Ask a budtender: how do I know what strains I will like?

Lorena Cupcake, voted “best budtender in Chicago,” has answered hundreds of questions from cannabis shoppers and patients during their time as a budtender. And now they’re turning that experience into a monthly advice column, Ask a budtender. Got a question for Cupcake? Submit your questions to  Dear Budtender, I’m a frequent smoker, but by no means an expert on strains, genetics, THC percentages, etc. Budtenders and manufacturers alike aren’t using the terms indica or sativa anymore, but they end up swapping in vague synonyms instead, like “sluggish,” “buzzy,” or “cerebral.”  What’s the best way for me to know what strains I’d like without having to track my consumption like the most dedicated craft beer nerds? Thanks, Jack Dear Jack, Buying cannabis has always been a gamble, and all the color-coding and branding buzzwords don’t seem to be making it any easier. Differentiating Ghost Cookies from Mystery Cookies, spliff unsparked, will always involve a fair amount of guesswork. However, learning more about how cannabis affects you in general will allow you to make educated guesses as to how different products will affect you. I shared your letter with Dr. Adie Rae, Ph.D., a neuroscientist based in Portland, Oregon. Smart Cannabis, a company she co-founded, produces a scientifically rigorous cannabis cup that weighs lab tests against unbiased, double-blinded reviews.  “This is an incredibly important question, especially for medical patients who are looking for a very specific outcome,” she said. The problem? Four years of running the Cultivation Classics have taught her that individual experiences, even with the exact same flower, are wildly inconsistent. Products that produce the same effects, over and over, are so rare that the Cultivation Classic team have given those strains a coveted label: “Credible Cultivar.”  While one man’s sleepy may be another man’s cerebral, there are two…

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