Understanding​ ​Cannabis​ ​Strains

Jars of Cannabis Strains showcased in glass to show off their color and textures.

Before the explosion of legal medical marijuana, there were really only a few kinds of cannabis strains on the black market, so called “kind bud” grown hydroponically or low-quality marijuana grown outdoors. Now that there are legally sanctioned cannabis growers operating in many places, there are more and more strains of cannabis being developed and marketed to savvy consumers.

What is a cannabis strain?
A strain is like a family of plants or a group of plants that share certain characteristics and genetics. All marijuana plants are in the family Cannabis, but there are three major species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Sativa and Indica are the two most commonly grown and sold for medical and recreational use, while Ruderalis is a low THC wild species. While they all have similar active chemicals in them, called cannabinoids, the different concentrations make for changes in effect. Varying concentrations of chemicals called terpenoids account for different flavors and scents.

Cannabis Types
Though all marijuana plants fall under the umbrella of Cannabis, there are different species within this blanket term. All three are cultivated for different purposes, whether that’s recreational use or hybrid breeding.

Cannabis Sativa
The largest of the cannabis varieties, Sativa grows tall and lean, with leaves that are thin and long and taller buds. Because of their higher THC content, Sativa strains provide a more cerebral, energetic experience than other cannabis strains that makes it perfect for treating depression and fatigue as well as just enjoying recreationally.

Hemp – Technically, hemp is considered cannabis Sativa, but it has been bred to only have trace amounts of cannabinoids like THC, so it cultivated for the fibers and the oils in the seeds. Hemp fibers are used in everything from clothing to construction, and hemp seed oil is used for cooking or topical applications.

Cannabis Indica
Named for strains found in India and Pakistan, Cannabis indica is the species of cannabis with higher concentrations of CBD and lower concentrations of THC. This makes Indica strains more attractive to medical marijuana patients because it has more pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-seizure effects. Indica plants also grow shorter and wider that Sativa, with shorter and wider leaves and flowers as well.

Cannabis ruderalis
Shorter and more stubby than its counterparts, Cannabis ruderalis is a wild breed growing in Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Russia. It is called “autoflowering” cannabis because it automatically flowers after about a month of growing rather than relying on light to tell it to flower. This aspect makes Ruderalis attractive to cannabis growers, who have been experimenting to get this trait into plants with higher concentrations of THC.

What are hybrid cannabis strains?
When purchasing marijuana from a legal dispensary, customers will often see the word “hybrid” before certain cannabis strains. This means that this particular strain of medical marijuana was created by blending the genetics of two different cannabis strains, such as Indica and Sativa. Cannabis growers do this to get the effects or flavors of different cannabis strains in one or to favor certain traits over others. Often, hybrids are also labeled with the type of cannabis that is dominant to give consumers an idea of the flavor and experience of that particular hybrid cannabis strain.

Major Marijuana Strains
The names of various different cannabis strains may seem fanciful or just silly, but they tell a story. Certain names like Kush or Northern Lights speak to the origins of the plant, some like Purple describe the plant’s appearance, some describe the effect like Haze, and others like Sour or Pineapple describe scent and taste. As growers create hybrids, you will see combinations of these names, like Strawberry Kush or Golden Haze.

Kush – All cannabis strains called “Kush” are Indica because that means the plant originated in the Kush region of India, brought into the US in the 1970s and called “Hindu Kush.” This subset of cannabis nIdica is said to have an earthy smell with flavors of pine and spices. This strain includes “OG Kush,” the powerful strain from Southern California with a hotly debated pedigree. Some say OG stands for Original Gangster, and others Ocean Grown, but all agree this strain packs a serious punch.

Sour Diesel – Most cannabis strains with “sour” in the name are from the Cannabis sativa species. Sour Diesel (also just called Sour D) has a distinct diesel smell. Sour Diesel is used into treating depression and can be known to give a more dreamy kind of “high” that’s very creative, and bud experts say it can even cure writer’s block.

Northern Lights – An Indica strain, Northern Lights has been around for a long time, so the exact provenance is unknown, but legend has it that this marijuana strain came from the Pacific Northwest. It was specially bred for indoor growing. It has the typical Indica effects of relaxation, what cannabis connoisseurs call “couch-lock.” This means you’re locked on the couch!

Haze – The effects of this cannabis strain have been described as heady, uplifting, and even a little naughty. Combining Sativa and Indica with the Sativa dominant, this strain was said to be developed in the 1970s by “the Haze Brothers.” Haze strain plants are slow to flower, which can make them more difficult to cultivate, so they’re often paired with another strain to speed them up while also retaining their effects.

Skunk – Like many other strains, Skunk is one of the original cannabis strains developed in California in the 1970s. It is named for its scent, which is definitely distinct and strong, probably due to the high resin content of skunk’s dense buds. Most skunk strains are Indica dominant since most Indica plants have stronger odors due to more terpenoids.

Acapulco Gold – One of the most famous cannabis strains, Acapulco Gold is Sativa dominant and very good for growing outdoors. The name derives from the country of origin, Mexico, and the colors of the hairs on the buds, gold. Like many Sativas, it gives a happy, uplifting high.

Once you understand cannabis strains, you’re on your way to being a medical marijuana expert, and the experts always want the best packaging for their products. Whether you have a stinky strain like Skunk or a pretty strain like Purple Haze, you can find the right packaging for your cannabis and cannabis edibles at potpackaging.com. They have the latest in bags and pouches that will keep the best cannabis strains fresh while showing off their unique qualities.


Green Rush Packaging LogoPackage those cannabis strains correctly
with marijuana packaging products
found at greenrushpackaging.com

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