Why Do Different Weed Strains Affect You Differently?
Ever had a bad joint where you’re curled up in a ball, paranoid and scared witless about things invented by your mind? That doesn’t mean to say that all weed is bad for you personally – in most cases, it could just be the wrong variety for you. Let’s look at the different Indica Vs. Sativa strains out there and how cannabis works on your system to help you find the right weed for you.
Indica Vs. Sativa
Does weed affect everyone differently? There are three different types of marijuana leaves; Indica, Sativa, and hybrid. Each category delivers different types of weed highs in terms of head high vs. body high.
There’s a common conception that the shorter, bushier Indica varieties such as the Kush family can leave you ‘in-da-couch,’ dozing off your blast. Equally, the taller, high THC Sativa varieties such as the Haze family can leave you hyper-alert and buzzing your nut off. Hybrid, which is a mixture of marijuana seeds from different parts of the world, has varying effects from person to person.
There’s more to that, but at the core, this belief stems from the balance of the two main cannabinoids, CBD and THC, in the chemical makeup of each marijuana category.
A high dose of THC in the mix with little or no CBD can leave you very energized and buzzed up (head high). Equally, a relatively low dose of THC and higher CBD levels can leave you very chilled (body high). At core, this means that Indica has high CBD/lower THC levels and Sativa, high THC/low CBD.
Sub-varieties of marijuana
Have you been asking yourself, “why does weed affect me negatively?” Thanks to years of breeding of the different strains out there, there are literally hundreds of cannabis strains to choose from. Among these, if you are experiencing negative effects, you can certainly find a plant that will suit you.
That said, there’s a bit more to the chemical makeup of those buds than THC/CBD levels, which explains why you might still get different Indica and Sativa effects.
There are around 59 cannabinoids produced in the marijuana plant, most of which have little effect on your body. Some do – Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) can help dial back the effect of THC, as can cannabinol, which forms as THC degrades with age.
To add to the mix, there are dozens of chemicals found in cannabis buds called terpenes that are found on the surface in tiny structures called trichomes. Terpenes are found in all sorts of other plants – linalool is found in quantities in lavender and is known for its relaxing properties. Meanwhile, terpenes myrcene, also found in mangoes, creates the dominant smell found in all marijuana plants.
Terpenes have been shown to aid the way that cannabinoids interact with the body. CBD has been shown to be better absorbed in the body with a mix of terpenes and works better as part of a ‘whole plant’ mix than on its own.
A concerto of effects
The way that all the cannabinoids and terpenes interact together on your body and brain is known as the ‘entourage effect.’ Many people describe the concept as listening to an orchestra where the violin is good to listen to on its own but can create a wonderful sound with the other strings, percussion, brass, and other sections playing together in concert.
This great mix of all the different cannabinoids and terpenes is why pharmaceutical companies haven’t ever really come close to mirroring the powerful entourage effect of a dose of the pure herb in a pill.
The nearest pharmaceutical to that is the Multiple Sclerosis treatment Nabiximols mouth spray that has a combination of CBD and THC. The company making it claims that the high CBD dose in the treatment can stop you from getting stoned, and therefore they can administer a higher dose of THC to help deal with the spasms the condition causes.
Nature knows best!
Though some have tried, no pharmaceutical company has quite matched Mother Nature just yet! This is why among the hundreds of varieties of marijuana out there, there is almost certainly one that will suit you.
You may find a variety such as Black Beauty with a high THCV strain that gives you a nice high yet leaves you quite chilled. If you want to be energetic and enjoy things more, then you may get on with one of the Haze family such as Hawaiian Haze with its 25% THC levels and low CBD dose. If you want a more chilled experience, OG Kush can produce a comfortable, relaxing high thanks to its high linalool content.
Vape, bong, or eat?
Vaporizing marijuana can get a better mix of cannabinoids and terpenes into your system. This is because burning it in a joint or bong destroys the terpenes before they even get a chance to get into your system. Vaporizing is well known to be one of the best ways of taking in a plant’s chemicals for medical reasons.
Edibles such as space cakes, canna-butter, and cannabis chocolate are also absorbed into your body in a better way than burning. Like vaporising it allows the body to absorb the non-combusted chemicals, and you’ll get a greater entourage effect as the terpenes and cannabinoids interact in your system.
Edibles bought over the counter should be tested in small doses! There are sometimes high doses of THC and other compounds in them that can leave you stoned off your nut. In most states where marijuana is regulated, the dosing will be labelled with warnings to this effect.
This isn’t to say that the good old fashioned joint or bong isn’t useful. In combusting the plant, you decarboxylate many cannabinoids, making them more useful to the body. With regards to THC in the plant, it is in a form called tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), yet on heating, it decarboxylates into a molecule that is a perfect fit for the CB1 receptors in your nervous system. This is why if you eat a raw bud without heating it, you’ll feel a lot less of the psychotropic effects than should you vaporise or smoke it.
Different Indica Vs. Sativa growing and harvesting techniques can further impact the chemical makeup of individual cannabis plants. This is why if you have a specific problem that you want fixing with marijuana, it may help to visit an herbalist who can advise you on just the chemical makeup of the plant you should consume. As with every complex and varied world, cannabis is partly a case of you finding your own way but also being guided by experts. With the right advice, you’ll find the best plant for you for sure!
For a great description of the effects of various strains, I recommend our friends at ILGM. They describe in great detail the expected effects of all the various strains they sell in seed. We also recommend growing your own, especially if you find that a certain strain is better for you than others. Although dispensaries and growers are getting better at correctly identifying the products they carry, it’s still too often the case that what you expect to get in your preroll is very different than what you end up with. For instance, when my friend bought a pre-roll in Las Vegas from a very big and reputable shop, she ended up with something that tasted as bad as crappy tobacco and was a terrible high as well, mostly just producing a headache.