With higher levels of CBD in this strain than most, you may also enjoy some pain relief with just a few puffs.
Ghost Train Haze is a great strain to smoke before working on a creative project or cleaning the house. The citrus aroma and terpene blend keeps you focused and giggly throughout any errand or household tasks. (Read our review of it here.)
Indica: Full-Body Relaxation
Maybe smoking weed to stay up and stay focused sounds like the opposite of what you want. In this case, it’s time to start shopping for a sativa.
Indicas offer a chill high that seeps throughout the entire body. If you’re looking to get locked to a couch, you should probably pick up an indica. They aren’t a bummer, but they are more likely to make you fall asleep or want to cuddle up with a blanket and listen to some good tunes.
Best Beginner Indica Strains:
Girl Scout Cookies gets its name from the sweet flavour of the strain. You’ll also want to keep a packet of cookies nearby. GSC stimulates appetite, but also calms the body down with intensity. It’s a potent strain of marijuana, so take it easy the first time you try this guy.
Dutch Treat offers a light high that will make you feel refreshed. It’s a great beginner strain because it doesn’t hit too hard. Slowly, after you start to smoke and enjoy the citrusy and fresh taste, you’ll start to feel nice and calm throughout the body and mind.
Blackberry OG is one of the best nighttime strains you can buy. It puts you right to sleep. Watch your anxiety disappear before your eyes (and your motivation to move.) Insomniacs love this strain.
Hybrid: A Mix of Everything
Hybrids are hybrids. They are not too extreme on either end. You might feel more of a head high with some strains, but you might also feel more of a body high with others. When you shop around, take a look at the lineage of the strain. Growers like to combine popular strains and create something new. Like biological families, you get a few of the qualities from both parents.
Another way to assess what type of strain you’re getting is to look at the blend of terpenes. Terpenes give each strain their unique qualities, including flavour, aroma, and effects. Learn more about the different terpenes and how they impact your hybrid strains.
Best Beginner Hybrid Strains:
Vancity Kush gives you the best of both worlds. At first, you’ll feel a euphoric head high. But as the night starts to wear on, you’ll be ready for bed. Smoke this herbally strain before watching a funny movie and you’ll have sweet dreams the rest of the night.
Cheese and other cheese-related strains are classic examples of hybrids. They smell skunky and sour, and make you hungry for a cheese platter. (A whole cheese platter.) This strain will relax you day or night – it’s a popular strain among all types of cannabis enthusiasts.
Cookies and Cream is a strain that was developed due to the popularity of Girl Scout Cookies. Mixed with the indica-dominant Starfighter Strain, Cookies and Cream is a great “dessert strain.” It tastes like a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream and will help you calm down after a long day. Patients with depression or chronic stress tend to gravitate toward this delicious hybrid.
There are hundreds of sativa, indica, and hybrid strains on the market. Shop around and find the best strain for you!