What are Strains?
Think of cannabis strains like different types of coffee beans. Just like coffee beans can have different origins, levels of roasting, and flavor profiles, cannabis strains also have unique characteristics.
For example, a light roast coffee bean (e.g. a Colombian bean) may be known for its fruity notes and high acidity, similar to how a strain like Green Crack might also have its own unique set of characteristics such as energizing and uplifting effects. On the other hand, you might choose a strain like Granddaddy Purple for its sedating and relaxing effects. And just as there are blends of coffee beans, there are strains like Blue Dream, that offer a balance of both energizing and relaxing effects, similar to a medium roast coffee.
One common cannabis myth is that the Sativa/Indica/Hybrid classification can accurately determine the effect that a cannabis strain will have on the end consumer. The traditional classification system of cannabis strains (Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid) is based on the plant's physical characteristics and origin- it is not an accurate way of determining the effects a strain will have on an individual. This is because the effects of a strain are determined by the specific combination of cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant, not just its physical characteristics or origin.
Confused? Let’s break it down a bit further:
What are Cannabinoids?
Cannabis is a plant that contains different compounds called cannabinoids. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. These compounds interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating various physiological processes.
Think of cannabinoids in cannabis like different colored paint on a palette. Just as an artist can use different colors to create a unique piece of art, the cannabis plant has different cannabinoids that can be combined to create unique effects. For example, THC can be thought of as the red paint on the palette, creating a strong and intense effect, similar to how red paint can make a bold statement on a canvas. On the other hand, CBD can be thought of as the blue paint on the palette, creating a calming and relaxing effect, similar to how blue paint can create a sense of tranquility. And just as an artist can mix different colors of paint to create new shades and hues, the different cannabinoids in cannabis can interact with each other to create new and unique effects.
There are over 100 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, each with its own unique properties and potential therapeutic benefits. Some examples of other cannabinoids are CBN, CBG, and CBC. If you're interested in learning more about THC, be sure to check out our blog on the topic!
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are a class of organic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. They give cannabis its distinct aroma and flavor. Each strain of cannabis has its own unique combination of terpenes, which contribute to the overall effects of the plant.
Think of terpenes as the spices in a dish. Just as spices can enhance or change the flavor, smell, and even the effects of a dish, different terpenes can be used to create different effects in cannabis strains. As you become more experienced with cannabis, you may find that you prefer certain terpene blends over others.
For example, Limonene, which is found in high concentrations in strains like Super Lemon Haze, gives off a citrusy, lemon aroma and can promote focus and upliftment. Myrcene, on the other hand, has a musky, earthy aroma and is found in high concentrations in strains like OG Kush. It can promote relaxation and sedation.
It's also worth noting that terpenes can be found in many other plants and natural sources outside of cannabis. Limonene can be found in citrus fruits, pinene in pine trees, and caryophyllene in black pepper and cloves.
Different strains of cannabis have a symbiotic relationship with their unique terpene profiles. This is why different strains can have different aromas and flavors, and why some strains may be better suited for specific medical conditions or activities. It's important to choose a reputable source when purchasing cannabis, as they will be able to provide accurate information about the terpene profile of the strains they carry. This is because the specific terpene profile of a cannabis strain is determined by the genetics of the plant and the growing conditions used to cultivate it. The same strain grown under different conditions can have different terpene profiles.
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