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Your Beginner Guide to Marijuana Strains

These days cannabis is a household name in many parts of the world. In the US, you can now walk to a unique shop called a cannabis dispensary, buy your stash and walk home without looking over your shoulders.

A lot has changed. Today, weed is mostly legal in the country thanks to numerous studies revealing previously unknown health benefits of cannabis.

For beginners, however, understanding cannabis and everything that comes with it may not seem that straightforward.

You’ve probably heard about marijuana strains and wish to learn more. Well, this guide is here for you.

What is Cannabis?

Before we get into what marijuana strains are, let’s brush up on what cannabis really is.

According to experts, cannabis is a family of flowering plants with three known and distinct species. It could also be that cannabis is a species with various subspecies misidentified as individual species. 

Both theories are accepted.

So, the species or subspecies of cannabis are:

  • Cannabis Sativa
  • Cannabis Indica
  • Cannabis Ruderalis

However, these categorizations are fast becoming unnecessary, as you’ll see below.

What Are Marijuana Strains?

For starters, the term ‘marijuana’ exclusively refers to those cannabis plants containing THC content surpassing the 0.3% legal threshold. As for cannabis plants containing little to no THC, the legal name for them is ‘hemp’.

Now, the two major cannabis categories, at least those that matter, are indica and Sativa. A combination of the two became known as a hybrid.

What differentiates the three categories are the effects users felt. 

Sativa plants became associated with stimulating and energetic effects, whereas indica plants were known for having sleepy and relaxing effects. 

However, continuous breeding led to different strains of marijuana that broke the boundaries of the indica-sativa classification. 

Growers started to experiment with marijuana plants, breeding strains with specific effects. Basically, it all came down to chemical composition.

Essentially, marijuana strains are crossbred cannabis varieties that aren’t restricted by the rules that divide indica and sativa. 

Still, the old classification isn’t entirely useless, as it’s now used to group marijuana strains that share genetic lineage.

How Do You Choose Marijuana Strains?

What should inform your decision when buying marijuana nowadays is the experience you’re looking for. Marijuana strains are in the hundreds, and more are bred every day. Your unique needs determine which strain suits you best.

Asking for indica or sativa based on general knowledge of their effects won’t narrow down your search because most strains are crossbred, and their effects overlap.

For instance, you’ll find that some indica strains have qualities associated with sativa and vice versa. It’d be difficult to predict how they’ll affect you without trying them first.

Ultimately, you’ll have to try out different strains to see which ones suit your needs. 

You don’t have to try them blindly when buying from a dispensary. You’ll be served by experienced attendants who will show you strains that usually trigger the effects you’re looking for.

Don’t feel weird about asking all kinds of questions at a dispensary. Budtenders are not there just to sell but also to educate. As Marijuana Doctors puts it, you’ll most likely want to learn more confusing topics like cannabis quantities while you’re there.

Marijuana Strain Classifications

As we first mentioned, indica, sativa, and hybrid classifications are not enough to capture the reality of marijuana strains today. 

Here are the same terms with slight adjustments to fit marijuana’s ever-changing atmosphere:

  1. Sativa-Dominant Marijuana Strains  

Sativa-dominant strains are likely hybrids of indica and sativa that lean more towards sativa than indica. Their characteristics and effects are usually consistent with what’s accepted for cannabis sativa.

  1. Indica-Dominant Marijuana Strains

Indica-dominant strains also lean more towards indica, even if they have some qualities of sativa. Their looks may be deceiving, but their chemical composition and effects on end users suggest falling more on the indica side.

  1. Hybrid Marijuana Strains

Hybrid strains are a combination of both indica and sativa, but their balanced genetics make them different from indica-dominant and sativa-dominant strains. Hybrids are associated with balanced effects that don’t favor one side over the other.


Final Thoughts

The cannabis industry is booming for a variety of reasons, and one of them is the plant’s medical application. If you’re wondering how cannabis can benefit your health, the first to do is educate yourself on the subject. Hopefully, our guide was a helpful resource on marijuana strains.