By Luke Sumpter

Taste and Effects of Cannabis Strains: A Guide

Taste and Effects of Cannabis Strains: A Guide

Cannabis flowers are unlike any other blossoms in nature. Sure, other flowers possess trichomes, pistils, and even copious amounts of resin. But cannabis buds are unmatched in their intense and recognisable aroma, not to mention their powerful psychotropic effects. If you’ve ever enjoyed weed, you’ll be familiar with those small glistening structures on the surface of buds. These are trichomes—glands responsible for churning out over 150 terpenes and 100 cannabinoids.

These phytochemicals, along with others, are responsible for the unique tastes, scents, and effects of each cultivar. Below, we’ll guide you through which of these molecules gives rise to each particular effect and flavour, with a specific focus on the strains available in the Royal Queen Seeds catalogue. Get ready to plunge into a world of stoning highs, energetic experiences, and flavours of pine, earthiness, sugar, and fruit.

Effects of Cannabis

How does cannabis affect a person? The answer to this question depends on a wide array of variables. The unique physiology of an individual influences how cannabis affects them, as do the vastly different chemical profiles of each strain.

When considering the effects of individual cannabis cultivars, many marijuana users laser in on the amount of THC and CBD within. While important, these molecules only form the central effects. It’s the terpenes that add the massive psychoactive diversity we see in cannabis varieties.

For example, ten different strains may all contain 20% THC, but as they feature different terpene profiles, their effects will all be notably different. To break this down further, we’re going to divide the cannabis high up into primary effects, and then highlight the chemical components responsible for them. We’ll also touch upon strains in the RQS catalogue bearing these profiles.

What Causes the Different Physical Effects of Cannabis?

Now that we know that terpenes are just as vital to the cannabis experience as cannabinoids, it’s time to hone in a little further. Researchers have discovered that many of these chemical constituents synergise, affecting the human body and mind in unique ways; however, a large share of these chemicals and their mechanisms/effects remain a mystery. To start, let’s examine which constituents are responsible for the characteristic feelings of relaxation, sleepiness, and the general sensation of being “stoned”.

Body Sensations

Some strains hit the body in a powerful way. These varieties contain a specific mix of cannabinoids and terpenes that make the muscles melt. But this effect isn’t exclusive to strains high in THC. Some varieties packed with CBD also create sensations that help us to unwind. Specific terpene combinations form the common thread that weaves through these cultivars. Alongside high levels of THC and CBD, the terpenes humulene, limonene, myrcene, and caryophyllene all soothe the body and create notable physical sensations. RQS strains with a body-oriented effect and high levels of these terpenes include:

Body Sensations Strains
Physically Relaxing
  • Physically Relaxing

Many cannabis users light up joints and bong bowls at the end of long and tiring days. While a host of weed strains exert a physically relaxing effect, some are much more effective at helping us wind down. Strains containing myrcene, in particular, are known to produce deeply relaxing and comforting highs; ongoing studies[1] are pitching the phytochemical against models of anxiety and inflammation. Several cannabinoids also contribute to the relaxing effects of various cultivars, including THC, CBD, and CBDV. Strains known for their relaxing effects include:

  • Dance World: This sativa-dominant cultivar combines equal parts THC and CBD, and a lot of myrcene, to exert relaxing effects.
  • Royal CBDV Automatic: This variety contains CBD and high levels of the non-psychotropic cannabinoid CBDV to produce relaxation without a high.
  • Royal Medic: This CBD powerhouse will leave you feeling euphoric and content with THC levels of 10% and high quantities of CBD.

  • Sleepiness

Have you ever taken a big bong hit and suddenly felt the urge to nod off? This can even happen in a room full of people with loud music thumping. Some cannabis chemical profiles work in ways that make us want to crawl into bed and enjoy some restorative sleep. Again, different people find certain blends work best for them in this regard. But we find strains high in THC, humulene, and myrcene most likely to make the eyelids heavy. If you’re chasing this effect, you need to try out these cultivars:

  • Northern Light: This 100% pure indica variety serves up a THC level of 18% and boatloads of myrcene.
  • Sweet ZZ: These gorgeous purple flowers deliver a heavy blow to the dome with a THC content of 22% and as much myrcene as you can handle.
  • Legendary Punch OG: This humulene powerhouse combines high levels of the terpene with a hefty dose of THC.

  • Stoned

The state of being stoned is characterised by red eyes, cotton mouth, deep thoughts, and serious munchies. Not everybody enjoys this classical quartet of experiences, but some cannabis users can’t get enough. Of course, the varieties below are best reserved for quiet afternoons and lazy evenings, and don’t make the best wake-and-bake companions. The recipe for getting stoned is a simple one: you need a lot of THC, followed by some relaxing terps. You’ll find these phytochemicals in the following:

  • Green Gelato: This strain will make your eyes red quicker than you can say “that tastes incredible”.
  • HulkBerry: Some users find HulkBerry fills them with energy, but smoke enough of these buds and you’ll find yourself royally stoned.
  • Amnesia Haze: This classic will blast you into space; make sure you have enough snacks on hand when you return back to Earth.

What Cannabis Constituents Influence Our Mood?

Cannabis doesn’t just relax us and make us want to hit the hay. Other varieties produce chemical profiles that have the opposite effect. These mixtures of molecules excite, energise, and put us in the mood to get things done. Much like the strains mentioned above, the following cultivars contain THC and/or CBD, but their unique terpene contents lead to a drastically different experience.

Mood Strains
Motivating and Uplifting
  • Euphoric

Are you in the mood to feel aroused and uplifted? Luckily for you, a handful of cultivars kindle this emotional state. These strains are ideal for parties, social events, and times when you need a herbal pick-me-up. They feature good quantities of key cannabinoids as well as aromatic components that supercharge the nervous system. Strains that autumn into this category include:

  • Euphoria: This lady strikes a perfect balance of THC and CBD, alongside fruity terps, to generate a gentle and subtle high.
  • Wedding Gelato: This cultivar combines a mighty THC content of 25% with the terpenes limonene, pinene, and ocimene to deliver an experience like no other.
  • Purple Queen: This strain possesses a rich anthocyanin content that makes many growers feel euphoric by just looking at her; but it’s her THC content of 22% and high quantities of limonene that ensure this state takes hold.
Taste and Effects of Cannabis Strains: A Guide
  • Creative

Few substances can beat cannabis when it comes to stoking creativity. The herb has given rise to some of the best music known to mankind. Scores of artists, musicians, and writers give credit to the plant for inspiring some of their groundbreaking ideas.

Yet, when it comes to pursuing creative projects, you need to choose the right variety, as some strains can dampen that flame and put you in the mood to do nothing. THC likely plays a role in stimulating the creative effects of cannabis, as it is thought to increase dopamine release[2] in the brain. Stimulating terpenes such as limonene and pinene also work to refresh the mind; ongoing studies are seeking to determine if they impact cognitive function[3] in beneficial ways. Before you reach for your paint brushes, notepad, or guitar, consider giving these varieties a go:

  • Shogun: This strain combines 25% THC with a medley of energising terpenes, including limonene, that will have you feeling inspired.
  • Mother Gorilla: Flavours of chocolate, earthiness, and skunk accompany a fast-acting and creative high.
  • Royal Runtz: The lovechild of Gelato and Zkittlez, this cultivar boasts enormous levels of THC and enough limonene to see you through hours of songwriting or painting.
  • Motivating and Uplifting

Have you ever smoked a joint and found it impossible to stay still? Instead, you felt an irresistible urge to get up and accomplish something? Certain weed varieties dish out a phytochemical cocktail that motivates the body, mind, and soul. Once again, limonene comes into play here, adding an energetic element. This citrusy terpene fires up the nervous system when taken alongside the correct quantity of THC; not too much, nor too little. You’ll find the perfect balance of these molecules in the strains below:

  • Do-Si-Dos Automatic: A THC level of 20% hits the perfect middle-ground, and plenty of limonene steers the high in the right direction.
  • Wedding Cake: This is a perfect strain for boosting motivation in experienced smokers that can handle high levels of THC.

  • Laughter

Giggles. Belly laughs. Hysterical cackling. All of these sounds are the markers of a great smoking session. Studies indicate that THC boosts dopamine levels in the brain and that CBD binds to serotonin receptors. However, the exact science behind why cannabis sometimes makes us laugh remains unknown. With that said, we certainly know a few strains that seem to hit that sweet spot:

  • Speedy Chile: This relaxing and giggly strain offers moderate THC values, plenty of pinene and limonene, and fast flowering times.
  • Royal Critical Automatic: Low to medium levels of THC converge with caryophyllene and limonene to inspire instant giggle fits.

What Underpins the Cognitive Effects of Marijuana?

Some strains target the body, while others impact our emotional state. Then, there are those that influence our cognition more profoundly than others. By “cognition”, we’re chiefly referring to your mental processes; the neuronal rhythm that dictates how focused, meditative, or trippy you feel. The RQS catalogue contains strains that cater to each of these states.

Cognitive Effects Strains
Clear-Headed Focus
  • Clear-Headed Focus

Do you have deadlines for that spreadsheet you're working on? Maybe you’re about to give a presentation, and weed makes you feel confident? In any case, cannabis strains high in the terpene pinene might give you the upper hand.

People often associate cannabis with short-term memory impairment. Early studies show that THC might reduce acetylcholine release[4] in parts of the brain; this neurotransmitter plays a vital role in memory function. Yet, other studies[5] show that pinene might help to inhibit enzymes tasked with breaking down acetylcholine, which means the terpene could show some potential to offset the short-term memory impairment caused by cannabis. If you want a clear-headed high, consider these high-pinene strains:

  • Psychedelic

Powerful mind-altering experiences have their benefits. They allow us to look inward while also seeing the bigger picture. Though cannabis is not psychedelic outright, it has the potential to serve up some trippy, highly psychoactive experiences—especially when consumed in the form of edibles or dabs. High levels of THC are largely responsible for this effect, but there are likely other cannabinoids and terpenes that hold sway over the nature of these pseudo-psychedelic strains. The most “psychedelic” strains in the RQS catalogue include:

  • Meditative

Meditation comes with a wide array of benefits. It keeps us relaxed, centres us, and helps us to temporarily bathe in the present moment and depart from the worries of the world. Some cannabis users prefer subtle strains to keep their minds focused and sharp during this practice, whereas others desire strong, stoning varieties to help them lock into the present. Consider these strains, according to your preferences, during your next meditation session:

  • Stress Killer Automatic: This high-CBD strain helps to keep the mind sharp and centred without distraction.
  • Royal CBG Automatic: Enjoy a subtle high and large quantities of CBG to keep your thoughts in the present.
  • Cookies Gelato: If you prefer to meditate while stoned, this THC powerhouse will do the trick to put you in an elevated state of mind.
Taste and Effects of Cannabis Strains: A Guide
  • Long-Lasting

What makes the effect of some strains last longer than others? High levels of THC play a sure role; however, if you want the lengthiest high possible, you’re going to need to get your baking tray out and fire up the oven. When ingested in the form of edibles, the liver converts THC into a metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC. This molecule creates a much more powerful high that can last up to six hours or longer. To make the most THC-packed edibles possible, consider these three varieties:

  • Cookies Gelato: Delivering 28% THC and terpenes that go down a treat, what have you got to lose?
  • Royal Gorilla: Buckle up for 25% THC and a well-balanced high.
  • Royal Runtz: This titan weighs in with a THC content of 27% and candy-sweet flavours.

Tastes of Cannabis

Whereas cannabinoids lay the foundations for the effects of cannabis, terpenes take centre stage when it comes to flavour. These potent hydrocarbons light up the taste buds and underpin the unique sensory experience offered by each variety. Alone, each terpene features a core flavour profile. However, they exert complex tastes when delivered in concert. Below, you’ll discover all of the tastes that cannabis has to offer, and which of these molecules takes the credit for each one. Of course, we’ll make some strain suggestions along the way!

Tastes of Cannabis Strains
  • Earthy

More than one terpene underpins the earthy taste of cannabis. The main players in this regard include myrcene, humulene, and pinene. To experience a deep, savoury, perhaps even slightly musky experience, opt for buds from North Thunderfuck Automatic, Royal Dwarf, or Easy Bud.

  • Pine

Pinene of course takes the crown when it comes to the taste of pine in cannabis. This refreshing terpene also shows up in rosemary, dill, and eucalyptus. The most pinene-rich strains available from the RQS catalogue include Critical Kush, Speedy Chile, and Royal CBDV Automatic.

  • Pineapple

Tropical. Tasty. Moreish. Strains with hints of pineapple leave users returning to them again and again. But what makes these varieties so scrumptious? A combination of sweet terpenes is responsible, including limonene, geraniol, and linalool. To get a taste of pineapple, you need to get some Pineapple Kush seeds in the soil.

  • Herbal

Being a herb, it comes as no surprise that some strains have herbal tastes and aromas. However, those that are less fruity, sour, and floral allow this base flavour to shine through. Herbal-tasting cultivars are high in savoury terpenes such as terpinolene and caryophyllene. If you’re chasing these flavours, look no further than El Patron.

Taste and Effects of Cannabis Strains: A Guide
  • Pepper

It might sound strange to opt for pepper when you have so much fruity goodness available. But sometimes such savoury strains offer a welcome break from more tropical profiles, providing a rich and grounding taste that goes down wonderfully in pipes and bongs. The peppery powerhouse caryophyllene—also found in black pepper—underpins this flavour. If you’re after an absolute pepper bomb, know that White Widow fits the bill perfectly.

  • Candy

Who doesn’t love candy-flavoured weed? These varieties light up the taste buds situated at the front of the tongue, and often make the munchies even harder to resist. The terpenes limonene, geraniol, linalool, and bisabolol are thought to give rise to such sugary tastes. These are found in exceptionally high concentrations within the buds of Candy Kush Express.

  • Fruity

Fruity cannabis strains are refreshing, and go down particularly well in a vaporiser, or when converted into high-potency dabs. The fruitiest terps in cannabis include limonene, linalool, humulene, and geraniol, which run the gamut of tropical to forest fruit notes. Try out Somango XL to get a true appreciation for these phytochemicals.

  • Diesel

Since when did the taste of diesel become appealing? Since people started smoking weed! We’re not talking about the powerful odour that comes out of the nozzle at gas stations. Some strains have a hint of diesel that makes them tangy, sharp, and tasty. Myrcene and limonene largely contribute to this flavour, alongside hints of caryophyllene and humulene. You’ll find them together in the flowers of Diesel Automatic.

  • Sour

Sour strains are simply delicious. They hit the tongue in a whole different way than their sweet counterparts, and become especially tasty when combined with sugary varieties in the same bowl or chamber. The sourest terps in cannabis flowers include terpineol and camphene. Grow some Sour Diesel plants to experience an unadulterated sour sensation.

  • Pungent

Rather than a smell, pungency is more of a physical sensation in and around the nose. It refers to sharp, strong, and almost overwhelming aromas. Sometimes you’ll encounter this experience after opening a stash jar or bag. Certain strains deliver a potent, almost aggressive odour, thanks mainly to high levels of caryophyllene, myrcene, and borneol. Shogun stands as one of the most pungent strains by RQS. Unsurprisingly, you won’t find many pests around these plants.

  • Mint

If you’re brewing up a cup of cannabis tea, or simply want a refreshing cultivar to blaze in the morning, then you may want to hunt down something minty. Mint plants are packed with limonene, pinene, and cineol (also known as eucalyptol), as are the cannabis strains ICE and Green Gelato.

Taste and Effects of Cannabis Strains: A Guide
  • Blueberry

Blueberries are tart, sweet, and sour all at the same time. A complex array of terpenes underpins this flavour, including cineole, linalool, cymene, and limonene. Interestingly, some cannabis strains include a similar chemical makeup, including Royal Bluematic.

  • Cheese

In a world of fruit, sugar, candy, earth, and pine, cheesy strains offer something entirely unique. Savoury terpenes such as octanoic acid, butyrate, and hexanoic acid combine to create the strange goodness found in the likes of Royal Cheese.

  • Chocolate

A special blend of terpenes is required to generate the taste of chocolate in cannabis. Contrary to sweet chocolate bars on supermarket shelves, true chocolate has a complex flavour that includes notes of bitterness. A fine balance of linalool, myrcene, and ocimene hit the taste buds in just the right way to mimic this taste. Turn to Chocolate Haze if you want to experience this for yourself.

  • Lavender

The lavender plant appeals to many of our senses. The gorgeous purple flowers of this species contain high levels of linalool, a potent terpene that lends gardeners a helping hand by driving away pest insects. To get a taste of lavender, opt for high-linalool strains such as Amnesia Haze.

  • Eucalyptus

Used frequently in aromatherapy, eucalyptus oil serves as a reservoir of aromatic terpenes, including eucalyptol (cineol), pinene, limonene, and cymene. If you want to stimulate your senses with a similar mix of aromatics, pack some ICE into a blunt, bowl, or vape chamber.

  • Vanilla

Vanilla isn’t just found in bottles on supermarket shelves. It’s a flavourful plant that originated in Mesoamerica. Vanilla pods hold a chemical secret in the form of vanillin, an organic compound that appears nowhere else in nature. However, the terpenes pinene, limonene, and caryophyllene also contribute to the unique taste of vanilla. You’ll find them in high concentrations in Royal CBG Automatic.

  • Skunk

To understand the smell of skunk in cannabis, we need to step outside the world of terpenes for a moment. The skunky aroma of weed stems from prenylated volatile sulphur compounds. Interestingly, these molecules are also found in the aerosol spray that shoots out the back ends of skunks (the animal). Skunk XL provides some of the smelliest buds around.

  • Honey

Bees make honey by collecting nectar from plants. But nectar doesn’t just contain sugar, it also houses different kinds of terpenes. Linalool often shows up in honey samples in good quantities. Pair this with strains that already feature a sugary taste, and you're onto a winner. As you can guess by her name, Honey Cream offers some sugary goodness indeed.

Taste and Effects of Cannabis Strains: A Guide
  • Lime

Every time you peel a lime, a wave of aromatics stimulates the olfactory system. Limonene plays a big role here, but high levels of terpinolene also provide an important piece of the puzzle. The latter terpene offers a subtle bitterness that, when present in cannabis, diverts the overall taste away from the sweet aspects of lemon and toward the more neutral taste of lime. To experience this rare formula, start germinating some North Thunderfuck Automatic seeds.

  • Cookies

Let’s get straight into this one. Cookies Gelato Automatic tastes, as you’d expect, just like cookies. But why? Because her flowers are packed with a unique blend of sweet terpenes including limonene, bisabolol, linalool, and geraniol. Load her flowers into a vape at a relatively low setting to experience these flavours in all their glory.

RQS Seedfinder

As you’ve learned, cannabis offers a wealth of flavours and effects. The level of choice means you’ll always have something new to experiment with—but it can also lead to paralysis by analysis. To help you find cultivars that best suit your preferences and growing situation, we developed the RQS Seedfinder. This handy online tool allows you to quickly filter through hundreds of strains to find those that really match your needs. Follow the quick, linear process to select traits such as autoflowering vs photoperiod, where you want to grow, your particular climate, and what flavours and effects you’re looking for. At the end of the process, we’ll introduce you to a selection of strains that you’re sure to autumn in love with.

External Resources:
  1. Myrcene—What Are the Potential Health Benefits of This Flavouring and Aroma Agent?
  2. Further human evidence for striatal dopamine release induced by administration of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  3. The effect of D-Limonene on memory and cognitive function in SHRsp rats after stroke
  4. Cannabinoid and cholinergic systems interact during performance of a short-term memory task in the rat
  5. Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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