It’s surprising, if you think about it: Some cannabis products have been legal for almost a full year now, but so far neither the sellers, the buyers, nor the government regulators have a firm grasp on the plant’s chemistry or its effects.
Every store, regulated or not, has a similar setup: a multitude of jars categorized by three types, indica, sativa and hybrid strains. Shoppers are told that indica strains are generally good for relaxing activities or to sleep; sativa plants are energizing; and hybrids — a genetic mix of indica and sativa — will deliver effects that are, well, somewhere in between.
A higher percentage of THC will, presumably, impact the strength of those effects, and a higher percentage of CBD will weaken them. Government retailers have this information on all of their websites, and so do licensed cultivators — after all, it’s a start for choosing among hundreds of cultivators, and even more strains.
“You’ll often hear people say, ‘I smoke indicas to fall asleep and sativas to get excited,’” says Nick Jikomes, principal research scientist at cannabis website Leafly.com.
“But you’ll also hear the opposite type of story, right? People go in and say, ‘I got the indica, but I was up all night.’ ”
Even the roughest attempt to categorize cannabis cultivars and their effects is ineffective, because different humans respond differently to types. But there’s more muddying up the waters: in addition to THC and CBD, we are beginning to learn about more cannabinoids in the plant, such as CBN.
Then there are terpenes — the aromatic substance that gives different cannabis varieties their unique scents and flavors. Terpenes have long been suspected of having more impact on the effects than we have so far understood.
Published: October 14, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News