Why Cannabis Types Are More Important than Strains

Your first visit to a Medical Cannabis pharmacy was probably somewhat overwhelming. There were so many choices you knew nothing about. It was all you could do to read every label, let alone try to figure out which product was best for you. Looking back on that experience, do you remember whether the pharmacy rep discussed the difference between cannabis strains and cannabis types?

It is an important distinction. Why? Because growers and processors spend a lot of time talking about strains. Here’s the thing: strains are more of a marketing tool than anything else. Not all products of the same strain are identical. Furthermore, there can be differences between two different packages of an identical strain from the same manufacturer.

Medical Cannabis users should focus more on type than strain. Type is a specific and distinct classification that has more to do with how your medicines affect you than the strain you choose.

Three Main Classifications

People who make their living growing, processing, and selling Medical Cannabis rely on three different classifications for their products. All three tell consumers and producers alike something different. Here they are:

  • Strains – For all intents and purposes, a strain is little more than a marketing designation. It is like a brand name or description of a brand. If we could compare it tortilla chips, two different ‘strains’ would be cool ranch and nacho cheese.
  • Types – A cannabis type is a plant that has been specifically bred to enhance a single cannabinoid. Nearly all the Medical Cannabis on the market is Type I. It has been bred to maximize THC.
  • Chemovars – A classification based on a plant’s two most abundant cannabinoids, along with at least two terpenes.

It is worth noting that Type I cannabis isn’t just the most common type in the medical arena, it is the most common of all cannabis types sold in the U.S. That’s primarily due to the plant’s status as a Schedule I controlled substance. Cultivators focus on THC because that is where the money is.

Type Influences Effects

Hopefully, understanding the three classifications also helps you understand why cannabis type is more important than strain. Type directly influences the effects you feel from cannabis. If THC is the most appropriate cannabinoid for treating your condition, you would want to focus on Type I products, regardless of strain.

Perhaps your pharmacist discusses different chemovars when you consult with them. If so, they might be aware of certain groups of cannabinoids and terpenes that should help your condition. Heed their advice. Your pharmacist is the most qualified individual to recommend Medical Cannabis types and delivery methods.

Strains Come After Types

None of this is to say that strains do not matter. It is just that they are not as important as types. From a medical standpoint, we think it’s best to start by finding the right type for your condition and symptoms. The journey of finding the best type might lead you to layer multiple types or focus on specific chemovars. That’s all great.

Once you determine the best type of cannabis for your needs, then you can start focusing on different strains. It is quite possible that you’ll find a particular strain from a particular manufacturer especially helpful for your symptoms. It could easily become your favorite. But don’t be afraid to experiment with other strains, too.

Just remember that strains are more about marketing than anything else. The main thing to be concerned about is the type of cannabis you use. You need the right cannabinoid and terpene profile to get the most out of cannabis as a medicine.

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By UtahMarijuana.org
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Published July 12, 2022

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