Variety is a hallmark of the cannabis industry. Not only are there tons of different ways to ingest cannabis, but there are a lot of unique strains that can produce distinct effects. Depending on the experience you are hoping to have, cannabis can be used to energize, relax, or produce an effect that falls somewhere in between.
There are literally hundreds of strains out there (and counting!) and selecting the right one will have an enormous impact on what kind of experience you have. Strains will also vary based on THC content—the factor that will contribute most to determining how intensely you experience the side effects of cannabis.
In this article, we highlight six of the best strains on the market based on whether they are sativa, indica, or a hybrid strain.
Finding the strain that is best for you is a completely subjective experience. There is no “best strain” in an objective sense of the word. To that end, the examples highlighted below have earned their way onto our list through years of public advocacy, and stats that distinguish them from other options marijuana strains on the market. Read on to learn more!
Best Sativa Strains
A sativa strain is typically associated with a mind and energetic high. In general, sativa plants are more challenging to raise, and produce fewer flowers, often resulting in higher prices, and even scarcity at times. Sativa strains tend to have a more citric, fruity smell and taste.
As the name suggests, Green Crack is a bright green strain of cannabis that is known for its energizing effect. The flavor profile is fruity, with many users describing notes of mango, and the sensations it produces have been associated with diminished stress and fatigue.
Green Crack has an average THC level of 17%, making it respectable, but not overpowering.
Jack Herer was produced in the 1990s and distributed in the Netherlands where it gained significant popularity. Named after an author and activist of the same name, it is known for its potency and its ability to produce significant amounts of resin.
The strain is award-winning, and can usually be identified by its distinct flavor: spicy, with notes of pine needles. The strain grows best in tropical climates but has been produced with varying degrees of success all around the world.
Jack Herer average THC level is approximately 17%.
Made by crossing “Chem Dawg,” and “Super Skunk” Sour Diesel is a well-known strain that has found its way into the pop culture lexicon through its inclusion in popular media such as music and film.
Unlike some of the other flavors that we have and will highlight in this guide, Sour Diesel is typically described in less than pleasant terms, with a diesel-like taste that lends the strain its name.
Effects tend to be fast-acting and energizing, making it a good strain for daytime use. Sour Diesel features an average THC level of 18%.
Super Silver Haze
Recognized for its spicy, almost pepper-like flavor profile, Super Silver Haze is known for its energizing effects that have made it a popular medicinal option for people that are looking to stimulate their appetites or reduce pain. Super Silver Haze has been around for decades, receiving a number of high-profile awards when it was submitted to a range of contests in the late 90s.
Super Silver Haze features a THC level of 19.7% on average.
Acapulco Gold distinguishes itself both through long-time fame, and now, a growing scarcity. It is perhaps because of its desirable reputation that many cannabis users are now having a hard time tracking Acapulco Gold down.
Those that do find it will be treated to a sweet, almost toffee-like flavor that is known to linger on the palate even after the cannabis has been ingested. The bud itself features a similarly brown, toffee-like exterior that serves as a rich source of resin.
Acapulco Gold features an average THC level of about 19%.
Durban Poison is one of the most famous “daytime” strains on the market because it is known for producing a sober, clear-headed effect that allows the user to remain highly functional throughout the day. Perhaps for that reason, it is often the top choice by creatives and other professionals that wish to implement cannabis into their routine without sacrificing productivity.
The strain tends to feature very sweet notes that remind some of lemon candy. Medicinal users often use this strain for energy and appetite stimulation. It’s a potent strain, with THC levels often reaching 25%.
Best Indica Strains
Indica strains are typically used to induce sleep, provide relaxation and reduce nausea. When you hear the term couch-locked, that is usually associated with a indica strain. Indica strains tend smell and taste more earthy and piney.
OG Kush is a famous strain noted for its euphoria-producing effects. Most users report feeling very good immediately following their experiences with OG Kush. This is often followed by an equally intense sensation of “couch lock.”
Because of its cerebral effects, many use OG Kush as a means of treating conditions including depression and anxiety. OG Kush has also been associated with treating Alzheimer’s disease, though there is little scientific proof indicating that it can relieve symptoms. It features an earthy flavor, with spicy pine notes that many users also call attention to. OG Kush THC levels tend to come in at around 19%, though levels can stretch into the mid-twenties.
Bubba Kush is known in the United States for being a potent tranquilizer with notorious “couch-lock” producing effects. It features sweet, dessert-like flavors with notes of sugar and chocolate. From a medicinal perspective, many use Bubba Kush to help reduce stress, or even induce sleep.
Though its origins are uncertain, many suspect that Bubba Kush originated in Afghanistan, due to the unique shape of its body. The strain features an average THC level of around 17%.
LA Confidential is a beginner-friendly strain well known for its ability to reduce stress and produce an overall calming effect for users. Its flavor is described by most as piney or earthy, with distinctly classic skunkish notes as a finish.
LA Confidential is known for its bright green appearance, with touches of purple integrated in the mix as well, enhancing its aesthetic appeal. Medicinal users often reach for LA Confidential as a way to treat pain and alleviate the symptoms of insomnia.
On average, LA Confidential features a THC level of 17%.
Granddaddy Purple (GDP)
Popularized in the early 2000s, Granddaddy Purple is (as the name suggests) easily identified by its distinctly purple appearance. The flavor seems to follow from its aesthetic, featuring tastes that many users describe as grape-like, with pleasant fruity notes of berries also detected.
GDP is known for potent effects both for the mind and the body, producing euphoria, while simultaneously relaxing muscles.
Though serious couch-lock often follows from GDP, it’s still a fan favorite for decreasing stress and depression, and just relaxing. It features an average THC level of 17%.
King Louis XIII
It’s a safe bet that the real King Louis never anticipated the honor of having his name grace a strain of cannabis. Nevertheless, King Louis XIII remains a popular “brain high” cannabis strain that is well known for its highly relaxing effects.
Its flavor and appearance is often described as being similar to that of OG Kush, featuring spicy, earthy notes that many users appreciate.
This strain is known for announcing itself with a particularly potent smell that probably has little in common with the fragrance of its namesake. All the same, King Louis XIII remains a popular option for cannabis users that wish to reduce stress and features a THC level of 24%.
Known for its highly euphoric effects, Northern Lights features a distinctly purple and green appearance, with discernable crystalline features adding character to the strain’s exterior. Northern Lights persist as one of the most famous strains in the world, owed at least partially to the fact that it comes from a hardy plant that flowers quickly. Perhaps for these reasons, it is used to cross with to produce many hybrid strains as well.
Northern Lights features an average THC level of 16%.
Best Hybrid Strains
Hybrid stains are a cross between a sativa and indica plant. However, it’s important to note that almost every strain on the market now has been crossed, so there are very very few true indica or sativa marijuana strains on the market. Many strains lean to either indica-dominant or sativa-dominant, whereas, hybrids tend to be 50% indica and 50% sativa or relatively close to 50-50.
Blue Dream is a hybrid strain born through combining “Blueberry” with “Haze.” The cleverly named product is well known for producing a desirable, well-balanced combination of physical relaxation and mental stimulation.
The strain is often used to relieve conditions that include depression, anxiety, and physical pain. As the name suggests, its smell and flavor are often described as being fruity, with notes very similar to those of real blueberries. Blue Dream features an average THC level of 18%.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)
A cross between OG Kush and Durban Poison, Girl Scout Cookie is known as a balanced strain that produces intense euphoria and body relaxation. It’s well known for its ability to relieve nausea and diminish the effects of chronic pain.
Users often report a range of different flavors and scents that include mint, cherry, and lemon. It is perhaps from these varied but persistent sweet flavors that the strain earns its name. Additionally, variants of the strain have assumed names that continued down the well-trodden path of cookie-inspired epitomes, with names like “thin mint.”
This strain was created by rapper, Berner, and expert grower, Jai, who both now operate the popular Cookies dispensary and brand around the world. It features an average THC level of 19%.
Born from Nepalese and Thai, the perhaps regrettably named “Chemdawg” is a popular option for users that wish to combine intense euphoric cerebral effects with body high benefits that have been known to reduce feelings of pain and discomfort.
Though somewhat mysterious in terms of its origin, Chemdawg is a popular strain that is well known for its pungent, spicy taste and smell. The strain can be identified on sight by its bright green color, and bulbous appearance that suggests a Middle Eastern point of origin. It has an average THC level of 19%.
Gorilla Glue #4 (GG4 or Original Glue)
Gorilla Glue #4, also known as GG4, or simply “Original Glue” is a popular, though often hard to find strain that combines Chem’s Sister, Sour Dubb, and Chocolate Diesel.
The resulting product is known for being well-rounded in terms of the mind/body effects it produces. It’s also well suited for the beginner thanks to its very limited association with negative side effects such as paranoia and headaches.
It features an average THC level of 18%.
White Widow is, perhaps, one of the most famous, and most desired strains in the world. Combining Brazilian Sativa with South Indian Indica, this strain boasts an effect that is simultaneously euphoric and physically appealing.
Known to be both energizing and calming, it is a popular option for the cannabis enthusiast that likes to enhance their day while also remaining productive. For that reason, it is a popular choice among creative types. Because of its popularity, White Widow has inspired a wide range of variations, some of which are themselves very popular. These include, but are not limited to White Rhino, and Blue Widow.
White Widow features an average THC level of 17%.
Pineapple Express was created as an homage to the popular Seth Rogan film of the same name. Though younger than many of the strains featured on our list today, it is a popular option among lovers of film and cannabis alike. The strain is a cross between “Trainwreck” and “Hawaii”, and is well known for its mild but pleasing effects.
Users reach for Pineapple Express for its stimulating, mood-improving effects that are known to boost creativity, serve as a social lubricant, and relax the body. Some describe the nuggets as bearing the likeness of a Christmas tree, thanks both to their shape, and the colorful, resin-coated buds that contribute to its unique appearance.
Pineapple Express features an average THC level of 18%.
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