Everyone comes to cannabis with an intention. Whatever yours is, you’ll stand a much better chance of achieving it if you pick the right strain. Check out this handy guide to learn about the different types of weed, and to get an idea of which strain is right for your particular needs.
That depends on what you’re in for! People turn to cannabis for a variety of motivations—some are looking for better sleep, others for help with medical issues, others for a party-enhancer. Picking the right strain is crucial to getting what you’re looking for out of this versatile plant.
INDICA OR SATIVA?
The first choice you’ll make is deciding whether to go for an indica or sativa. Indica strains come in the form of shorter, stubbier plants and tend to chill you out, sedate you, and make you hungrier. It’s often known as the “nighttime weed” and produces more of a body high.
Sativas are taller plants and tend to produce more stimulating effects. With sativas, people experience euphoria, excitement, intellectual and creative stimulation, increased focus, and high energy. Sativas are known to produce a head high and are referred to as “daytime weed”.
Hybrids include elements of both, though they tend to be either indica or sativa-dominant.
Note that the effects induced by a particular strain often lie someone in the middle of the spectrum, as cannabis strains demonstrate a vast variety of outcomes, not a simple binary effect.
THC AND CBD:
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the THC and CBD level. THC is what makes you high and causes a cascade of effects in the body. CBD doesn’t make you high and has an entirely different effects profile, with lots of potential health benefits.
You’ll want to take note of other cannabinoids, many of which have effects useful for specific wants and needs. Weed also contains terpenes, which produce the distinctive flavours that give many strains their names; these have their own unique effects on the human body.
It’s showtime! What follows is a list of health reasons and other motivations people might have for smoking weed, and a discussion of the best strains for each.
Disclaimer: Please note that the following is not to be taken as medical advice, but rather as an indication of the unique effects inherent within different strains.
Soothing anxiety with cannabis can be tricky. Many high-THC sativa strains can actually increase anxiety and cause paranoia. You don’t want to play around with any high-THC strains to decrease your anxiety. Instead, we’d recommend sticking to the indica side of things, and seeing what works for you.
If you really need to knock out your anxiety, OG Kush is for you. This hybrid has a unique effects profile, and may have you feeling lazy, uplifted, calm, and focussed all at once. This strain could make you sleepy, so avoid making big plans before blazing.
Northern Light is a great indica-dominant strain that can help you sleep. Its calming and sedating effects can be effective at combating anxiety. Great for nighttime use.
What better way to destroy anxiety than with Stress Killer? It’s a sativa-dominant hybrid, so it won’t knock you out during the day. It’s high in THC, but also packs a killer dose of CBD to help murder your anxiety. Users may want to try a routine of taking Stress Killer during the day, and one of the above strains at night.
Like anxiety, combating depression with cannabis is all about picking the right strain. However, if you’re fighting depressive symptoms, sativas will generally be your friend. Here are some options.
LEMON SHINING SILVER HAZE:
Lemon Shining Silver Haze is a sativa, which already places it head and shoulders above the crowd in this race, but its real depression-fighting advantage comes from its terpene profile—it’s high in limonene, a lemon-scented terpene known for its mood-boosting effects.
JACK HERER AUTOFLOWERING:
Royal Jack Automatic is one of the most popular strains of all time, in large part thanks to its mood-elevating effects. Jack is energising and produces euphoric feelings, all without being overstimulating. Like Lemon Shining Silver Haze, it contains limonene as part of its terpene profile.
Dance World is a sativa-dominant strain with shocking white-violet crystals—and it may be exactly what you need to knock you out of your depression! Dance World is uplifting, motivating, and may even make you want to dance. Its high CBD content will quell chronic inflammation, which recent research has shown may be associated with depression.
For many, the miracle of marijuana comes from its incredible pain-relieving properties. The following strains are especially known for their effectiveness at relieving chronic pain symptoms.
White Widow is sativa-dominant and known for relieving pain while preserving mental clarity and acuity. For those who want to relieve their pain without slowing down their day, White Widow is a good choice. Its euphoric and creative effects are a bonus!
Painkiller XL is high in both CBD and THC, which seem to be responsible for its effectiveness in fighting a wide range of different kinds of pain. If other strains aren’t doing the trick, Painkiller XL might be worth a try!
The indica-dominant Northern Light is known for relaxing muscles and easing insomnia. It’s the perfect strain for the end of a long day, when all you want is to knock out your pain and unwind.
Despite cannabis’ often miraculous success at combating seizures, the research in this area is still in its early stages. That being said, high-CBD strains have shown themselves to be especially effective at reducing the frequency and severity of seizures.
Charlotte’s Web is the most famous seizure-fighting strain. It was bred in 2011 for Charlotte Figi, a little girl with severe epilepsy who experienced great relief from cannabis. It has an extremely low THC level of 0.3%, which technically qualifies this strain as hemp, and a high CBD level. This strain won’t get you high, and isn’t effective at much other than fighting seizures—but at that, it excels. The Stanley brothers, inventors of the strain, set up a foundation called the “Realm of Caring Foundation” to help those access Charlotte’s Web who can’t afford it.
Medical Mass is high in CBD, which is exactly what you’re looking for to combat seizures. It’s also a sativa and produces a clear, functional high, thereby allowing you to go about your day without disruption.
ROYAL KUSH AUTOMATIC:
The Kush family is known for its rapid onset of effects, which may be necessary for soothing epileptic episodes. Something to keep in mind, and in your tool belt, when fighting this condition is Royal Kush.
Strain choice here will depend on what kind of arthritis you suffer from. Those with osteoarthritis will benefit from high-CBD strains, which target inflammation, while those with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit more from high-THC strains, as this is actually an immunodeficiency disorder. Here are some suggestions.
Royal Cookies is high in THC, which is associated with pain relief and immunomodulation. However, it will induce a strong high, and so it may not be the best choice for everyone.
Royal Medic is high in CBD and relatively low in THC, making it a perfect strain for those who want to fight their inflammation without getting too stoned.
Dance World’s high CBD content is great for combating inflammation. Furthermore, its uplifting and energising effects profile is sure to add some bounce to your step!
If you’ve got insomnia, you’ll be looking for a strain with strong CBN content. CBN is a cannabinoidknown for putting you to sleep, and some strains are bred for it. Older weed, especially stuff that’s been stored in non-airtight containers, tends to have a high CBN level, as over time THC oxidises and turns into CBN. If you want to combat your insomnia and save a few bucks, consider smoking the stuff that’s been sitting at the bottom of your drawer for a year. If you want to splurge, consider these.
Royal Cookies is known for its happy, relaxing effects. This indica-dominant hybrid from the famous cookies genetic line will knock you out with a smile on your face. Give Royal Cookies a try for a calming, sedative experience that’s sure to kick your insomnia to the curb.
A strain known for its mood-uplifting and sedating effects, OG Kush is sure to still your mind, relax your body, and bring you to a blissful sleep.
Often described as tranquillising, Northern Light is great for getting to sleep. This pure indica is known for producing a deeply relaxing effect, and will be there for you when you’re ready to pass out.
STRAINS TO MAKE YOU LAUGH:
We’ve been discussing weed’s effectiveness in combating a host of medical conditions, but cannabis is also a recreational drug! The next few entries will focus on the recreational uses of weed, starting with strains to make you laugh. There are a few reasons why weed might bring on the giggles; it increases blood flow to the right frontal and left temporal lobes of the brain—areas associated with laughter—and generally elevates mood, which could make you feel more like smiling. Laughing has a social element, so if you really want to spend your high in stitches, bring a friend along for the ride! The following strains will increase your chances of experiencing a weed-induced laughing fit.
A sativa famous for its happy and euphoric effects, Sour Diesel is sure to bring about some laughs. This strain combines an invigorating, energising, and happy profile with cerebral and creative stimulation. With this strain, your good mood will be matched by all those clever free associations so necessary for humour.
If social anxiety is what keeps you from reckless laughter, consider Euphoria. This sativa-dominant strain is highly energising, true to its name, and is known for smashing social anxiety. Be warned: Euphoria produces a strong, THC-heavy high.
If pure sativas aren’t your cup of tea, consider hybrid OG Kush. This Kush will produce a giggly, happy, relaxed state, perfect for a night spent with good friends.
Cannabis can be great for sex. It calms the mind, opens and relaxes the body, produces euphoria, and can increase sensitivity to touch. Plus, many find it to be an aphrodisiac. This is an area where strain choice is again key, and can mean the difference between a lustful night and one zonked out on the couch. Moderation is also key. When it comes to using cannabis as an aphrodisiac, less is more; too high a dose can lead to sexual dysfunction in men and vaginal dryness in women.
Sour Diesel, we meet again. This euphoric and energetic strain is perfect for getting in the mood for some high-intensity lovemaking.
SHINING SILVER HAZE:
Shining Silver Haze is a euphoric, creative, and cognitively stimulating strain. If you’re looking to incorporate some new ideas and extra wildness into your sex life, Shining Silver Haze might be for you. It’s also good for masturbation, as its creative element can help to enhance and flesh out fantasies.
If you’re looking for some calmer, more grounded and relaxed lovemaking, Bubble Kush might be the right choice. This indica-dominant hybrid is great for loving, intimate sex, with lots of sensitivity-enhanced touch. For nighttime sex full of lingering touches, Bubble Kush is a good choice.
STRAINS TO BRING TO A PARTY:
Enough tough subjects, now it’s time to party! Still though, strain choice is important. You don’t want to be the one at the party falling asleep on the couch! The following strains are sure to enhance your night out on the town.
A phenotype of the famous Chocolope, this uplifting strain is perfect for those parties where you go from conversation to conversation. Combining a euphoric, fun energy with a cerebral sharpness, Chocolate Haze is one to bring along to every house party.
For those nights where you wanna go all-out and party till dawn, Royal Moby is the strain to pick. This whale of a strain provides a high-energy experience with a rocking body buzz, and is perfect for loud environments with lots of music, excitement, and good cheer.
This Kush is great for lowkey gatherings with good friends, great conversations, and, hopefully, lots of food. Fat Banana is an indica-dominant hybrid that will whet your appetite and chill you out, but its sativa side will keep you talkative and happy. A good choice for any party!