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Walking into a dispensary for the first time can be overwhelming. There are so many different strains of cannabis, all with their unique superlatives and aphorisms. Cookies or kush, Afghan or Acapulco Gold, Green or gorilla glues, indica, sativa, hybrid – what does it all mean?

Luckily, CannaSoure is here to help you decipher any strain anywhere. Of course, how a person reacts to marijuana is unique, but knowing strain types and high profiles can help you make the right decisions for the right experience with cannabis. Being an informed consumer can help you find the right bud for a suitable event.

There are four big cannabis categories used for smoking, derived from three landraces and named with a wide variety of terms that make for a great Shel Silverstein poem. No, seriously. So the next time you find yourself in a cannabis dispensary near Portland, don’t be overwhelmed, knowledgeable staff at CannaSource has got you covered.

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The Big Four Cannabis Categories

When choosing the right cannabis flower, it always helps to go over the basics of cannabis sativa, indica, ruderalis (CBD) and hybrid variants. Each has a different geographic origin, use and what to expect, while three are derived from actual landrace strains. All dispensaries advertise these four distinct flower types, with general guidelines for the high profile they induce.

Landraces or Strains?

Humans have been cultivating cannabis for millennia. Hemp, an industrial cultivar of cannabis sativa L with low levels of THC, has fibers cultivated by humans for weaving clothing, ropes and paper. But it didn’t stop the early heads from finding the good stuff.

Because of our limited transportation options until the modern day, mean certain strains of cannabis are called landraces. Landraces are cannabis strains with a concrete geographic region of origin. These cannabis varieties have likely existed for centuries. Landrace strains tend to be pure indicas or sativas, not hybrids. The general rule is every landrace is a strain, but not every strain is a landrace.

With landraces, you can expect a certain level of consistency in effects, but there is still some variation within each strain. There are more than 30 landraces across the world, and it is from these landraces that more modern strains have emerged. We’ll review more popular sativa and indica landraces before explaining cannabis ruderalis and hybrid strains.

Sativa Landraces

Sativa landraces have evolved to thrive in warmer, more tropical environments, resulting in many equatorial and southern hemisphere origins. With the right conditions, cannabis Sativa plants will grow tall, with thin-fingered leaves and provide that trademark “head high.” they also generally have orange, red and yellow coloration. Sativa produces a stimulating, energizing and creative high, making them the perfect choice for social gatherings or struggles against fatigue.

  • Acapulco Gold: cultivated near and named for the Mexican city of Acapulco region, this was one of the most popular cultivars in the 1960s, recognized by Shel Silverstein in his epic poem, “The Smoke Off.”
  • Durban Poison: hails from the port city of Durban in South Africa; this landrace has a genetic history traceable to the 14th century. With a high THC content, this landrace is probably the strongest.
  • Thai: cultivated in Thailand, there are two Thai landraces. One is prized for its chocolate, coffee-based flavor, while the other is sought after for its citrus notes and energetic highs.

Indica Landraces

Indica landraces were first cultivated in central Asia, molded to better deal with cooler climates and more rugged terrain. They’re known to have broad leaves with dark green, blue and purple hues. Indicas produce a calming, sedative, relaxing high that treats pain or sleeping issues. These shorter, sturdier and more resinous variants offer a more calming “body high,” though not as much as CBD plants.

  • Afghan Kush: cultivated in the Kush mountain region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, it’s a resinous bud well suited for hash production.
  • Hindu Kush: cultivated in the valleys of the Kush mountain region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, with bushier buds and spicier aromas.
  • Mazar I Sharif: derived from the Hindu Kush, it features a unique red coloring and contains higher amounts of CBD

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Ruderalis Landraces

Cannabis Ruderalis is the newest landrace form and is not as well cultivated. Some scientists believe the landrace is derived from indica and sativa hybrids. Others think it might be a wild ancestor of modern cannabis plants. As this variant was not as well cultivated, it has facilitated cross-breeding with different strains and resulted in fewer pure ruderalis landraces.

Ruderalis contains lower THC and higher CBD concentrations, making it a natural candidate for CBD products. However, its short flowering cycle and auto-flowering capability (it does not rely on photosynthesis to flowers like sativa or indica) were a favorite for growers looking to craft new hybrid strains that could grow faster indoors and without as much light.

Are There Hybrid Landraces?

Hybrid cannabis strains do not have landraces, as they have no geographic origin that predates the modern cannabis industry. Moreover, as a hybrid cannabis plant can contain any percentage of sativa, indica or ruderalis landraces within them, it’s hard to say a hybrid plant has any one geographic origin. Thus, hybrid plants are called strains.

There exist many different types of hybrid strains. Many modern sativa strains are hybrids of different sativa plants. Indica strains are hybrids of indica plants. True hybrids are any mixture of sativa, indica and ruderalis, usually favoring Sativa-dominant or Indica-dominant. Blue Dream, Gorilla Glue and White Widow are perhaps the most famous hybrid strains of all time and cultivation pioneers.

Colors, Cookies and Kush, Oh My!

The stoner vocabulary is a wide variety of colloquial terms and bywords for smokers, smoking and smoker essentials. From “puff-puff-pass” to “left is law,” there are a lot of adages to remember in the cannabis community. But with the increasing legality of growing cannabis, keeping track of the strain names can also be challenging.

However, there are keywords used as prefixes, suffixes and modifiers to describe the lineage of a strain. CannaSource explains the most common adjectives and what you can expect from them.

Cannabis Descriptors To Know

Wondering why your Tangerine Dream buds aren’t more orange? It’s because original weed strains were affixed with names, including the color of the leaves. However, the bud will still show highlights of purple, blue, orange, yellow et al., depending on its lineage.
The original Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) is an indica-dominant strain much beloved in the medical marijuana community. A sweet, sometimes sugary, flavor is key to the cookie’s experience. Any strain with the cookies moniker will likely be a derivative of GSC.
Made famous by the sativa-dominant hybrid, Blue Dream, there are multiple dreams out there. The primary effect of any dream strain is an uplifting experience, but different dreams can help with sleep, creativity or social anxiety.
Fruit and berry strains are so named, usually with a nod to color, flavor and aroma; blueberry is an indica strain crossed from Purple Thai and Thai with a blueberry flavor. Banana kush tastes and smells like a fresh batch of bananas. Cherry Pie tastes like a sweet cherry. Et cetera, et cetera.
The Original Glue, otherwise known as Gorilla Glue #4, is a strain known for gluing perusers to the couch. If you see a strain with the glue moniker, its parentage comes directly from this Cannabis Cup and High Times Jamaican World Cup winner.
Any strain using the haze moniker has most likely derived from the Original Haze, first cultivated in Santa Cruz, California. Perhaps the most famous variant is Purple Haze, sharing the name of Jimi Hendrix’s iconic song and providing a blast-to-past with dreamy euphoria.
Although named for the Kush mountain region, it has become global shorthand for indica strains of incredible quality derived from the Kush landrace. It also provides plenty of wordplay opportunities: “Cushy kush kushing cushion.” (Translation: a good place to smoke.)
Despite what popular culture might say otherwise, OG stands for Ocean Grown and refers to Southern California’s Ocean Grown Kush. The indica dominant strain is famous for being grown with a refreshing sea breeze. OGs nowadays are usually derived from this bud yet are not always ocean grown.

CannaSource Is Ready To Source All Your Cannabis Needs in Portland

CannaSource wants to ensure you feel informed when you enter the store and know exactly what to expect. Whether recreational customers or medical patients, we source all your cannabis needs with experienced budtenders who know their strains and how to enjoy them. With this knowledge, we guarantee you’ll never be left wondering what type of strain you’re getting.

For more information on cannabis products, cultivation tips and best practices, check out our quality marijuana dispensary here in Portland. Can’t make it in? Call us at (971) 254-4374 or contact us online. Happy smoking!