Indica vs. Sativa: A Guide to Understanding Cannabis Strains and Picking Your Pot Personality
The world of weed has come a long way, baby! Gone are the days of buying a bag of "dank" and just hoping for the best. With the rise of modern technology and scientific research, a whole new world of knowledge about the different strains of cannabis has emerged, making it easier than ever to find the perfect strain for you. So, buckle up, grab a munchies stash, and let's dive into the world of pot personalities.
What's the Deal with Indica vs Sativa?
Indica strains : Indica strains are Commonly known as sedating “in da couch,” kind of vibe due their calming effects and sedating effects, making them a popular choice for those looking to relieve stress, anxiety, or pain. If you're looking for a relaxing night in, an Indica strain is like a warm hug from your grandma...without the knitted sweater.
Sativa strains: Sativa strains on the other hand, are known for their energizing and uplifting effects, making them a popular choice for recreational use or for individuals seeking an energizing effect for physical activity. If you're looking for the physiological effect like a party in your pants, a Sativa strain is like a shot of espresso...but without the jitters.
For many consumers, Indica vs Sativa is currently the main differentiator known about cannabis. But did you know that the origins of these terms is from botany, not the actual effects it provides? These terms are used by the people who actually grow cannabis. Indica and Sativa are two distinct categories of botanical cannabis plants, each with their own unique characteristics, appearance, effects, and growth patterns. Indica strains are native to the Hindu Kush mountain range, which runs through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India. These plants are usually short and bushy, with broad leaves and a dense canopy of buds. On the other hand, Sativa strains are believed to have originated in hotter climates such as Southeast Asia and the equatorial regions of South America and are typically taller and more slender, with narrow leaves and a more open, airy canopy. Knowing which plant type can be helpful but it won't necessarily predict your experience.
So if Indica vs Sativa aren’t the best predictors of effects, what is? To understand that we first need to understand what makes up a cannabis strain.
So, what exactly makes up a cannabis strain?
Some of you may have heard of Jean Guy, Wedding Crasher, or the famous Pineapple Express, but do you know what makes these strains unique? The scientific name for what is commonly referred to as “strain” is “chemovar” which is a chemically distinct entity within a plant.
A cannabis strain or chemovar is determined by a combination of its cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids among others. The combination of these chemical compounds is what makes a chemovar unique.
Did you know that the cannabis plan has over 450 chemical compounds? Over 100 of these chemical compounds have been identified as cannabinoids. Some cannabinoids are intoxicating like THC, some non-intoxicating like CBD, and others are just inactive.
The other compounds include terpenes and flavonoids which affect the aroma and flavour of the strain, but also impact the effects experienced by the strain or chemovar. The synergistic relationship between these compounds is what has been called the “entourage effect” discovered by Dr. Russo, a board-certified neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher. The entourage effect refers to the idea that different cannabinoids and terpenes interact with each other to enhance or modify the effects of the plant. For example, a strain with high levels of the terpene limonene may have mood-lifting effects, while a strain with high levels of the terpene myrcene may have sedative effects. This is why strains with similar ratios of CBD and THC can have vastly different effects, depending on the presence and levels of different terpenes.
So, what exactly is a cannabinoid ?
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Did you know that cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are actually called phytocannabinoids? "Phyto" means "derived from a plant." Although for simplicity, most people refer to phytocannabinoids as cannabinoids.The first discovery of an individual phytocannabinoid was made by British chemist Robert S. Cahn who discovered cannabinol (CBN).
THC content and CBD Content: The Science Behind Pot Personalities
Are THC and CBD cannabinoids ?
Yes, both THC and CBD are cannabinoids. Researchers have now found over 100 cannabinoids, like Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), Cannabinolic acid (CBNA), Cannabichromene (CBC) and Cannabigerol (CBG) in the cannabis plant 🤯. The most talked about and studied cannabinoid, thus far is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which was first discovered in 1964. THC is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, responsible for the "high" associated with recreational use. CBD, on the other hand, is a non-psychoactive compound that has been shown to have medicinal properties. Indica strains tend to have higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC, while Sativa strains have lower levels of CBD and higher levels of THC. This is not a hard and fast rule, as there are many hybrid strains that contain varying levels of both THC and CBD.
Potency & ratios in cannabis strains
What is critical to understand is that the ratio of CBD and THC influences the effects. In general, it is believed that the larger the proportion of THC to CBD, the stronger the high. For example, a product that contains 20% THC and 5% CBD may deliver more potent sensations of psychoactivity than a product with 15% THC and 15% CBD. This is what budtenders mean when they say this is a “balanced” strain.
We have now covered what makes a cannabis strain or chemovars, cannabinoids & their ratios, but now we are going to cover terpenes so you will now get the full Stori 😉 about how the cannabis plant works.
What are terpenes ?
Terpenes have been getting some spotlight, but there is still so much for all of us to learn! So, let's get started.
Terpenes are essential oil components in the cannabis plant and are responsible for the aroma and flavour. Other than adding to the flavour and aroma to unique strains, they have been identified to impact the effects experienced by different strains or chemovars.
The synergistic relationship between the cannabinoids and the terpenes is what has been called the “entourage effect” discovered by Dr. Russo, a board-certified neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher resulting in thousands of different available strains. Each strain of cannabis features multiple terpenes, and the ratios in which they are present affect the overall flavour, smell and effects the strains have on a person.
Are terpenes unique to the cannabis plant?
Nope! Terpenes are not unique to the cannabis plant - there have been approximately 20,000 terpenes identified. These terpenes can be found in mangoes, lemons, limes, oranges, rosemary, dill, parsley, pine trees and many more plants all over the world.
What are the terpenes found in the cannabis plant?
Over 100 terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant so far. It is important to remember that terpenes and cannabinoids may either amplify or subdue one another's effects, depending on the specific combination in each strain.This will affect how individuals respond to it. This is why it is critical to keep track and understand which stains work for you, and at what time of the day, personalizing your cannabis experience. Here are some of the most common terpenes you will find in the cannabis plant and their most reported effects.
Linalool: Is a floral and spicy terpene that is believed to be mood enhancing, but sedating. It is found in over 200 plants such as citrus fruits and lavender. Few cannabis strains contain high levels of linalool; it rarely breaks into a strain’s top three most abundant terpenes.
Terpinolene: Is believed to be energizing. One of our favourite terpinolene strains is 7ACRES Jack Haze. It’s sweet citrus aroma is created by the terpinolene and nerolidol in its terpene profile.
Do you have a favourite terpinolene dominant strain? Let us know in the comments below!
Pinene: Pinene is believed to make you feel alert and increase memory retention so it may be ideal for some creative work. Significant presence of the pinene terpene is currently believed to have the ability to block the effects THC has on short term memory impairment.
Have you tried pinene and if so, has it made you more alert? Let us know below!
Myrcene: Myrcene, which can also be found in mangoes is the most common terpene produced by cannabis. Strains with myrcene as the dominant tepene are known to be sedating. According to Steep Hills Labs in California, cannabis that contains more than 50% myrcene is categorized in the current product categorization as “ indica,” conveying a sedative effect that promotes appetite and sleep. As you can see, it’s not the “indica” plant that defines the effect, it is the presence of the Myrcene terpene.
Have you found that myrcene dominant strains make you sleepy? Comment below!
Limonene: The second most abundant terpene found in cannabis is limonene. You guessed it, it can also be found in various citrus fruits like lemon, lime and oranges. Limonene is believed to be stress reducing and mood elevating.
Do you have a favourite limonene dominant strain? Let us know below!
Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene, pronounced cary-off-uh-leen is a terpene that has a pepper-y, spicy, woody scent and flavour. Caryophyllene has a unique ability to bind with CB2 receptors, and is believed to help relieve anxiety and pain.
Do you know how to preserve terpenes ?
Did you know that 40% of terpenes are lost within just one week of improper storage? Fortunately, there is a way to preserve cannabis terps by using the original terpene shield™ by Boveda. Our Stori pods come with a built it Boveda holder in the cap to make cannabis storage easy. #savetheterps
Have you heard about flavonoids yet ?
Unfortunately, flavonoids are the least studied compound in the cannabis plant. Flavonoids are known to add colour to the cannabis plant and like terpenes, they also play a role in the aroma and flavour of cannabis.
Picking Your Pot Personality: How to Choose the Right Strain for You
So, why does this matter for consumers? By understanding the role of different chemicals in the cannabis plant, consumers can make informed choices about which strains to use for specific purposes or effects. Whether you're looking for a strain to help you relax and unwind, or one to give you a boost of energy, understanding the entourage effect can help you find the perfect strain for you.The best way to find the right strain for you is to try different strains and pay attention to the effects they have on you. Leafly is a great resource for researching and comparing different strains, including their THC and CBD content, as well as the effects they are known to produce.
Once you’ve chosen a few strains to try, you need to keep them organized. Put them in your Stori pods and label the color-coded lids with the strain information. You’ll always know which strain you’re trying, and every strain will stay fresh until you’ve had a chance to evaluate their effects and the way they work for you.
It may be more cost-effective to purchase single pre-rolls of the strains you want to try. You won’t have any leftovers if you decide that a particular strain isn’t for you. You can put your pre-rolls in your Stori tubes and record the same information.
Evaluate Your Cannabis Experiences
Use the Stori app to record the strains you purchased and how much you’ve purchased them for. You can include ratings, reviews, and notes of each strain every time you try that strain. When you have enough information compiled, you can go through your notes and use the process of elimination to narrow your strains down to a smaller pool.
You can also determine if your strains are coming up short. If nothing is hitting the mark, you can search for similar strains that produce slightly different effects or are stronger in their delivery.
It’s All Up To You
While many cannabis users are quick to recommend their favorite strains to their friends and family, there’s always a chance that your opinion will be the exact opposite of theirs. Cannabis may not affect you the same way it affects other people. Sample for yourself and learn.
Stori makes it easier to keep yourself organized while you sample various strains. The child-resistant Stori case is designed to store your cannabis in optimal conditions. You wouldn’t put your wine in a plastic bag in the back of your sock drawer, right? Your cannabis doesn’t belong there, either.
As the saying goes, "Life is too short to smoke bad weed." So, why not take the time to find the perfect strain that will tickle your fancy and make you feel like a million bucks?
Just remember to always consume cannabis responsibly, and never drive under the influence. Happy smoking!