Cannabis or marijuana is a psychoactive plant that has been used as a recreational and medicinal drug for centuries. It has been cultivated, crossbred and modified by growers over the years to deliver the best sensation possible. As a result, there many strains in the market. While some cannabis strains produce top-notch therapeutic effects, others allow you to relax and free your mind.
It goes without saying that while most cannabis strains have many features in common, the psychoactive effects felt from any of them depends largely on the strain's unique terpene, cannabinoid and growth profile.
Benzinga rounded up some of the best weed strains available on the market. So if you're a cannabis user — recreational or medicinal, or you're hoping to try cannabis in the future, this piece will provide you valuable insight into the best cannabis strains available.
The Best Cannabis Strains
Whether you're a medical cannabis user looking for a relaxing high or a recreational cannabis user in love with its energizing rush, here are the top five marijuana strains you should try ASAP.
Granddaddy Purple (GDP) is a famous indica cross cannabis strain that originated in California in the early 2000s. It’s a cross between the Purple Urkle and Big Bud cannabis strains.
The Purple Urkle parent strain gives GDP its signature grape and berry aroma. At the same time, Big Bud passes down a dense bud structure. Its psychoactive effects are primarily felt in the body. GDP induces relaxation and sleep.
The deep purple GDP buds with fading white trichomes making them among prettiest you'll ever see. The strain excellent for relaxing and falling asleep after a long day.
Sour Diesel, or Sour D, is a classic sativa cannabis strain that has been around since the early 1990s. It’s a cross between Chemdog and Super Skunk originating in Staten Island, New York.
As its name suggests, Sour D delivers a diesel-like aroma that enhances its psychoactive effects. Sour D hits the brain directly once ingested, leaving you with energizing yet dreamy effects. It is often used for recreational activities like hiking and high-energy housework.
Sour D boosts focus and productivity, regardless of what you've got your hands on. It is ideal for venturing outside and getting the job done.
The White Widow indica/sativa hybrid delivers one of the best psychoactive effects. It’s a cross between the South American Sativa and the South Indian Indica strains. White Widow, which originated in the Netherlands, was first bred in the early 1990s by Green House Seed Co.
White Widow is popular among veteran smokers around the world. Often characterized by its thick, whitish trichomes layer, this hybrid strain delivers powerful bursts of euphoria and energy to the brain and body. White Widow often makes people the most sociable version of themselves. It is ideal for stimulating conversation and creativity.
Other than its recreational benefits, White Widow is believed to reduce stress, pain and depression.
Zkittlez, otherwise known as Skittlez or Skittles, is an indica-dominant strain from Northern California. It is a cross between the Grape Ape and Grapefruit cannabis strains. Zkittlez inherits a fruity taste from its Grape Ape parent and the tangy flavor from the Grapefruit.
Zkittlez delivers more of an uplifting effect than some strains on the list. The brain and body are direct recipients of its sensations. Consuming Zkittlez makes the user focused, alert and happy while relaxing the body. Zkittlez is ideal for fun hobbies and busy work. It also makes for a delicious dab.
Original Glue, often known as Gorilla Glue or GG4, is a highly aromatic indica-dominant hybrid that’s a cross of Chem's Sister, Sour Dubb and Chocolate Diesel. It is a very potent cannabis strain from Nevada. The word “glue” in its name is derived from the strain’s ability to glue users to their couches.
The GG4 is a globally famous strain, especially among veteran cannabis consumers. It delivers a range of unique flavors and has a piney, chocolaty and diesel aroma. The hybrid strain is delivers extreme relaxation and euphoria that'll ideally lead to deep sleep at the end of the high wave.
How to Choose the Best Cannabis Strain
Different cannabis strains have varying features like taste, smell and texture. They also have varying psychoactive effects. Choosing the best cannabis strain for you can be tricky. Take a step-by-step look at how to go about choosing the best cannabis strain for you.
1. Determine your use case
Before choosing your best cannabis strain, you need to determine what you want to use marijuana for. Do you want it for recreational purposes, or do you want something to help with an underlying medical condition like insomnia or depression?
First, figure out what you want. Finding a suitable match becomes easy when you have a clear goal. For example, if you want to relax or calm down, an indica-dominant strain is a good choice. On the flip side, if you're seeking unrestrained euphoria and creativity, sativa-dominant strains are excellent.
2. Consider individual strain's effects
Each cannabis strain is unique. Once you've determined what you want to use cannabis for, you need to consider the specific effects you want to experience.
While some cannabis strains offer psychedelic or hallucinogenic effects, others relax the body. There's no single correct answer regarding which cannabis strain gives the best outcome. It all boils down to what you’re trying to achieve.
3. Try different strains
The third and final step will be the tryout phase. Here you'll experiment with different strains that fit the goals you set in steps 1 and 2. You can read online reviews or ask friends who have tried it. Once you find a cannabis strain you consider perfect for you, go ahead and give it a shot.
You might not find all the strains on your list in one dispensary or retail outlet, so you'll have to do your research before visiting the stores.
Advantages of Using Cannabis
Research shows that cannabis can have quantifiable health advantages when used safely and responsibly. Take a quick look at some of the benefits of using cannabis.
Marijuana is revered as a potent pain reliever among veteran users and medical communities. A 2021 review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine concluded that cannabis or products containing cannabinoids are efficient chronic pain relievers. This was after examining its effectiveness as a pain reliever in over 10,000 cases.
Mental illness — depression, PTSD and social anxiety
Medical professionals occasionally recommend marijuana to treat mental illnesses like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety because of its limbic system-activating properties.
A Clinical Psychology Review analysis of published scientific literature relating to the use of cannabis and cannabis-based products in treating mental illness symptoms found evidence supporting the use of marijuana to relieve the symptoms.
Alcoholism and drug addiction
There has always been speculation that cannabis helps prevent drug and alcohol addiction relapse. A 2018 study discovered that people dependent on alcohol or opioids might find it easier to overcome their addictions by smoking cannabis.
Results from preclinical trials with non-human subjects suggest that cannabis reduces stress-induced anxiety, cravings and lack of impulse control. These symptoms are major underlying causes of relapse and addiction.
As always, speak to your doctor if you have concerns with your side effects or don’t feel well. You may need to start a different regime or move away from a strain for which you are allergic or quite sensitive.
How to Use Cannabis Safely
If consumed irresponsibly, there are significant risks associated with using cannabis, especially when you take a harmful strain. More states legalizing cannabis has made it easier to get than ever. As a result, the law requires dispensaries to test their products for safety to curtail harmful product distribution.
Therefore, as a rule, ensure that you do not get your cannabis from a non-lab-tested source. Getting your cannabis from a legit source means avoiding the risk of consuming toxins and pesticides that may contaminate non-legitimate sourced products.
If you are consuming cannabis for medicinal purposes, do your research for the proper dosage or consult a medical professional or your doctor before starting any treatment. Whether you are smoking, eating, or vaping your cannabis, keep in mind that the effects vary individually from person to person. It is, therefore, vital that you don't use someone else's experience as a road map for your use.
Like any drug, cannabis can be overdosed and abused. Swallowing or taking too much cannabis (THC) could cause anxiety, a racing heart, or even panic. You must ensure that you ingest your cannabis moderately. As a rule;
- Use cannabis occasionally
- Consume small amounts
- Take regular breaks at least two days long
- Use low-THC products
Finally, try as much as possible to avoid dabbing or inhaling cannabis concentrates. The reason is that doing so may result in severe risks to your mental health and lungs. Remember, cannabis is a good way to help support your health journey, but it cannot be an end-all-be-all solution. If you feel you’re using cannabis too much or it’s the “only thing that works”, you may want to speak with a medical professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I overdose on cannabis?
Yes, It is possible to overdose on marijuana. However, unlike other drugs, fatal overdosing rarely occurs. Some symptoms of ingesting too much marijuana might include.
- Extreme confusion
- Increased blood pressure
- Severe nausea
- Increased heart rate
Is cannabis legal in the U.S.?
The use or possession of cannabis for recreational purposes is only legal in 19 states in the US. On the other hand, using cannabis for medical purposes is now legal in 38 states and Washington DC.