Consumers have used three basic descriptors to guide their cannabis strain selections for as long as anyone can recall; indica, sativa, hybrid.
It’s easy to remember that an indica can put you “in the couch,” a sativa can perk you up, and a hybrid can fall somewhere in the middle.
But cannabis is a chameleon.
If an indica has kept you from getting to sleep at night, a sativa has killed your daytime productivity, or a hybrid has left you feeling confused, you’re not alone.
As it turns out, the range of effects cannabis offers to Michigan dispensary visitors is wider than any of us could have predicted before legalization. And there’s a better way to pick the perfect strain.
Indica and sativa are two cannabis plant species, with different cannabinoid compositions and over 200 terpenes. They were discovered and named by 18th-century biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, but Lamarck’s classifications were based on the plant’s appearance – not its genetics or effects.
“In the late 1700s, the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck classified two varieties of the plant we now know as weed, ganja, marijuana, or cannabis. They were, you guessed it, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. His descriptions of Cannabis sativa reflect a light-colored, pointy-shaped leaf and a taller plant, while the species identified as Cannabis indica describe a shorter plant of Eastern origins with broader, dark-colored leaves.”– Civilized Life
And after generations of crossbreeding, pure indica and sativa strains have grown scarce. Most strains today are either indica-dominant, sativa-dominant, or a hybrid of the two.
Here’s a breakdown of the three-strain philosophy:
Indica: Indica strains are powerfully sedating.
Sativa: Sativa’s are invigorating, cerebral, and uplifting.
Hybrid: Hybrid strains fall in the middle and offer a balance of both effects.
The three-strain categorization system is deeply rooted in mainstream cannabis culture. Chances are most budtenders in a Michigan dispensary are going to start the recommendation process by asking if you prefer an indica, sativa, or hybrid strain.
But terpenes (and cannabinoids) are a better indicator of how a particular strain is going to make you feel.
Terpenes give weed its aroma. You can find them (and cannabinoids) in trichomes – the shiny, sticky crystals covering high-quality marijuana flower and buds.
Terpenes and cannabinoids bind to our brain receptors and produce an entourage effect. Combining specific terpenes and cannabinoids gives a broader range of potential therapeutic and recreational effects.
*Click here if you want to learn more about cannabinoids and the entourage effect.
Still, without the genetic profile of each plant listed on the cannabis packaging from a Michigan dispensary, it’s hard to understand how a strain will act, which is why the three-strain system usually wins.
It’s not an exact science, but you can transform your cannabis experience with your sense of smell as a guide.
For example, strains that smell like citrus tend to relieve anxiety, weed with a piney aroma often helps with inflammation, and earthy genetics can calm an insatiable appetite.
Since not every person is in-tune with their sense of smell, we keep it simple in Timber dispensaries. Our cannabis products are broken into five categories:
Our Activate products are perfect for daytime stimulation (or any time you need an energetic boost).
Focus strains harness your attention for productive work and creativity.
Our Restore products ease anxiety or help with workout recovery – without putting you to sleep.
Chill offers cannabis strains designed to take the edge off – sort of like a post-work Malbec without the possibility of a hangover.
Dream features products to help you get restful sleep.
Myrcene is arguably the most common cannabis terpene. It has an intensely hoppy and musky taste and provides the classic “couch-lock” effect people usually attribute to Indica strains. Myrcene is also known for its ability to provide deep relaxation, stress relief, and is a friend to insomniacs.
Linalool is a terpene characterized by a wildflower-like aroma. It’s helpful for Michigan dispensary customers looking for physical and mental stress relief. It is also known to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, which is why Linalool helps many cannabis consumers manage chronic pain.
Limonene has an intense citrus aroma, and it’s a strong ally in your fight against anxiety, stress, and depression. It’s uplifting and energizing, which explains why most in-the-know cannabis consumers associate limonene with sativa’s. Still, it’s worth remembering that a sativa can act like an indica, and vice versa.
There are two subtypes of pinene, beta-pinene (b-pinene), and alpha-pinene (a-pinene). And they are only distinguishable by a difference in smell. A-pinene smells like evergreen trees, and b-pinene is reminiscent of herbs like parsley, dill, basil, and rosemary. Pinene is known for providing an energetic and cerebral effect, which is why it’s great for focus and clarity.
You can still use the three-strain system to guide your Michigan dispensary purchases, but with a little knowledge, you’ll transform your cannabis consumption experience. And if you’re struggling, come see us – we’re here to make it easy.