Over the past decade, cannabis has proven itself to be a powerful, interest-driven industry. Much of this consumer interest stems from the plant’s incredible versatility and varying medicinal qualities. As additional studies continue to provide evidence that different types of marijuana have the potential to help with varying medical / health conditions, it may be beneficial to stay ahead of the trends. And, because the world of cannabis is so vast, it’s important to bring it back to the basics. Understanding how different types of weed produce different kinds of effects, and can be implemented for many different reasons, is paramount.
What is a marijuana flower?
Marijuana flower, also considered the buds of the cannabis plant, is basically the fruit or what’s produced by the plant. This cannabis flower is where you can find all of the organic compounds — like terpenes, cannabinoids, etc. — that cannabis has to offer. And, it’s thanks to these compounds that marijuana flower, and cannabis in general, may provide a high and additional health benefits. It’s only the female species of the cannabis plant that can produce this flower and it must be dried before consumption.
Types of marijuana flower
Cannabis indica grows natively in many parts of the world including across the Hindu Kush mountain range in Asia, stretching across Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Cannabis indica is known for its signature wide, full leaves and shorter, bushier appearance. Unlike cannabis sativa, indica typically grows very quickly and produces marijuana flower more abundantly at a faster rate.
Strains of the indica family are typically enjoyed for their relaxing and sedative effects. Marijuana flower of the indica variety has the potential to relieve pain, increase appetite stimulation and relax mental hang-ups. Many think it’s cannabis indica’s higher levels of CBD and slightly lower levels of THC that allow for such physical relief and relaxation. Because of this, users typically indulge in indica strains in the evening, just before bed or as the night winds down.
Popular strains include:
- Hindu Kush
- Granddaddy Purple
- Northern Lights
- GMO Cookies
- Forbidden Fruit
Cannabis sativa grows natively in primarily arid, hot parts of the world like Africa, Central America and parts of Asia. These areas of growth often experience frequent and long sunny, dry days. Unlike cannabis indica, cannabis sativa usually grows to be tall and thin with longer leaves that resemble fingers. From core to tip, these marijuna plants can grow up to almost 12 feet.
While cannabis indica strains are enjoyed for their deeply relaxing effects, sativa’s are preferred for their uplifting and sometimes energizing effects. Many feel as if sativa strains provide more cerebral effects, as opposed to indica’s more physical effects. Users typically enjoy sativa strains’ boost of mental creativity / productivity in the morning or midday rather than bedtime like indicas. Another difference between the two is found in their maturation time. Cannabis sativa plants can actually take quite a while to mature because of their extreme conditions. This may also be why sativa strains typically hold higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD than indicas or hybrids.
Popular strains include:
- Durban Poison
- Sour Diesel
- Jack Herer
- Maui Wowie
- Lemon Haze
- Green Crack
With all things considered in the “sativa vs. indica” conversation, hybrid strains provide cannabis users with a happy medium / balance between the two. Hybrids are typically grown on cannabis farms or greenhouses by budtenders cultivating a combination of indica and sativa strains. It’s this combination that often determines what the hybrid looks like, grows like, and ultimately smokes like.
The element of creation / experimentation makes hybrids a great option for those potentially seeking a strain that has high levels of THC, but is still balanced by other cannabinoids such as CBD. Hybrid strains are often cultivated with specific goals in mind — like providing pain relief or soothing anxiety — and therefore may produce a range of effects depending on what the budtender is aiming for. It’s for this reason hybrids may be used in the daytime or at night, depending on their principle effects.
Popular strains include:
- White Widow
- Wedding Cake
- Blue Dream
Much unlike the aforementioned type of marijuana, CBD is not a type of strain, but rather a type of cannabinoid. Behind THC, CBD is the second-most abundant cannabinoid in cannabis plants, both hemp and marijuana. The above sections show just how important CBD can be to providing balance to one’s high and enhancing any strains ability to calm the system — all without producing any psychoactive effects itself.
Some cannabis users prefer CBD-dominant strains that actually possess very little THC, or none at all. Since it’s become one of the most studied and well-understood cannabinoids, CBD is thought to be helpful in treating stress and anxiety disorders, inflammation, nausea and chronic pain. The popular cannabinoid can also present a great option for those seeking a safe, non-intoxicating form of cannabis.
Popular strains include:
- Charlotte’s Web
- Ringo’s Gift
- Sour Tsunami
To sum it up
By reducing the different types of cannabis strains / flower to the basics, it becomes even clearer how versatile marijuana can truly be. From providing soothing, heavy highs to boosting one’s energy and creative spirit, cannabis proves its multifaceted abilities. And, with so much variety, it seems fair to say an ideal cannabis flower exists for any and everyone interested, it just may take some searching and experimentation.
What is flower at a dispensary?
Regardless of setting, flower is used as a general term to refer to the smokable part of a cannabis plant. Flower at a dispensary is just this — dried cannabis buds often referred to as nugs or nuggets. Cannabis flower can be sold in just this basic form, or, already ground and in a pre-rolled joint. Flower actually presents cannabis users with a variety of different consumption methods after it’s been put through a grinder: pipe, bong, joint, blunt, etc.
Will hemp flower get me high?
No. While hemp does produce a huge variety of different cannabinoids including that of THC — the compound that creates the high — it doesn't produce enough of it to create any psychoactive or intoxicating effects. Hemp flower, instead, contains large amounts of the cannabinoid CBD. Cannabis users smoking hemp flower are probably doing so because of its high CBD content or for the ritual of smoking without the high.
What is rough cut flower?
Rough cut flower is what many call machine cut cannabis flower, as opposed to that which is hand trimmed by budtenders. Rough cut flower is typically considered less premium seeing as it’s mostly “popcorn bud”, potentially with sugar leaves still attached. Although this can still be cannabis of quality, hand-trimmed flower that sport bigger or better quality buds are usually preferred. Strain type can also have a significant impact on the quality of either version of trimmed flower.
Can you smoke fresh picked bud?
No. Unfortunately, fresh marijuana flower cannot be smoked directly following its trimming. To become smokable, flower must be dried and cured. Just like in the harvesting of other fresh plants, cannabis is dried to a certain extent and then cured to preserve its powerful natural compounds. Without following these practices, fresh bud is much too moist to smoke and will not produce one’s desired high or other potential health benefits.
Flower vs. oil — what’s the difference?
Cannabis oil or concentrates — the vast variety of them — are very different than their flower counterpart. Oil is typically much more potent than flower, as it’s quite literally a concentrated oil made from the flower / bud itself. During the creation of concentrates, plant matter is largely lost in favor of isolating more desired compounds like THC and CBD. It’s for this reason some enjoy flower; for it’s more natural flavor and aroma. The two types of weed here are very different, though both can produce enjoyable highs / general cannabis experiences.