To a consumer, what is indica/sativa?
Sativa and Indica are heavily known for their assumed effect profiles. #Cannabis users who hear "Sativa" typically think of an energizing and #uplifting experience. People who hear "Indica" typically think of a heavy #stoney high, with deep relaxation properties.
The cannabis industry uses these labels as a way to market cannabis products. However, the effects that we have known to be #sativa, aren't always made by a sativa strain, the same goes for i#ndica. These terms are much more useful for growers then consumers. When thinking cultivation, sativas used to describe the growing physical characteristics of the plant, tending to be taller and skinnier, with long skinny leaves with a longer flowering stage. While Indicas on the other hand are shorter and bushier, with wide broad leaves.
The beauty of the hybrids
Every season, growers are aiming to produce new #strains from different #genetics. These strains are typically grown to increase specific effects in the cannabis plant. Such as certain #THC - #CBD ratios, or #terpeneprofiles. This way the consumer can precisely pinpoint the strains that suit them best. Coming in all shapes and sizes, the structure of the plant itself varies based off of the plants parents. In short, #hybrids are a crossbreed combination of indica and sativa plants.
What should you look for to understand strain effects?
The general idea is that sativas are more invigorating and energizing, while indicas are more relaxing and calming, but it's not that simple. Each individual plant can produce varying effects, even in the same strains of cannabis. Most important to keep an eye out for is the plants chemical makeup, instead just looking at sativa or indica read the description the posted by the grower/#dispensary.
Typically strain's produce similar effects, although different phenotypes can altar that. #Terpenes and #Cannabinoids are the chemicals responsible for the effects of cannabis, which a strain usually standardizes.
What are Cannabinoids?
The #marijuana plant contains many chemical compounds called cannabinoids. These naturally occurring chemicals are responsible for many of the effects marijuana use. Research still hasn't been shown what all the cannabinoids do, but they have nailed down two main ones: #tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and #cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the main #psychoactive compound in marijuana plants. It’s what produces the “#high” or state of #euphoria linked to marijuana. THC levels have been steadily rising as growers try to increase it's production genetically.
Research has also found some less common cannabinoids: #Cannabinol (#CBN) is utilized to ease symptoms and side effects of neurological conditions, including #epilepsy, seizures, and uncontrolled muscle stiffness.
#Tetrahydrocannabinolacid (#THCA) is similar to THC, but it doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects. Its benefits can include minimizing inflammation from arthritis and autoimmune diseases. It may also help symptoms of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and #ALS. Although when heated, is converted back to THC.
Let's talk about #Terps, or Terpenes
Most of the attention is paid to the THC and CBD content in any given strain, but new data suggests that terpenes may be just as beneficial and effective. Terpenes are a natural occurring chemical in the marijuana plant.
The terpenes in the plant directly effect it's smell. They could also be responsible for certain qualities produced by a specific strain, and the effects it has.
Although there are over 200 known #terpenes, the most commonly known terpenes in cannabis plants include:
Caryophyllene: Peppery, and often described as #spicy, may reduce anxiety, relieve depression, and help ulcers.
Eucalyptol: Similar to #eucalyptus, this terpene is refreshing and invigorating. It might reduce inflammation and fight bacteria.
Humulene: A earthly/woody terp similar to hops or cloves. This has potential to reduce inflammation.
Limonene: Lemony and sour notes come from this terpene. It’s said to improve mood and reduce stress.
Linalool: #Floral essence, is said to help improve relaxation and create a boost in mood.
Myrcene: Simply the most common in cannabis, earthy and herbal which can help relax anxiety and insomnia for a better nights sleep.
Ocimene: Aromas of basil, mango, and parsley. Known for helping the congestion process and warding off viruses and bacteria.
Pinene: Smells like #Christmas! This terpene has a sharp pine aroma which could help boost memory, ease pain, and help some of the not-so-pleasant side effects of THC, such as nausea and coordination problems.
Terpinolene: This terpene smells like apples, cumin, and conifers. It can have sedative, antibacterial, and #antifungal properties.
All in all, the world of Cannabis is still new to the scientific community, mostly due to legality issues. Now that #marijuana is becoming more main stream, research continues to expand and open new horizons in the #community.