Here you are. About to choose the best cannabis strain. And you thought choosing a craft beer or bottle of wine was complicated.
With marijuana now legal for recreational use in eight states, more people than ever are giving cannabis a try. The “cannabis curious” in these states can now walk into a dispensary and buy whatever they want.
But for those unfamiliar with marijuana, that presents a challenge. Which strain of cannabis is the one you want? The easy answer is to ask the budtender. But if you want a frame of reference on what they are talking about, read on.
More Than One Cannabis Strain
The variety of marijuana strains can seem bewildering. But it’s helpful to know the basics. In this case, it all goes back to two strains of the marijuana plant: sativa and indica. Both have been around for thousands of years – at least, that’s what most experts believe. Many link its use as an herbal medication to around 500 B.C. in Asia.
Sativa thrives in hot, humid climates. Central America and Southeast Asia are two places known for producing famous types of sativa.
Indica is associated more with rocky, colder climates. Some of the most famous strains have come from the Kush Mountain region of India.
Marijuana growers today have hundreds of different cannabis strains of both, with hybrid combinations of the two. But there are typically big differences between sativa and indica.
The leaf of the sativa plant is most likely the one you’ve seen emblazoned on T-shirts and posters. The plant can grow as high as 20 feet. Sativa takes longer to flower than indica, as long as 60 to 90 days. Sativa produces a long, cigar-shaped bud.
Sativa is known for producing a high-energy boost. The effects are primarily cerebral, which is why people associate it more with a spaced-out, hallucinogenic feeling.
Because of the boost it provides, sativa often is the cannabis strain of choice for those who want to elevate their mood, fight depression and even focus better. That’s another reason many associate it more with use during the day time. Or right before a really a good concert. Or when you want to focus on a creative project.
Indica grows more like a bush and has a leaf that is shorter, with wider leaves clustered closely together. The plant flowers in about 45 to 60 days.
When thinking of indica, just think “chill.” The strain is known for having more of a physical impact than sativa. It’s considered the strain of choice when you want to relax.
When people talk about using marijuana rather than having a glass of wine after work, that’s typically indica. It’s also good for a night of staying in and watching a movie. People also reach for indica when they want to combat feelings of anxiety or insomnia.
Indica tends to suffuse the entire body with relaxation and can also dull pain.
Those are some of the main differences between the two. That will get you started but understand there are many forms of both cannabis strains and combinations of the two. Ask before buying.