Remember that iconic scene in Clueless when Cher is scrolling through her wardrobe like its conveyor belt sushi? Cher was in an I’m-The-Boss mood, scrolled her options, and made her choice. As humans, we’re selective. Luckily, we’re given a world of options to customize and live our best life. That means figuring out what we want to achieve and how we are going to get there.
Well, great news friends; Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey, author of The Art of Weed Butter and cofounder of Xula, a Latinx-owned CBD brand based in Mexico City breaks down for us the secrets of strain pairing so we can customize our uses with cannabis. She’s our weed tía, sharing her wisdom of 15 years as a multidisciplinary cannabis professional, and experiences gathered over many lifetimes of being awesome. So get your umbrella ready because Mennlay is about to make it rain with strain pairing knowledge.
Babs: Introduce us to the art of strain pairing
Mennlay: Remember, none of this is meant to treat or cure any disease. Just saying. Strain pairing is similar to wine pairing—instead of wine—it’s with weed. So a malbec wine can provide an acidic tang that might pair perfectly with the salty, fatty, umami of a slab of steak or crispy leafy greens. With cannabis, if you’re cooking, or in this case smoking cannabis with herbal blends, an earthy and subtle aroma of sage pairs well and complements a crisp Apple Kush cannabis strain. More than being a weed snob, I think strain pairing is important because it helps to inform you about which terpenes and strains work well with your body. The more understanding you gain, the more you can strengthen your understanding of herbs in general.
“Strain pairing is important because it helps to inform you about which terpenes and strains work well with your body”
Babs: Take us through your strain pairing process
Mennlay: When it comes to strain paring, I like to keep it simple and start with what I know. I’m sort of one of those annoying old heads in cannabis (aka weed tía) so the classics are my favorites to build off of. Sour Diesel, Afpak, and Trainwreck are all favorites. Mostly because I’ve grown them, smoked them, and have grown accustomed to the distinctive terpene profiles of each.
Next, I start thinking about the other herbs I like. Which herb are you familiar with? What herbs are already present in your home, lotions, hair products, or even salad dressing? This can tell you which you’re already naturally drawn to. I’m personally obsessed with geranium, and rose and love their effects from smoking, drinking, and anointing myself with them.
Other times, my process is more about the desired outcome. Am I sleepy and want to be energized? Am I wired and looking for a deep restful night’s sleep? Then you can seek out both cannabis strains and herbal blends that encourage your desired effect.
Babs: Do I need to be a cannabis expert to do strain pairing? What info do I need to know before starting?
Mennlay: In my humble opinion, you don’t need to be an expert to know what strains you like. Obviously, the more experience you have with a wide variety of strains the better informed you are about the way your body interacts with different herbs by and large. Which strains smell the best to you? What type of mood or moment are you going for? Relaxation? Invigoration? Sex? Knowing what you want to feel and not feel overrides expertise.
Babs: What tips/advice do you have for those just starting out with strain pairing?
Mennlay: This is going to be nerdy AF, but bring a journal so you can jot down your experience. If you’re doing the most and have a lot going on–you’re going to miss how you’re feeling. So it’s clutch to bring your mindfulness with you as well. Clear your schedule and set aside at least two hours to experiment. Have fun, and have mineral water and citrus handy in case you get too surprise-faded. The acid, enzymes, and limonene terpenes found in types of citrus can help to reduce or counteract the effects of THC through its anti-anxiety properties. Too, through aromatherapy, the citrus may also give you a boost of mental clarity. Just make sure you eat the pulp and zest if possible—it makes for a more potent effect.
“This is going to be nerdy AF, but bring a journal so you can jot down your experience”
Babs: It’s 3 pm and I’m ready for a smoke break to clear my head, refocus, and get back to work afterward. What would you recommend?
Mennlay: Muse Blend + Girl Scouts Cookies
To balance out the peppermint, floral, and earthy notes, I say go for (GSC) Girl Scouts Cookies. It’s energizing, invigorating, and has a peppery and citrus profile. It’s a potent strain, so a little goes a long way.
Babs: It’s 6 pm on a Friday and I am ready to let my hair down, not think about work, put on WAP, and twerk out my week.
Mennlay: Car Sex + Trainwreck
I love this blend! The mullein and wild dagga are so great for your respiratory system (in case you feel guilty about smoking) while also having more euphoric vibes. Trainwreck is gonna be a cute pair. It’s my go-to pick me up strain while also being really fun and euphoric. It just really helps me get out of my body a little more than most strains. Trainwreck has a really pungent, fruity, and piney terpene profile, which makes it exciting even while I’m rolling the spliff.
Babs: It’s 11 pm on a Sunday and I can’t get to sleep because the Monday to-dos are starting to knock on my subconscious.
Mennlay: Airplane Mode + OG Kush
This is my unfortunately forever mood—being up with insomnia thinking about all the to-dos. And y’all already know how I feel about Airplane Mode, it’s probably my favorite blend. I’m obsessed with the rose and blue lotus color and flavor. Try twisting these herbs up with some good old fashion OG Kush. This strain just hits right every time when I’m trying to soothe myself into a restful sleep. If you’re able to make a tincture out of OG Kush, I recommend ingesting the herbal blend in the form of tea with your desired dosage of OG tincture.
Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey is a 15-year interdisciplinary cannabis professional, working in the legalized markets since 2005. She is the author of The Art of Weed Butter and currently resides in Mexico City, where her work explores cannabis, foodways, and their diasporic connections between Africa and Latin America. She is the co-founder and creative director of the soon-to-launch CBD brand, Xula, the co-host of Broccoli Talk podcast, and the founder of a benefit pop-up dinner, Cenas sin fronteras. Follow her on Instagram @mennlay.