With such a wide variety of strains currently available in the recreational and medical cannabis markets, it can be hard to know which strain you should use and when.
If you’re brand new to cannabis, you might not even know the differences between sativas, indicas, and hybrids. But knowing how different kinds of cannabis — and especially, different strains — make you feel, can help you maximize your experiences and get the most possible enjoyment from some of your favorite activities.
How to prepare for pairing cannabis with your favorite activities
One thing that is important to always remember is that every variety and individual strain will affect each person differently.
Some people can use a sativa in the evening and have no trouble going to sleep, while others will be wide awake all night. Likewise, some people can use an indica or indica-dominant hybrid during the day and function normally, while others find that it relaxes them too much and induces a “couch-lock” feeling that hinders their productivity.
Our bodies are very different in the way we metabolise and process cannabis, and some people have more heightened senses than others. As with everything, you should be sure to tread lightly while figuring out what works best for you.
Think of it like cooking: if you’re unsure of how much of a certain ingredient to use, start by using less; you can always add more later, but you can’t remove it once you’ve added it. You should apply the same logic to using cannabis. If you start small and work your way up, you’ll eventually find the combination of chemical compounds that works best for you and you’ll be much more likely to have a positive experience you’ll want to repeat.
A general rule of thumb if you’re new to the cannabis industry is to start with a hybrid.
Most hybrids are sativa-dominant and are on the milder side in terms of intensity; hybrids tend to be a great “middle ground” variety of cannabis, which is great for newbies.
Don’t be afraid to ask your budtender questions when you’re shopping, and let them know what activities you’re planning to do. They are experts in the different strains they sell, and they’ll be able to give you good tips on both pairing and proper dosing.
In the meantime, here are some examples of strain varieties and activities that complement each other based on the chemical makeup of individual strains.
Activity: Hiking, Concerts, Art
Strain Recommendations: Sour Diesel (Sativa), Pineapple Express (Sativa Dominant Hybrid)
Sour Diesel – An energetic, exhilarating sativa that induces intense cerebral effects. Sour D is extremely fast-acting and is said to be a great mood-booster that won’t knock you on your ass. Users report feeling uplifted, happy, and energetic, with an overall sense of euphoria. We would highly recommend using a strain such as Sour Diesel if you’re in the mood to get active.
A word of advice: sativas aren’t always great for people with social anxiety, since they can occasionally induce a sense of paranoia and panic in people already prone to anxiety. So if you’re going to be crowded into a concert arena, you might want to look for a more mellow hybrid, and save the Sour Diesel for a fun hike in wide open spaces with some close friends.
Pineapple Express – A sativa-dominant hybrid, this strain offers a number of rejuvenating mental effects, and users report simultaneous stimulating and calming responses, as well as an increase in creativity and awareness.
This strain is also known to be great for those with anxiety; social anxiety is real, guys. People with any type of anxiety tend to do better around crowds or large groups of people with an indica-dominant hybrid or an indica, as the effects are more relaxing, calming, and soothing. Pineapple Express can also be great for energetic, anxiety-free hangouts.
Activity: Yoga, Self Care at Home
Strain Recommendations: Granddaddy Purple (Indica), Girl Scout Cookies (Indica Dominant Hybrid)
Granddaddy Purple – Some people say that cannabis has no place in yoga, but many others find that adding cannabis (especially indicas) to their yoga practice helps ease physical tension in their body and also helps to open their minds. We suggest that before mixing cannabis and yoga, you become practiced in both yoga and cannabis use separately.
If you’ve decided to pair your yoga with a little cannabis, Granddaddy Purple is a great strain to use. It’s also great for a quiet evening at home with a relaxing bath and a chill movie.
For many, GDP induces a “couch-lock” sensation associated with a variety of indica strains, so take it easy your first time using it and make sure you don’t put yourself straight to sleep. It is known to help to aid insomnia and to stimulate the appetite – so if you’re a newbie, take our advice and use this strain in the evening with no pre-existing commitments or plans other than to relax.
Girl Scout Cookies – Well known to be incredibly potent and reaching THC levels near 25%, this strain isn’t usually recommended for newbies, but we believe this is a great indica dominant hybrid to use for relaxation and self care. If you heed our advice and start small in terms of usage, you just may find you love Girl Scout Cookies. The high is said to be uplifting, euphoric, and happy, with occasional “couch-lock” body effects – another reason we recommend this strain for evening use.
Generally, if you are trying indica or indica-dominant strain for the first time, use it in the evening when you’ve got no other place to be because there’s a good chance it might make you sleepy and or lethargic. Better to fully unwind and enjoy the effects than stress about needing to be somewhere later.
My experience pairing cannabis with activities
When it comes to cannabis, I’m not a newbie, but I’m certainly not a connoisseur either. It’s something I’ve been dabbling in for over ten years, but until now I’ve never quite found the strain(s) and methods of consuming that work best for me and my body chemistry.
As a result, I thought it might be valuable to share my own experience with pairing cannabis with some of my favorite activities.
- I find that most indicas induce lethargy and have a tendency to put me to sleep (but that is not the case with every person), and so I don’t use them during the day. The exception would be if that strain has been known to help with ADD/ADHD since those tend to keep you more “up” and focused.
- I find that some sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids tend to heighten my anxiety and increase paranoia, especially around large groups of people vs. a small group of people that I know and am comfortable with.
- I don’t generally use cannabis during the day if I have things to do, and I never do if I am going to work. For me, I would be less productive if I used cannabis, and I’m not willing to sacrifice my performance. Of course, it works for other people; this is just my experience.
- I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting lately and I’ve discovered that I really love OG Kush, an indica-dominant hybrid. It helps me to focus on my tasks and priorities, and it does not increase my anxiety (that is huge for me). This strain is known to help increase focus in those with mild-to-severe ADD/ADHD, and that is something I’ve struggled with throughout my life.
- I’ve found that my preference is CO2-extracted oil via vape pen. It is the easiest way to control how much I consume, and I like to feel in control of my high.
Finding Your Perfect Pairing
Whether you’re in the mood for a night in, letting your body and mind recover from the work week or a particularly exerting day, or you’re in the mood to get active – we’re confident that there is a great pairing for you. Do some experimenting, and you’ll discover what your body prefers and what enhances whichever activity you choose. Just remember – tread lightly at first. We want you to enjoy your experiences!