Each new user has their reasons for trying marijuana, the most common being to experience the enjoyment of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or to discover the potential of CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for cannabis’ medicinal benefits.
Over the years, growers and have bred cannabis to contain larger amounts of THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive high for which marijuana is famous. In recent years, scientists have done more research on the dozens of cannabinoids contained within the cannabis plant, the focus being on CBD. Logic suggests that breeding a strain of cannabis with zero THC would be worthwhile, but scientists discovered that cannabis possesses what is called the Entourage Effect. In short, CBD is far more effective when THC is also administered, even in minuscule amounts.
When walking into your local dispensary, the goal shouldn’t be finding the product with the most THC or CBD. Any cannabis connoisseur will tell you that each strain is nuanced, unique and specific, each having characteristics to suit a particular mood, activity or ailment. And for new users, a strain high in THC would be unwise to try. Each person responds to cannabis differently, with some people being more prone to paranoia or increased blood pressure than others. For patients, different ratios of CBD to THC will serve different purposes; lower ratios will be better for pain, and higher ratios will be better for neurological conditions like epilepsy.
In general, cannabis strains fall into one of three phenotypes: sativa, indica, or a hybrid, the latter of which straddles the line between sativa and indica. Sometimes they are referred to as “sativa-dominant” or “indica-dominant” depending on their characteristics. Sativas tend to feel more uplifting and enhance social situations, while indicas produce a “body high” that relaxes both the body and the mind. Hybrid strains mean consumers can enjoy a little bit of both. For patients, strains are often labeled as “high CBD” and are in a category on their own.
New users interested in cannabis will undoubtedly have many reasons for trying it, but we’ve broken down our list of beginner strains into three categories:
- Recreational: strains that promote creativity, relaxation, and social engagement. These are strains you’ll want to try at your next party or when you need to think outside the box. They’ll be great for reducing social anxiety as well. Although these strains contain varying amounts of THC, the presence of CBC in those selected helps bolster the effects of THC.
- Relaxation: strains that promote a feeling of heaviness in the body and comfortable, deep sleep. These are not typically for daytime use, but rather for some quiet time in the comfort of your home. These will consist of hybrids, particularly hybrids that are more indica leaning, and pure indica strains.
- Medicinal: while all cannabis strains have some sort of medicinal use, the strains in this category are designed for fighting anxiety, pain, depression, and many other ailments that CBD is known to treat. CBD will be the dominant cannabinoid in this category, so you won’t experience as much recreational enjoyment out of these strains, but you’ll be feeling better.
Blue Dream: This hybrid strain is sativa-dominant and a great example of how hybrids really bring out the best in cannabis. It initially feels like a classic sativa with euphoric and creative thinking, but settles into nice body relaxation with decent pain relief.
Jilly Bean: A great hybrid strain for daytime use, as it provides uplifting effects and plenty of focus. The aroma is nice and fruity, and slightly stinky.
White Berry: Another great hybrid with more body relaxation and a thick, heavy smoke. While the sensation is more like an indica, there are plenty of cerebral effects that make it suitable for a low-key day. Too much White Berry will cause more drowsiness and muscle relaxation.
Blue Diesel: If you need the uplifting effects that a sativa or a hybrid can offer, but also need strong pain relief, Blue Diesel is a good choice. This strain is suitable enough for day use and has minimal impact on appetite and drowsiness.
Mango Kush: If you’re OK experiencing some munchies, Mango Kush will be a great hybrid to try. The taste is as tropical as the name suggests, with pine aromas and fruity flavors.
Lamb’s Bread: Known to be one of Bob Marley’s favorite strains, Lamb’s Bread will give you uplifting, energizing effects. It’s great for daytime use since it leaves users clear-headed and motivated.
OG Kush: If you have trouble with social anxiety or just want to giggle a little more, OG Kush is a classic hybrid that serves as a base for many other strains.
Blueberry Kush: This berry-rich flavored strain is best used before bed, as it has strong indica effects that aren’t suitable for daytime use. Blueberry Kush is great for insomnia and muscle pain, both of which recede when using this strain.
Night Terror OG: This strain only sounds scary by name. In moderation, this indica-dominant hybrid serves as a great end to a long day, removing the chaos from the mind with a blanket of euphoria followed by a deep sleep. Body sensations are heightened as well, with increased sensitivity to touch and a tingling effect that’s pleasant.
Northern Lights: This famous indica strain serves as a base for many hybrids, since it has such classic indica qualities: a strong body high, increased appetite and a sweet and spicy smoke. If you’re interested in trying a “true” indica, this strain is a great example.
Grand Daddy Purple: While this strain is known for having a strong body high, it can also fight depression, pain, nausea and appetite loss. It’s a favorite among medical patients and users looking for a deeply relaxing experience.
Purple Urkle: If sleep is your main goal, this indica strain will get the job done. What’s more, the effects come on quickly with a noticeable body high that relaxes muscles.
Harlequin: While this strain has a sativa heritage, it’s predictable amount of CBD makes this a classic strain for patients. The ratio most often tests at 5:2, which means THC’s side effects are kept to a minimum, making great for daytime use. Patients with chronic body pain often choose this strain.
Island Sweet Skunk: Another sativa packed with CBD, this strain has additional anti-inflammatory properties for patients with arthritis, chronic pain, depression and anxiety.
Afghani CBD: Coming from Afghani’s strong india heritage, Afghani CBD gives an already great strain some strong healing properties that will fight pain and stress. This is appropriate for patients who want strong relief before bed.
Charlotte’s Web: This famous high-CBD strain has gained attention in mainstream news for its ability to fight epilepsy when conventional treatments have failed. For those who want to try cannabis purely for its medicinal effects, this strain has only enough THC to buffer CBD to make it truly effective.
AC/DC: For patients suffering the debilitating effects of cancer treatment, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis and anxiety, AC/DC contains very high ratio of CBD:THC of about 20:1 with almost no psychoactive effects. This is a great strain for those who have strong symptoms and just want to feel relief.
Customers and patients who do their research before trying cannabis will ultimately have a better experience. Ask your bud tender for as much information as you need in order to make an informed decision and search the internet for strain reviews.