Table of Contents Hide
These days, it’s almost hard to fathom how fast marijuana is growing in popularity. In 2022, experts valued the industry at a whopping 16.7 billion dollars, and they expect its compound annual growth rate to hold steady at over 25%. For reference, the total revenue of the NFL hovers around $17 billion, meaning that we’re spending a lot on pot!
Of course, with this explosion in popularity, it’s safe to say that there are plenty of cannabis strains vying for your attention and your dollar. For both newcomers and enthusiasts, choosing the best marijuana strains can be a tough prospect. With so many options, how can you tell which ones are worth trying?
Before you head to the dispensary, let’s take a look at some delicious, tried-and-tested strains, as well as how to pick the right one for your preferences.
Picking the Best Marijuana Strains
Before we dive in, it’s important to make sure you understand a few terms, especially if you’re thinking about trying cannabis for the first time. The terms enthusiasts use to describe weed strains can be confusing to newcomers, but being familiar with them can help you find a strain you’ll love. Here’s some common jargon worth knowing:
First off, what is a strain? Variations of cannabis will often look and smell different, and they can even have different effects. Breeders often name their strains as a nod to these unique differences.
Indica is one of two species of cannabis. It has broad leaves and dense flowers, and it grows in colder northern climates. Some types of indica turn purple over time, and many can help with relaxation, pain, or nausea.
The second species of cannabis is sativa, a tall plant with narrower leaves that takes longer to grow than indica. This species is often associated with the “buzz” we expect from marijuana. It also tends to be great for improving focus and helping with anxiety.
As you might expect, hybrids combine both indica and sativa. Labels will often include terms like “indica-dominant” or “sativa-dominant” to help you understand what to expect.
Terpenes, or “terps,” are chemical compounds that give a strain its distinctive characteristics. These fragrant oils create distinctive aromas, colors, and flavors. Different terpenes also have different medical effects, such as pain relief or anti-depressant effects.
THC is the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the psychoactive compound that gives weed its characteristic effects. You’ll also see variations like THC-V, which has slightly different effects.
When buying weed, you may find it helpful to look at the THC percentage. This gives you an idea of the amount of THC per gram, though this isn’t always a good indicator of the effects you’ll feel.
Landrace refers to a pure strain of cannabis that has never been cross-bred with any other strain. These types of cannabis always come from one specific region of origin.
1. Blue Dream
Hailing from the West Coast, this bestselling purple-hued strain has risen to extreme popularity over the years. Beginners love it for its widespread accessibility and low cost, and enthusiasts come back to it time and time again for the dreamy, nostalgic high.
As a sativa-dominant hybrid, Blue Dream combines the fruity Californian Blueberry strain with the sativa-heavy Haze strain. The effects are potent but balanced, with both sedative and energizing properties.
Just one of many delicious-sounding strain names on this list, Gelato lives up to the sweet promise of its label. It’s also one of the most popular marijuana strains grown in California today, thanks in part to its sweet smell and creamy taste.
Gelato is a balanced hybrid that rose to prominence sometime in the early 2010s. With eye-catching purple buds, it has a woody, citrusy flavor profile and offers relaxing and calming effects for anyone looking for pain relief or a happy high.
3. Ice Cream Cake
As its name suggests, Ice Cream Cake offers a delicious, feel-good flavor that includes hints of cream and vanilla with a touch of nuttiness. This is thanks, in part, to its lineage: Ice Cream Cake combines the best of the Gelato as well as Wedding Cake strains.
It has a colorful variation of shades, which range from deep green to rich purple. Known for its soothing and relaxing effects, Ice Cream Cake may leave you chill and couch-locked for a while! Beginners should be aware of this and start with small amounts.
4. Purple Punch
No matter what options you find when you search “cannabis dispensary near me,” the chances are good that your local shop will carry Purple Punch.
This popular, indica-dominant strain has neon green buds streaked with distinctive purple hues, though that’s not where the name comes from. Instead, Purple Punch gets its name from the rich notes of blueberry, grape, and sweet vanilla. Its “punch” comes from terpenes like myrcene, pinene, and beta-caryophyllene, all of which offer an uplifting, euphoric high.
5. Gorilla Glue
This Nevada-grown strain is a frequent cannabis cup award-winner and the first choice of many when it’s time to buy weed, and for good reason. Sometimes called “Original Glue,” you may also see it listed as “GG4.”
Gorilla Glue gets its name for its couch-locking effects: after a few puffs, users get glued down wherever they are. Its buds also carry a sticky resin that may have cemented the name in place.
As a hybrid strain, Gorilla Glue has strong sativa effects as well as a strong, earthy aroma for a solid daytime high. Beginners should be aware that this strain is potent, as it often includes around 30% THC.
6. Durban Poison
Durban Poison is an interesting strain. As a landrace cultivar from the coast of South Africa, it once grew pure and wild with no genetic interference. Since then, it has become the parent of several other beloved strains.
This strain is 100% sativa and has a high THC-V makeup with rich notes of pine and black pepper. Its energizing terpenes offer the distinctive “buzz” most of us love when we buy marijuana. Don’t try to relax on this intoxicating strain!
7. Sour Diesel
Anyone looking for a popular East Coast strain will love the tried-and-tested Sour Diesel hybrid, also nicknamed “Sour D.” Combining popular parent strains like Chemdawg and Super Skunk, it’s no wonder this iteration has become beloved across the country! Despite its uninteresting green shade, it has a distinctive and pungent taste as well as earthy, smoky flavors with undertones of citrus and spice.
Sour Diesel is a sativa-dominant hybrid. It offers a fast-acting, mood-lifting high with energizing effects for anyone seeking a boost during the daytime. Its appetite-boosting effects may also lead to a case of the munchies.
8. OG Kush
It’s safe to say that OG Kush has become almost iconic thanks to its popularization by various rappers, hip-hop artists, and celebrities. This West Coast strain has a punchy, aromatic flavor profile and earthy, smoky flavoring. It has since become the parent strain of several popular varieties, one of which we’ll talk about below.
OG Kush is a fairly balanced but potent hybrid, as it includes around 55% sativa and 45% indica. Users find themselves with a euphoric, feel-good high that can create a mellow, relaxing experience.
9. Girl Scout Cookies
A descendant of both OG Kush and Durban Poison, Girl Scout Cookies includes all of the perks of its parents along with a sweet, delicious taste. In addition to the pungent flavor profile, expect notes of mint and chocolate as well as cherry and lemon. On a visual level, this strain tends to come with vibrant green and purple buds laced with yellow-orange hairs.
The THC levels, which often climb over 25%, give this strain heady potency for anyone seeking to purchase marijuana for a solid high. Couch-lock and euphoria are common after use, and many people also use this strain for medicinal purposes like the treatment of stress, depression, or anxiety.
10. Pineapple Express
If newbies only know one weed strain, it’s most likely to be this one. Thanks to the Seth Rogen movie of the same name, Pineapple Express exploded in popularity in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and that popularity was well-deserved. What’s more, Rogen and his co-writer Evan Goldberg actually developed the strain themselves!
This powerful, sativa-dominant strain is a daytime favorite that offers an uplifting buzz and plenty of cerebral energy. The strain has deep green buds and a floral, fruity aroma. As you might expect, users can expect a tropical flavor palate that’s rich in pineapple and citrus.
Choose the Right Strain
Whether you’re looking for your first weed strain or a popular alternative to your usual favorites, the list above is a great place to start. From calming relaxation to energetic highs, all of the best marijuana strains we’ve mentioned above offer a great experience for any cannabis user. Check out your local dispensary’s menu to give one of them a shot!
Looking for more helpful guides like this one? Be sure to check out our other posts before you go.