Cannabis 101

We blind-tasted cannabis strains and guessed: indica or sativa?

Published on September 27, 2019 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Sativa and indica. When you see these words, your brain is trained to see “upper weed” and “downer weed.” That’s because if you walked into a dispensary and asked the budtender for a product that will make you feel energized, sleepy, or chill, they will use these classifications as a guiding principle.

Indica vs. sativa vs. hybrid strains: understanding the differences between weed types

But is “sativa” and “indica” the best way to shop for a strain? To put it to the test, I had a group of consumers smoke the same strain and guess if it was a sativa or indica based on how they felt after 30 minutes.

After watching the above video, you’ll see that only one out of three smokers correctly guessed that they were smoking a sativa, and the others missed by guessing indica. Why?

What’s in a strain?

There are a few factors that influence the way a cannabis strain or product make your body feel, and day by day, we are learning more about those factors thanks to lab-sourced data.

Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds within cannabis that we associate with the plant’s benefits. The most common is THC, which gets you high, and CBD, which doesn’t cause a high.

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that produce a plant’s flavor and aroma. Examples of common cannabis terpenes are myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene.

What are cannabis terpenes and what do they do?

Cannabinoids, and possibly terpenes, create the effects we feel after consuming a cannabis strain or product. This is known as the entourage effect.

It is an individualistic process, so when you watch this video, the reason only one person was able to guess if the strain was a sativa or indica is because Lemon G interacted with each person’s body differently, producing different effects in each.

Lemon G is a THC-dominant strain led by the terpenes myrcene, limonene, and caryophyllene. Although it’s sold as a sativa at most cannabis shops, its chemical profile is remarkably similar to many hybrids and indicas like Kosher Kush, Bruce Banner, and Blackberry Kush. So that could have caused some confusion in a blind tasting.

For this reason, it’s important to educate yourself on cannabinoids, terpenes, the entourage effect, and how all affect your specific body.

It’s also important that cannabis producers get each and every cannabis product tested by accredited labs, and that they provide this information to consumers.

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Danté Jordan
Danté Jordan
Danté Jordan is a cannabis writer based in Los Angeles. He's written for Leafly, Weedmaps, High Times, and many more publications.
View Danté Jordan's articles
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