Is it a sativa or an indica? In most cases, both
Ayonrinde said cannabis strains have traditionally been sorted into two categories: sativa and indica. Sativa plants tend to be associated with more cerebral effects, while indica strains were thought to produce more of a bodily sensation.
However, Ayonrinde said with the cross-breeding of cannabis plants, most of the strains on the market are not purely indica or sativa, but a hybrid. “If we look at for instance dogs, there may be breeds of dogs, but then with more and more cross-breeding … there may actually be more mongrels than thoroughbreds.”
This cross-breeding, however, has allowed for more potent strains of cannabis — some with THC levels tens of times higher than in decades past, said Ayonrinde.
For baby boomers who are reacquainting themselves with Mary Jane for the first time since their youth, he warned that weed may be stronger than they remember.
“This isn’t grandma or grandpa’s weed. This is very different,” he said. “If a person probably smoked casually 20 or 30 years ago, and tried to smoke heavily with some of the contemporary preparations of hybrids, they may find themselves quite surprised.”
Trust your nose, and your friends
If deciding between strains like blue dream, sour diesel and purple haze fills you with dread, Toronto-based cannabis educator Irie Selkirk recommended that novice users ask dispensary workers to help them pick out one or two samples.
But because varieties of cannabis can be as complex as the people who take them, she said friends with cannabis can provide unique insight into what strain best suits their needs.
If you still feel overwhelmed among a forest of bud, Gonzalez said your nose can be a good tool to help