The Cannabist has asked renowned grower Jorge Cervantes to answer readers’ questions and give advice on all things related to the cannabis plant. Got a question for Jorge? Email him at [email protected] Laws for cultivating cannabis vary from state to state and city to city - before germinating any seeds or planting any clones, take care to learn what your local laws are.

Question: Big fan! What are your five favorite strains to smoke?

- Jacob, Australia

Answer: Great question, Jacob! I love so many different varieties of cannabis that it is difficult to narrow them down. 

First, let’s distinguish a couple of things: Most cannabis aficionados agree on the general distinction between cannabis indica and cannabis sativa plants. Indicas come from more mountainous areas and grow short and squat. Sativas come from tropical regions and grow tall and lanky. Hybrids are a mix of indica and sativa varieties.

Recent work by Phylos Bioscience in Portland, Ore., has mapped the genome of more than 2,000 varieties of cannabis. By studying this Phylos Galaxy interactive graphic that’s linked here, you can see just how many varieties are related to one another. The galaxy also shows that there are many, many different varieties of cannabis.

Unfortunately, many of these varieties are not stable and will change over time. They are also very difficult to breed successfully. When I give you the names of varieties I like, it is because they are relatively stable and well-known in the United States. Different parts of the world have local varieties that are popular there. Furthermore, cannabis is an outbreeding plant and can have a stunning difference in phenotypes — which traits from the two parent plants are most evident. That said…

Read Jorge's five favorite strains at The Cannabist.