There are so many different varieties of cannabis strains that it can be pretty difficult to know what to smoke. They come from different breeders and cultivators, and the result is a whole world of weed varieties, each with its own unique aromas, flavors, and effects.
This guide will help you learn to choose your favorite weed strains.
The chemical compounds of cannabis flower
Before we even talk about the best cannabis strains and flowers, let’s talk about their compounds and how they affect our bodies.
The cannabis plant is full of a variety of chemical compounds that contribute to the effects we feel after we smoke, vape, eat, and absorb cannabis products. The compounds include cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc.
Cannabinoids and terpenes are the biggest emphases for cannabis consumers these days, as we continue to research and learn about the plant’s vast amounts of other molecules. That is because of research around the entourage effect.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are the active compounds in cannabis and hemp that interact with our endocannabinoid systems. They bond to our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), becoming responsible for the levels of therapeutic effects we feel upon consumption.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are the most common cannabinoids. THC is the active cannabinoid that produces the highs we feel.
It is the only known intoxicating compound, at this point. CBD is non-psychoactive but does provide certain clear-headed and therapeutic qualities all by itself. CBD is also thought to help moderate the high from THC.
Other cannabinoids include CBN, CBG, THCA, THCV, CBDA, CBDV, and THCV. Each of these cannabinoids has its own respective function and potential benefits.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are the aromatic oils in cannabis responsible for their smell, taste, and potentially, their effects. There are multiple classes of terpenes, including monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.
Monoterpenes are lighter than sesquiterpenes, thus meaning they’ll burn off faster when consumed. When terpenes burn off, they alter the flavor and experience of your cannabis.
Examples of monoterpenes include Myrcene, Limonene, Linalool, and Pinene. Examples of sesquiterpenes include Caryophyllene and Humulene.
Cannabis-derived terpenes are different from artificial and synthetic terpenes. Cannabis terpenes come straight from real plants, thus contributing to a more full-spectrum profile and experience than lab-generated terpene profiles.
How cannabinoids and terpenes influence the entourage effect
The entourage effect, also known as the ensemble effect, is the belief that cannabinoids and terpenes work better together, as a full chemical profile, than individually with targeted effects. This is why so much emphasis is placed on full-profile and full-spectrum products.
Ever tried pineapple express?
Indica, sativa, and hybrid: the different types of cannabis
Cannabis flower is categorized and sold under three umbrellas: indica, sativa, and hybrid. Here's what to know about each one.
Indica cannabis flower
Indicas are cannabis strains that come from Afghan genetics. Indica genetics promote short and bushy cannabis plants that prefer a cold/temperate environment.
They produce tight and dense buds. Historically, indica cannabis products have been sold as “downer” products that will make you feel relaxed and/or sleepy.
However, we have learned to pay more attention to specific terpenes, like linalool and myrcene, and are more responsible for these effects.
Examples of indica cannabis strains include Black Truffle, Grape Sorbet, and White Raspberry.
Sativa cannabis flower
Sativa cannabis plants grow tall and lanky. They are known to get best in warm, Mediterranean climates.
Sativas have always been seen as the strains with “upper” effects, i.e. uplifting and energized. Terpenes like limonene and pinene are more applicable to these types of effects.
Examples of sativas include Push Pop and Sunshine.
Hybrid cannabis flower
Hybrid cannabis strains come from crossing two different strains, in hopes of maximizing the desired attributes of both parents.
Examples of hybrids include Blue Burst, Ghost Face Mintz, and Rainbow Sherbet.
What do you mean by premium cannabis flower?
Premium, top-shelf cannabis, is high-quality cannabis that “checks all the boxes.”
Checking all the boxes means that the weed was grown properly, looks good, smells good, tastes good, burns well, burns clean, and hits with potent effects that make you feel good about the $40-$60 you just spent on an eighth.
You can’t just eyeball premium weed, you have to actually consume it. However, if you are putting weed to the eye test, you definitely want the buds to be absolutely covered in trichomes.
High trichome density is a sign of high cannabinoid and terpene content, which means that the weed will smell loud and taste incredible.
Past that, what makes cannabis flower is its uniqueness. You want aroma and flavor profiles you’ve never experienced. Things that make you say “Wait, what is THIS?!”
What's your favorite strain of weed?
The best strains of weed for you
In choosing the best strains for you, it’s best to try a bunch of different weed strains from different companies and document your experiences.
It’s important to understand that cannabis affects each human differently; so if you’re looking for a sleepy strain, and a friend suggests Peach Gelato, it could very well make you feel energized and creative.
Cannabis consumption is a very subjective experience. For one, everyone has different tolerance levels. That means if I smoke every day, I'm probably more equipped to handle heavy Pink Acai effects than someone who just smokes on the weekends.
Additionally, someone may have a completely different palette than me. That means i could smoke some Pink Rosay and taste fruity flavors, your taste buds might smoke Pink Rosay and detect diesel flavors.
This is why it is important to try out a bunch of different types of cannabis flower and get your experience leveled up. No budtender is ever going to be able to tell you what works best for your mind and body.
Smoking pre-rolls vs vaping the best strains of weed
There are plenty of ways to consume cannabis. Smoking pre-rolls and vaping weed are two of the most common.
Pre-rolls allow you to smoke cannabis flower without having to buy and roll it on your own. They also tend to be cheaper than flower jars, thus making them a more budget-friendly way to try a bunch of different cannabis strains.
Some pre-roll multi-packs even come with sativa, indica, and hybrid options, so you can dive into the different types of weed and the effects their genetics will have on your endocannabinoid system.
You need a dry herb vaporizer to vape cannabis flower. In doing so, the dry herb vape will heat your flower up to a certain temperature, activating the cannabinoids and terpenes within it.
People love dry herb vapes for cleaner smoke that doesn’t require combustion. This is why some consumers consider dry herb vapes to provide the purest smoking experience.
You’re getting straight, clean vapor and straight terps each time. This is a debatable topic, though.
The truth is, it’s all subjective and based on your personal preferences (and your budget). The biggest goal in any method is to get a flavor-packed consumption experience, which both smoking pre-rolls and vaping weed provide when consuming premium-tier cannabis.