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Mar 23, 2016 9:46 AM

Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid: What Is the Difference Between Types of Marijuana Strains?

Marijuana is one of the oldest crops known to mankind. Today, weed is no longer just weed—marijuana strains have developed like wine or cheese. Unlike most of the traditional medicines, cannabis is not standardized in form and has many varying effects. So, is it true that different types of marijuana can give absolutely different experiences?Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid: What Is the Difference Between Types of Marijuana Strains?

The answer is yes. The way the plant is grown affects the strain's terpene and cannabinoid compound type that may create different physical sensations. There are two major types of cannabis plants among thousands upon thousands of strains—Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. They can be mixed creating hybrid strains with absolutely unique properties and medical benefits. Sativa and indica both have medicinal utility but because of their perceived distinctions, they are often selected for treating different symptoms. In any case, the difference between strains remains a subject of many debates, but most agree that both of them are distinct in a number of ways. Finding the right type, dosage, and method of using can help you satisfy your needs and achieve the greatest relief possible.

Cannabis Indica

This type of plant usually grows in the wild sub-tropical countries with hot, dry conditions and most commonly is recognizable by its stocky and short stature. “Pure" original indica strains, such as Hindu Kush or Afghani, develop in Afghanistan and the neighboring Hindu Kush region. Indica weed strains are bushy, squat, and short.

Although no scientific research has confirmed the difference between certain marijuana plants, most patients tend to think of indica strains as being more relaxing and sedating, treating anxiety, muscle spasms, lack of appetite, and sleeping disorders. Higher levels of THC compared to CBD make them a popular choice for medical marijuana users suffering from insomnia and pain.

The Cannabis Indica high is referred to as a “body buzz," so you can expect a calming and soothing high. That is why many users prefer to consume indica late in the evening or at night.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa thrives in temperate regions closer to the equatorial countries amidst more variable weather patterns (e.g. Columbia, Mexico, and Southeast Asia). Plants are tall, thin, and can grow up to 6-20 feet. Their leaves are long and dainty.

Because of the higher level of the cannabinoid, THC, and the relatively low level of CBD, responsible for the psychoactive effect, sativa-dominant marijuana strains ensure a cerebral effect providing an energetic, uplifting high. Whether or not that is true, there is nothing better than sativa for a positive, “enlightening" experience boosting patients' imagination and promoting their creativity.

Cannabis Sativa is well-known for its various medicinal properties: plants relief depression, certain types of chronic pain, seizure disorders, and migraines. Flavors range from earthy to fruity and sweet.

Consumers tend to prefer sativas to use from the morning to afternoon.


More than 90 percent of marijuana strains today are hybrids, while only a handful of landrace strains are qualified as pure indica or sativa. Hybrid cannabis strains are usually made by crossing the genotypes of two different strains through self-pollination. The resulting plants come in all types of indica/sativa ratios and have the balanced combination of good characteristics of both types. One of the most popular hybrids is a 50/50 mix that delivers a strong head and body high. You can also find dominated mixes with a higher percentage of indica and sativa properties.