Learn The Difference Between Cannabis Strains

Marijuana Strain Categories

Differences between indica, sativa and hybrid marijuana strains.

There are three predominant marijuana strain categories that you will likely notice while browsing a marijuana dispensary’s products: sativa, indica, and hybrid. Consumers that are new to cannabis may not know what differentiates one strain from another, and sometimes even cannabis connoisseurs don’t fully understand the finer points of exactly what distinguishes one strain category from another.

Taxonomic distinctions between Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica reach as far back as the 18th century when differences between their growth structure and resin production was first observed. The category of hybrid strains came about much later on as growers began mixing different strain genetics together.

Differences between a Genotype and Phenotype. There are two primary factors that will influence the structural formation of a cannabis plant, the genetics and the environment. A cannabis plant’s genetic makeup, which is referred to as a genotype, acts as a blueprint for its growth. The genotype allows for the wide range of physical possibilities. However it is up to the environment to induce these characteristics. The physical expression of a genotype is referred to as a phenotype, which is essentially the traits that the environment pulls out from the plant’s genetic code. Everything from the color, size, smell, and resin production are affected by the environment.

Indica strains are believed to have originated in the Hindu Kush region near Afghanistan. Generally speaking indica strains have thick coats of resin and are shorter plants, which some say came about as a protection mechanism against the harsh climate and conditions found in that region.

Sativa strains were originally found in warmer areas that had more variable weather patterns. Sativas are generally a larger more vigorous strain, growing bigger and bushier, yet can have less resin production.

Hybrid strains can contain properties that are a combination of the two. Hybrids are often thought to contain a varying balance of indica and sativa properties, offering potentially more specific symptom relief. The combinations of strains that are possible are practically endless, as are the potential medical utilities of each strain.

Indica Properties:

Morphology: Short and bushy and is generally suitable for indoor gardens.

Effects: Tends to be stronger and sedating with full body effects.

Symptom Relief: Generally can be beneficial for anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms and pain relief.

Marijuana Indica Strain
Cannabis Indica Strain

Sativa Properties

Morphology: Tall with thin leaves and is better suited for outdoors.

Effects: Tends to be uplifting and creative with effects that can help focus.

Symptom Relief: Can be beneficial for depression, A.D.D, fatigue and various mood disorders.

Marijuana Sativa Strain
Cannabis Sativa Strain

Each marijuana strain category has it’s own unique properties and characteristics. Whether you are looking at indicas, sativas or hybrids there are some distinguishing characteristics to take note of include morphology, effects, flowering time, yields, geographical origins, fragrance, and flavor.

Different effects are felt form each unique cannabis strain. You can think of indica strains as being more relaxing and or sedating, with a full body effect. On the other hand sativas can be looked at as uplifting with certain cerebral effects that can leave you feeling more energized. Because of this typical contrast between the two main strains, consumers tend to prefer indicas for nighttime use while sativas are typically used from morning to afternoon relief.

Its clear cannabis has substantial medical uses, and due to the individually perceived and different effects from each marijuana strain they can be utilized to provide medical benefits for a variety of symptoms. Where indicas may generally be looked at for insomnia and pain relief, sativas may be selected for depression and chronic fatigue, while hybrids offer a varying mixture of both.

As medical marijuana research furthers our knowledge of its medicinal properties and uses, our understanding and utilization of the cannabis plant will continue to evolve as well. As breeders continue to develop new strains of cannabis it’s important to note that not every strain is going to affect every consumer in the same way.