Basics Of Bud
Strains & Slang.
Chances are you’ve heard some of the many names for cannabis – whether it’s “Marijuana,” “Weed,” “Pot,” “Mota,” “Ganja,” “Herb,” “Strain,” “Flower,” or “Green,” the cannabis community is weirdly adept at developing whole slang languages (slanguages?) out of thin air. Even for the most experienced of cannabis connoisseurs, it can get downright confusing – so let’s clear the air! Here are a few common cannabis terms you might hear when you walk into a dispensary.
A “strain” is a genetic variant of Cannabis Sativa. Like humans, cannabis plants can be almost infinitely diverse, but inherit many of their unique characteristics and qualities from their parents. Each strain will fall into one of three broad families: sativa, indica, or hybrid, with distinct patterns of growth and effects. Hybrids may be further divided into “sativa-dominant” or “indica-dominant” depending on which characteristics they most dominantly express. While it can be difficult to tell one bud from another, there are some physical characteristics you can look out for:
Lighter green as compared to Indica plants.
Loose, teardrop shaped calyxes (“petals” of the cannabis flower)
Longer, fluffier buds.
Larger trichomes or ”crystals.”
In terms of effects, sativa strains are most often described as “cerebral” and “head-heavy,” with more significant effects on mood, energy levels, and motivation. These strains are usually quite stimulating and preferred for daytime use, especially for creativity and appreciating music or art. Sativa strains may be more prone to exacerbating anxiety disorders, seizure disorders, tremor, spasms, and psychotic disorders.
Darker green (or purple) as compared to Sativa plants.
Tight calyxes with little to no space in between.
Dense, smaller, buds.
Dusting of smaller trichomes (“crystals”) closer to the surface of the flower.
In general, Indica strains provide more relaxing effects. Intoxication with an Indica strain is usually reported to be a “body high,” with the majority of effects being felt in the body as opposed to the mind. These strains tend to stimulate appetite or cause “Munchies” more than Sativa strains, so make sure to pack up on some healthy snacks! They can also cause drowsiness or sleepiness, and daytime use of Indica strains can lead to disorientation, lack of coordination, slowed response times, and early sleep.
Hybrid (“hybridized”) strains result from the cross of Sativa-dominant and Indica-dominant genetics. Hybrid strains produce a balance of head-heavy and body-heavy effects, and are usually cross-bred until they exhibit the desired qualities from each parent, meaning they all present unique growing patterns and are therefore difficult to distinguish. Because of the diversity of Hybrid genetics, it’s hard to generalize the effects that may dominate, but expect a psychedelic melding of body and mind.
This terminology can be pretty confusing, so don’t be afraid to take some time with a Clarity Cannabis consultant to get to grips with the vocab find what works best for you! It can also be helpful to keep a diary of different products you’ve tried, how they affected you, and their cannabinoid levels. This will help you to reflect on your experiences over time, establish how you personally respond to cannabis, and find what strains or formulations works best for you – check out our Clarity Companion for a handy guide!
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About the author
Lana Tong is an aspiring Endocannabinoid Psychopharmacologist and Squirrel Behavioral Therapist based in Victoria, British Columbia. She’s passionate about cannabis as a medicine, entheogen, food, fiber crop, and so much more. Lana hopes to one day swim in a pool filled with organic CBD-infused coconut oil – we all have dreams, right?