Your location
No Location

Personalize your experience

For the best experience, please update your location.

Update
Selected State
Select State
CA
Arizona
California
Florida
Illinois
Nevada
New York
Selected Store  (Store Details)
Store
Select Store
See Selected Store Details
Store Name
View All Stores
A Journal of Cannabis and Culture

How to Find the Right Strain for Your Vibe

How to Find the Right Strain for Your Vibe

BY SUZANNE ZUPPELLO

Looking for the best strain of cannabis to test-drive, based on your distinctive mood and personality? You’ve come to the right place. However, it’s important to note that, just like dosing guidelines, the effects of specific strains are not a one-size-fits-all situation. This is largely because the cannabis market is not quite there in terms of regulation and access (to certain brands and/or strains), which would ensure that each unique strain name would always result in a specific experience, whether that’s due to variables like your mindset, your own personal physiological reaction to cannabinoids, or even the consistency among the same strain sourced from different growers. Unlike other agricultural industries, breeders rights aren’t yet attached to the genetics of cannabis strains. In other words, there’s currently little oversight to ensure that strain names—yes, even your beloved Sour Diesel—is truly consistent and attached to a specific plant.

Find The Right Marijuana Strain

Steven Looi, the director of origination for the cannabis investment and operations firm White Sheep, further explains why it’s so tricky to pin down exactly what to expect from any given strain. “Strain names don’t have any inherent value,” Looi says. “For example, I can have Gorilla Glue #5; it was given to me and I trust that it’s Gorilla Glue #5. I grow it a few times, I can make seeds and pass it along, and I’ll call it GG #5, but because none of these genetics have been professionally stabilized, there’s a certain amount of genetic variety within plants. The effects are different even within the same cultivation facility because there are different microclimates; you can get plants that express their gene differently and therefore have different potency and composition.”

What Looi and others in the industry ask of cannabis users—aside from patience as the rapidly growing category moves toward better product regulation—is to pay attention to the chemical makeup of a strain, starting with its cannabinoids and terpenes. Regarding cannabinoids, by now we should all be familiar with CBD and THC. But there are others cannabinoids, including varieties within CBD and THC, that have different effects and may have more bearing on our overall vibe than a simple indica or sativa designation can communicate. To wit: Looi points to a study of major Canadian cannabis growers who found that “85% of the genetics of plants described as sativas” were genetically more like indicas, which would easily explain why your sativa—which stilllookslike an energy-inducing, creativity-boosting sativa—actually put you in-da-couch, like a relaxing indica might.

Most dispensaries are wise to these variants, which is why their websites and packaging come with a breakdown of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in a given strain. Ahead, check out a couple of cannabinoids and terpenes Looi suggests seeking out, along with what we suggest are the best situations or moods to accompany them:

Best Cannabinoids And Terpenes

CBG: No, it’s not the legendary New York City punk rock music venue (that would be the erstwhile CBGB, may it RIP), but it does have antibacterial properties, in addition to being anti-inflammatory. So, it’s could be a wise bet during flu season, or before a big travel excursion when you’ll likely spend time in various germ-packed airports, train stations, bathrooms, et al. It’s thought to often be present in strains like Allen Wrench and Eldorado.

CBN: This one’s for the night owl who just needs some sleep. CBN uses its powers of sedation to combat insomnia; ask your budtender for particularly CBN-high versions of strains like Animal Cookies and Ace of Spades, both of which are thought to contain CBN.

THC-V: This is Looi’s favorite, and will likely become yours, too. “It has appetite suppressing qualities. So, if you could imagine smoking up and not getting the munchies. That’s a dream.” Looi points to Durban Poison, which (in its truest form, that is) has a lot of THC-V. The terpene humulene has similar effects as THC-V, and is thought to be found in Girl Scout Cookies and Skywalker OG, but again, take those suggestions with a grain of salt. (It’s the journey, not the destination, right?)

Myrcene: This is the most abundant terpene and the source of the urban-stoner myth that eating a mango when you smoke increases your high. The root of the myth: mangoes, like certain cannabis strains, contain myrcene. But if you opt to enjoy a myrcene-heavy strain alongside some tropical fruit, you’re actually just increasing your intake of that particular terpene rather than getting extra-high. Some strains thought to have high levels of myrcene (though, remember, no guarantees!) include Sour Diesel, Special Kush 1, and White Widow.

Basically, the onus is on consumers to read up on cannabis (luckily, Ember is always here to help in that department!) and ask the right questions accordingly. Savvy smokers eventually learn to suss out the most appealing strains themselves. Meanwhile, Looi ensures us that the experience will become more palatable and consistent for casual consumers, so one day we can have an easy answer to “which strain should I bring on a camping trip?” For the time being, it all depends. Do you want to devour all the s’mores on the first day, or ensure a restful night’s sleep on an uncomfortable forest floor? Until we can confidently ascribe a strain name to either (or both) of those goals, we say look at the science—and the sweet little strain genetics cheat sheet that your dispensary can provide. And, in the meantime, you can always hit up your local MedMen budtender for further guidance as you navigate the ongoing adventure of figuring out your go-to strains. Happy strain sampling!

A Journal of Cannabis and Culture
Share this page with your family and friends!