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Top 5 Cannabis Strains For Beginners

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As a follow-up to Top 10 Cannabis Strains Online in our series on cannabis strains, we’re digging into the best strains for beginners. While a heavy dab of some Pineapple Kush concentrate is a daily choice for many professional smokers, it’s not exactly recommended for those who are still building their THC tolerance. So what should you go for?

Before we get into it, we should note that it’s tough to declare any particular strain the winner. Cannabis strains all have unique effects, and everyone experiences their high differently. Some react nicely to a strong sativa on their first go, laughing and riding the intensity to a calm finish. Others might find the same experience overwhelming, but would enjoy a relaxing night on the couch with a mellow indica-dominant strain.

The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t overdo it on the first go, no matter which strain you’re using. Use a small amount at first, preferably with a vaporizer, then kick it up after half an hour if things are still calm. Have something sweet handy and make sure you’re in a positive place – be it with friends on a hike, at home watching a movie or playing pirate-themed lazer mini-golf (if that’s your thing).

We’ve broken things up by checking out social media discussions, researching online search volumes and speaking with experts in the field. These were the standout options, with a focus on more widely available strains. One of these should be available at your local dispensary/coffeeshop:

Cannabis College Recommendations

To get a heady start on the topic, we stopped by the incredibly informative Cannabis College in Amsterdam, where we ran into resident cannabis expert Tan. He took a moment out of his busy schedule to offer us a couple of his favorites (while simultaneously teaching a group of curious visitors how to use a vaporizer).


Chocolope is the sativa-dominant result of Chocolate Thai and Cannalope Haze, and it’s known for delivering an uplifting high while helping with focus. It’s a flavorful strain that generally won’t overload someone who is new to cannabis, but it won’t result in the unpleasant crash that comes with many weaker or poorly grown strains.

NYC Diesel

Tan also cited New York City Diesel as a great starter strain. The Cannabis Cup winner offers a pleasant high that is known to transition smoothly from a cerebral effect into a body-based buzz, inspiring social interaction while minimizing paranoia.

You’ll notice that both of his suggestions are sativa-based strains, and we should note that he described each strain in more general terms – knowing that everyone will experience them differently. While he respects these strains, they’re not as hard-hitting as some of the other options out there.

“Personally, I’d burn right through the bag,” he said. “But they’re still great strains.”

He thinks a heavy indica could be the wrong choice for most beginners, as it doesn’t provide the full mind-altering experience that a cerebral sativa can offer. We’re inclined to agree, looking back at our first experience. Falling asleep is nice, but nothing new. Indicas are great in their own right, but a nice sativa brings the magical experience that draws the uninitiated into the party.

If you’re ever in Amsterdam, be sure to check out the Cannabis College for more marijuana education than you could possibly imagine under one small Dutch roof.

Popular Strains Online

These strains were on our list of popular strains online based on search volume and forum discussions. They’ve crossed the line (in the best way) by appearing on both lists, and should be easy to find nearby. Remember, you should only trust strains from a legally growing, reliable source!

Sour Diesel

Uplifting and cerebral, the infamous Sour D has its roots in Chemdawg and Super Skunk/Northern Lights. It’s popular nationwide (and in select coffeeshops across the pond) and has been for quite some time. You can expect a positive experience that scales with how much you’re smoking. Beginners should go for a

White Widow

Calm, relaxing, generally powerful but rarely overwhelming, White Widow is a famous indica-dominant hybrid that is ubiquitous in Dutch coffeeshops. You can get lucky and find a serious knockout, but the majority of White Widow is grown for its yield and reliability. That means most White Widow is a safe bet for is calming, middle-of-the-road type high.


Skunk is famous as a nickname for particularly stinky herb, but the strain itself is also the foundation for many of the most popular and potent strains currently circulating the scene. Its diverse genetic profile and stable foundation result in some of the classic symptoms of marijuana use: munchies, giggles and creative thoughts. Make sure you find it properly grown, though, or give it a pass.

So there you have it: Chocolope, NYC Diesel, Sour Diesel, White Widow and Skunk take the “strains for beginners” space-cake.

What do you think? Have any personal favorites that might be a bit more obscure? Let us know in the comments below or on the GrassCity forums!


Cannabis College image: Wikipedia