What's the Difference Between Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid?

The cannabis industry is thriving. This is in part because just recently, recreational marijuana use became legal in five more states, but also because it’s become so well-known as a versatile form of medication. Different kinds of marijuana strains provide different kinds of benefits both psychologically and physiologically; depression, anxiety, arthritis, epilepsy, inflammation, chronic pain, diabetes prevention and regulation. It’s really no wonder the biz is booming. 

So, what are the different strains of marijuana? In short, there are thousands of strains in the world (far too many to list). All can be roughly classified as either sativas, indicas, or hybrids because they originate from the Cannabis Sativa plant, Cannabis Indica plant, or a hybrid of the two

Different Kinds of Marijuana Strains

Sativas are typically known for their uplifting cerebral effects, producing a more energized “head high,” which can reduce stress or anxiety and increase focus and creativity. In contrast, indicas are often associated with sedating, full-body effects like increased deep relaxation and insomnia reduction.

When weighing the difference between sativa, indica, and hybrid, the general rule of thumb is that indica strains are perfect for enjoying a relaxing night in, watching a movie or as a nightcap before bedtime. Sativas pair well with social gatherings, physical activity, and creative projects. Hybrids are great for an in-between experience, something social but not too demanding. 

Healthline provided an excellent, in-depth breakdown of the different kinds of marijuana:

Hybrid vs Indica vs Sativa: Hybrid

  • Origin: Hybrids are typically grown on farms, indoors or in greenhouses from a combination of sativa and indica strains.
  • Plant description: The appearance of hybrid strains depends on the combination of the parent plants.
  • Typical CBD to THC ratio: Many hybrid cannabis plants are grown to increase the THC percentage, but each type has a unique ratio of the two cannabinoids.
  • Commonly associated effects of use: Farmers and producers select hybrids for their unique impacts. They can range from reducing anxiety and stress to easing symptoms of chemotherapy or radiation.
  • Daytime or nighttime use: This depends on how far the strain leans toward indica or sativa lineages.
  • Popular strains: Hybrids are typically classified as indica-dominant (or indica-dom), sativa-dominant (sativa-dom), or balanced. Popular hybrids include Pineapple Express, Trainwreck, and Blue Dream.
  • Hybrid strains currently available at The Flower Shop: Bootylicious, Concord Cream, Cream D’Mint, Green Ribbon, Mac & Cheese. (visit here for more)

Hybrid vs Indica vs Sativa: Indica

  • Origin: Cannabis Indica is native to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. The plants have adapted to the often harsh, dry, and turbulent climate of the Hindu Kush mountains.
  • Plant description: Indica plants are short and stocky with bushy greenery and chunky leaves that grow wide and broad. They grow faster than sativa, and each plant produces more buds.
  • Typical CBD to THC ratio: Indica strains often have higher levels of CBD and less THC.
  • Commonly associated effects of use: Indica is sought after for its intensely relaxing effects. It may also reduce nausea and pain and increase appetite.
  • Daytime or nighttime use: Because of its deep relaxation effects, indica is better consumed at night.
  • Popular strains: Three popular indica strains are Hindu Kush, Afghan Kush, and Granddaddy Purple.
  • Indica strains currently available at The Flower Shop: Blueberry, Curtis Slurricane, Drivin Miss Daisy, Hell’s Bells, Pinata. (visit here for more)

Hybrid vs Indica vs Sativa: Sativa

  • Origin: Cannabis Sativa is found primarily in hot, dry climates with long sunny days, including Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, and western portions of Asia.
  • Plant description: Sativa plants are tall and thin with finger-like leaves. They can grow taller than 12 feet and take longer to mature than some other types of cannabis.
  • Typical CBD to THC ratio: Sativa often has lower doses of CBD and higher doses of THC.
  • Commonly associated effects of use: Sativa often produces a “mind high” or an energizing, anxiety-reducing effect. If you use sativa-dominant strains, you may feel productive and creative, not relaxed and lethargic.
  • Daytime or nighttime use: Because of its stimulating impact, you can use sativa in the daytime.
  • Popular strains: Three popular sativa strains are Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, and Durban Poison.
  • Sativa strains currently available at The Flower Shop: Tropicana Cookies. (visit here for more)

Ultimately, the strain you choose depends on the effect and experience you desire. Cannabis has both recreational and medicinal purposes, and, as mentioned before, different kinds of marijuana strains are better than others for certain conditions. Finding the strain that best suits you might take some time, or you may discover you don’t really tolerate cannabis well. Test a few of them out, talk to your budtender, take recommendations from friends - whatever you do, enjoy it. But if you find that it’s not your strain, it’s time to head back to The Flower Shop to try something new!