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Cannabis Varieties — Everything Important You Need To Know About Strains

 August 02, 2023  Written by Mitch Greene
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Choosing the right cannabis strain at your local dispensary can sometimes be an overwhelming task. There can be a never-ending list of options with different names, categories, and varieties of what is ultimately the same plant. So what really makes these plants different?

The look, smell, taste, and effects can vary greatly based on the underlying makeup of the plant. The cannabinoids and terpene profile can help serve as a guide to understanding how your body might respond to a specific strain — and it can help lead you back to certain varieties that ultimately work best for you.

All of the different strains available today have origins, and thanks to the extensive breeding of cannabis all over the world, we now have a wider range of options when it comes to selecting your favorite varieties.

Cannabis Strains and Their Naming Conventions

Cannabis strain names can be confusing — especially popular strain names like Sour Diesel, OG Kush, Trainwreck, Strawberry Banana, Gelato, Dosido, Northern Lights, and Wedding Cake. These are all strange names for most people and oftentimes do not lead to any understanding of what the medicinal effects of consumption might be.

Every different strain has a unique chemical makeup with a variety of terpene and cannabinoid percentages and ratios. These are the chemicals that our body engages with when we smell, taste, and ultimately feel the effects of cannabis. The names are exciting and cool but are only beneficial for patients equipped with an understanding of what is inside the plant. 

Understanding a Cannabis Strain Name

Most strains are not named randomly and offer insight into their lineage, which can help you understand the types of aromas and effects it will have. For example, strains with "kush" in the name are often more pungent, earthy, and gassy than something with "clementine," which you could expect to be more citrusy and floral.

Cannabis Evolution Over Time

Cannabis varieties have continued to change as breeders experiment with cross-breeding different types of strains. What once started as a local or regional crop has quickly spread into a worldwide business over the past few decades.

Many passionate groups and individuals traveled to obtain rare cannabis strains from all over the world, bringing them back to their homes and combining them with the best of what they could source locally. This created an assortment of different cannabis varieties when it came to the way the plants looked, grew, smelled, and tasted.

Additionally, this has led to a never-ending combination of plants with sometimes similar, but oftentimes very different, chemical compositions. All of these varieties are what make cannabis so unique and specific to each individual strain.

Choosing the Right Cannabis for You

It is important to think about what is important for you when choosing and using cannabis while considering the outcome you hope to achieve. Everybody can have a relationship with weed that is unique to them.

Having the ability to walk into a trusted dispensary and look at many strain names is a big step forward for patients. However, the names are just a start, and engaging with the dispensary staff to understand what is inside the plant will help you identify what does and does not work for you. Learn more about how to talk with your budtender about the kind of cannabis you're looking for in our Introduction to the Three Types of Cannabis article.

This knowledge can be of great benefit when searching for new and familiar cannabis varieties that work best for the outcome you are looking to achieve with cannabis.

Please note that this blog is not to be considered medical advice. Always consult your physician for more information and/or questions related to your specific medical history.

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