b. Blunt – As cannabis continues to become a more prevalent and thriving aspect of the American economy and social climate, the industry has increasingly become more aware of the possibilities of strengthening and creating new types of plant genetics, or “strains,” for both average consumers and cultivators alike. With both medical and recreational sales growing at seemingly exponential rates in states like Colorado, greater attention and focus on producing specific strains has encouraged a market of genetic competitionWith both medical and recreational sales growing at seemingly exponential rates in states like Colorado, greater attention and focus on producing specific strains has encouraged a market of genetic competition.
Similarly to the craft beer industry, “craft” cannabis has been almost wholly beneficial for both consumers and cultivators. Although the concept of strains is hardly new to the marijuana social scene, our understanding of how cannabis affects the individual is in transition. As more turn to cannabis as medicine, more strict research is being undertaken to get a more clear picture of how each type of cannabis strain can be used in specific ways. Whether you’re an average consumer or a seasoned cultivator, understanding different strain varieties is key to fully utilizing cannabis for it’s range of benefits.
For the consumer, there are several things to consider when choosing between strain varieties, with overall effect being the most important. Most cannabis consumers are aware of the distinction between sativa and indica plants. However, many overstate the differences attributed to this division, and it’s rare to come across strains which are purely sativa or indica.
New research, as reported by Business Insider, suggests the terpenes present may contribute much more to the overall effects of the plant. More heavily sativa dominant strains (such as the Diesel and Haze variety crosses) will tend to produce a more cerebral, uplifting, and social effect. Heavily indica dominant strains (such as many of the kush crosses) will tend to produce a more calm and introspective effect.
While these general aspects tend to apply to most strains, each plant is truly unique and should have viewed as such. Levels of THC and CBD will further help identify potency and medicinal quality of each strain. For consumers choosing a strain for personal use, desired effect, potency, and overall flavor and smell should all be important factors to keep in mind. Most available strains have fairly well documented histories of their genetic development, and is readily available to consumers. In order to choose a strain that is best for you, keep these various differences in mind and always support dispensaries producing quality cannabis.
As a cultivator, selecting strains to grow comes with several different aspects to consider. As any consumer, select strains that personally benefit you most, as far as intended effects. Cultivators also have the ability to choose specific genetics over others, mostly for reasons of production.
Firstly, cultivators should choose strains which accurately match their growing conditions. For those with a great deal of space, sativas may be a good option, as they tend to stretch and grow more thinly and tall than others. Indica dominant plants tend to be more squat and bushy, providing a more feasible option for those with less room for growing.
In order to maximize potency, cultivators should be seeking genetics with high trichome production. Thrichomes are microscopic glands which develop over the bud formation, adding to each plant’s potency. As the cultivator, you have the ability to choose and breed genetics which are incredibly well crafted for an individual taste.
There are hundreds of strains of cannabis available, with more genetics being produced every day. Understanding various strain varieties helps consumers and cultivators maximize the beneficial nature of the cannabis plant, and is an important factor in healthy, responsible consumption of cannabis. Happy hunting!
Shelby Johnson is an active herbalist, forager, farmer, and writer, with a keen eye for all things cannabis. Currently working in the cannabis industry as a cultivator in Denver, Colorado has given Shelby a great deal of insight to the development and future of cannabis use in the US. To connect with her about all things herbal or plant based, head to her blog, Taproot Herbalism.