There are hundreds, if not thousands, of strains of cannabis to choose from. So, how is anyone supposed to pick their very first strain; especially if they’ve never consumed cannabis in their life before?
Ultimately, as people continue to consume and experiment with different strains, they develop their own preference. However, I think it’s less stressful to have some sort of jumping off point. To make the process a little easier for you, I’ve put together a quick reference guide to help you choose your first strain. Let’s get started!
First, think about the type of high you want: how do you want to feel?
- Do you want to feel creative, focused, and energetic? Sativa might be right for you.
- Do you want to relax, destress, or maybe even go to sleep? Indica might be what you’re looking for.
- Do you want something that will relax your body but keep your mind clear? A hybrid strain might be the best choice.
Sativa, indica, and hybrid are the three types (or categories) of strains that you can choose from. Sativa-dominant strains cause a head high; indica-dominant strains, known for their “in-da-couch” effects, cause a body high; and, hybrid strains are bred to combine the best qualities of both sativa and indica. However, it is important to note that hybrid strains can still be sativa- or indica-dominant depending on breeding.
Secondly, think about smells and tastes that you find pleasant. For example, do you find the scent of pine trees or gasoline to be more calming? Personally, I do not like the smell of gasoline. I’m more of a pine tree scent person myself. However, I know there are plenty of people out there that do find the smell of gasoline to be pleasant.
But gasoline and pine trees aren’t your only two options. Cannabis has a wide variety of scents and smells to choose from. Cannabis can smell like lemons (another personal favorite of mine), blueberries, vanilla, grapes, cheese, huckleberries, chocolate, and so much more. I’ve also seen people use more general descriptors such as spicy, sweet, fruity, woody, pungent, and earthy (to name a few).
Finally, you need to consider what types of side-effects you want to avoid. Every strain has some sort of “negative” effect. However, not all negatives are created equal and depend entirely on personal preference. For example, I hate feeling dizzy. I already struggle with vertigo and nausea on a day-to-day basis, so I would rather have dry mouth than be dizzy. Other common negative side-effects include dry eyes, paranoia, anxiety, and headaches.
It is important to recognize that negative side effects, and the total impact they have, vary from person to person. Negative effects also depend on the state of mind a person is in when the effects of the cannabis set in. For example, strains that increase the likelihood of paranoia aren’t normally an issue for me unless I am home alone. The paranoia is further amplified when I have to take my dog out and it’s dark outside. As a result, I avoid strains that increase paranoia when either (or both) of those events is likely to occur.
So now you know to consider when picking out your first strain. But, strain names aren’t exactly intuitive; right? I mean, how the heck are you supposed to know whether or not Chocolope is a sativa, indica, or hybrid strain; or, what its negative effects are? Or, what if you know what effects you do and don’t want, but don’t know any strain names?
In my experience, the two best ways to get this information are to either ask a Budtender at your local dispensary or to do the research beforehand on Leafly.com.
Budtenders are not only hired to check your ID and sell you cannabis products, they’re also product testers for the store. Budtenders test product to increase their knowledge about the products they sell; and, to ensure that the products the dispensary sells are of acceptable and consumable quality. As a result, they are able to answer most — if not all — questions you might have about the strains available in their shop. They are also able, and very often willing, to make suggestions based on your needs and preferences. They want to help you!
If you prefer to do your own research, I highly recommend Leafly.com. Although they do not have a fully comprehensive list of every single strain in existence, their strain list is massive. I am rarely unable to find a strain when looking for information on their site.
Leafly not only has a massive list of strains, each strain has its own dedicated page with specific information regarding its type, description, genetic history, grow rate information, and taste (i.e., smell) as well as the effects and attributes. If possible, it will also show you which dispensary or dispensaries near you sell that particular strain. Pretty cool, huh?
Basically, picking your first strain does not have to be a stressful or overwhelming event. Instead, it can be a time to personalize your first time getting high. You get to focus on what you want to experience and how you want to feel.
So take your time to think about it and then enjoy the ride once you’ve made your decision.