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Types of Cannabis Strains

Which one is Right for you?

When browsing Types of Cannabis Strains or purchasing cannabis at a dispensary, you may notice strains are commonly broken up into three distinct groups: indicasativa, and hybrid. Most consumers have used these weed types as a touchstone for predicting effects, but what’s the difference between them?

india vs. sativa

Sativa Cannabis Strain

This species can grow quite tall (up to 25 feet) and has long serrated light green leaves. Cannabis sativa L, more commonly known as hemp is typically grown for industrial use and is regulated to ensure the plants do not contain more than 0.3% THC

Indica Cannabis Strain

This species is generally faster-growing, bushier and up to six feet shorter than Cannabis sativa, with dark green leaves.

cannabis indica
hybrid

Hybrid Cannabis Strain

There is a lot of speculation about the varying effects of consuming predominantly Sativa versus Indica strains, but significant differences can occur from strain to strain. Many products are made from hybrid plants, which combine both species, as growers explore and cultivate cannabis to produce desired effects.

What is sativa?

While not all sativa marijuana strains will energize you, most consumers notice a tendency for sativas to produce a “head high,” an uplifting, stimulating effect. They also often report sativas as being helpful in mitigating stress or anxiety, and many consumers enjoy sativas to sharpen focus and boost creativity/motivation.

Sativa effects

Common effects associated with sativa strains include feeling happy, uplifting, euphoric, and energetic. Sativas are often thought of as “daytime” strains, used for feeling productive, creative, and focused, and for getting chores done.

There are many sativa strains to try, and you’ve likely heard of some of the most popular. Most dispensaries should stock at least some of these sativa weed strains as they’re generally a crowd-favorite.

What is indica?

Not all indica strains will put you “in da couch,” but nevertheless, many consumers associate indicas with full-body effects, for example, heavy limbs or a tingly face. They also report indicas as being helpful in aiding relaxation and curbing insomnia.

Indica effects

Common effects associated with indica strains include feeling relaxed, euphoric, happy, and sleepy. Indicas are commonly known as “nighttime” strains, used for relaxing and unwinding at the end of the night.

There are many indica strains to try, many of which you may be familiar. Check your local dispensary for these popular indica weed strains.

What are hybrid strains?

Hybrid strains are bred from both indica- and sativa-descended plants. Due to the long history of crossbreeding cannabis strains—much of it was historically done underground to evade authorities—strains that have pure indica or pure sativa lineages are rare. Most strains referred to as “indica” or “sativa” are, in fact, hybrids, with genetics inherited from both subspecies.

Hybrid effects

Since hybrid weed strains derive genetics from indicas and sativas, their ensuing effects can also pull from both indica and sativa strains. Common effects include happy, euphoric, uplifting, energetic, relaxing—it all depends on which hybrid you consume and what effects its “parent” strains are known to produce.

Looking at a hybrid’s lineage (its parent strains) may give you a better sense of what kind of effects it will produce; for example, if it has more indica in its lineage, it might have effects more associated with those strains.

There’s certainly no shortage of hybrid strains on the market, and some of the most popular you’ll come across are also among the most iconic.

How to choose a strain

Choosing the right cannabis product or strain for you can seem intimidating, but if you keep the following suggestions in mind, you should be able to find something that works for you:

  • Shopping for a specific mood or effect? Start there. If you’re hoping for a specific experience (like you want to relax and watch a movie) or if you’re looking to treat something like insomnia or nausea.
  • Don’t lead with “I want an indica/sativa” or “I don’t want an indica/sativa.” Remember that not all indicas are sleepy or heavy, and not all sativas are energetic and uplifting. For example, if you’re prone to anxiety and want to avoid an uncomfortable, racy experience, if you tell a budtender you hate sativas because they make you anxious, they may hand you a THC powerhouse like White Fire OG simply because it’s not a sativa. Meanwhile, a “sativa” like Harlequin—with low levels of THC and high levels of CBD—might actually be a better fit. Revert back to our first point and start with the mood or effect you’re either trying to achieve or want to avoid. You may end up with a surprisingly great fit, regardless of whether it’s an indica or sativa!
  • Be mindful of your tolerance when it comes to strain potency. Due to advancements in growing and cross-breeding, today’s strains can be a real THC powerhouse. Many popular strains available at your local dispensary are quite potent, and if your tolerance levels aren’t accustomed to high THC levels, you may have a negative, uncomfortable experience consuming them. A strain packing 25% THC might not be as enjoyable to you as one tapping in at 16%, or the balanced THC/CBD variety that provides 10% of each cannabinoid. There’s no shame in opting for a lower THC percentage—you’re trying to find the right level for you and your ideal experience.
  • Keep track of what you like and don’t like to explore (or avoid) similar strains. While trying new strains, you may discover that you tend to like strains that express similar terpene profiles. For example, if you like the terpinolene-dominant Jack Herer, you’ll likely enjoy Golden Pineapple or XJ-13, which are also terpinolene-dominant. Likewise, if you picked up Gelato and aren’t vibing with its humulene-dominant terp profile, you might want to steer clear of similar strains like Sherbert and GSC.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider. If you have any existing medical conditions or are currently taking medication, you should talk to your doctor or a medical professional before trying cannabis. They may have suggestions or recommendations for you that complement your existing medical/health regimen.

 

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