Cannabis affects everyone differently. How you describe your reactions to a certain strain might not be how another would describe it. This is partially due to our body's Endocannabinoid System which is found in your body even if you don’t use cannabis. Although the cannabinoids found in cannabis can affect everyone differently, knowing the plant and its properties can provide a pretty good guideline of what you might expect from any certain strain. The following is a list of some common terms to know when picking out that perfect strain. Remember to “start low and go slow.” It can also help to keep a strain journal to catalogue what could be an exciting and informative journey.
The main differences between THC and CBD, both of which are very popular cannabinoids, is in their perceived effects. THC elicits strong cerebral euphoria, while CBD lacks intoxicating effects altogether. This basically comes down to the fact that THC activates CB1 receptors in our brain while CBD does not. CBD’s subtle effects are primarily felt in pain, inflammation, and anxiety relief, as well as other medicinal benefits.
THC or Delta-9 THC or ▲ 9 The first step to understanding Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is to understand cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that interact with receptors in the brain and body to create various effects. There exist dozens, and potentially more than 100, cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, but THC is most widely known among these due to its abundance and euphoric attributes.
Some of the short-term effects of THC are:
CBD Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis and hemp. CBD oils, gummies, and other products are continuing to grow in popularity as ways to manage anxiety, stress, pain, and other symptoms. CBD is non psychoactive unlike its close relative THC.
CBD has been known to help with the following symptoms for some people:
CBG While you may not have heard about Cannabigerol (CBG), humans have reaped its benefits for millennia, in both cannabis and hemp plants. It was first synthesized in 1964, alongside THC, and has been studied extensively for its medicinal potential. It’s often called the “Mother of all Cannabinoids” because without it, cannabis would have no high.
While there are still gaps to fill in the research of CBG, early findings indicate it has numerous health benefits:
CBN Cannabinol (CBN) was the first cannabinoid after THC to be discovered and is molecularly similar despite differing effects. Cannabis trichomes do not produce CBN as they do other cannabinoids and terpenes—the cannabinoid is derived from THC that degrades when cannabis flower has been exposed to air or light.
CBN is non-intoxicating and numerous cannabis brands have released edibles that contain CBN formulated as sleep aids in the last year, claiming the cannabinoid has intense sedating effects. Anecdotally this may be true, but multiple studies’ find conflicts with this claim, indicating CBN is not solely responsible for inducing sleep.
While it is not any better than THC at facilitating REM sleep, CBN has shown strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and neuroprotectant qualities, and has also shown promise as an appetite stimulator.
Delta-8 THC or ▲ 8 Delta-8 is a cannabis compound that has become popular because of its similarity to delta-9 THC, the main compound in cannabis that gets you high, causing euphoria, happiness, sedation, symptom relief, and much more.
Delta-8, like delta-9 (regular THC), binds to the body’s endocannabinoid system, which causes you to feel high. Chemically, delta-8 and delta-9 are similar in that they both have a double bond in their structures. This double bond is thought to produce the intoxicating effects that make you feel high.
As delta-8 is similar to THC, consumers can get some of the same benefits from consuming it. Some conditions delta-8 can help with include:
There’s a big push in the cannabis industry to disavow the Indica/Sativa/Hybrid classification system because it is not based in data and science—the terms are botanical names that refer to a plant’s structure, not the effects it produces.
However, most of the cannabis industry, including shops where you buy weed, are still stuck in classifying strains as either Indicas, Sativas, or Hybrids for one main reason: It’s easy. Give a consumer three options—up, down, or in-between—and you can easily explain how a certain strain will make them feel and sell a product. Like it or not, the Indica, Sativa, Hybrid classification system is still entrenched in the world.
Sativas Sativas originally grew in warm, humid climates, growing long and lanky so they can dry out and not absorb so much humidity. Their warm climate also means they can take a long time to grow and flower, or produce buds, because the weather won’t get cold and rainy at the end of the growing season.
Sativa is often looked at for its energizing and uplifting effects. Start your search with a Sativa if you are looking for a more wakeful and creative experience.
Indicas Indicas originally grew in cold, northern climates. They grew short and dense because of their environment, and their growing life cycle is shorter so they can get harvested before the cold and wet of fall and winter set in.
Indica is typically sought out for its relaxation effect. If you are looking for a calm and relaxing experience an Indica is a good place to start. Great for evening or night-time use as it is often reported to cause drowsiness.
Hybrids Hybrids are strains that are the product of breeding two cannabis types together. A Hybrid is usually a half and half split between Indica and Sativa but if the resulting strain is more than a 60/40 split it is considered an Indica Dominant Hybrid or a Sativa Dominant Hybrid. Hybrids are sought after for a blend of their parents' features.
Hemp As a side note, what we call “hemp” refers to the industrial, non-intoxicating varieties of cannabis harvested primarily for fiber, seeds, CBD, and novel cannabinoids such as delta-8. Hemp’s fiber can be used to make materials and textiles, its seeds can be eaten, and CBD and other novel cannabinoids can be extracted from it. Legally, hemp is any cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC.
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in most plants. Some of these compounds can be found in plants such as lavender, citrusy fruits and even cloves. These same terpenes are found in cannabis in high concentrations. Terpenes can provide great benefits to things like sleep, mood and appetite and are often in everyday scents such as perfumes, body products and candles. Knowing a certain strain's terpene profile can greatly help you find what best works for you.
The following is a list of 12 terpenes frequently found in cannabis.
Myrcene Also found in lemongrass, thyme, and mangoes. Myrcene often smells of earthy tones but can also have a fruity aroma. Found often in Indicas with sedative features, it has also been reported to help with Inflammation and pain.
Limonene Also found in lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. Limonene has a citrusy scent and is found in all citrus fruits. It is reported to help improve mood and stress. It has also been found to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Caryophyllene Also found in cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. Caryophyllene has a spicy or peppery smell. Caryophyllene has anti-anxiety and pain-relieving properties. It is also great for anti-inflammatory topicals and creams.
Pinene Also found in pine, dill, and rosemary. Pinene smells like and is found largely in pine trees. It has been found to help with respiratory systems and help open airways. Pinene can also help counteract the short-term memory loss caused by THC. Like many others, Pinene also has anti-inflammatory effects.
Linalool Also found in lavender, roses, and neroli. Linalool has a floral aroma and is known for its strong sedative and relaxing properties. It has been known to help with arthritis, insomnia and even depression.
Humulene Also found in hops, cloves, and basil. Humulene can have a woodsy or earthy smell. Humulene can also be effective as an appetite suppressant as well as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and a pain reliever like many other terpenes.
Bisabolol Also found in chamomile, sage, and candeia. Bisabolol has a nice floral smell. It can be a great antioxidant with anti-irritation and pain-relieving properties as well as an anti-bacterial property.
Terpineol Also found in pine, lilacs, and apple blossoms. Terpineol can be floral scented with a hint of citrus. It has shown antibiotic and antioxidant properties and can be very sedative.
Terpinolene Also found in apples, sage, and juniper. Terpinolene can have a fresh floral or pine smell as well as a hint of citrus. It has shown signs of being a great antioxidant as well as a great anti-anxiety and sleep aid. Terpinolene has also shown signs of improving cholesterol levels.
Eucalyptol Also found in wormwood, bay leaves, and eucalyptus. Eucalyptol can have a cool minty smell but doesn’t often take front stage. It can be a great pain reliever and has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Geraniol Also found in roses, citronella, and geraniums. Geraniol can smell of rose grass and fruity smells. It is an antioxidant but has also shown potential as a neuroprotectant.
Borneol Also found in turmeric, thyme, and cinnamon. Borneol is known for its woodsy aroma. It is an effective anti-inflammatory and pain reliever as a topical. It has been found to reduce stress and fight fatigue leaving people relaxed but not tired.