Why Some Cannabis Strains “Work” & Why Some “Don’t”

The only way to know if a cannabis strain “works” for you is to try it.

I’m a Californian who feels the same excitement when perusing a cannabis dispensary menu as he used to feel when reading a wine list. Back then, I always went to the reds while my wife was strictly a white wine drinker. To me, drinking white wine was like drinking water touched by fruit juice. Not my thing. Even among the reds, I was fussy. I avoided dinky little cabs and mealy-mouthed merlots. I wanted big reds with massive tannins and enough structure to have their own zip codes. On any wine list, some wines worked for me, most didn’t.

I’m now “California sober”. I don’t drink anymore. Don’t do coke (anymore either). I’m strictly a cannabis guy (who’s very open to psylocibin, too). Few things make me happier than when I walk into a cannabis dispensary and see the choices spread out under the glass counter like jewelry. How can you not love having soooooooo many choices? But, just like with wine, only a few of those choices actually interest me. There’s always a reason why some cannabis strains “work” and why some strains “don’t”.

Let’s get this out of the way: full blown cannabis legalization is coming to America. American citizens want it. That’s important! But there’s another component. The instant Congress removes cannabis from schedule one, the cannabis world as we know it will change completely; the banks, finally, will be allowed in. They dream of people using their credit cards at dispensaries. But that’s just the tip of the cannabis business iceberg. Once the investment banks can legally invest in the cannabis BUSINESS, the cannabis business will be here to stay. And then the rest of the world will begin to legalize it, too. Because money.

Let’s go (cannabis) shopping!

On the plus side, civilization as we know it will not fall. Quite the contrary. It will go on. However, it’s just a stone cold fact that legalization will stumble everywhere and every time it starts up. It’s really hard to take something that was so pointlessly illegal and legalize it. Consider the impact alcohol prohibition had on America. Not only did it instantly criminalize most Americans (for wanting a drink), it empowered organized crime. Now organized criminals had a product ordinary Americans wanted – alcohol.

Repealing Prohibition was relatively easy because alcohol had been legal before. Cannabis doesn’t have that same advantage. Even where it’s legal and becoming normalized, it still wears it’s “bandit” past like a stigma. Maybe that always will be a part of its appeal.

Me ‘N Weed

I didn’t smoke weed in high school because it put me to sleep and that didn’t interest me. Later in life, when depression – and life – had made sleeping hard, I turned to cannabis. I hoped it would put me to sleep now just like it did then. Which it absolutely does! But, that’s only if we’re talking about indicas. For the record, from the day I began smoking indicas at night to get to sleep, I have had great sleep.

The second time I went cannabis shopping at my local dispensary, having dealt with my sleep issue with the cannabis from one of their large jars, I wanted to know about the cannabis in all the other jars. Would they also make me sleepy? The answer: some, yes, lots of it, no! Hybrid strains filled many of those jars. Sativas filled the rest. I was about to learn that the world of cannabis isn’t just one thing. It’s a lot of things. With a lot of choices.

For me – and cannabis is an entirely subjective experience – indicas are “much of a muchness”. Because my THC tolerance is pretty high, I need flower high in THC. I like em north of 30%. That means that 30% of the cut flower I’ve stuffed into the bowl of my Genius pipe (I LOOOOOOOVE my Genius pipe!) is THC. The more THC in the smoke I inhale, the more benefits I’ll take from it. The main difference among indicas – in my experience – comes in the creative rush some indicas deliver just before the sleepiness kicks in.

The Cannabis-Creativity Connection

That was the biggest revelation of all. Cannabis’ impact on my creativity. Writing while drinking is a fool’s errand. Last night’s boozed up bloviating is this morning’s trash. Cocaine is even more deceptive. And embarrassing the morning after. Cannabis is the diametric opposite. That’s why the Black musicians who invented jazz gravitated to cannabis – and consumed it copiously – while they invented jazz and then sent it soaring. Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Mezz Mezrow (for instance), all stimulated their creativity using weed.

Satchmo taking some inspiration

THC and alcohol are completely different chemicals that do completely different things to our brains. While alcohol blurs our thoughts, cannabis focuses them. Yes, one can go down multiple rabbit holes of one’s own thought. But one is thinking. That’s not the case when one is drinking.

Cannabis and creativity are incredible together. How one uses cannabis to complement one’s creativity – that’s also entirely subjective. Some people like a more ethereal buzz to get them into a creative headspace. Me, I like to feel my mind focusing.

Naming Names

That’s why Durban Poison is my baseline, go-to sativa. A south African landrace strain (meaning though cannabis didn’t originate there, it’s been there for a very long time and acquired unique, localized characteristics), DP onsets quickly. A wide beam of focus and calm arises from within. One feels mentally energized. Whereas caffeine delivers a jittery jolt of mental energy, cannabis feels like solid ground. The mild but ever-present euphoria softens the energy’s edges. That makes it easier to focus it on specific mental tasks or problem solving. From my point of view, a story is a problem I need to solve.

The hybrid Trainwreck is a great example of a strain that delivers brilliant mental focus. Before the first time I sampled it years go, I read a review that said “It’ll make you want to clean your house with a toothbrush”. That appealed to me. And, damn if the review wasn’t spot on. I didn’t clean my house with a toothbrush, but the thought did cross my mind as I cleaned.

I’m not big on flavor. What I mean is, it’s the least of my concerns when strain shopping. Hey, if a strain I like for its mental effects also smells good and tastes interesting on the inhale and exhale? That’s icing on the cake! Red Congolese comes to mind. That’s a great strain with a very odd nose (to me it’s a little like over-ripe fruit). The buzz is exceptional for working.

The Search For The “Super Sativa”

I love variety. I love having variety on hand. The wine collector in me isn’t happy unless I have a dozen or so different sativas in my active rotation (the same goes for indicas). Mind you, that’s said with the caveat that most cannabis is now somewhat “hybridized”. Among the sativas currently “working” for me – meaning they’re making me super productive during my insanely over-scheduled days are a strain called “Super Boof” (put out by the Triple Se7en Company) and a strain called Smackdown put out by the Mohave Cannabis Co.

Smackdown is the perfect wake and bake strain. It epitomizes “why some cannabis strains ‘work’ and why some don’t”. It onsets with every bit of Durban Poison’s focus. But then, it slips into a whole “other gear”. That’s what it feels like. As if the cogs in one’s head were turning together, gently driving one toward a very real purpose. Hey, I don’t “get high” to avoid life, I get high to live my life to its fullest.

Cannabis is part of my mental health regimen. It’s what makes me work. I mean that for real. I take a mood stabilizer to keep my darkness at bay and have a wonderful therapist to talk through everything. The puzzle’s final piece – THC – helps me regulate my raging hypomania. The thing is, I don’t want to stop the raging, incessant sound-and-light show inside my head. That’s my creativity. But, I do need to regulate that show. Keep it from distracting and overwhelming me . THC drops a kind of mental scrim. Instead of thinking ten different creative thoughts at the same time, I think two or three (while the rest go into the background).

It’s much easier – and more peaceful – to live a creative life this way. In a sense, all cannabis works “for” me. The idea of having it in my life works for me. Some cannabis strains make my life and work even better.

My Genius Pipe is ready for action

Photo Credits

Cannabis Jars Photo 81627168 / Cannabis Strains © Roxana Gonzalez | Dreamstime.com

Cannabis Shopping Cart Photo 98283975 / Cannabis Strains © Olegmalyshev | Dreamstime.com

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