Top 5 Tips On Choosing Your Delta 8 Strain
Whether you’re a frequent Delta 8 user or you’re a newbie, it might be confusing when you see certain products that say the strain is “Indica”, “Sativa”, or “Hybrid”, right? Or maybe they say the strain is “Blue Dream” or “OG Kush” or other random names. Even further, you might not know which strain is best for you or best for what you’re looking to experience. You could be using Delta 8 recreationally or for specific benefits, so it is good to know which strain you need to buy. Heck - you may be lost right now as I say “strain”, so let’s get into what a “strain” is, what different types there are and what they do, and why it’s important to pick out the one best suited for you.
What is a Strain?
You might think of Delta 9 THC (marjiuana) when you hear the word “strain”. Since Delta 8 THC is derived from the same plant (Cannabis), that means the different strains will act in the same way as Delta 9, just in a milder form. Strain is the different breeds, or subtypes, of the Cannabis plant. These are the names you see like "Blue Dream" or "OG Kush".
Now, Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid are actually the subspecies of the Cannabis plant and are named for how they are cultivated/bred. From here, the strains are then categorized under Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid depending on what plant they are derived from. So, it kind of looks like this:
Cannabis plant > Subspecies (Indica, Sativa, Hybrid) > Strain name (Blue Dream, Green Crack, OG Kush, etc.)
Contrary to popular belief (and much to my surprise), the categories Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid don’t necessarily describe the strain’s effects on the body and mind. Though they technically don't describe the effects, that doesn't mean you shouldn't look to them as a guide.
Stay with me here, I have to introduce one more term; terpenes. Terpenes are another compound (like cannabinoids; CBD, CBN, CBG, THC) found in the Cannabis plant. Terpenes are actually found in all plants, but for the sake of this article, let's just pay attention to the cannabis-related terpenes. Terpenes are actually the "creators" of the effects that the different strains will have on you. They are also responsible for the aromas and flavors of each strain. There has been 150 different terpenes identified in the Cannabis plant currently and as research continues, there will be more.
So terpenes are the reason that you can't completely rely on the 3 subspecies (Sativa, Indica, Hybrid) in order to pick out your strain. The terpenes are the better guide for how you will experience each strain. Certain terpenes are definitely more common in each respective category and in higher concentrations. They could help you differentiate sedating effects versus energizing ones.
For example, myrcene is a terpene that is responsible for sedative-like effects and found in Indica strains in higher percentages. This terpene is also found in beer, hence why beer can make you sleepy! Terpenes such as limonene and pinene will create a more uplifting experience and will be found in Sativa strains, in higher concentrations. Now, Indica strains might still contain limonene but it won't be in such a high concentration - yet you could still experience some energizing qualities from it. This is why though the strain might be considered an Indica strain, but you react more to the limonene in it and feel more energized.
Keep in mind that your experience with the different strains will differ from other people as well. Things such as body composition, your tolerance, things you’ve previously eaten, the dosage, and more will affect how you experience different strains. This is also a good reason that you should always do your research when buying a new product or wanting to try something new.
Strains and Their Categories
The 3 categories are thought to describe the effects of the strains, based on what terpene profiles each category is dominant in. These are how they are perceived and how most Delta 8 products will be categorized, which is still helpful when you are starting with the basics of choosing your strain.
Sativa: More energetic and uplifting
Indica: More lethargic (also known as In-Da Couch)
Hybrid: Balanced effects
When it comes to the actual strains, experts believe that there could be well over 700 different strains out there. The strains are the names that you see (Green Crack, OG Kush, Gorilla Glue, Cherry AK, etc.) and you will only see these on products such as flower, vape, and cartridges. Delta 8 gummies and tinctures will almost always tend towards a hybrid experience. From what we've already talked about, though, we know to look at the strain's profile; the different mix of terpenes and their concentrations found in the strains.
As for terpenes, there are at least 150 already classified, which is a lot. So, there's a lot to figure out and look through. Here's a fun guide by THC Design that can help in your terpene research outside of our previously stated blogs on terpenes.
The more you do your research, the more familiar you will get with different strains and what your favorites are.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself
Though it is popular to choose a Delta 8 strain from just the 3 categories of Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid, we know that we shouldn’t solely lean on these categories and instead look at what kind of terpenes are in the different strains. There are other things to consider when deciding on a strain as well.
Here are the top 5 questions to ask yourself when choosing your strain;
- What do you want to gain from your experience?
If there’s a certain ailment you want to relieve or manage, you can look for strains best known for their specific benefits; anxiety relief, pain management, sleep aids, etc.
- Do you know your tolerance?
Knowing your tolerance can help you find either a milder strain or stronger strain. That is based on the Delta 8 THC concentrations in each of the products. Our Delta 8 vape and flower products show how much each strain has, whether in milligrams or percentages. If you don’t know your dose, the best way to figure it out is to start with a low dose and work your way up noting how you’re feeling as you experience it.
- When will you want to use your Delta 8?
The time of day you want to use your Delta 8 product is important. For example, if you are using Delta 8 for a sleep aid, then you’ll probably want to take it at night versus in the morning.
- Are there any flavors that you don’t want to try?
If you don’t enjoy a flavor, you shouldn’t get a product that tastes or smells like that flavor. This is common sense, right? Maybe you found a strain you really want to try but it tastes like grapes (GROSS), so you might be inclined to try it anyway. Remember, there are over 700 different strains - you will be able to find a strain with the effects you want AND in a good flavor.
- What type of product are you comfortable with?
Not all strains will be available in certain products. If you’re only comfortable using vape pens or cartridges (we are unable to ship these products as of 11/2/2021), then aim for those products in the strains you want to try. Dab wax is another way to vape, but we are actually able to ship it (!) - we currently carry MANY strains in the dab products. If you want to try using flower, but don’t know how to roll your own, there are some strains available in prerolls or you can buy preroll paper and carefully pack it yourself via tutorials online.
All of these factors are important to look at together, not just on their own. Especially knowing what you want to gain from using Delta 8 products.
It is important to know what types of strains there are, their effects, and what you are looking for when it comes to your “high”. Different strains react differently, and if you aren’t aware of what a certain strain entails, then you could be caught off guard and your experience could be unfortunate. If you don’t enjoy your experience, you might be wary of trying a different strain. Delta 8 can be very beneficial to some people, so if you’re scared off from a bad strain experience, then you might assume all strains will make you feel that way.
When I’m researching strains I’m not familiar with or haven’t tried, I like using this website and this website for further information on the different strains. If you are wanting to try a new strain, you should do your research beforehand and of course, keep in mind that your body may react differently than what is described. Keep an open mind and be in a comfortable environment when trying new strains that you aren’t familiar with.
Another important thing to note is that you shouldn’t be intimidated by the number of strains and terpenes that are out there, rather encouraged. You will find strains that you don’t enjoy or don’t check all of the boxes on your list, but since there are so many strains and terpenes, you will find one that you enjoy the experience or benefits of.
Experiment With Different Strains
As you make your way through the world that is Delta 8 and the different strains, don’t be afraid to experiment and keep an open mind when trying different strains. Though one strain might say you’ll be couch-locked for the experience, your body may react differently and you could feel energetic depending on the terpenes that are present. The strain definitions are guidelines as to what the effects should feel like, but your body composition, what you’ve eaten, and other things could have an impact on your experience. When you are trying out different strains and listening to your body, make sure you start with a low dose and work your way up from there, noting how you feel and what your personal experience is.
I hope this article was informative, so get out there, try some strains, and let us know in the comments which ones you like! If you still have questions, a team member here at The Green Dragon CBD will be happy to help you!