10 Best Cannabis Strains for Beginners
When beginners start as teenagers, they are at the mercy of peer “intelligence.” Buddies tell them what they should try and what they’ll enjoy.
The fact is those other teens only know what their dealer is telling them. Buying on the black market, they don’t have choices. At best, they are cost-driven, buying what they can afford.
There’s not much hope of changing adolescent thinking. But, as legalization opens new markets to new demographics, more adults will be making the move towards the pleasure and benefits of cannabis.
10 Best Cannabis Strains for Beginners
The best scenario has knowledgeable cannabis users and friends introducing you to cannabis in a social setting where they might answer your “how to” questions. Or, if you’re prepared, you can make a list of questions an experienced budtender will answer.
But, here are some recommendations the “experts” make:
1. Blue Dream: At one time or another, any cannabis smoker has used Blue Dream. It is mild and undistinguished in many ways. Blue Dream is a Sativa-dominant hybrid that offers a mild euphoria and relaxed body.
It can relieve pain and depression but improve focus and creativity. Its moderate THC level (17%-24%) level hits early and hard with a creative rush. It is used regularly by patients who want pain relief and its blueberry taste and aroma.
2. AC/DC: The name is just counter-culture enough to attract cannabis newcomers. With a high CBD and low THC content, AC/DC relaxes cannabis users enough to bring them back for more. There’s no head high here, but it will relax and relieve pain.
The CBD: THC ratio runs 20: 1, so there are no psychoactive results. The skunk and earth tastes and aroma will turn off some beginners. But, the strong impact on the body can leave you calm and happy.
3. Harlequin: This is another strain on just about everyone’s top ten. High in CBD and low in THC, Harlequin offers a smooth relaxation with little or no psychoactive effect. A 75 percent Sativa, it relieves pain without sedation.
With its CBD: THC at 5: 2, Harlequin allows focus and clarity despite its calm. Beginners also like its touch of mango in taste and aroma.
4. Jack Herer: This one should be part of every newcomer’s education. You can introduce cannabis novices to Jack’s history and meaningful role in contemporary cannabis history. This strain has raises the barre on THC content, still mild enough to avoid the most threatening side effects.
Jack Herer offers a real but moderate psychoactive buzz. This may be more in line with what beginners expect — without being too much. There’s no panic or paranoia, but there is an energetic creative rush. Jack Herer is promoted for treatment of neurological and mental disorders like PTSD.
5. Plushberry: Here’s another starter with some but not much THC. Plushberry is an Indica-dominant hybrid for relaxation without sedation. But, some tests show a Sativa dominance.
Flush with the taste of blueberries and blackberries, Plushberry. You may also taste or smell its Black Cherry Soda parentage. It has 15 to 25 percent THC, but its CBD content calms and controls stress and anxiety. It’s a beautiful plant.
6. Cannatonic: The CBD: THC ratio comes in at 2: 1. That makes it a top choice for medical problems and first-time cannabis users. It produces a lemony aroma with full-body melt experience.
You can use it throughout the day without losing focus on your work as Cannatonic treats your chronic pain. But, users may wonder where the joy is in its calming effects.
7. Hindu Kush: This one is more what a beginner might expect. Earthy and musky, it fights anxiety, nausea, pain, and stress.
More potent than the others listed here, Hindu Kush is a pure Indica with a content that may cause coughing and dry throat. The Indica affects mind and body quickly with a heavy sedation preceding munchies and euphoria. It may leave you giggly and couch-locked for up to three hours.
8. Master Kush: This landrace owes its heritage to the same regions as the Hindu Kush. Earthy aroma and totally relaxing, Master Kush is 90 percent Indica with up to 24 percent THC and one percent CBD.
Winner of two Cannabis Cup awards, it has an earthy smell and taste with a touch of lemon citrus. Master Kush is totally relaxing with enough sedation to put insomniacs to sleep.
9. Girl Scout Cookies: GSC produces the effects beginners expect. There are a euphoric response and general body relaxation that come from its high THC (up to 28%) and solid CBD (1%).
Hugely popular, GSC taste and smell earthly sweet. The long-lasting effects relieve anxiety, depression, and stress. It’s a favorite of new users who tend to stick with it.
10. Trainwreck: This potent strain offers a challenge to new cannabis users. It tests at Sativa (80%) and Indica (20%) and 18%-25% THC.
This combination packs a wallop, especially for the inexperienced. You’ll feel creative and euphoric. But, it also relieves PTSD, pain, and stress.
Best Cannabis Strains for Beginners
Naming the “best” of anything makes some assumptions. And, the central assumption here is that beginners want to experience what they perceive as the excitement of cannabis consumption. They’ve heard legends about the psychoactive trip that marijuana has promised but are advised to ease their way into that.
You assume that the average newcomer is surprised by the level of sedation. And, you assume that cannabis novices are not looking for heavy sedation. So, this list has been ordered to serve to those assumptions.
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Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Strains
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Cannabis use is on the rise in the United States. A 2018 study notes that, while cannabis use among teens has decreased, American adults are increasingly using cannabis on the daily.
According to Forbes, the global cannabis industry is estimated to be worth $7.7 billion. It’s projected to hit $31.4 billion by 2021.
The industry is booming in part because cannabis can be a versatile form of medication. A number of research studies have found that cannabis has the potential to help with a variety of medical conditions, including anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy.
But, as any recreational or medical marijuana user can tell you, not all cannabis is created equal. Different strains of cannabis produce different effects, and thus can be used for different reasons.
If marijuana is legal in your state and you’re looking to try it, but not sure which strains best suit your needs, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to marijuana strains below.
If you’ve read a little about marijuana, or if you enter most dispensaries, you might see the words indica, sativa, and hybrid. Generally, most people divide marijuana into these three categories.
Indica, which originates from the Hindu Kush mountains of India, is believed to have a relaxing effect on the user. Sativa has a more energizing effect, while hybrid is a combination of the two.
Many industry experts, however, are reconsidering the indica, sativa and hybrid categories. According to Amos Elberg, head of data science at Confident Cannabis, these terms are more or less meaningless.
“We see samples of all cannabis products tested through our partner labs, and when we look at all the data, particularly of the chemical makeup of flower, we see no identifiable characteristics that are consistent with indica, sativa, or hybrid,” he explains.
“Essentially people are using these terms as catchalls for effect, but they’re not all consistent with those effects. Some indica makes some people wired, not couch-locked, for instance.”
In other words, people shouldn’t be alarmed if a reportedly energizing sativa strain has more of a mellowing effect, or if an indica strain makes them feel more bubbly and excitable.
Beyond indica, sativa, and hybrid, dispensaries might divide the types of cannabis they have into strains. Strains are essentially different breeds of cannabis, and they’re bred to have specific effects on the user.
But if the terms indica, sativa, and hybrid are essentially useless categorizations, are strain names also meaningless?
Not exactly, says Elberg.
“Not all seeds that are sold under the same name are genetically identical, or even necessarily related. Some producers may choose to create a strain name essentially as a branding exercise, or to identify their product with an existing name because they believe the product matches characteristics the market expects from product sold under that name,” Elberg explains.
There are, however, still consistencies among product sold under specific strain names, Elberg adds.
“In general, for the less common names, product sold by different vendors tends to be pretty consistent,” he notes. “For the most common strain names, however, a wider variety of different products are sold.”
If you purchase product from a quality source, the strains should be more or less consistent. Bear in mind, however, that every person reacts differently to cannabis.
The strain you choose depends on what effect you desire. As mentioned earlier, cannabis has a range of medical uses, but some strains are better for certain conditions than others.
It’s also worth researching the potential adverse effects of the strain. Many of the more common strains, which you can find below, list dry mouth, dry eyes, and dizziness as possible side effects. Marijuana also has the potential to interact with medications you might be taking. Do not operate machinery when using marijuana.
Check with your doctorIf you’re interested in trying cannabis, and you’re looking to help treat a medical condition or currently taking any medications, speak with your doctor first.
According to user reviews on Leafly, here’s what people might expect from a few of the most popular marijuana strains.
Originating from Acapulco, Mexico, Acapulco Gold is a well-known and highly praised strain of cannabis. It’s noted for its euphoria-inducing, energizing effects. It’s said to reduce fatigue, stress, pain, and even nausea.
Blue Dream is relaxing and soothing, but it isn’t a total sedative. This makes it perfect for easing pain, cramps, or inflammation for when you can’t afford to fall asleep. Plus, it’s said to lift your mood and give you a feeling of euphoria.
Purple Kush is great for inducing a state of bliss so that you feel relaxed, happy, and sleepy. It’s often used for reducing pain and muscle spasms. Its sedating effects means it can be used to reduce insomnia.
A highly energizing, mood-lifting strain, Sour Diesel is great for giving you a burst of productive energy. It also has notable destressing and pain-relieving effects.
Bubba Kush is a relaxing, sleep-inducing strain. It’s perfect for helping you fight insomnia and get some shut-eye. It also offers pain-reducing, stress-relieving results.
Granddaddy Purple is another highly relaxing strain. It’s often praised for its insomnia-fighting and stress-reducing results. Users also note that it can make you feel euphoria and increase hunger, which is great if you’re experiencing a lack of appetite.
Originating from the Hindu Kush mountains near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Afghan Kush is super relaxing and sleep-inducing. This, too, can help you feel hungry if you’re experiencing a lack of appetite, and can relieve pain.
LA Confidential is another relaxing and sleep-inducing strain that is often used to soothe insomnia. It’s also said to have noticeable anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects, which makes it a favorite among people with chronic pain.
Maui Wowie can help you feel super relaxed, yet energetic and creative. It reduces fatigue, too, making it great for days when you need to be productive.
Golden Goat is notable for making users feel euphoric and creative. It’s also great for reducing fatigue and stress while lifting your mood.
Northern Lights is another relaxing, sleep-inducing strain. It’s also known for its mood-lifting effects, and it can be used to relieve insomnia, pain, stress, and depression.
White Widow improves your mood, gives you energy, and relaxes you all at once. It’s said to help reduce pain and stress, as well as feelings of depression. If you’re feeling fatigued, White Widow might help you stay energized and alert.
Super Silver Haze
Another energizing strain, Super Silver Haze is said to produce feelings of euphoria, relieves pain and nausea, and lifts your mood. This makes it excellent for stress relief.
Made famous by the 2008 eponymous movie, Pineapple Express has a pineapple-like scent. It’s relaxing and mood lifting, but is also said to give you an energetic buzz. This is the sort of strain that could be great for productivity.
Fruity Pebbles OG, or FPOG, is associated with inducing euphoria and relaxation, which could make it great for stress relief. It often makes users feel giggly, helps reduce nausea, and increases appetite.
If marijuana is legal in your state and you’re interested in trying — or even growing — different types of cannabis strains, there are a number of products that can make your life a little easier.
Growing Laws Legislation around growing marijuana differs from state to state. Before you decide to grow, make sure you’ve done your research.
Some people might prefer inhaling cannabis over smoking it through a pipe, bong, or joint. This desktop vaporizer heats up cannabis and expels the vapor into a balloon. The person then inhales the air from the balloon.
The vaporizer can be used with dried herbs or liquid concentrates, and can be purchased here.
Magical Butter Kit
Cannabutter — or cannabis-infused butter — is the basis of many edibles. Unfortunately, making cannabutter can be a lengthy and labor-intensive process.
This butter kit, however, makes it easy to infuse herbs into butter. It has its own heating unit and thermostat, which ensures that the product and butter are at the ideal temperature throughout the process.
tCheck Dosage Checker
The tCheck Dosage Checker tests the strength of cannabis-infused liquids — like alcohol-based tinctures. It can also test cannabis-infused olive oil, ghee (clarified butter), and coconut butter, which will help you determine how strong your edibles are before you indulge.
Unfortunately, it only checks liquids, not dried herb.
Grinding up cannabis can be time-consuming, so the Palm Mincer can be quite useful. It fits perfectly into your palm, and it can be used to chop up cannabis quickly and efficiently. What’s more it’s dishwasher safe, so it’s easy to clean off the sticky cannabis resin. You can buy it I here.
Harvest Starter Kit
If you want to start growing your own cannabis, this convenient starter kit contains everything you need to harvest it.
The grow kit includes a trimming tray, a microscope for examining the buds to determine whether they’re ready for harvest, three types of pruning shears, a disinfecting spray for your tools, a drying rack, and gloves.
Note: Even if marijuana is legal in your state, it continues to be illegal under federal law.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and journalist based in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.
Last medically reviewed on September 26, 2018
Not all cannabis is created equal. Different strains of cannabis produce different effects, and thus can be used for different reasons. If marijuana is legal in your state and you’re looking to try it, but not sure which strains best suit your needs, we’ve got you covered with this beginner’s guide.