how to tell what strain of weed you have

How Does One Identify a Cannabis Strain?

Do you have a hard time identifying cannabis strains? Have you ever smoked some really good bud but just can’t seem to figure out the particular strain that got you high? We all know how that feels — you’re likely to have a burning desire to find that same fire herb. The only way out is to know how to identify strains. Now, the process of identifying strains can be a bit tricky — there are well over 700 different cannabis strains, and the number keeps growing each day.

So what does this mean? Well, it only implies that it’s going to take a whole lot of work to sift through all those strains to find your fire herb. The good news is, there are a couple of things you can do to narrow it down, and that’s exactly what this post is about.

From this point on, we’re going to explore the step-by-step process for identifying strains so you can get familiar with what you’re smokin. Sounds good? Let’s get to it!

Step 1: Shape and Size of the Beautiful Buds

The very first things you want to look at are the shape and size of the buds. This is when we figure out if you’ve got an indica, sativa or hybrid.

Indica Strains typically produce heavy and tightly packed buds. They look short and chunky. On the flip side, Sativa Strains produce long and narrow flowers, which aren’t as densely packed as indicas.

So, if you’re looking for short and stubby buds, you should be on the lookout for pure indicas or indica-dominant hybrids. Also, if you’re looking to have longer and thinner flowers, you can limit your search to sativas and sativa-dominant hybrids.

Step 2: Color of the Flowers
  • Most marijuana strains will produce buds that are green — pretty standard and might not tell you what you’re trying to figure out at first glance. However, look a little closer to see if you can notice a bit of a tint.
  • Often times you’ll find a bud that has a bit of a purple to it. Purple typically appears in strains like Purple Kush, Purple Urkle, Grandaddy Purple and Purple Haze. Just be sure to look for these strains if you see purple.
  • Other times you might see buds with yellow and orange hues. When you see these colors in your cannabis, just know that you’re going to have something like Grapefruit, Alien OG, Lemon Kush or Kandy Skunk.
  • That’s not all though! Some strains grow reddish buds — such strains could be linked to Pink Flower Shaman or Predator Pink.
  • In some circumstances, although rather rare… You’ll find some black bud, this usually tells you that you’re likely smoking something grown from a Vietnamese strain.

Note: It’s not recommended to rely on color to identify your strain. Why? Well, it’s only because environmental factors can affect the color of the buds.

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Step 3: Smell and Taste of the Buds

Alright, at this point, you’re done inspecting the appearance of the buds. So what’s next? You break them apart and focus on the smell they give off. You should also pay close attention to the flavors in the smoke when you start puffing.

There are several different smells to look for when trying to identify strains. We’re going to look at a few of them, and we’re pretty sure they’ll come in handy.


Herbs that have an earthy smell are likely to have a certain amount of Kush in them. You should know that classic strains like Afghan Kush and Hindu Kush have been used to breed thousands of other hybrid and indicas.


Do your buds smell skunky? If yes, you could be puffing a Skunk strain or some hybrid that has a significant amount of Skunk.


Remember when we talked about yellow and orange buds? Well, they belong to the class of marijuana strains that taste and smell citrusy. The names of these strains typically have a reference to citrus. So, if you find that your buds smell and taste citrusy, be sure to focus your attention on Lemon Kush, Tangerine Man, Tangie, Grapefruit or Lemon OG.


If your bud smells or tastes like berries, then you should be on the lookout for something along the lines of Strawberry Cough, Fruity Pebbles or Blueberry.


Your buds have a chemical smell, more like diesel fumes? If so, look for diesel strains. You could be getting high on Sour Diesel, Blue Diesel or a hybrid that was derived from one of these strains.

The final category of cannabis strains on this list is those that have sour smells and flavors. So, if the smoke or flavor taste sour, then you should look for strains like Blue Diesel, Sour Kush, and Sour Diesel.

Step 4: How Do You Feel?

At this stage, you’ve done everything from breaking the herbs to tasting its terpenes — you’ve been narrowing down the list of possibilities. Smoke break!

Well, now that you’ve finished your blunt and you’re getting a bit high, it’s time to pay attention to the effects of the unknown strain — what effect does it have on you?

•If the sesh gave you an intense head high with little body effects, leaving you more alert and uplifted, with your creativity flowing and an increased amount of energy. It means that you’ve got yourself a pure sativa or hybrid that has a significant amount of sativa.

• If you find yourself with a more intense body high, feeling pretty relaxed and a little hungry or tired. You might also notice some pain relief with this one! If you feel two or more of these effects you probably have a pure indica or a hybrid that is weighted towards the indica side.

• If your high feels well-balanced, more like one that affects your head and body equally, it means you’ve puffed a hybrid that has the same proportion of indica and sativa.

Wrapping it Up

Now that we’ve covered everything you need when it comes to identifying different cannabis strains. You actually have quite a number of variables ranging from the shape and size of the bud to the effects it produces — it’s all about narrowing down the list of possibilities. All these should move you closer and closer to identifying your mystery strain, and that’s what matters. Good luck!

Do you have a hard time identifying cannabis strains? Have you ever smoked some really good bud but just can't seem to figure out the particular strain that got you high? We all know how that feels — you're likely to have a burning desire to find that same fire…