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How to Select the Right Cannabis Strain as a Beginner

Cannabis consumption is legal in several American states for medical and recreational use. As of 2024, recreational cannabis is legal in 24 states and Washington, D.C. Legalized use for medical purposes is allowed in another 17 states. Although each state's laws have varying caveats, these products are easily available and accessible in the legal states. 

According to Pew Center Research, 74% of Americans reside in a state where medicinal or recreational cannabis is legal. A plethora of options are available for consumers since over 15,000 dispensaries in the United States provide an extensive selection of brands and product variations. It may seem simple to choose a product based on one's interests, but picking the correct strain might be challenging.

However, the right strain is the key to achieving the desired outcomes with cannabis. In this article, we will share some helpful insights for beginners to make informed choices while selecting a strain.

Decode Cannabis Strains

Cannabis strains refer to variations of the plant, each having a unique set of characteristics. The three main types are:


Sativa strains are known for their cerebral and uplifting qualities. They energize and stimulate, increasing vitality, fostering creativity, and advancing a feeling of well-being. Experienced users suggest these strains for daytime activities, socializing, and artistic endeavors.


For those seeking a relaxing and body-focused experience, Indica strains are the ideal choice. They can relieve physical tension, relax your mind, and help with sleep. Beginners should stick with them for evening activities or as a bedtime ritual. 


Hybrid strains offer a mix of sativa and indica qualities, with effects depending on the dominant genetics of the product. For example, a product may offer both physical and mental effects related to relaxation or energy boost. 

Understand Flavors and Terpenes

As a novice, you will most likely select your favorite items based on scent and flavor. Aromatic substances called terpenes give cannabis products their distinct flavors and effects. You can enhance your experience by trying out various flavors and terpene profiles. Additionally, it can assist you in selecting a strain based on your preferences.

While the pine-scented pinene may improve alertness and focus, the citrusy limonene terpene has the potential to elevate mood. Relaxation and stress alleviation are provided by the relaxing lavender-infused linalool. The Pineapple Express strain is a sativa variant that tantalizes your taste buds and your mind. You'll discover which flavors suit your palette as you try out different combinations. 

Consider CBD and THC Content

Another factor you must consider when choosing a cannabis strain is the CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content. While CBD has therapeutic benefits, THC contributes to the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Forbes notes that sativa plants are CBD-dominant, but they can be further classified according to their CBD and THC content. 

  • Type I sativa has less than 0.5% CBD and more than 0.3% THC
  • Type II sativa contains more than 0.5% CBD and 0.3% THC
  • Type III sativa has more than 0.5% CBD and less than 0.3% THC

Type III is classified as hemp due to its CBD and THC ratio. Strains high in CBD offer a less intense and more balanced experience, making them appropriate for beginners. On the other hand, you can try ones with higher THC content if you expect stronger psychoactive effects. 

According to Rekt Eddie’s, a user trying a new product should start small and wait for the results before considering further consumption. Also, the THC content determines the most suitable time of the day to consume it. Low and slow is the rule of thumb when it comes to picking and choosing strains as a beginner.

Identify Your Goals and Needs

As per Statista, 132 million Americans reported having used cannabis at least once in their lifetime in 2022. However, individual goals and needs vary, and the choice of the right strain depends on them. You must consider your goals and needs before exploring your options and experimenting with different products. 

Are you seeking pain relief or anxiety alleviation? Do you want to relax and unwind after a long day? Is your goal only to have a good time with your gang? Consulting your healthcare professional is a good approach if you want to use cannabis for medical purposes. Alternatively, you can read reviews or seek advice from a seasoned user to select a strain for recreational use.

In conclusion, choosing the right cannabis strain should not be a random decision. It requires in-depth research of strain types, cannabinoid ratios, and terpene profiles. Also, you must consider your preferences, objectives, and tolerance levels to make an informed decision. Starting with less potent strains with lower THC levels makes sense for beginners. You can always try stronger ones once you gain confidence and understand your tolerance levels. 

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