In the past, when people talked about smoking weed, they mostly talked about how high it made them and how many bags of chips/boxes of cereal/items from Taco Bell they mowed through in an enduring effort to beat the munchies. Now, thanks to advances in horticulture and increased legalization (read “potential profit”), people are able to choose cannabis strains for their specific properties. This means a visit to a budtender can match an insomniac up with the right strain for catching some Zs and an amorous lover up with the perfect flower for going all night. It’s a magical time to be alive.
We isolated some of the top qualities people look for in modern cannabis and paired each desired effect with its ideal strain. Are these the only strains likely to produce such outcomes? Nope. The weed world is large, it contains multitudes. But these picks do have an excellent track record. Read through then head to your favorite source for cannabis to buy the strains that will give you the effects you crave.
Sedation — Banana Kush
This indica-dominant strain does indeed smell and taste like bananas. If you’re a big banana fan, that’s probably reason enough to use it. However, most people turn to it for its sedating effects. Shortly after smoking, users get that sweet indica body high followed by some lethargy and ultimately complete relaxation-leading-to-dreamland. Because it’s a hybrid, users do get some of the cerebral sativa effects, like elevated mood and euphoria, but this strain’s use in treating insomnia and sleep deprivation is what gives it appeal. (Some people have been known to also use it to treat anxiety and chronic aches and pains, too.)
This is the kind of strain that can kick the butt of even the most regular stoner, so don’t be surprised if a few bong rips or pipe hits puts you right to sleep or leaves you needing to sit still for a while.
Sociability — Strawberry Cough
A sativa-dominant hybrid known for its strawberry flavor, this strain has a fun origin story. In 2000, cannabis pioneer and former High Times editor Kyle Kushman developed Strawberry Cough mostly by chance when he got a runt clone from a breeder. Legend says it was grown next to a strawberry patch in Connecticut and smelled strongly of the fruit. He dubbed this Strawberry Fields and crossed it with a Haze plant to make Strawberry Cough, which he popularized by passing out clones as he drove from New York to California to focus on cultivation. People still love the strong strawberry taste, but they also love that the strain walks the line between making you energized enough to be chatty but not so amped that you get anxious, awkward, and paranoid.
This high settles in instantly, and it is marked by sharp focus, increased motivation, non-linear thinking, and chattiness. Taken together, these effects make most people into ideal conversation partners who are down for digging into some deep topics, often for hours at a time.
Productivity — Chemdawg
Chemdawg is sativa-dominant hybrid that has become a bit of a legend among stoners because of its unusual taste and energetic, upbeat high. Some might say it belongs in the cannabis hall of fame (though its genetic heritage is unknown, so there isn’t any way to connect its effects with parent plants).
Regardless, the Chemdawg high hits quickly, leaving users little time to appreciate the flavor and aroma before the head high shows up. Users will feel their senses sharpen and sensory experiences will be heightened, which makes it excellent for creative endeavors. There is some indica in the mix, so it isn’t unusual to also get a sense of relaxation, which can help with things like writer’s block.
This strain is very potent, with THC levels coming in at 15-20 percent. This means that it should be used in moderation so that the relaxation effects don’t ground you and the productivity effects don’t shift into mania. If those problems are avoided, this strain is ideal for getting shit done.
Improved Mood — Jack Herer
At this point, this sativa-dominant strain is probably more well-known than the marijuana activist and author that it was named — because, trust us, it is very, very popular. The reason has a lot to do with the strain’s composition of cannabinoids and terpenes, the compounds responsible for cannabis’ therapeutic properties. Finding the right strains has more to do with these compounds than with the THC content, and Jack Herer is cherished for its uplifting qualities in part because it has high levels of limonene and pinene, two elements that boost mood and focus respectively. Also, this strain serves dual purposes as it both triggers relaxation and a buzz. This means users feel totally stimulated but have complete control over their actions. It’s ideal for people who need some euphoria and an uplift in their mood.
This is a great strain for visualization and creative brainstorming as well, so people who are experiencing an improved mood will be able to channel that into artistic endeavors. This can be a good way to harness a positive mood and keep it going long-term.
Decreased Anxiety — Lavender
Of course, the strain that’s going to curb anxiety is Lavender, as everyone knows that actual lavender is used in the same way. And this strain does have a definite lavender scent that makes smoking it a lot like taking a warm bath with herbal bubbles. With an 80-percent indica-leaning profile, this strain is built to ease tensions. It pairs a nice level of cerebral bliss with a sense of physical relaxation, which means it combats anxiety on multiple levels. In fact, in addition to being used in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression, many people use it to treat pain, because the indica effects are so strong. Users can expect to just melt into the couch and to enjoy being there.
One thing to keep in mind is that THC can trigger anxiety, so it is important when using cannabis strains to fight these feelings that you dose moderately. Or avoid high THC strains (like this one) and stick to ones with lower levels and/or a stronger CBD profile.
Increased Focus — Cinex
If you want to improve the quality of your work, increasing your focus is generally a good place to start. However, a boost in focus is also linked to maintaining interest in things and for people who have a lot of ennui to grapple with, strains that increase focus can also increase mood. Pinene is the terpene related to focus, so people looking to find a focus-enhancing strain can always Toucan Sam their way around a dispensary looking for the pine-scented bud.
Better yet, start with this 60-percent sativa-dominant hybrid. It’s not known for being a heavy hitter, so the mild effects and creative stimulation are perfect for rekindling your interests in tasks, activities, and even people you used to care about. In addition, the high generally includes elevated mood and feelings of drive and inspiration. It’s an ideal strain for both treating depression and motivating creative activities.
If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, Cinex is also a great strain to try, as it helps many users shed the depression they feel during cold months. It is also a powerful painkiller, so folks with arthritis or migraines rejoice because this strain can really help you.
Sexual Enhancement — Green Crack
This strain wasn’t initially called Green Crack. It was originally called Cush and later given a brand-new moniker by Snoop Dogg. That name stuck, although some users still stick to the original name to avoid stigmatizing cannabis or making light of crack use. As a 65-percent sativa-leaning hybrid, Green Crack is great for giving users a super strong, kinda buzzy high that makes it ideal for wake and bakes. The indica part of the hybrid also makes an appearance with some physical relaxation, but it’s not enough to slow users down — which is good in a strain that you are using for its sexual properties.
Green Crack imparts a sharp sense of focus that makes sex feel new again. It’s also inspiring, so you might find yourself advocating for things that are actually new to you or your partner because you feel so stimulated. This strain can also have psychedelic effects, so be prepared for potential visual distortions and a strange sense of time shifting. If you’re with someone you trust in a safe space, these effects can be a lot of fun.
Increased Creativity — Kali Mist
A lot of these entries make mention of increased creativity because sativas have a tendency to uplift moods and increase inventiveness, so it’s no surprise that Kali Mist — which is a 90 percent sativa-leaning hybrid — would be great for getting users to a heightened state of imagination. Perfect for writing, yoga, and meditation, this strain stimulates thought and can be good for clearing the mind. The effects are definitely energizing and can be psychedelic in larger doses, though infrequent users often experience them even at low doses. For people who find that psychedelic effects bring on anxiety or paranoia, use should be limited to a couple of hits throughout the day. Don’t run the risk of going from creative wunderkind to freaked out stoner by going too hard.
Because the sativa level of Kali Mist is so high, be sure to avoid using it right before bed. It can totally keep people awake. On the flip side, it’s great for use all day, because you know you won’t end up comatose or couchlocked.
Decreased Fatigue — Durban Poison
For some people, getting out of bed each day is a Herculean task. Due to anxiety, depression, insomnia, chronic pain, or some other condition, fatigue plagues them throughout their waking life and makes accomplishing anything a real challenge. For these people, a pure sativa like Durban Poison is a life saver. Many consider it the espresso of cannabis. Expect an immediate focused high that is buzzy and located in the head. You won’t have any of the stonier effects, like couchlock and heaviness, associated with weed. It’s entirely cerebral, making it a great strain for getting energized and doing some deep thinking. The high usually lasts two to three hours, so this isn’t a great strain to use right before bed, as the stimulating aspects will definitely keep you from falling asleep.
Durban Poison contains high levels of the cannabinoid THCV, which is associated with increased energy, as well as appetite suppression, diabetes maintenance, panic attack reduction, and Alzheimer’s symptom management. Its practical uses abound.
Giggliness — Blue Diesel
In general, weed will make you prone to laughter. Ask anyone who’s ever dissolved in a fit of giggles while stoned only to retell the story and realize it wasn’t all that funny in the first place. But there are strains that increase the chances for chuckles and those are worth knowing about — because laughter is amazing, and everyone could stand to do more of it.
Blue Diesel is a 60 percent indica-leaning hybrid that scores of people enjoy as a daytime smoke. You can wake and bake and keep using this little gem throughout the day without sacrificing productivity, but it’s the sense of giddy euphoria that placed it on this list. This is a toke to makes users laugh. Hard. We are talking tears down the face, stomach muscles in pain, even a little pee. So if you’re looking to take in a comedy show or a funny movie, this is your strain. Heck, it’s even a good one for a night just hanging with friends and making memories.
In addition to its gut-busting properties, Blue Diesel also leaves people feeling relaxed without any fatigue. And it doesn’t give users the munchies. In many respects, it’s an ideal strain.