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What Makes Each Strain of Marijuana Different?

Posted by Canna Randa on Feb 06, 2024

As you browse through EarthMed’s selection of cannabis flowers available at our McHenry, Rosemont, and Addison dispensaries, you’ll find hundreds of different types of weed available for purchase. The number of marijuana strains on the planet is constantly on the rise as new varieties are developed through breeding and hybridization, so it's challenging to provide an exact count. Estimates suggest there are thousands of different strains, each with its unique combination of characteristics.

But what makes all of them so different? While an amateur smoker may not be able to pick out any differences between two indica strains, many veterans will notice distinctive differences in their weed. That’s because marijuana strains can vary in their effects, flavors, and aromas due to differences in their genetics and the way they're cultivated.

Indica and Sativa

Most people who consume cannabis are at least familiar with the two main families of indica and sativa. Sativa strains are often associated with uplifting and energizing effects, whereas indica strains are known for their relaxing and sedative effects. Within these two categories, there are countless strains, each with its unique combination of cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and terpenes.

Types of Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. They interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, ultimately playing a role in regulating various physiological processes. The two most commonly referenced cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

The specific combination and concentration of cannabinoids present in each strain are some of the key factors in differentiating each strain of cannabis. For example, strains with higher THC concentrations tend to produce more pronounced euphoria, altered perception, and a stronger high, while CBD strains usually provide more balanced effects, potentially reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.

Types of Terpenes

Another key differentiator between each type of cannabis is the terpenes that contribute to the strain's flavor and aroma. In any given strain, terpenes can be present in various combinations and concentrations. In addition to providing sensory characteristics, terpenes also play a role in influencing the overall effects of cannabis through what is known as the "entourage effect." 

Some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis include myrcene, limonene, pinene, linalool, humulene, caryophyllene, terpinolene, and ocimene. Depending on the combination of terpenes, you’ll come across types of marijuana that give off earthy, citrusy, floral, or even spicy sensations when smoking them. To learn more about some of these aromas, be sure to read our blog post about the types of terpenes and how they can affect your session.

Methods of Growing Weed

Cultivation methods also have a significant impact on the characteristics of a cannabis strain, influencing factors such as potency, flavor, aroma, and overall quality. For example, proper nutrient balance can have critical effects on plant growth. Well-managed nutrient levels can enhance cannabinoid and terpene production, affecting the strain's potency and flavor. Similarly, the timing of the harvest is critical. Harvesting too early or too late can impact cannabinoid and terpene content and can hinder the overall plant health. For these reasons, professional growers are usually known to produce highly potent and highly flavored cannabis strains.

How Many Types of Weed Are There?

With so many ways to grow and cultivate cannabis plants, it’s no wonder that there are countless cannabis strains with their own flavors and aromas. Especially over the past couple of decades, the widespread legalization and acceptance of cannabis in various regions have contributed to a boom in strain development and cultivation. Cannabis enthusiasts and breeders are constantly experimenting with different genetics to create strains with specific effects, flavors, and aromas.

With so many factors at play, it’s easy to understand why there are so many different strains of marijuana. It’s worth noting that the effects of any given strain can vary from person to person, so don’t be surprised if your group of friends all experience different highs.

What are some of the things that you look for when trying a new cannabis product? Hit me up on social media, and let’s spark up a conversation about it!

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