As a weed newbie, one of the first things you need to do is determine your preferred strain. Usually, this is the hardest part. With over 800 currently named strains to choose from, it can be difficult and overwhelming to determine the best ones for your needs and desired effects. Even with the help of an expert at your local dispensary, it can be tough to identify the right strain. You also have to consider each strain’s distinguishing characteristics, most of which revolve around cannabinoid content, scent, and flavor.

We know that sifting through endless lists of weed strains can be tough. To help you narrow down your options, here are a few things to consider before making that momentous purchase:


Cannabis plants have chemical distinctions that significantly affect user experience. These distinctions characterize a strain’s chemotype, which largely determines the physiological and psychoactive effects you might experience with a specific strain. When discussing strains with a dispensary for your cannabis delivery, it would help to gain a better understanding of these strains’ chemical compositions and dominant elements. More specifically, you should know each strain’s ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cannabidiol (CBD), two of the main cannabinoids of weed.

Each cannabis strain can be classified under three parent categories or variations of the cannabis plant: indica, sativa, and hybrid. Generally, indica strains are believed to chill you out and make you sleepier. On the other hand, sativa is said to be the more energizing strain. As implied, hybrid strains are a mixture of both.

While the question of whether there are molecular differences between indica and sativa is still up for debate, most studies suggest that sativa-dominant plants have higher levels of THC, which is the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis. Meanwhile, plants with indica ancestry are believed to be richer in CBD, an ingredient that does not necessarily get you high.

So, if you’re seeking that psychoactive high, you might be better off with THC-dominant strains. However, if you prefer a more relaxing and sedating experience when using weed, you may want to opt for strains with higher levels of CBD than THC.

Intended Effects

On a related note, you should also zero in on the effects you plan to achieve with your chosen strain. To summarize, here are the differences between the two major strains:

  • Sativa: This is more likely to wake up your senses, which is ideal if you want to get your creative juices going, spur deep conversations, and basically get things done.
  • Indica: This strain is low-key and ideal for mellowing down. If you don’t mind experiencing an increased appetite and couch-lock, an indica strain of weed might be the right fit. Indica strains are also great for beating stress, reducing pain, and falling asleep.

Of course, you can also opt for a hybrid strain if you’re seeking an experience that gives you the best of both worlds.

That said, it’s also important to focus on a strain’s physiological effects if you’re buying weed for its medicinal benefits. In general, both THC and CBD can provide relief for conditions such as chronic pain, depression, and insomnia. It’s worth noting that THC’s effects are more cerebral and psychoactive, while CBD has more bodily effects such as inflammation reduction and migraine relief. Some studies also suggest that THC is effective for pain management since it affects the body’s emotional responses to pain.

Regardless of whether you’re purchasing weed for medicinal or recreational purposes, it would be wise to consult your doctor and a trusted cannabis expert to determine the ideal chemotype and dosage for your unique needs.

Terpene Profile

Terpenes are compounds that give cannabis plant variations their unique flavor and aroma. As such, you may find certain strains preferable because their terpene profiles align with the scents and flavors you enjoy the most. For example, limonene is ideal if you prefer citrusy flavors while pinene is great if you lean towards earthy, piney scents. Each terpene also has its own therapeutic effects, with linalool often associated with stress-relieving and relaxing properties. Limonene, on the other hand, is known for its uplifting effects.

There are other strains with unique terpene profiles, some of which produce flavors and aromas such as candy-like notes. Before you experiment with terpenes, make sure to mind your weed tolerance and try to mitigate overconsumption.


Because of the differences in the THC-to-CBD ratio, different strains can also vary in potency. Usually, strains with over 20 percent of THC have stronger effects compared to those with a THC level of 5 percent.

If you’re new to weed, consider going slow with a strain with low THC content. It’s also ideal to use small amounts of cannabis at a time, with some experts suggesting that first-timers use products with a THC content of 5 milligrams or less. Also, make sure that you’re taking weed in a comfortable and familiar area so you can stay safe when exploring a strain’s effects.

A Few Things Before You Go

There are many other things that go into choosing a strain, but the items on this list are among the most important factors to consider if you’re new to cannabis. When picking strains, some weed enthusiasts also base their decisions on growing methods, sometimes preferring strains grown indoors than outdoors. Others choose strains that align with their budgets. There are also people who prefer higher-end strains over common ones.

With more and more strains being created from experimentation, you might presume that the task of finding the perfect strain will only become more arduous. Still, the increasing number of strains on the market shouldn’t faze you. If anything, it should make weed shopping more fun as it opens the door to exploration. Just bear in mind the tips mentioned above and use cannabis products in moderation so you can savor their benefits without the adverse effects.


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