Interest in hemp blossomed after the federal government legalized the plant in 2018. Since then, consumers have access to countless hemp strains. For new consumers, navigating the legal hemp market can be challenging.
A recent cannabis industry survey reports most consumers are unable to identify their favorite strain. New consumers struggle to find strains that meet their needs.
Experienced consumers have their choice of three strains: sativa, indica and hybrid. Most consumers have preferred strains, and believe they have reliable effects. What are they saying about the effects of sativa, indica and hybrid strains on the mind and body?
Sativa strains promote productivity and creativity
Consumers of sativa strains typically feel effects in the mind, as opposed to the body. They say sativa strains relieve symptoms of depression and PTSD. They also report reduction of anxious thoughts after consuming this strain.
Sativas make most consumers feel productive, focused and creative. As a result, many choose to consume this strain during the day while working, learning or exercising. Sativa strains are popular among artists, academics and athletes. These strains help consumers live an active lifestyle.
Indica strains provide pain relief, relaxation and sleep
Indica strain consumers mostly feel effects in the body, and not the mind. Indica strains typically induce sedative and anti-inflammatory effects. Consumers report feeling relaxed after an indica experience.
Indica strains are popular with consumers who want to unwind after a long day at work. They often smoke indica hemp prerolls such as while on the couch, while watching Netflix. As a result, indica strains are mostly consumed in the evening. These strains help you chill out.
Medical patients often use indica strains for pain and sleep management. They report these strains reduce nausea and stimulate an appetite suppressed by illnesses like cancer. Patients struggling with insomnia report using indica strains to induce long-lasting sleep. Indicas can help summon slumber.
Hybrid strains provide balanced effects
Hybrid strains are crossbred between indicas and sativas. As a result, hybrid consumers mostly feel the effects in the mind and body. Hybrids provide a balance between the effects of sativas and indicas.
Hybrid strains are popular with consumers who feel the effects of sativas and indicas are too extreme. These consumers prefer to neither feel tremendously sedated nor alert. Hybrids are the “best of both worlds.”
Research questions accuracy of strain classifications
Dr. Ethan Russo is a clinical neurologist and researcher studying how hemp affects the mind and body. His research is challenging our understanding of strain classifications. Dr. Russo contends sativa, indica and hybrid classifications oversimplify the explanation of effects.
Consumers are discovering the benefits of cannabinoids like THC, THCO, CBD and CBG. Most are unaware that these are only three of the over 100 cannabinoids that exist in hemp. These cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Research on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is limited, and we don’t completely understand how this interaction affects the mind and body.
Terpenes contained in hemp provide its smell, flavor and color. Terpenes give hemp distinct shades of green, and they possess a range of smells and tastes such as citrus, lavender or pine. Hemp contains hundreds of terpenes. In isolation, terpenes contain no psychoactive properties.
Dr. Russo says mixtures of cannabinoids and terpenes affect the mind and body. These compounds interact with the endocannabinoid system, which influences an individual's physiology in unique ways. This cannabinoid, terpene and endocannabinoid system interaction is called the entourage effect.
Essentially, hemp’s cannabinoid and terpene content most likely determines how strains will affect the mind and body. We still have more to learn about this amazing plant.