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Cannabis 101: What to know about choosing the right strain from 100 possibilities

Cannabis varieties deliver different effects, depending on THC, CBD and other elements

Cannabis 101: What to know about choosing the right strain from 100 possibilities
Each cultivar of the cannabis plant is called a "strain": saliva, indica, and hybrid. Resinate

They have names like Dream Lotus, Ghost Dawg and Blue Dream — all varieties of the cannabis plant, subsets within the species that in the world of botany would be called a cultivar but in the cannabis world are referred to as strains. Each one is cultivated for its unique properties, including height, color and leaf structure, as well as THC and CBD content, all of which go into variations in effect on mind and body.

The cannabis education website Leafly lists as many as 5,000 distinct cannabis strains, but many of those are not commonly known to the public. Still, it’s estimated that there are at least 800 cannabis strains currently named and consumed by adult-use and medicinal cannabis consumers — the result of experimentation, discovery and advances in seed saving and cultivation. The sheer variety means that dispensary professionals like those at Resinate in Worcester and Northampton, Massachusetts, can help customers find just the right strain for their purpose, goals and lifestyle.

The three basic strains

Each strain falls into one of a few larger categories: sativa, indica and hybrid. While it was commonly believed that sativa strains are more energizing while indica strains are said to make a person sleepier, cannabis consumers and specialists alike now find that each strain effects the consumer differently, making it a personal experience. Hybrids, as the name indicates, are a cross of indica and sativa, usually with one or the other dominant.

CBD and THC are two major chemicals of many that make up a strain. Sativa plants generally are lower in CBD counts and higher in THC, while indica strains go in the opposite direction. Each specific strain will have different levels of each of these chemicals. There are also physical differences in the shape of the leaves and plant height as well as differences in aroma and texture.

While your local dispensary probably won’t carry 800 different cannabis strains, it will offer at least dozens, including strains unique to that dispensary. Resinate, for example, has its own local growing facility where their cultivators find new, rare seeds and grow exclusive strains.

Finding a new favorite strain

A dispensary like Resinate carries not only its own strains but those of other companies such as Cultivate, Holistic Industries and Sira Naturals. Choosing a strain may be connected to a brand that you have a particular affinity for like Sira Naturals, which focuses on sustainability, or Resinate itself, which as a locally owned business is all about employing and growing right in the area.

Each strain is labeled by its parent — indica, sativa or hybrid — so you have an initial idea of what the effect might be. In addition, you’ll know the THC content up front. You’ll also get an idea of the strain’s effect, flavor and aroma from descriptions, but none of that is a substitute for consulting with the dispensary professional.

Rely on the experts

A discussion with the dispensary professionals at Resinate is the first step in finding which strains best suit your needs and lifestyle, both of which may change from day to day, week to week. If you’re new to cannabis, an educated cannadvisor, one who has had experience with most, if not all, of the strains available, will ask you just the right questions to help you narrow down your choices.

They can also describe the difference between Resinate’s own Lemon Haze, a cross of Lemon Skunk and Silver Haze, and a hybrid like Punch Breath with its earthy aroma and grape candy flavor. They’ll let you know the benefits of Chaos Kush #3 and when is best to consume it, depending on your activities. If you’ve already tried a strain or two and are looking for something different, they’ll listen to your feedback and suggest another product depending on your goals.

Ask the dispensary experts and strengths and growing methods for strains you are interested in. Resinate

Ask the dispensary experts about strength and growing methods for strains you are interested in.
That cannadvisor is also able to work with more experienced cannabis consumers, letting them know when a new and interesting product has come into the dispensary. At Resinate, you’ll find familiar strains, but the more adventurous will find plenty to explore and experience, too. Cannadvisors can also help you decide which products are right for you — from flower to vaporizers, topicals to edibles — and give advice on when and how to consume, all part of exploring the wide world of cannabis strains.

Learn more about adult-use cannabis at Resinate, which has two local dispensaries in Worcester and Northampton. Its staff and owners can help guide you in your choices and explain your options, working with you to help ensure a comfortable shopping experience. Find out more at

MA license RMD#1345

Recreational and medical marijuana is available under Massachusetts law; however, it is still illegal under federal law. Please Consume Responsibly. For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming.

This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. The impairment effects of Edible Marijuana Products may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222-1222 or 911. This product may be illegal outside of MA.


This article is provided by  “GET Creative, a division of USA TODAY” on behalf of Resinate, the sponsor of this article.