As states continue to come online legalizing cannabis more people are either learning about strains or getting reacquainted with certain strains.  With that there is an ongoing conversation whether knowing the strain is a marketing tool and essentially rendering certain terms meaningless. For those who are learning what to buy, knowing names and time-tested terms is helpful. For seasoned consumers being able to quickly pick up what they need by way of naming their personal classics is a welcomed ease. Therefore, these terms continue to serve the greater good, marketing or not.

What is a cannabis (or hemp) strain? A strain is defined as the genetic variation (makeup) of the cannabis plant which gives the buds their effect, appearance, and aroma. Strains are typically categorized as sativa, indica or hybrid strains. With hybrids they also can be categorized as more sativa dominant or indica dominant.  There are countless strain combinations within the sativa, indica or hybrid categories.

Growers are task with performing innovative work for the hemp and cannabis community as we learned more about the power of the plant. Strains can be cross-pollinated and refined to bring out more or less of certain cannabidiols within the plant makeup. As more people learn that hemp and cannabis are not only an alternative to traditional ways of addressing medical issues and common suggestions of wellness; the public is wanting to access the full power of the plant. A primary way of tapping into access is by understanding what strains might be right for what needs.    

Here’s a brief overview of three strain categories, strains within them and some of the uses.

Sativa- The cannabis sativa plant is typically tall and slim, and the leaves are long and thin. A sativa strain is known for its energizing effects or properties. Sativa strains are also known to regulate appetite, improve focus, aid in creativity, uplifting feeling, aid in reducing anxiety and other negative mood states.

Popular sativa strains (or sativa dominate strains) but not limited to – Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, Purple Haze, Maui Wowie, Blue Dream, Tangie.

Indica – The cannabis indica plant is typically short and bushy, and the leaves are short and wide. An indica strain is known for its relaxing effects or properties. Indica strains are also known to help with insomnia, help assist with alleviating nausea, increase appetite, assist with pain reduction through muscle relaxation, reduce pain through decreasing inflammation.

Popular indica strains (or indica dominate strains) but not limited to – OG Kush, Bubba Kush, Purple Kush, G13, Granddaddy Purple, Northern Lights.

Hybrid – A hybrid strain is a cross-pollination if both species. A hybrid strain is known for its balance between energizing and relaxing effects or properties. Hybrid strains are also known for a feeling of alert-mellowness, stress reduction, mood stabilizer, balanced benefits from sativa and indica strains and a good introduction strain.

Popular hybrid strains but not limited to – Blue Dream, Super Silver Haze, White Widow, Gorilla Glue, Pineapple Express.

The search for the right strain can potentially be overwhelming since it is said to be over 700 strains combinations in the cannabis and hemp diaspora coupled with the fact that the landscape is constantly expanding. A great guidepost is to think about the desired outcome. Is the outcome to address pain or insomnia? Is the outcome to have a mood stabilizer for mental health? Are you working with a physician who has given a specific strain recommendation?  Popular or established stains have been a mainstay for a reason possibly starting with those can also cut down on some legwork and buying confusion. Many people end up finding the strain(s) that addresses most of their needs with the use of one or two strains and incorporate those strains into their lives. The importance of having basic knowledge of strain categories helps with what to purchase and staying consistent.  


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