How to Find the Right Cannabis Strain?

Perfect cannabis flower or cannabis bud

The cannabis market is constantly changing, with new strains popping up every year. We know how frustrating and confusing it can be for a new user to nail down the best kind of bud for themselves.  You’re standing in a marijuana dispensary surrounded by an overwhelming amount of cannabis of all shapes and sizes, from edibles to concentrates and flower; it can feel almost like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

The good news is that while it may seem impossible to find your perfect strain, there are some easy clues to look for  to help narrow your options down. Whether you’re looking to try a brand new strain or desperately  trying to rediscover that one you bought weeks ago and fell in love with, we’ve compiled this helpful  guide to put your mind at ease and keep you coming back to the dispensary!

Legal cannabis grown in Washington state

I. Shape and Size of the Buds

The first thing one may look at is the appearance of the buds. Keep in mind that there are three main classifications  of cannabis strains: indica, sativa, and hybrid. Indica plants will likely have dark color with wide and broad leaves. Growers will notice that the buds are usually tightly packed and heavy, and it’s commonly known for its relaxing and sedating effects that have potential to induce a more full-body high. 

Sativa plants, on the other hand, usually have a  lighter color with  thin, long leaves. This classification is known to have more of an energetic and uplifting effect accompanied by a more cerebral high. The hybrid classification  is a crossbreed of both  indica and  sativa strains to create something of unique effect. Because of this uniqueness, hybrid plants can vary in size and shape. 

II. Taste and Smell of the Buds

Once you’re done analyzing the appearance of the cannabis buds, you should pay attention to how they smell and their flavor. The terpene profile of a strain can produce some rather subtle or intense aromas and flavors. Some of the smells you should look out for include:

  • Skunky: If your buds have this smell, it may likely be an indica or indica-dominant strain.
  • Citrusy: Most of the cannabis strains in this category have a reference to citrus fruits. They include Lemon OG, Tangerine Man, Lemon Kush, or Tangie. Sativa and sativa-dominants are known to smell rather citrusy.
  • Chemical smell: Some buds smell like diesel fumes and are named accordingly. This includes Blue Diesel and Sour Diesel.
  • Earthy: If  your bud has an earthy smell, it likely is named ‘Kush.’ Strains like the Hindu Kush and Afghan Kush are classics  and have been used for breeding many hybrids. Indicas tend to have these more earthy scents
  • Berry: Some strains, usually sativas or sativa-dominants will have a fruity berry-type aroma. These strains may include Blueberry or Strawberry Cough, and Fruity Pebbles. 

There are also buds that have a sour smell and flavor, including Sour Diesel, Blue Diesel, and Sour Apple. Other flavors may include floral, woody, and spicy.

Man smoking bong and exhaling the smoke at home

A Quick Guide to Finding the Right Strain Based on Your Tastes:

1. Know Your Tolerance

As a beginner or new user in the cannabis world, it is especially important to identify your tolerance of THC. It is advised that a new user start out with a very low or small amount and progressively increase their intake if needed. If you’re unsure of an amount to start with, don’t be afraid to pay a visit to a nearby cannabis dispensary and speak to a knowledgeable budtender.  

Knowing your tolerance better will help to avoid buying strains with too much or too little THC content, ensuring you get the desired effects. Generally, too much of an indica or sativa may leave a user locked in the couch or anxious. 

2. Identify Your Desired Effects

Another essential step (potentially the most important) in your  journey to  find your perfect  cannabis strain will be to understand exactly how you want to feel. If you want a strain that may provide you with an intense head high that keeps you alert, uplifted and active, you should consider looking into some  sativa strains or sativa-dominants. An example of one sativa strain may be: 

  • Berry Jane: This sativa strain gives off a more fruity scent, coming from the parents Fruity Pebble OG and Blueberry. This may prove to be a great choice for anyone looking to feel more energized and focused on an active day. 

However, if you’re looking for a strain that may provide a more sedating effect to relax at the end of a long day, or to induce sleep or appetite, you should consider looking at some indica strains or indica-dominants. One indica strain we’d suggest taking a look at would be:

  • Pineapple OG: This indica strain gives off an aroma of pineapple, with a hint of guava and sour grapes. This strain may be perfect for someone hoping to relieve some stress to feel more calm and relaxed. 

 Identifying your desired effect can be very important, especially to avoid any unwanted results. Ask a budtender about the different terpenes that may be in the strain, as these chemical compounds found in cannabis have also been proven to contribute to resulting effects. For example, the terpene Myrcene can add a sedative effect and may be useful in reducing inflammation and chronic pain. 

3. Pinpoint Your Preferred Flavors and Aromas

The terpene profile of a strain not only plays an active role in the effects of cannabis, but also provides a signature palette of flavors and scents. Try out different strains to identify the flavors and aromas that you may like best. The most common flavors are citrusy, kush, berry, woody, floral, earthy, and diesel. As you pick out cannabis at the dispensary, if you find the smell alluring, there’s a high chance that you’ll enjoy the flavor. 

4. Test Out Different Strains

Take on a trial and error approach, and be sure to keep a detailed record of the strains you’ve experimented with. Bud journals are common among cannabis enthusiasts, and they may help you identify the strains that work best for you. Every person is different, and keeping a detailed record may help you identify which different  strains make you feel best and worst. It’s also important that you continue to research valid sources or ask questions at your favorite dispensary.

Where to Select Your Perfect Strain?

New strains continue to grow every year, and as this continues, the vast knowledge available surrounding the cannabis industry continues to grow as well. If you’re sitting there asking yourself the question “how would I find my perfect strain at a dispensary near me?” Come visit one of our many experienced budtenders at Planet 13,  who can help you personalize your choices and find the best strain to fit your lifestyle. 

As the largest cannabis complex in California, and the leading dispensary located in Orange County, Planet 13 offers an extensive menu of cannabis products available in-store, as well as delivery