Not all weed is created equal: Different strains produce vastly different effects in users. That’s just one of the reasons purchasing pot — even from a legal dispensary — can be daunting for relative newcomers.
But fear not! While producing its latest documentary, “District of Cannabis,” The Naked Truth team consulted marijuana experts to find out what strains are best for which needs, from creative inspiration, to pain management, to pot for people who hate getting high.
Find out what the experts suggest for you — assuming you’re in a state or district where pot is legal — by taking the quiz above.
Curious about the principles behind your quiz results — and about some other ways to compare different batches of herb? Our experts helped us compile a few tips for not feeling like a fool at a marijuana dispensary. Peruse those pointers below, and stick around to watch “District of Cannabis,” about Washington’s weird weed laws and the future of pot in America.
1. Know your species: indica vs. sativa vs. hybrid.
The cannabis plant basically has two subspecies: indica and sativa (there’s also ruderalis, but it’s rare and has low THC). The differences may not be as dramatic as once thought, but here’s the basic rundown on them.
Indica plants are short and bushy, and their flowers (aka buds) give you a relaxing full-body high that tends to be useful for pain, insomnia, and nighttime use. (Stronger indicas can result in “couch lock.”)
Sativa plants, on the other hand, are tall and spindly. Their buds give you an uplifting, energetic, cerebral, and even psychedelic high. They’re better for daytime use, and help with depression, ADHD, fatigue, and creative tasks, but can elicit mild paranoia if the subject is prone to it. Hybrids are a mix of the two — sativa and indica — and thus have mixed effects, but can be useful when selected for specific needs.
2. A little dab’ll do ya.
It’s 2016, and the legal weed revolution is well under way, particularly when it comes to using pot for medical reasons — so there are all kinds of forms in which you’ll find the flower.
Many canna-sseurs are devoted to marijuana buds, which take the beautiful form of green leafy spheres covered with whitish crystals and orange filaments.
But concentrates — cannabis distilled into more potent substances — have seen a surge in post-legalization popularity. You may have heard about concentrates by some other name — wax, butter, shatter, dabs. But the essence is the same: they’re basically high-grade forms of hash, and they’re strong. The main reasons to choose concentrates over buds is that they’re easy to vape, bring out different flavors, and are useful for medical patients who need a strong product.
3. Hate smoke? Here are some options.
Just as you can buy bud in all kinds of forms, you can ingest it in a variety of ways, too. There are, of course, all the old-school fire-and-smoke options: joints, blunts, pipes, one-hitters, bongs, hookahs, even apples.
Or you can vape your cannabis: You heat the flower or concentrate to a lower temperature than combustion, causing the plant’s cannabinoids to become an inhalable vapor. Vaping gadgets include portable iPod lookalikes like the PAX 2; vape pens; and the Volcano, which you have to see to understand.
If a hot buzz is definitely not your thing, there are edibles — usually made from cannabis oil, but basically as varied in form as food itself. There are capsules, too. Or there’s tinctures, liquid forms of cannabis made by leaching cannabinoids from the plant using alcohol… a few drops are all you need. (They don’t call it “green dragon” for nothing.) Finally, there are even transdermal cannabis patches, which you just stick to your skin, like a smoking-cessation nicotine patch.
4. Be a cannabinoid-cruiser.
Cannabinoids (pronounced kuh-NAB-ih-noids) are the potent chemicals that make up the marijuana plant. How cannabinoids work remains the subject of much research. But we do know there’s actually a cannabinoid receptor system that occurs naturally in the body.
THC is the best-known and most popular of these compounds — the one that gets you stoned. The higher the THC percentage, the more stoned a strain will make you. Most high-quality buds are made up of 10 to 30 percent THC, whereas for concentrates the range is 40 to 90 percent. Woof.
CBD, on the other hand, is a lesser-known “healer” cannabinoid that doesn’t get you high at all. It became popular in the form of “Charlotte’s Web” weed that has shown promise in alleviating kids’ seizures. Many strains of cannabis these days have been carefully bred to contain THC and CBD in order to maximize healing powers. Keep in mind: CBD does not get you high, and there’s some evidence it will actually cancel out the highness of THC.
If you wanna be a true weed sommelier, there’s also CBN, CBG, CBC and CBL, among many other cannabinoids with effects. Then there are terpenes, aromatic hydrocarbons that affect qualities like smell and flavor. You may have thought high-school chemistry was boring, but with weed, a little knowledge goes a long way.
Intrigued? Watch our documentary “District of Cannabis” below about the future of pot in America.