Dear Old Hippie: Now that medical marijuana strains are finding their way to people in less-enlightened states, even back alley dealers are claiming their weed to be “genuine Super Sour Diesel Sufferin’ Succotash Lazy Hazy Kush” or whatever. WTF does any of this mean to someone who just wants to know how it will make them feel? – Joe in Kokomo
A: The creativity of people in the marketing business (which is what your local weed dealers are, after all) never fails to amaze me. But this reminds me of similar tactics back in the 60s and 70s, where every dealer worth their Kodak film canisters would always have Panama Red, Maui Wowie, Acapulco Gold, or anything from Colombia when you called. When you picked it up, though, it was generally the same brickweed they usually carried.
Yeah, there are some legit strains with pretty long names, but this actually follows the lead of – believe it or not – cat breeders, who create their longish registered cat names from the cat’s parents and cattery name. In the case of Super Silver Sour Diesel Haze (the real strain you’re referencing), it came from a cross between Super Silver Haze and Sour Diesel, each of which was painstakingly bred from a variety of other cannabis strains.
So what’s the big deal about different strains, you ask? They all produce different effects: the giggles or pain relief or a creative burst of thinking or a serious case of the munchies. Or something else entirely. A lot depends on your dose, smoking “just enough” vs. smoking way too much. Medical marijuana patients learn to find the strain (or combination thereof) that works best for their condition, and they generally stick with it. But if you can’t guarantee a reliable source for that kind all the time, as is often the case in non-medical states, you have to stick with the basics.
The basics, in this case, is the difference between the two main types of plant: indica and sativa. Cannabis Indica plants originated from the general region of India, including present-day Pakistan and Afghanistan (which has an area known as Kush), and they generally grow shorter and bushy, with fat leaves. Indicas tend to affect the body heavily, and make you feel and act “dopey” in higher doses, which is why MMJ patients use them for pain relief. In lower doses – without making you high – indicas can help with anxiety and panic attacks.
Cannabis Sativa plants have the familiar long, thin leaves you always see in pictures and grow to startling heights if not kept under control. Sativas are a head trip: they’re the type you want to battle depression and cloudy thinking, and they’re more stimulating mentally, physically, and appetite-wise. They can also induce paranoia, panic attacks, or even greenouts if you get too high too fast, especially if you’re a bit dehydrated or low on blood sugar.
You could say that sativas are for daytime and doing things, and indicas are for staying home and going to sleep.
TL,DR: Sativas act somewhat like stimulants, indicas act somewhat like depressants.
There are also hybrid strains that can give you the best of both worlds. But just knowing this much will help you figure out what you’re looking for, and hopefully your supplier will be able to come up with what you need.
Old Hippie is a MMJ patient living somewhere in the wilds of California whose only link with the real world is a 420 MHz radio. He blogs on BeyondChronic.com and vapes on Sour Diesel.
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