Cannabis 101: What Are Cannabis Strains?
“Cannabis” is a very general term we use to discuss a plant that is incredibly diverse. Not only are cannabis plants subdivided into the three broad categories of indica, sativa, and hybrid, but they’re also divided into thousands of different strains.
Some strain names like Girl Scout Cookies or Blue Dream may already be familiar to you. There are actually hundreds of them, with new ones being created every single year. Simply put, a strain is a type of cannabis plant with unique genetics, that has been selected for its cannabinoids and terpene profile.
What are cannabis strains?
To understand what cannabis strains are, we’ll have to discuss a little genetics first. Cannabis plants can be grown in one of two ways: by crossing male and female plants together, or by cloning a female plant.
When we cross male and female plants, the “plant child” that results is genetically different from its “parents”. If we’re lucky, it might take the best traits of both. For example, the rich flavor of the female plant, and the high CBD content of the male plant. For hundreds of years, cannabis growers have been taking advantage of this technique to breed new and better types of cannabis plants. These are what we call “strains”.
Each cannabis strain has a unique name (Sour Diesel, OG Kush, Pineapple Express…) which allows both users and consumers to know what to expect from the plant. Cannabis strains all have different effects on the body, as well as different looks, tastes, smells, and growth patterns.
Unique Cannabinoids Profiles
All cannabis strains have a different impact on the body and mind—which is due to their chemical makeup. For example, the THC levels of a plant will greatly impact its effects. High-THC strains tend to be used recreationally because they can create a feeling of euphoria. High-CBD strains can be much more relaxing and better at addressing certain issues such as anxiety or inflammation.
However, we also need to look past the THC-dominant/CBD-dominant dichotomy. There are dozens of different cannabinoids in cannabis: THCV, CBN, CBC, CBG, CBDA, THCA, etc.
Each cannabinoid affects the endocannabinoid system slightly differently—which is why different cannabis strains have completely different properties. When we use cannabis for wellness, we need to be careful to choose strains that have the right ratios of the cannabinoids we want.
Terpenes: More Important Than You Think
Terpenes are molecules in cannabis that give the plant its taste and smell. They’re responsible for the fresh citrus smell of a Super Lemon Haze strain, or the sweeter aroma of a Mango Kush. But they also do a whole lot more than that.
Research has found that terpenes are responsible for a lot of the mind and body effects you feel from consuming cannabis. For example, some terpenes such as linalool tend to make strains more relaxing. Other terpenes such as limonene or geraniol provide a mood boost and are more energizing.
The effects of a given cannabis strain are greater than the sum of its parts. We don’t just get the result we want from combining all the right cannabinoids with all the right terpenes. It’s the complex interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes in their unique ratios that give cannabis strains their unique properties.
Strains Matter … But That’s Not All
When we consume cannabis products to address certain conditions, choosing the right strain is of the utmost importance. Different strains work for different people, for different symptoms, for different times of day. However, let’s remember that choosing the right strain isn’t everything.
Depending on the way that they’re grown, two cannabis plants with the same genetics (from the same strain) can have completely different effects. The name of a strain itself doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of the product.
What’s (also) important to look at is:
The Growing Methods
The best quality cannabis is grown organically, in pure, organic soil. The use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides can actually ruin many of the beneficial properties of the plant. Always choose products that are certified organic and grown in an ecologically responsible way.
The Extraction Methods
To go from the raw cannabis plant to a product such as CBD tincture of cannabis vaping extract, there is a lot of complex machinery involved. Cheap extraction methods that use solvents can result in a product that’s less effective, tastes worse, and can contain traces of solvent. By contrast, a product that’s extracted with supercritical CO2 extraction will provide you with the best possible quality.
The delivery method (whether you consume cannabis in the form of a vaping product, edible, tincture, topical product, etc.) makes a world of difference in the range of effects you can expect. You won’t get the same effects from the same cannabis strain if you smoke it, eat it, or use it as a topical.
Cannabis Strains At Renact: A Well-Rounded Approach
To formulate our cannabinoids vaping solutions, we select strains with a uniquely therapeutic genetic profile. Our Special Sauce strain is CBD-dominant, with a range of other helpful cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN. It’s been selected by experts in the field to create products that help with targeted areas of concern.
At Renact, we firmly believe that the benefits of the cannabis plant can’t be reduced to just a handful of molecules. It is the whole plant, the whole profile of a given strain that gives it its powers. That’s why we formulate products that keep the profile of our cannabis strain intact for you to enjoy.
Our two cannabinoids formula: Relief (for anxiety) and Rest (for insomnia) are already available for purchase! Give them a try today by ordering your first starter kit.