Do you take the time to research cannabis strains before visiting a dispensary? If not, you may not be making the best choice for what your body needs. There are several different factors to consider when looking into cannabis strains. This guide will take a look at a few steps to take to learn how to research information on cannabis strains.
The names of cannabis strains are often a reason to try them. That being said, it may not be the best approach. A name doesn’t tell you what to expect as far as relief or effects are concerned. Sure, cannabis may be a recreational item for you, and that’s absolutely fine, but you should still take the time to do some research to make sure it’s a strain that you’ll enjoy.
A strain name is just that, a name. Rarely does a name reflect what to expect from a strain. You may be familiar with one part of a hybrid, but that doesn’t mean you know what to expect or will enjoy the effects the strain possess. This is a main reason to take the time to do a little homework for yourself.
It isn’t suggested to select a strain of cannabis solely based on its name.
The number of cannabis resource websites is increasing. That doesn’t mean that they’re all reliable. Some websites can be compared to Wikipedia – where the users compile the information. So again, this may not be the most reliable option – especially with the growing number of hybrids and crossbred strains coming to the different markets around the world. There are cases where a hybrid already exists and a cultivator renames it something different to promote themselves – so this is a negative for medical cannabis patients and consumers.
Many of these websites base descriptions off of parent plant information, which may also be far off base when it comes to accuracy. Assuming the effects of a cannabis strain based upon its lineage is not the right way to create a strain description. The effects of parent plants don’t always translate to the hybrid combination, and the effects can change as the two strains combine.
Make sure you’re using a reputable website to look up information regarding cannabis strains. Websites that do not provide expected effects, lineage, expected effects, potential medical uses and expected negative effects should not be considered reliable. Without this information, a cannabis user cannot ascertain that a strain is ideal for them.
Cultivator descriptions may be more reliable than a dispensary’s independent description or those compiled based upon individual reviews. Cultivators often take the time to use the strain in small amounts to get a feel for what their hybrid combination creates as far as relief and effects are concerned. Cultivators are more likely to provide an accurate description of a cannabis strain as the information provided directly reflects on the grower and his or her grasp of cultivation and cannabis as a whole.
It is important to ask cultivators questions, especially if there are effects you want to avoid.
Seed Company Descriptions
Seed companies may be more reliable than cultivators and dispensaries combined. Medical cannabis seed providers find it important to provide the most accurate information regarding the seeds they offer to cultivators possible. They look at the lineage of a strain, comments following strain use and which effects are dominant.
Some seed companies go as far as providing information regarding what types of medical conditions or symptoms the strain may aid. The most reliable seed companies will go a step further to provide cannabinoid and terpene profiles, as this is also vital information for those using cannabis for medicinal relief. There is much more to cannabis than just THC and/or CBD percentages, the other cannabinoids and terpenes in the strain are just as important, if not more important. The cannabinoids and terpenes in a strain play a big role in the types of effects felt, the aroma/flavor and the types of ailments a strain can aid.
The least reliable strain information is that left by individual users. Cannabis use is very much individualized. What this means is that you and your friend could use the same amount of the same strain and have two entirely different experiences. The body responds to cannabinoids differently, as some bodies need a specific cannabinoid while others don’t. The combination of the cannabinoids in the body is also something to consider.
This is in line with pharmaceuticals affecting individuals differently – one medication or one dose may work for one person but not another.
If you do find a review from someone that mentions the medical conditions or other symptoms they’re trying to correct and it is similar to your situation, attempt reaching out to them. A personal account from someone with similar symptoms may help you determine whether you want to try that strain.
For example, if you have anxiety or PTSD, the last thing you want is a cannabis strain that produces anxiety, paranoia or dizziness. For some, a little minor anxiety is tolerable. So, speaking to someone with a similar diagnosis may help you understand what they experienced from that strain, and from here, you can determine whether you want to try it yourself or not.
Individual Company Accounts of Strain Characteristics
Unless a company has indicated that the strain was given to a focus group for feedback, it isn’t a good idea to trust everything they say. In many cases, only the employees of that company have tried a new creation from a cultivator and those employees may not have an actual need for cannabis as medicine or may not have a specific issue they’re trying to achieve relief from. This makes their accounts of the effects of a cannabis strain of little use to those with an actual medical need.
Individual companies often neglect to provide complete information as well – such as expected negative results or full cannabinoid/terpene profiles. Some just boast the impressive THC levels of a strain – which is minimal information for a medical cannabis patient and doesn’t provide much value to patients.
Testing results are absolutely important. Not all states require testing, but many cannabis companies are testing products independently. What you want to look for is actual numbers, not just a report that has the word “safe” or “tested within allowable levels” on it. Numbers provide proof, estimations and words do not when it comes to the safety of cannabis.
It may be a better idea to purchase cannabis products from brands or dispensaries that do provide transparent testing results from a reputable testing lab as these numbers are more trustworthy.
Cannabinoid and Terpene Profiles
Cannabinoid and terpene profiles are often neglected by cannabis users but really shouldn’t be. The cannabinoids and terpenes in a strain not only add to the expected effects, but they also add to the potential healing benefit of the strain. It also helps medical cannabis patients learn what cannabinoid and terpene profiles are ideal for their bodies so that if a strain isn’t available, they may be able to find something comparable to that strain on a dispensary menu.
It seems like a lot of work to find the right cannabis strain, right? Well, to be quite honest, it can be a task. Cultivators are constantly creating new hybrids, so descriptions aren’t available. It doesn’t mean a strain won’t work for you, but, for me (personally speaking); avoiding strains without ample descriptions or lineage information is my approach because using cannabis for medicinal relief requires a little diligence on my part. The last thing I want is to choose a strain without information and have it produce effects I don’t want or not provide relief in some form.