The Science Behind Cannabis Strains: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Different Types

person looking for the best cannabis strain for them

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Whether you’re using cannabis for recreational or medicinal reasons, choosing the right strain is essential to a positive experience. Our expert guide will help you navigate the dizzying array of options and find the perfect strain that suits your needs.

Finding The Best Strain For You

Did you know that the effects of cannabis and your experience using it depend largely on the strain you choose? In this guide, we delve into the science behind the different types of cannabis and help you choose the one that best suits your individual needs.

Are you new to the world of cannabis and not sure where to start? With so many strains out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key factors to consider when searching for the perfect cannabis strain for beginners.

You will learn the basics like how terpenes affect THC potency, how different strains, genetics, and cannabinoids give different effects, and more.

Let’s get started…

Starting with the Basics: Indica vs Sativa

sativa and indica flower on a table

The first step in finding the right strain for you is understanding the distinction between indica and sativa plants. Indicas tend to produce a relaxing, sedative high that’s perfect for unwinding at the end of a long day, while sativas produce a stimulating, energizing high that’s better for socializing and staying productive.

For beginners, we recommend starting with an indica strain. Its calming effects can help ease you into the experience without feeling too overpowering.

Indica strains are types of cannabis that make you feel relaxed. They can help you calm down at the end of a long day. Sativa strains give you energy and make it easier to talk to people and do things. For beginners, indica is usually better because it doesn’t feel too strong at first.

Now that we have learned some of the differences between Indica and Sativa, we can’t leave out Hybrid Cannabis.

What is a Hybrid Cannabis Strain?

hybrid cannabis strain

A hybrid cannabis strain is one that combines both indica and sativa plants to create a unique effect. These strains are often referred to as “hybrids” because they offer the best of both worlds. Who knew?

Because of the energizing effects of sativas combined with the calming effects of indicas, Hybrids represent an infinite amount of possibilities when it comes to a strain’s effects on the body and mind.

Hybrids come in all shapes and sizes; some may lean more towards one side or another depending on their genetic makeup, but most offer balanced highs that won’t be too overwhelming for beginners.

Advantages of Sativa:

benefits of sativa cannabis strains

While indica strains are perfect for relaxing and winding down after a long day, Sativa strains come with their own set of benefits that make them a worthwhile experience for those seeking a more stimulating high. Here are some advantages of Sativa strains:

1) Increased Mental Alertness: Sativa strains can provide a boost of energy and focus that can help you tackle tasks with more efficiency. The stimulating effects can also increase creativity and enhance motivation, making sativa strains a great choice for those looking to get some work done.

2) Appetite Suppression: Sativa strains can help suppress appetite, making them a great choice for those looking to lose weight or manage their eating habits. This is because certain sativa strains can increase levels of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for regulating appetite.

3) Increased Sociability: Sativa strains are known for their ability to help users feel more talkative and sociable. This makes them a great choice for those heading out to social events or looking to connect with friends.

4) Pain Relief: While indica strains are often favored for their pain-relieving properties, some sativa strains also come with pain-reducing effects. This is because certain sativa strains contain higher levels of the cannabinoid CBG, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Overall, Sativa strains can be a great choice for those looking to increase mental alertness, suppress appetite, increase sociability, and even relieve pain. However, for beginners, it’s usually better to start with an indica strain to avoid feeling too overwhelmed by the high.

List of Popular Sativa Strains to Taste Test

If you are looking to experience the stimulating and energizing effects of Sativa strains, here are some popular options to consider:

1. Jack Herer: This Sativa-dominant strain is named after a legendary cannabis activist and author. It boasts a unique blend of Haze, Northern Lights #5, and Shiva Skunk genetics, making it a popular choice for those seeking a creative, clear-headed high.

2. Sour Diesel: Originating from the East Coast, Sour Diesel is a potent Sativa strain that is praised for its uplifting and euphoric effects. Its distinctively sour and diesel-like aroma and flavor have also made it a favorite among cannabis connoisseurs.

sour diesel strain

3. Green Crack: Despite its controversial name, Green Crack is a highly regarded Sativa strain that delivers a burst of energy and focus. Its lineage includes Skunk #1 and an unknown Afghani strain, resulting in a powerful high that is both cerebral and uplifting.

4. Super Silver Haze: A three-time Cannabis Cup winner, Super Silver Haze is a classic Sativa strain that offers a potent mix of Skunk, Northern Lights, and Haze genetics. Its uplifting and euphoric effects are complemented by a smooth and sweet flavor profile.

5. Tangie: This California-born Sativa strain is a descendant of the popular Tangerine Dream and boasts a citrusy aroma and flavor that is hard to resist. It is known for its cerebrally-focused high and energizing effects that can help users feel more creative and productive.

When trying out these Sativa strains, keep in mind that everyone’s experience can vary based on their tolerance, genetics, and environment. It’s always beneficial to start slow and low, especially if you are new to cannabis. Remember to choose a reputable source and consume responsibly.

Advantages of Indica Strains:

indica benefits

1. Relaxation: Indica strains are known for their ability to induce calming and sedative effects, which can help users relax both physically and mentally. This makes indica strains a great choice for those looking to unwind after a long day or combat stress and anxiety.

2. Pain Relief: Studies have found that certain indica strains contain higher levels of the cannabinoid THC which is believed to interact with the brain’s natural endocannabinoid system to reduce pain signals from reaching awareness levels. As such, many chronic pain sufferers find relief through using Indica-dominant cannabis products.

3. Sleep Aid: The body-relaxing effect of most indicas make them an ideal choice for those suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders as they can help users drift off into restful slumber quickly and easily without feeling groggy in the morning.

4. Improved Appetite: Due to its appetite-stimulating properties, some consider sativa strain as “the munchies” go-to strain type when it comes to pot smoking before eating something delicious!

Ready to get your freak on with some Indica strains? A few of our favorite Indica-leaning strains you should try:

Best Indica-leaning Strains

1. Purple Kush: A descendant of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this indica strain is prized for its sweet berry aroma and potent sedative effects.

2. Northern Lights: One of the oldest and most popular strains, Northern Lights is known to induce deep relaxation while providing an uplifting mental high that can help reduce stress levels.

Northern Lights Strain

3. Granddaddy Purple: This strain combines the genetics from two different classic cannabis plants – Big Bud and Purple Urkle – resulting in a sweet yet earthy flavor profile with powerful full-body effects that are perfect for relieving pain or falling asleep quickly after a stressful day.

granddaddy purple strain

4. Blueberry: An award-winning indica strain, Blueberry (not to be confused with Blueberry Dream) offers users a balanced blend of physical relaxation as well as euphoria which makes it ideal for both recreational use as well as medical treatment of conditions such as chronic pain or insomnia.

5. Gelato: A hybrid between Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies, Gelato delivers an intense yet pleasant mix of flavors including citrus fruits, lavender, berries, and menthol that covers up its intoxicatingly strong body stone effect quite nicely!

6. White Widow: White Widow is a legendary strain that combines the genetics of Brazilian Sativa and South Indian Indica, resulting in an intense blast of euphoric energy followed by a pleasant body stone.

white widow strain

When trying out these indica strains, keep in mind that everyone’s experience can vary based on their tolerance, genetics, and environment.

Consider the THC-to-CBD Ratio

The next thing to consider is the THC-to-CBD ratio. THC is the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, while CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that’s believed to have a range of therapeutic benefits. Beginners should look for strains with a balanced or higher CBD-to-THC ratio. This will allow you to experience the benefits of cannabis without feeling too overwhelmed by the high.

Think About Flavors and Aromas

Just like wine, cannabis has a wide range of flavors and aromas. Do you prefer a fruity, sweet strain or something more earthy and spicy? The flavor and aroma of your strain can have a big impact on your overall experience, so be sure to read up on the different strains and what they offer in terms of taste and scent.

When it comes to cannabis, the overall experience goes beyond just the strain’s THC content. The flavor and aroma of the strain also play a significant role in one’s enjoyment of the plant. But did you know that terpenes, the aromatic compounds found in cannabis, not only affect the flavor and smell of the plant but also contribute to the strain’s potency? This phenomenon is known as the Entourage Effect.

The Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect refers to how all of the compounds found in cannabis interact with each other to produce a unique effect. In simpler terms, it is the idea that the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. When it comes to terpenes specifically, they work in tandem with cannabinoids like THC and CBD to produce a specific effect. For example, the terpene myrcene is known to enhance the sedative effects of THC, making strains high in myrcene ideal for those looking for a more relaxing experience.

Terpenes not only affect the effects of the cannabinoids but also the flavor and aroma of the strain. Each terpene has a unique flavor and aroma profile, and the combination of different terpenes in a strain can produce a diverse range of flavors and aromas. For example, the terpene limonene is responsible for the citrusy scent found in strains like Lemon Haze, while the terpene pinene is responsible for the earthy aroma found in strains like Jack Herer.

When it comes to potency, terpenes can amplify the effects of cannabinoids. For example, the terpene caryophyllene interacts with the body’s CB2 receptors, which are responsible for pain relief and inflammation. This enhances the pain relief properties of strains high in caryophyllene, making them ideal for medical patients.

In conclusion, terpenes play a significant role in the overall cannabis experience. The Entourage Effect shows how all the compounds found in cannabis interact with each other to produce a unique effect. When it comes to terpenes specifically, they not only affect the flavor and aroma of the plant but also contribute to its potency. So next time you’re enjoying a strain, take a moment to appreciate the terpenes that are contributing to your experience.

Experiment with Different Consumption Methods

Different consumption methods can also have a big impact on your experience with cannabis. For beginners, we recommend starting with edibles or tinctures rather than smoking or vaping.

These methods tend to offer a more gradual onset and longer-lasting effects, making them easier to manage and control. However, edibles take longer to consume and last much longer. If you want to “sample” different strains, then consider a vape or flower packed in a pipe for a quick taste. From there you can let it wear off and start sampling other strains. Rinse and repeat.

The way you consume cannabis can also have an impact on its effects. Edibles, for example, take much longer to kick in but last much longer than smoking. Vaping, on the other hand, offers a more immediate effect but wears off much faster. Different consumption methods can also affect the taste, as smoking and vaping tend to produce a harsher flavor compared to edibles.

Ultimately, experimentation is the key to finding what works best for you. So don’t be afraid, you might be surprised by the results.


Finding the right cannabis strain for beginners is all about understanding your preferences and taking things slow. Start with an indica strain that’s high in CBD, experiment with different flavors and aromas, and try out different consumption methods until you find what works for you. With a little patience and experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect strain to help you relax, unwind, and enjoy the benefits of cannabis. Happy exploring!

FAQ - Choosing The Best Strain of Cannabis

Indica and Sativa strains are two different types of cannabis plants. Indica strains tend to produce a relaxing, sedative high, while sativas produce a more stimulating, energizing high. Indicas are often recommended for nighttime use, while sativas are better for daytime use. However, it's important to note that these effects can vary depending on the individual strain and your own individual body chemistry.

Yes, it's possible to mix indica and sativa strains together to create a customized blend. This is known as a hybrid strain. Hybrids can offer the best of both worlds, combining the relaxing effects of indica with the energizing effects of sativa.

Yes, indica and sativa strains can have different flavors and aromas. Indicas tend to have more earthy, musky flavors, while sativas can have more fruity or floral notes. However, it's important to note that flavor and aroma can vary widely depending on the specific strain and how it was grown.

Yes, indica and sativa strains can be used for different purposes. As mentioned earlier, indicas are often recommended for nighttime use and can be helpful for treating insomnia, chronic pain, and anxiety. Sativas, on the other hand, are better for daytime use and can be helpful for boosting energy and creativity, as well as treating depression and ADHD. However, it's important to remember that everyone's body chemistry is different, so what works for one person may not work for another. Experimentation and patience are key when it comes to finding the right strain for your needs.


Kharma Dee

Kharma Dee

Hi there! My name is Kharmadee and I'm an expert in harnessing the power of cannabis for holistic health benefits. In my work, I teach others how to naturally manage pain, anxiety, and stress, empowering them to lead happier, healthier lives. I believe that by incorporating cannabis into our daily routines, we can all experience greater joy, productivity, and well-being. Let me show you how!

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