Do Different Strains Cause Different Highs?
Every cannabis retailer brags about the unbelievable number of strains they sell. Some retailers sell hundreds of strains, and they tend to add new strains every few weeks.
That might get you wondering if different strains cause different highs or if this is a complex marketing scheme designed to part you from your money. Let’s find out.
What Gets You High?
You probably know that there are three types of cannabis you can buy: indica, sativa, and hybrids.
Every budtender worth their green will tell you that indicas are renowned for their soothing effects, while sativas are famous for producing energetic and euphoric highs. Hybrids are crosses between two popular strains that usually produce the same – albeit toned down – effects as one of their ancestors, or a combination of inherited effects.
Now, you probably also know that each cannabis strain contains a various amount of THC and CBD and that THC is the chemical compound that gets you high.
But here’s the thing. Indicas, sativas, and hybrids can contain the same amounts of THC and CBD. So if all cannabis strains can contain the same amounts of cannabinoids, do they really produce different highs?
Cannabis Is More Than Cannabinoids
Although it’s true that THC is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis, the high you experience from weed is also heavily influenced by the presence of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
THC and CBD are the most popular cannabinoids, and they’re also the most abundant compounds in the cannabis plant. However, scientists identified over 100 cannabinoids so far, and most of them seem to produce some physical effects.
Scientists don’t really know what each of those cannabinoids do. But even though the research on cannabinoids is still in its infancy, it’s safe to assume that the combined effect of these chemicals will influence your high.
Terpenes are organic compounds that give plants their aroma and flavor. The cannabis plant contains more than 200 terpenes, and you might already be familiar with some of them without knowing it:
- Limonene – this terpene is also found in lemons and oranges. Limonene might provide anxiety and stress relief.
- Caryophyllene – also found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. This terpene might produce anti-inflammatory effects.
- Pinene – also found in pine needles, rosemary, and basil. This is the most popular terpene in the world, and it might help with pain relief and anxiety.
- Humulene – also found in hops. It might produce anti-inflammatory effects.
- Myrcene – also found in lemongrass, thyme, and mango. Might promote soothing effects.
The presence of different terpenes in your strain will influence your experience.
Flavonoids give plants their pigmentation, flavor, odor, and protect them from harmful UV rays. But the thing is, these chemicals can also produce biological effects in humans:
- Cannaflavin A – This flavonoid is commonly found in cannabis and it might have anti-inflammatory effects.
- Orientin – this flavonoid has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antidepressant effects.
- Quercetin – this flavonoid reduces inflammation and boosts the immune function.
The flavonoids in your strain will also influence your high.
Why Different Strains Cause Different Highs
Although it’s easy for scientists to examine the effects of each cannabinoid, cannabis is more than a combination of its components. All the chemicals in the cannabis plant interact and influence each other. This is known as the “entourage effect”.
So even though different strains might contain the same amounts of THC and CBD, their terpenes and flavonoids profiles might be different. As a result, the high you experience from consuming each strain will be different as well.
However, it’s worth noting that the cannabis plant contains small amounts of terpenes and flavonoids. Hybrids that share similar ancestors will produce the same effects because their chemical profile is almost identical.