Cannabis comes in two main strains, Sativa and Indica. However, many popular strains today contain a mix of genetics, also known as hybrids. The third type of cannabis is called Ruderalis, but it is not commonly used because it does not deliver any potent effects.
Sativas strains are commonly associated with the ‘head high,’ an energizing and invigorating psychoactive effect that increases focus and creativity while reducing stress and anxiety. The effect can empower you, make you think faster, act more quickly, and feel more revitalized during social events.
Indica strains are often associated with the ‘body high,’ a deep and calming psychoactive effect that induces relaxation and promotes better sleep. When taken in high doses, this particular strain can cause you to experience the ‘couch lock’ effect. You may experience a dreamy and pleasant feeling before you doze off on your couch.
These effects come primarily from anecdotal evidence since there is insufficient scientific data to back these up. Hence, the debate on Sativa vs. Indica continues. Nevertheless, breeders have come up with so many different strains of the marijuana plant that only a few pure varieties are available on the market. Most of the varieties available come as either Sativa-dominant, Indica-dominant, or balanced strain.
Hybrids combine the genetics of Sativa and Indica. The effects of certain strains depend entirely on their cannabinoid and terpene profiles and not necessarily on whether they are Indica or Sativa strains.
Understanding the Effects of Strains
The rule of thumb that Sativas are more energizing, while Indicas are more calming, is not that relevant anymore. Individual strains deliver different effects depending on their chemical composition and growth. Instead of determining the particular strain, it is best to look into the description of the strain provided by the grower or the dispensary.
Many dispensary websites do not contain enough information about the effects of the strains of marijuana they sell. Fortunately, many websites online provide detailed descriptions of specific cannabis strains. A quick search will give you results. The description should provide information about what cannabinoids and terpenes are present in the strain and the expected effects you should feel if you consume the strain.
The Effect of Cannabinoids
There are more than 100 chemical compounds called cannabinoids found in cannabis. These compounds are responsible for the good and bad effects that users experience. However, researchers have not yet determined all these cannabinoids do, but they have identified the most common ones.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the state of euphoria or ‘high’ that stoners experience when taking cannabis. It produces an energetic effect that enhances creativity and helps you get those creative juices flowing. Many strains today contain high THC levels because growers have genetically manipulated the plant to produce more.
CBD or cannabidiol is the second most popular cannabinoid. It is non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive. Although it does not produce the euphoric high that marijuana is famous for, it has many potential health benefits popularly known in the medical marijuana industry. It helps the body achieve relaxation and reduces the many physical ailments like pain, nausea, headaches, and the like.
Some of the notable minor cannabinoids found in cannabis include CBN, CBG, and CBC. These cannabinoids may have potential health benefits and are often added to cannabis products to enhance the effects of the main cannabinoid (either THC or CBD). Many scientists speculate that consuming these cannabinoids together triggers the entourage effect, where compounds work when taken together rather than individually.
The Effect of Cannabis Terpenes
Although most of the attention is focused on the THC and CBD content of strains, recent research studies suggest that cannabis terpenes play a crucial role in the overall effect of cannabis products. Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds in cannabis and are responsible for the flavor and aroma of the plant. However, they also produce different effects.
For instance, linalool has floral notes that may help boost mood and improve relaxation. Myrcene, the most common terpene, can help promote better sleep. Limonene and caryophyllene may help combat stress, anxiety, and depression. Bisabolol, eucalyptol, and humulene may aid in reducing pain and inflammation.
Terpenes can explain why two different cannabis strains with the same THC content can have different effects. If you have smoked a variety of weed strains, you may notice that each of them produces various effects. Some have an energizing effect, while others have a relaxing effect. Although other cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBN, may explain the difference, terpenes may also influence the overall result.
What is a Body High?
Indicas are commonly associated with the body high. It is typically described as a relaxed, calming, and chilling cannabis experience. Your muscles tend to relax, and the tension draws away from your body. The usual result is that you have a good sleep at night. While science still has to look closer into the difference between Indica and Sativa, recent studies show that CBD and certain terpenes are responsible for causing the relaxing and calming head high.
The body high results from how cannabis compounds interact with the brain. As the brain and the nerves relax, the body also tends to relax. The combination of cannabinoids and terpenes effectively relax the speedy communication in the nervous system to trigger a relaxing and euphoric feeling.
What is a Head High?
The head high, often associated with Sativa strains, refers to the enhanced energy levels and increased capacity for creative thinking. You feel a rush of energy in the brain that causes intense focus and motivation. These stimulating effects can make you more physically and mentally alert. Therefore, you may feel the urge to embark on productive, creative, or social activities. The head high is also called a cerebral high or mind high.
What is Cannabis Sativa?
Cannabis Sativa is a cannabis plant that primarily grows in hot climates like Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. It can grow as tall as 12 feet, has thin finger-like leaves, and matures much more extended than Indica.
Sativa often has high doses of THC and low doses of CBD. Hence, Sativa effects are often associated with the ‘head high.’ The energizing and anxiety-reducing high of Sativas may help you become more creative and productive. Therefore, it is typically best to take it during the daytime. Some popular Sativa strains include Durban Poison, Panama Red, and Acapulco.
What is Cannabis Indica?
Cannabis Indica is a cannabis plant native to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and India. The plant is comparatively shorter and stockier than the Sativa variety. It has chunky leaves, grows relatively fast, and yields more buds.
Indica often produces higher CBD levels and lower THC levels compared to Sativa. Hence, Indica effects are often associated with the body high. It relaxes the body, reduces pain, and increases appetite. It is best taken at night to help promote better sleep. Some of the most popular Indica strains include Granddaddy Purple, Afghan Kush, and Hindu Kush.
What are Hybrids?
Cannabis growers use advanced cultivation techniques to produce a variety of hybrid strains that combine both Sativa and Indica genetics. These varieties do not grow naturally in the wild but in greenhouses and indoor farms. The appearances of these hybrids depend entirely on their parent strains.
Hybrids are genetically manipulated to produce more THC or CBD. They are produced to deliver unique effects distinct from other popular strains. They come in balanced, Indica-dominant, or Sativa-dominant strains. Growers and dispensaries usually provide information about specific hybrids, their cannabinoid content, and expected results. Therefore, you have to do your research to know more about these potent strains.
Potential Side Effects of Cannabis
Cannabis offers many potential benefits. It may] aid in chronic pain, inflammation, stress, and many others, but it may also produce some adverse side effects when taken in excess. These effects include:
- Dry eyes
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
- Increased or decreased blood pressure
Many of these adverse effects are often caused by taking too much THC. However, it may also be caused by the method of consumption (e.g., smoking, vaping, or ingesting). Smoking or vaping can irritate the airways, while ingesting can increase the potency of THC, which may intensify any adverse effects. The best way to avoid them is to control your dosage.
Tips to Consider
Whenever you are looking for a specific cannabis product, you should always consider the following:
Define your goal. Consuming cannabis should have a purpose. It is easy to choose a strain of cannabis if you know what to achieve. For instance, some people choose high THC strains with energizing effects because they want to stay motivated and focused on doing creative tasks. Others want to use strains that cause relaxation and reduce anxiety.
Determine your tolerance level. You can start with entry-level strains like Pineapple Express if you are a beginner. The psychoactive effects are mild enough and tolerable for most beginners. However, if you are an advanced user, you may use potent strains like Amnesia Haze.
Do not neglect your medical history. Remember that cannabis is a psychotropic plant that contains compounds that may interact with your current medical condition and medications. Before you consume any cannabis product, be sure to consult your doctor or any other healthcare professional to determine your potential risks and benefits.
Choose a method of consumption. There are different methods of consumption available. You can either smoke cannabis flowers, take cannabis tincture sublingually, or ingest cannabis edibles. Smoking and vaping allow you to enjoy the effects of cannabis a lot faster and quicker. Take tinctures sublingually if you want fast results but do not want to smoke. If you want a delayed but more prolonged effect, eat edibles infused with cannabis.
Popular Weed Strains that Cause a Body High
Seasoned marijuana users know that different varieties of cannabis produce various effects. The body does not react to each of them in the same manner after consumption. When selecting a cannabis strain, you should consider what effect you want to experience.
If you want to manage body pain, you should aim to consume strains that have a body effect. Some strains deliver an intoxicating ‘head high,’ while others provide a relaxing body experience. Some want to be relaxed but are not bothered by any cerebral effects. Below are some of the best recommendations.
Harlequin Tsunami (Harle-Tsu)
Harle-Tsu is a CBD-dominant hybrid strain that traces its parentage from Harlequin and Sour Tsunami. Because it has a high CBD content, it provides a potent relaxing body effect that will hardly produce any cerebral head high. While many high CBD strains provide mild body effects, this is noticeable. Hence, it makes the list of recommended strains that produce a body high.
Platinum OG is an Indica-dominant hybrid possibly resulting from cross-breeding Master Kush with an unknown strain. True to its Indica parentage, it delivers a strong body buzz and provides a relatively brief mind buzz that comes right before entering a deep body relaxation. Many users consume Platinum OG to gain its true relaxing benefit at the end of the day.
The Golden Goat is a Sativa-dominant strain. A desirable accident was created when a male Hawaiian Romulan pollinated a female Island Sweet Skunk. Although it has strong Sativa genetics, it produces a physical high. It does produce a mind buzz but not enough to interrupt the body effect. If you want to experience hours of a potential body high, you should give this weed a try.
Northern Lights is an Indica strain famous because it produces intense body relaxation right after consumption. There is a noticeable cerebral effect, but it will not damage the physical effect. Taking it in small doses will keep you relaxed and allow you to do productive work during the day. If you want to experience an immediate relaxing effect, go for Northern Lights.
Mr. Nice is an old-school strain that you may have heard from seasoned veteran weed users. Although it is an old strain, it has resurfaced because of its body-focused effect. It may not be as intense as other strains, but it is worth experiencing. The body effect is gentle, calm, and relaxing. It does not cloud the mind and does not sedate the body. It is a Mr. Nice.
White Fire OG
White Fire OG is a result of crossing Fire OG with The White. It is pretty popular because of its potent body-focused effect. When taken in the right amounts, it will not cause drowsiness. It also produces some mental effects that are energizing and uplifting. If you are looking for an excellent strain for pain management, this is probably one of the best options available. It has also been used to produce other body-focused varieties of cannabis.
The Original Glue (or Gorilla Glue #4) is a fitting name for a variety that helps you get glued to your couch. Once you consume this potent strain, you will experience a relaxation that will glue you to your seat for hours. It produces a mind buzz but is not as intense and noticeable as other strains. It crosses three popular strains, namely Chocolate Diesel, Chem’s Sister, and Sour Dubb. The Original Glue makes an excellent choice for those looking for mental and physical relaxation.
Cannabis produces varying effects on the body. Some strains produce a head high, a stimulating and energizing effect that you can feel intensely on your cerebrum. Other strains deliver a relaxing body high that puts you into a calm and relaxed mode. However, many strains today provide both mental and physical effects.
If you are looking for strains that aid in pain management, you should opt for strains that produce intense body-focused effects. While Indica strains are often associated with the effect, many hybrids offer the same result. Therefore, it is not enough to know the genetic parentage to determine its effects. It is essential to learn precisely how its effects work through descriptions provided by the growers, the dispensaries, and other experienced users.
While you can experience relaxation and physical health benefits from weed strains, you can enhance your experience by consuming CBD products. All CBD products allow you to experience intense body relaxation without the psychoactive effects of THC. You can get the same benefits with CBD edibles without dealing with potentially harmful smoke. Edibles may have a delayed onset but will produce a longer-lasting effect.