Guide to Cannabis Strains
Your first trip into a dispensary can be enlightening. When you visit a place like Astral Market, for example, you’ll find yourself faced with an incredible array of options when it comes to cannabis flowers. With odd names like Granddaddy Purple and Sherbet Punch, it can easily feel a little overwhelming. However, while a lot of cannabis flower looks the same, the cannabis strain can mean everything to your end experience.
Question is, what is a cannabis strain? Does it really matter? Absolutely! Below is your complete guide to all you need to know about cannabis strains.
Cannabis Strains: What are they exactly?
A cannabis strain is basically a specific variation of cannabis. This genetic variation means that the plant is in the same family, but has unique characteristics, such as how the plant looks, what it tastes and smells like, and even its effects due to cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
Think about your favorite kind of pepper variety. Maybe you love the spice of jalapeños or the fire-breathing after-effects of habaneros. Perhaps you prefer the sweetness of a good green bell or Italian sweet pepper. You could say a pepper is always a pepper and that would be true, but the differences between all the varieties are incredibly vast because each pepper type is actually a strain in a sense. Cannabis is much the same.
Just like humans, plants have their own genetic makeup. These genes determine all the aforementioned attributes like effects and aromatics. Over the years, plants in the cannabis family have been cross-bred to contain certain gene attributes, both naturally through pollination and by the hands of humans. When a new strain is created with unique genetics and attributes, it gets a new moniker to differentiate it from the rest. This is how strain names like OG Kush, 9# Hammer, and Gorilla Glue come to be.
Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid: What’s the difference?
One other thing to pay attention to when shopping for cannabis is whether it is Sativa, Indica, or a Hybrid strain. These labels refer to the plant’s direct lineage, which can be Sativa, Indica, or a mix of the two (hybrid), and they are all in the cannabis family.
Because cannabis has been cross-pollinated so many times over the years, most of today’s cannabis is a mix of types. Or, you could say almost all strains you find are hybrid strains, but that’s not how they are labeled. Today, a strain labeled as “Sativa” is likely a Sativa dominant strain but may have some Indica in the mix. An “Indica” strain is Indica dominant, but likely has some level of Sativa lineage in the mix.
At one time, generalizations were assumed as fact in terms of how each type of cannabis would affect you. But, in reality, Indica and Sativa are used in botany to describe what the plant looks like more than its effects. Just the same, however, there are a lot of cases when the generalized assumptions about Sativa and Indica strains are true. Sativa is often thought to be more uplifting or energetic, while Indica-dominant strains tend to be more sedating and relaxing.
Check out a few cannabis strains in each category that tend to deliver the anticipated effects:
- Sativa-dominant (uplifting): Green Crack, White Amnesia, and Tangie
- Hybrid (balanced): Blueberry Cheesecake, Sunday Brunch, and Wedding Cake
- Indica-dominant (relaxing): God’s Breath, Blue Dream, and Girl Scout Cookies
Choosing Your Preferred Strain: What should you go for?
Something to keep in mind about cannabis strains is this: each person can experience the effects of a strain in their own way. This is because every human body reacts in its own way to different cannabinoid and terpene profiles. This can make it a highly personal journey to find what you like. Nevertheless, it never hurts to ask for advice when you are looking for a certain experience.
- A few pointers to keep in mind as you explore cannabis strains:
- If you’re new to cannabis, or it has been a while, lower THC levels can be better
- Strains that contain higher levels of CBD may be less likely to cause overwhelming intoxication
- Each strain will have its own flavor profiles and the name often gives a hint (e.g. Blueberry Kush is often described as offering a sweet berry flavor)
Don’t hesitate to research before shopping. Sites like Leafly, Weedmaps, and Way of Leaf have awesome databases of strain profiles. However, remember, strains can vary slightly in terms of cannabinoids and terpenes depending on the grower. So always look at the label of any particular strain you are considering and ask your budtender questions.
More About Cannabis Strains
How many unique cannabis strains are there?
There are at least 700 unique cannabis strains. And, that number only continues to grow as the cannabis laws become more relaxed and more growers get an opportunity to experiment with cross-breeding different strains.
What’s the strongest weed strain?
Because of the high demand for greater THC content, you have access to some incredibly strong strains in terms of THC potency. Breeders have worked hard to bring together parent strains to create offspring with superior THC percentages. According to an article by Way of Leaf updated in 2022, currently, the strongest weed strains include:
- Godfather OG – 34% THC
- Chemdawg – 32.13% THC
- White Tahoe Cookies – 27%
- Irish Cream – 27%
A few top contenders often found on the Astral Market menu include God’s Breath (33.18%) and Gary Payton (31.91%).
What are the benefits of a CBD strain?
Strains that contain high levels of CBD (cannabidiol) are usually referred to as CBD strains. However, this can vary depending on whether you live in a weed-legal state. In areas where cannabis is not legal, a CBD strain is usually hemp, which is a type of cannabis that has minuscule amounts of THC. But at a legal dispensary, a CBD strain will usually have higher than average CBD or even CBD levels near the same as THC levels. CBD is non-intoxicating but therapeutic, and having it in the mix with a legitimate THC-containing strain often means a more mellow high that is not as intoxicating and a bit more therapeutic.
A Look at Popular Cannabis Strains in OR
While there will always be forerunners in the world of weed that people ask about. However, there are also a lot of up-and-comers that are turning heads. Check out three picks you’ll catch at Astral Market that our customers love.
The Galactic Runtz Strain
- Potency: 26% THC
- Type: Hybrid
- Top Effect: Calming
Galactic Runtz cannabis is a mix of Falcon 9 and the ever-loved Runtz. As a well-balanced hybrid, Galactic Runtz flower always offers a nice mix between totally calming and wholly mentally uplifted. Since Galactic Runtz contains a nice dose of cannabigerol (CBG), this particular strain is a go-to for things like sleep and pain. And, it has the perfect mix of flavors and aromatics to enhance the experience: lime and sweet oranges.
The Horchata Strain
- Potency: 21% THC
- Type: Hybrid
- Top Effect: Relaxation
If you’re looking for a strain that’s big on flavor and great for creative focus, Horchata cannabis is the perfect pick. This beauty is a strain that came about via a match made in heaven: Mochi Gelato and Jet Fuel Gelato. Whether you go for Horchata flower or something like Horchata live resin batter, you can expect intense flavor and almost immediate bliss.
The Dragon Punch Strain
- Potency: 16% THC
- Type: Hybrid
- Top Effect: Uplifting
Need a good uplifting experience with just enough energy? Dragon Punch cannabis no doubt delivers. This particular strain is a cross between Dragonberry and Blueberry Muffins. With aromatics like spicy berries and the ability to deliver a soaring experience, Dragon Punch flower is one to admire. However, concentrates like Dragon Punch Live Resin Batter taken from the strain are just as enjoyable.
Explore New Frontiers of Cannabis and All Its Fascinating Strains
No doubt, cannabis is a fascinating, diversely captivating plant. Even some of the greatest known enthusiasts don’t know every strain personally, and it could take a few lifetimes to get to know them all. No worries though. At Astral Market, we’re your guides to the ever-growing galaxy of weed. Ready to find your fave strain? Be sure to look at our extensive collection of premium flowers on our online menu.