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How To Choose The Right Cannabis Strain

Updated August 10, 2022

If you are using cannabis for medical purposes, it is ideal to ask the doctor completing your recommendation for suggestions. You should also purchase the strain that will benefit you the most so you can experience appropriate relief.

Understand Main Strain Types

There are four main strain types:

TypeBenefitsBest Time to Use
SativaPromotes Focus, Energy, Pain ReliefDaytime
IndicaPromotes Pain Relief (Arthritis, Multiple sclerosis, Parksinon's, Anxiety), Relaxing Effects, Sleep AssistanceEvening
HybridPromotes medicinal benefits from both indica and sativa strainsMorning & Daytime
CBDRelief with seizure disorders, inflammatory diseases, and nausea disorders.Morning & Daytime

It's important to not only understand your condition, but the time of day you'll be consuming. In general, indica strains tend to make you sleepier and less social. In this case, it'd make sense to consume when you don't have a lot of activities planned or later on in the day/night. If you need daytime pain relief, a nice hybrid like Blue Dream will do the trick. If you're more concerned with focusing on an activity, a sativa strain makes the most sense here.


Leafist provides a vast library of strain information that you can use to to research before you during your dispensary visits. Also research the residual effects of each strain such as dry mouth, dry eyes and hunger so that you know what to expect.

Speak with Dispensary Workers

When you visit the dispensary, discuss your ailments with the employee (or "budtender" as they are called in the industry). They may ask you a couple of questions like the effects you'd like to feel, if you need a high or low potency strain and what your symptoms are. Don't feel like they'll judge you -- it's their job to suggest the best strain options in their inventory that's specific to your needs, so it's important to be open with them.

Do the Sniff Test

If you are a newcomer to marijuana, you’re probably unaware that every strain has a unique scent. Some are skunky, some earthy, others sweet, and some are citrusy. There are even some that are simply hard to explain since they smell different to everyone. It's a good idea to pick a strain that not only works for what you need it to, but one that also smells good to you.

Note: Some strains at the dispensary have a natural musty smell to them; it doesn't necessarily mean that the strain is moldy or bad. Just be vocal about the aroma to the budtender during your sniff test to see what they have to say about it.

Before you Dive in

Start off slow with a few hits first. If you're using edibles, try starting out with nothing more than 5mg. If smoking or vaporizing, give yourself at least 15-30 minutes to feel the effects to decide if you'd like to continue. If taking edibles, give yourself up to 1 hour on an empty stomach and 2 hours on a full one. Every strain is going to react differently in your body – stressing the importance of starting slowly.

Tip: Try combining a CBD strain with your preferred strain to achieve a greater level of comfort.

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