Shopping at the cannabis dispensary typically offers three categories. The different strains are referred to as indica, sativa or hybrids. These classifications actually indicate the origin of the plant rather than the effects. Sativas are taller with long, slender, light green leaves. Indicas are shorter, bushier plants with wide, dark green leaves. Due to extensive cross-breeding over hundreds of years, very few plants are pure sativa or indica. In most cases, indicas are expected to offer relaxing, full-body effects. Sativas are described as energizing and cerebral. It’s important to realize that the effects aren’t that clear cut. The effects aren’t determined by the type of plant but rather by the terpene and cannabinoid content. Plus, the way these compounds interact with each other and the specific person also plays a role in the experience.
For many years, indica and sativas strains have been crossbred to achieve specific effects. There are thousands of hybrid strains on the market and each one has unique active chemical compounds that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The brain and body are equipped with a messaging system that is responsible for regulating appetite, mood, memory, sleep, pain and so much more. Because of this, marijuana consumption can impact all of these many functions. There are CB1 and CB2 receptors and different cannabinoids stimulate them in distinctive ways and create different effects.
The most publicized cannabinoids are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), but there are over 100 individual cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. There are also terpenes to consider. They are the reason for the strong smell and taste of cannabis. These aromatic oils are found in lots of plants, such as oranges, lemons, lavender and sage. They are important to the benefits of cannabis and have shown to interact with cannabinoids to balance or amplify the effects. When cannabinoids and terpenes work in tandem, it is known as the Entourage Effect.