Each cannabis strain is incredibly unique. So how do you pick the one that’s right for you? Here are three important points to consider when choosing between different cannabis strains.

1. Choose the Right Chemotype

When choosing a cannabis strain to best suit your needs, the most important consideration is the chemotype. The chemotype is essentially a strain’s ratio of THC to CBD. This ratio will have a huge impact on the user experience.  

Cannabis strains typically fall into one of three chemotypes:

  • THC-dominant: strains that have a high proportion of THC and low proportion of CBD
  • CBD-dominant: strains that have a high proportion of CBD and low proportion of THC
  • Balanced: strains that have equivalent or nearly equivalent amounts of THC and CBD

A strain’s chemotype is largely determined by plant genetics. And while most producers let you know whether a strain is a sativa, indica, or hybrid, they don’t typically list the strain’s chemotype. However, you can identify the chemotype by taking a look at the cannabinoid potency label. For example, a THC-dominant strain may contain 15% THC and 1% CBD.

The chemotype is so crucial because it determines the psychoactive and physiological effects of your experience. Choose a THC-dominant strain if you’re looking for a more intoxicating, psychoactive experience. Strains high in THC can be sedating but may also be accompanied by an increased heart rate and feelings of anxiety or paranoia.

Balanced strains will also be intoxicating, but the higher levels of CBD can reduce some of the effects of THC including intoxication, sedation, and anxiety. CBD-dominant strains will not by psychoactive and may have a relaxing, anti-anxiety effect.

2. Think About Overall Potency

Aside from the ratio of THC to CBD, it’s also important to consider overall potency. This is especially important when it comes to THC. A strain that contains over 20% THC will give you a very different experience than a strain with 5% THC.

3. Consider the Terpene Profile

A strain’s terpene profile has a much more subtle effect, but many times it’s the understated qualities like the taste and the smell of a strain that we enjoy most. For example pinene has a piny, earthy scent while limonene has a more citrusy flavor. Terpenes can also impact a strain’s therapeutic effect.


When trying to pick the cannabis strain that’s right for you, carefully consider the strain’s chemotype, overall potency, and terpene profile. These factors rely on sensitive and accurate cannabinoid and terpene profiling. Encore Labs is an ISO/IEC 17025 certified testing lab that offers comprehensive analysis to help you characterize the unique aspects of your cannabis strains.