Not all weed is created equal. Here’s how Michiganders can choose the right strain

Not all weed is created equal. Here’s how Michiganders can choose the right strain

By Kyle Kaminski

July 8, 2024

Indica? Sativa? Terpenes? Does it even matter?

MICHIGAN—Navigating the world of retail cannabis can be a bit overwhelming at times—especially in Michigan, where new strains seem to be hitting the market every day. 

This year alone, my local pot shop has rolled out a variety of bizarre sounding strains like Donkey Butter, Permanent Marker, Technical Knockout, Han Solo Burger, and Cat Piss. 

And while those names might be amusing, and the packaging might be flashy, not all weed is created equal, and it’s not always easy to decide on the best strain to fit your needs. So, I whipped up this quick guide to help you make the best choice for your cannabis journey.

Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid?

While there is plenty of dispute over whether these titles actually mean anything, most Michigan pot shops are still dividing up their weed into three categories based on their intended effects.

Those are indica, sativa, and hybrid.

Indica strains are known for their relaxing and sedative effects, making them great for unwinding after a long day or a quick bowl before bed. Different strains will affect everyone differently, but these strains tend to be great for relieving stress, anxiety, or insomnia.

Remember: Indica = in da couch. 

Sativa strains, on the other hand, are known for their uplifting and energizing effects, making them ideal for daytime use or for a morning bowl with your coffee. Sativas can also enhance creativity and focus—making them a good choice for social gatherings or creative projects.

Hybrid strains, like the name suggests, are a mix of both worlds. They tend to offer a balance of effects, with some leaning more toward relaxation or energy—depending on your preference.


THC—or tetrahydrocannabinol—is the main psychoactive component in cannabis that gets you high. Higher THC content can be great for those seeking strong psychoactive effects.

CBD—or cannabidiol—is non-psychoactive and known for its therapeutic benefits. Strains higher in CBD tend to be great for managing pain, inflammation, and anxiety without the high.

Ultimately, it’s a combination of these two cannabinoids that make for a well-rounded cannabis experience—but those percentages aren’t everything. The potency of any given strain of weed also has a lot to do with terpenes, and those can create different effects on different people.

Terpenes Matter

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds in cannabis that give each strain its unique scent and flavor. They also contribute to the effects, which can vary from stoner to stoner. 

Budtenders recommend exploring different terpene profiles to find an experience that works for you—and all the best brands of weed will always have terpene profiles included on their labels.

After years of smoking different strains, I’ve found Myrcene to be among my favorite terpenes. It’s also found in mangoes and hops, has a musky aroma, and is known for its relaxing effects.

Limonene—another personal favorite—has a citrusy scent and can help reduce stress and anxiety. Pinene (obviously) smells like a pine cone and can improve focus and alertness. More than 200 terpenes have been found in weed, and each strain has a different terpene profile.

Decoding Labels

Not all weed is created equal. Here’s how Michiganders can choose the right strain

In addition to the THC and CBD content, all weed sold in Michigan will also include a harvest date. A good rule of thumb: Never buy weed that was harvested more than one year ago.

Labels must also include a series of license numbers to show where the weed was grown, and where it was tested for safety and potency. Never buy weed that doesn’t have these labels. 

Remember! Everyone’s body reacts differently to different cannabis strains, so it’s important to start low and go slow—especially if you’re new to weed. Happy exploring!

Not all weed is created equal. Here’s how Michiganders can choose the right strain

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  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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