If you are new to marijuana smoking, or perhaps you have been smoking for many years…

You might have noticed that there is more to marijuana these days than getting high.

Most 420smokers already know about THC as the main ingredient that is responsible for producing the desired effects, but there is much more to the cannabis plant than THC. Marijuana contains more than 400 other chemicals that have an effect on the experience of the user.

The genetics of the cannabis plant have become highly refined, similar to the way in which coffee, tea, wine, and craft beer have been developed for specific characteristics. The following guide will help you to understand some of the terms and characteristics that are considered when choosing the best 420 for your needs.

The Cannabis Cup: A World Class Competition

cannacup15-2

2015 High Times Cannabis Cup Denver, Colorado

Photo: westword.com

Just like wine and craft beer, 420smokers can now gather for an annual competition and tradeshow that celebrates the world’s finest in marijuana. This may have you wondering how one actually judges cannabis for this award. First, you must know that the breeding of cannabis plants has become a highly specialized science. Competitors hybridize cannabis plants in an attempt to maximize the desirable facts and minimize the negative ones. It is not all about THC content in today’s competitive cannabis environment.

The next thing you are probably wondering is where this fine competition is held. It is held in Colorado, but has changed locations over the past several years, so you have to look for it. The location for the next competition in 2017 has not been announced at this time. There have also been competitions held in Michigan, Amsterdam, Jamaica, Southern California, and Northern California. Attendees at these competitions can enjoy entertainment, competitions, and classes.

The World of Competitive Cannabis

You are probably wondering how one goes about choosing the winner of the Cannabis Cup. Some of the marijuana entered into these competitions have pedigrees that would make the most pampered pooch at the Westminster dog show jealous. The first characteristic of marijuana is whether it affects the head, the body, or a balanced combination of both. The second characteristic is how fast the effects can be felt after the first puff. The third major characteristic is how long the effects last.

High Times Medical Cannabis Cup San Francisco 2013

High Times Medical Cannabis Cup San Francisco 2013

Photo: sfgate.com

After these characteristics, 420smokers get into the finer points of the weed. They rate the flavor and aroma of the cannabis in terms used in wine tastings such as woody, pine -like, lemony, sour, pungent, or perhaps fruity such as containing hints of blueberry or citrus. The aroma and flavor add to the experience of the user. After that, the type of sensations felt are rated. These include relaxation, happiness, euphoria, upliftment, and the ability to produce hunger.

The negative effects are also noted such as dry mouth, dry eyes, paranoia, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. These characteristics are rated on a scale and compared to determine the overall winner. Of course, the winner is the one that has the best overall experience, while minimizing the negative effects.

The medical effects are also noted such as the ability to reduce stress, pain, depression, insomnia, and to improve appetite. As one can see, in today’s cannabis competition, a lot of hard work goes into the breeding of the plants to produce the one that stands out above all the rest.

 

Major Cannabis Strains

Without getting into the specifics of the competitive strains that are now being produced, it is important to know at least the major divisions in the cannabis species. First off, the earliest cannabis comes from the Hindu Kush region of Pakistan.

Strains that use the Kush name are claiming to have lines going back to the original tropical species. These are known as the landrace strains and are the most highly desirable of cannabis genetics today. The strains have undergone thousands of years of adaptation and hybridization, with few of the true genes remaining.

 

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Blueberry Yum Yum

Photo: gamerchronic.com

During the 1970s and 80s, stiff federal regulation forced many cannabis growers to develop strains that would fare well indoors under artificial conditions. The original landtrace genetics were not well-suited for this new environment. During this time, growers concentrated on THC content, rather than a balance of characteristics. As they strove to focus on THC content over everything else, some of the strains during developed during this time gave 420smokers some nasty side effects.
It is important to know that although many of the plant’s characteristics are genetically based, growing conditions can change them. The two main strains of cannabis today are the Indica varieties and Sativa varieties. In general, Indica varieties have fatter leaves and are more bushy in form, making them more suitable for growing in indoor environments.

Sativa forms are tall and thin with longer thinner leaves and are more suitable for growing outdoors. Indica species are known for higher resin content and short flowering periods. Sativas are known for the enjoyable and uplifting experience that they give the user. They are considered more “heady” than the Indicas. The goal of hybridization is to develop strains that combine the best of both worlds.

Now for little about today’s highly sophisticated hybridized marijuana strains.

 

Gorilla Glue

Gorilla Glue

Photo: budmanoc.com

Indica species tend to be sedative and relaxing with effects on the entire body. Sativa strains tend to be uplifting and promote creativity with effects focused in the emotional centers of the brain. In general, for medical purposes, Indica species are used for anxiety, muscle spasms, pain, and insomnia. Sativa species are used for mood disorders, depression, ADD, and fatigue. As one can see, the two main divisions of cannabis species have almost entirely opposite effects and are used for different purposes. This is important to know when choosing the right marijuana for your needs.

Most of today’s hybrids fall somewhere on a spectrum between true Indica species and true Sativa species.

There is almost an endless selection available to today’s users, making it possible to choose just the right strain for you. Today’s strains have catchy names like OG Kush, Blue Dream, Girl Scout Cookies, Green Crack, Chemdawg, Grandaddy Purple, Don Shula, Bhang Super Sour Diesel, Gatekeeper OG, God’s Gift, and Chocolope. Similar to wine categories, varieties are classified as to whether they are Indica, Sativa, a hybrid, or a product made from those varieties. Each of these strains is judged on their potency and characteristics according to its class.

Just as with wine competitions and learning the art of wine tasting, it will take some time for 420smokers to learn to gauge the finer points of their marijuana.

In order to become a world-class connoisseur, one has to try many different varieties. Experience is the best teacher. When examining and judging various varieties, it is best to do it slowly and consciously, taking in the smoke and observing its odor and taste. One should notice the sensations as the strain begins to take effect. With some practice, it is possible to be able to recognize strains by their appearance, odor, flavor, and other characteristics. Marijuana smoking is no longer just recreational. It has developed into a combination of art and science that is quickly gaining popularity as a world-class event. The world of smoking will continue to grow and change, giving cannabis smokers and increasingly abundant source of enjoyment and experience in their craft.

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