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Published
March 24, 2021

How to Choose the Right Cannabis Strain. Comprehensive Guide

Finding the perfect strain might be hard especially if you are a novice, and we hope this guide will come in handy.

Let us take a closer look at the main criteria for picking your perfect cannabis strain.

Terpene Profile

Terpenes are active ingredients of the marijuana plant. They are the ones responsible for the smell and flavor of plants, but they are also so much more. Terpenes offer a wide range of reported and potential effects and benefits.

The most common cannabis terpenes are:

  • Caryophyllene. Responsible for the earthy and spicy flavors. Reported potential benefits is help with anxiety, depression, and alcoholism.
  • Myrcene. That unmistakable earthy and musky smell of cannabis is caused by Myrcene. It is one of the most common terpenes that is known for its powerful sedative effects. The terpene helps cannabinoid molecules enter the body and enhances the high.
  • Pinene. Offers pine aroma reminiscent of the forest. Pinene has antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties and shows potential in treating mood disorders.
  • Limonene. The terpene gives the plant a fruity and citrusy smell. May relieve anxiety and stress and is often present in energizing cannabis strains. 
  • Humulene. Bringing earthy, spicy, and herbal flavor, this terpene is found in hops and cannabis. Humulene has appetite suppressing and antihistamine properties. It is also a natural pesticide.
  • Linalool. Rarely a prevailing terpene, it is hard to find in large quantities but if you notice floral or more precisely lavender notes when enjoying your flower - that is Linalool. Mainly used in cosmetics, it is reported to have sedative and relaxing effects.
  • Farnesene. Another rare terpene that brings fruity, woody, and berry notes, and most commonly green apples. Its potential benefits include, stress relief, as well as help with anxiety, depression and neurological disorders.
  • Terpinolene. Probably the most common terpene that is seldom present in substantial quantities. Combines a variety of smells including piney, floral, and citrusy. Boasts antifungal and antibacterial properties.

You can find terpene profile information in our Flower category - see details by clicking on a strain or use a filter to find strains rich in a specific terpene. 

Cannabinoid Content and Potency

Many people still ask for the highest THC flower. For numerous reasons. And that is fine although for people with high tolerance switching to concentrates might be a better option. But think of this - when you are buying a beer, you do not ask for the strongest kind. You ask how it was made, and what’s in it. Same goes for flower. Sure, THC content is important to know since it influences the potential effects and will allow you to adjust your dosage but CBD content is equally important. As is the above mentioned terpenes and flavonoids. For instance, CBD will counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, some terpenes will help cannabinoid absorption, and certain flavonoids will enhance terpene effects. And then you have to consider that the combination of these criteria is what you get.

Knowing the THC percentage in a strain is great, but do not make it a cornerstone of your experience. Look at the whole picture. 

If you do not know where to start with the dosage, check out these articles from our shopping guide series:

Cannabis Shopping Guide: Dosage. How Much Do I Need to Buy?

Cannabis Shopping Guide: THC and CBD Content

Flavonoids

Flavonoids are a third group of bioactive compounds found in cannabis, in addition to cannabinoids and terpenes. Although flavonoids are primarily responsible for the color of the plant, while also contributing to smell and flavor. All three groups work in synergy to create various effects. Flavonoids’s potential medical benefits include anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.

Flavor

This is a matter of personal preference. Cannabis is known to be skunky, diesel, pungent, but there are also earthy, spicy, and fruity flavors. And there is so much more to choose from today - there is Chocolope that offers a cocoa aroma or Lemon Cap that is as citrusy as it can get. You can pick your flavor using the strain’s description or by asking your trusted budtender for a recommendation based on your likes and dislikes. You can also look at a strain’s terpene profile and draw your own conclusions.

Effects and Benefits

Each strain has its own chemical composition, such as percentage of THC and CBD, presence of various terpenes and flavonoids, their prevalence, and what’s important the entourage effect of it all. This creates a variety of effects a strain may have on a person. Some strains are more sedative, some help you get focus or boost creativity. This also creates potential health benefits - some strains may be better for appetite issues or pain management, while others may help with the symptoms of fatigue or anxiety. 

What Are Indica, Sativa, Hybrid Strains? 

Originally, the terms referred to the plant’s lineage and its visual traits like leaf length, plant height, and so on, and not the effects it offers. 

Currently, the commonly accepted concept among consumers is that sativa has energizing effects, indica is more sedative, and hybrid is somewhere in the middle. These terms and their perception are still being employed by dispensaries for consumers’ convenience, although the trend is to move away from such a limited and restrictive classification.

Each strain is unique and offers a number of effects, like a powerful cerebral high, euphoria, or side effects like couch lock or cotton mouth, or has a potential in helping with muscle cramps or stress. These things depend on cannabinoid content, terpene profile, their combined impact, and other properties of the plant. And looking into these things will pay off. By finding “your” strains, you will fine tune your cannabis experience and get the most out of it.

And there is no need to worry if it might seem a bit complicated - we got you covered. Our website provides detailed information on every strain, including cannabinoid percentage in accordance with the latest testing, terpene profile, effects, potential benefits, and more. You can use the filters in the flower category to choose a predominant terpene, or specific effect, or just use our Strain Guide to find exactly what you are looking for. And don’t forget our main asset - our budtenders are among the finest cannabis experts and are always there for you. 

Growing Methods

Some people prefer outdoor grown cannabis, but the majority opts for indoor grown strains as the process is easier to manage resulting in improved consistency.

The most important thing is to purchase flower from a licensed dispensary that provides as many product details as possible, or better yet grows its own flower.

Silver Stem’s grow operations are headed by James Thomas, Chief Productions Officer and a Founding Partner. A fifth generation farmer with an Engineering degree, James believes in utilizing modern technology as well as handling the flower by hand wherever possible - watering, pruning, trimming. Silver Stem does not use any pesticides, and we take care of the flower from seed to sale to ensure that you get consistent high quality. You can read more about our grow process here

Testing

Independent testing of a product is extremely important and is a requirement in Colorado. State laws require testing for a list of contaminants and the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division has made the testing of flower for pesticides, certain toxins, and heavy metals mandatory.

Testing allows you to see what is in the product you are planning to smoke. It also provides THC and CBD percentages.

A few dispensaries also conduct terpene content testing. You can see prevailing terpenes in Silver Stem’s strains based on an independent testing in the flower section.

Conclusion

Finding just the right strain may not sound that easy but it is an exciting journey, and we hope we have helped you to get on the way. Talk to your budtender, consult your medical marijuana doctor, read up on the subject, and just try new strains. You will find yours!

And if you are interested in trying more than just marijuana flower but can’t decide, take look at other product types and their pros and cons in Cannabis Shopping Guide: How to Pick the Right Flower or Product. 

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