Exploring the best cannabis strains
There are many different strains of cannabis. And much like a connoisseur of fine wine might prefer that Shiraz or that Chardonnay, experienced users of cannabis have their individual opinions on what the best cannabis strains are.
Of course, “best” is completely subjective. What might make one strain of cannabis the best for you might make it far from a favorite with someone else. Equally, there might be times a certain strain is exactly what you’re looking for. That might make it “the best” for that particular situation, but not such a good choice in another.
This all boils down to a few important qualities that different types of weed strains possess. What we call the aroma, flavor profile, and effects of all cannabis strains are caused by the different levels of cannabinoids and terpenes they contain.
How many different strains of weed are there?
It’s been estimated that there are somewhere around seven hundred marijuana strains out there. But this number is far from stable. Every year, new cultivars are produced by botanists and experimental growers of all kinds.
Of course, some strains are more popular than others. The top cannabis strains constantly go in and out of fashion as new improvements are made to existing staples. Some formerly fashionable strains also fall away, sometimes because the unique quality of a particular crop fails to be reproduced.
Plus, not all growers publicize their results and some strains that were once great are no longer popular and rarely seen. Some may even be impossible to recreate. Other “strains” made by different growers may actually display different qualities. Are they then different strains, despite the name?
This all means that the answer to any question about how many different strains of weed there are is pretty open to interpretation – it’s impossible to really know.
You can often tell a lot about different kinds of marijuana from their name. They often hint at the strain’s pedigree or heritage as well as its flavor or effects.
Each individual strain on the market today is the result of many generations of evolution, cross-pollination, and various other breeding and growing techniques. Some of these hybrids are designed with an aim in mind. Such as producing a less or more potent version of particular cannabis strains. Or to make a strain that’s tougher and more able or grow in different conditions.
To take a famous example, the Granddaddy Purple strain is a crossbreed of the Mendo Purps, Skunk, and Afghan strains. It seems to have been given the name “Granddaddy” because it has the oversize bud structure of Skunk. “Purple” refers to the deep purple shade shared by its flowers and that of its Mendo Purps ancestor.
There are numerous examples of different strains of weed like this, often with humorous but sometimes revealing names.
When most people ask this question, they want to know about the different species of cannabis. The two most famous are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica (there is also cannabis ruderalis, though this is arguably a sub-species of sativa).
All the different types of marijuana strains out there are either sativa, indica, or a hybrid. Hybrids are usually qualified as “sativa dominant” or “indica dominant” to give some indication of their expected effects, which we’ll learn more about below.
Sativa vs indica vs hybrid – everything you need to know
What is Indica?
Cannabis indica is one of the two most famous species (or possibly subspecies) of the cannabis plant. All cannabis strains on the market come from either indica stock, cannabis sativa stock, or – much more commonly – are some combination of the two.
Indica and indica-dominant strains are generally said to create effects that are relaxing, soothing, or calming. Yet it’s also important to remember once again that different people may experience the effects of the same strain differently.
More details on KIND Concentrates Indica strains below:
What is Sativa?
Cannabis sativa is the other famous sub-species of the cannabis plant. Like sativa, all of the different strains of cannabis on the market have either sativa or indica or a hybrid heritage.
Sativa and sativa-dominant strains are often said to create effects that are energizing or uplifting or that stimulate the imagination or creative process. Though again, individual experiences may have some variation.
More details on KIND Concentrates Sativa strains below:
What's the difference between Indica and Sativa?
Whether indica and sativa are truly separate species or varieties of the same plant or sub-species of the same plant is still open to ongoing scientific debate.
In terms of the difference between sativa and indica for the purposes of someone interested in buying the best strain of cannabis, all you usually need to know is the broad differences in the effects they tend to create. Indica, usually a more relaxing or sleepy effect. Sativa, usually more energizing and creative.
What about the other types of cannabis – hybrids?
It’s less common to find a strain of cannabis on the market that is purely sativa or purely indica. The majority of the types of marijuana strain out there are hybrids, made from cross-breeding two or more different types of plant with both indica or sativa-dominant ancestry.
Despite this, the vast majority of hybrids are either sativa-dominant or indica-dominant with a usually beneficial mix of effects drawn from their ancestors. This means the effects of a hybrid can be relaxing, yet keep you focused. Or allow you to remain alert while still being very calm.
More details on KIND Concentrates Hybrid strains below:
How cannabinoids and terpenes set cannabis strains apart
Cannabinoids are a type of organic compound. There are currently known to be around 120 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. The most famous two are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Each cannabinoid has a different effect on the human body. Not all are particularly well understood. Even the “big two”, CBD and THC, are the subject of a huge amount of ongoing research to determine if they have potential uses as medication and for many other purposes.
For our purposes, it’s simply good to be aware that different marijuana strains contain varying concentrations of individual cannabinoids. It’s this variation in cannabinoid levels that make one strain something that will send you drifting off peacefully to sleep, while another promotes laughter and energy.
For example, hemp is a strain of cannabis that is very high in CBD but contains almost no THC. This means you won’t experience any psychoactive effect or “high” while smoking it. But it also means high-quality hemp is a great plant to make CBD products from.
It’s also worth knowing that cannabinoids affect different people in different ways. Your body type, the amount of exposure you have had to cannabis before, and many other factors all contribute to your tolerance levels. There is also a common occurrence where a grower creates something that they call, for example, “Jack Herer” strain. They may have created it from the same plant “parents” as another grower’s “Jack Herer”. Yet the two strains might actually be subtly different.
Terpenes are another type of organic compound present in cannabis. They’re largely responsible for the aromas and flavors that people associate with different types of marijuana. Yet you will also find terpenes in many other places in the natural world.
Many other plants and even some insect species contain terpenes. For example, the terpene limonene is found in the peel of citrus fruits and other plants. It’s responsible for that classic citrus aroma. It’s also found in some of the most popular cannabis strains and is usually part of the reason for that popularity.
This all means that another way of looking at the “best” cannabis products are those that have been created using processes that retain as much of the natural terpenes found in the original plant as possible. That’s why K.I.N.D. Concentrates’ strain-specific products are made in exactly this way using a unique proprietary process.
Choosing the best cannabis strain for you
Looking at a whole long list of cannabis strains probably won’t tell you which will be the best for you. If you can, try to talk to your local budtender about the experience you’re looking to create:
Do you want to meld into your couch? Are you trying to relax before bed? Or do you want something to stimulate your focus or creativity?
Whatever would make a strain “the best” for you, there’s bound to be something out there just like that.
Sativa vs indica vs hybrid – which do I choose?
Finding the strains that you prefer and the situations you prefer them in is something that usually takes a little time and experimentation. Some strains might be better when you’re out and about or for daytime use. Others are perfect for a relaxed evening in.
As we’ve found, each strain also has its own unique aroma and flavor profile thanks to the combination of terpenes it contains. Your personal preferences here are also going to have a large part to play in the specific strains that you prefer.
Understanding the basics of what characterizes sativa vs indica vs hybrid effects can give you a good grounding in where to start. For example, when it comes to sativa versus indica, we now know that the former is going to be a better choice for daytime activities and times when you want to be more active or imaginative. The latter will usually be a better choice for times when you want to relax, often during the evening or nighttime.
It’s also not as simple as saying this type of marijuana does this for everyone and this one does that for everyone. There can be big differences in indica vs sativa effects depending on your own individual body as well as differences in the strain type.
One thing that you can’t say definitively when it comes to cannabis indica vs sativa differences is that one type is more potent than the other.
Subjectively, you might find that you are more affected by certain indica strains that cause you to quickly fall asleep. Someone else might get a real energetic buzz from a strain that you find has comparatively little effect on you.
If you know the strain you are purchasing is supposed to be very high in certain cannabinoids – particularly THC, of course – it’s also well worth giving your body time to adjust if you don’t have much experience experimenting with different marijuana strains. Try taking smaller inhales and allowing time for the experience to take effect.
If you’re buying in person from your local dispensary, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with your resident budtender. They can help you explore the different strains of marijuana they have available and what might be best for your goals and the experience you want to have.
It’s also always worth checking the label and probably doing a little research to make sure you are buying something of proven quality. Everything in the world of K.I.N.D. is created from organic, naturally-grown, All-American cannabis plants and made using a proprietary process that ensures no solvents or other contaminants from the extraction, concentration, or distillation processes are left behind. But not every other product on the market can say the same about itself.
If in doubt, it’s always worth reaching out. Most growers, manufacturers, and budtenders will be keen to guide you in your exploration of the best cannabis strains for you. At K.I.N.D., we certainly are.