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How To Select The Right Cannabis Strain

by Staff

It’s You vs. You when it comes to cannabis strains. Though suggestions can be made based on the most commonly reported effects, trial-and-error is truly the best way to figure out what works best for your body. But how should you go about that? Walking into a dispensary and dropping $45 on a popular sativa eighth just to try and go “Blah, I hated that experience” would be expensive for anyone not named Jeff Bezos. Instead, it’s all about following particular families of strains and falling down the rabbit hole of genetics. 

What Even Is A Cannabis Strain?

It’s difficult to define cannabis strains with a single sentence. Basically, cannabis plants have grown naturally all over the world for quite some time. These original strains, known as landrace strains, grew in places like Mexico, Thailand, Afghanistan, and Colombia, just to name a few. These variations in climate also produced variations of cannabis plant cultivars that all looked, smelled, tasted, and felt different. Over time, these variations and their seeds were flown all over the globe to be crossed and crossed and crossed, ultimately resulting in all of the cannabis strains we see on dispensary shelves today. If you’ve ever heard someone say “everything’s a hybrid,” this is why.

The Forefathers Of Cannabis Strains

Of all of the hybrid strains that came from crossing and backcrossing landrace strains, there were a few forefathers that rose to the top. The Haze, Kush, and Skunk cannabis families are the best known of them all. Sure, Afghani strains and Chemdog were out there shining too, but for all intents and purposes we’ll focus on these three.


Haze is the OG sativa that came from crossing pure sativa landrace strains back in the 1960s. With its uplifting and high energy effects, it’s the main reason we all think anything labeled as a sativa should make you feel upbeat and ready for all activities. Haze has given birth to countless hybrids over time, and because its traits are so dominant, you can see why strains like Super Silver Haze and Blue Dream feel the way they do. We can thank R. Haze and J. Haze for that.

Skunk #1

Skunk #1, or simply Skunk, is another old school strain from the 1970s that gave way to the numerous Skunk hybrids in dispensaries today. Super Skunk and UK Cheese are two of the most popular. And like the original Skunk #1, Super Skunk and UK Cheese both possess a strong funky odor and potent effects that we associate with indica-dominant hybrids. This is why you can see Skunk in a product and know, whether it’s labeled Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid, that it’ll probably have you feeling super stoned. Skunk #1 was originally bred by Sam The Skunkman, crossing Colombian Gold, Acapulco Gold, and Afghani genetics.


OG Kush. That’s really all that needs to be said, right? OG Kush is known for being the perfect blend of potency and euphoria. Bred by Florida’s Matt Bubba Berger and brought to fruition by LA’s Josh D, this strain has gone on to become the backbone of Cali cannabis. Truthfully, OG Kush may be the most famous strain ever. Because of its legend and genetics, when we see Kush on packages, we’ve come to expect a stoney head high that eventually creeps down into the body.

How To Choose The Best Cannabis Strain

As you can see, the simplest way to find which cannabis strains work best for you is to learn different families, not specific strains, and go from there. A perfect example of this is GSC and all the strains that come from it. GSC, formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies, is the new age California strain that has taken the world by storm. Bred by crossing Durban Poison and OG Kush, it’s a sativa-dominant hybrid that produces a super potent stoney head-to-toe high that lasts for hours.

If you walk into a dispensary looking for something that will make you feel relaxed, happy, and creative — chances are a budtender will lead you to the sativa section. And in that section, you’ll see a wide range of Haze, Kush, Skunk, and even Cookies hybrids. But cannabis isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation, so everything labeled as a sativa will not produce the same effects, though many budtenders are conditioned to sell this way. This is where your experience of trial-and-error with cannabis will come into play. 

If you’ve smoked Haze before and it made your head racy, then you probably won’t want the Lemon Haze pre-rolls. Or if you’ve tried Kush strains and they make your body feel uncomfortable, then you probably won’t want those Wedding Cake dabs. However, if you’ve tried GSC and remember it made you feel calm, clear-headed, and ready to paint for hours, then you’ll probably want something similar. With cannabis strains being so hybridized these days, you might not find any pure GSC on the shelves. However, you will find Cookies descendants like Gelato, Thin Mint, and Platinum GSC, and that’s where you’ll find your next favorite strain. All in all, choosing the right strains will always be easiest if you use your positive cannabis experiences and which genetics provided them as a guide.

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