Different Types of Weed: Sativa, Indica & Hybrid

There are many various types of marijuana, or cannabis. Cannabis is the dried seeds, stems, leaves, and flowers of the plant. The way the plant is prepared and what kind of Cannabis plant it is determine the sort of weed.

The most important active component in marijuana is the chemical Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC has psychotropic effects, which means it can alter mood, attention, reasoning and cognitive functioning. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another prominent component of cannabis plants and has relaxing properties but does not have the psychoactive effects of THC. It is also believed to alleviate discomfort.

The most potent varieties of cannabis have a greater THC to CBD ratio, implying there is a lot of THC but little CBD. When the ratios are more balanced, CBD can negate the impact of THC. As a result, the quantity of both chemicals in a strain has an influence on how someone feels.

What are the many types of cannabis? There are two distinct varieties of Cannabis, which are determined by the species of plant they’re derived from. While these two strains were originally responsible for weed, there are now hundreds of other hybrid combinations resulting from them.

Indica vs. Sativa: Understanding the Basics

When cannabis users think of “indica” vs. “sativa” marijuana strains, they usually picture indica types as physically sedating, excellent for watching a movie or falling asleep to, and sativa ones as energizing with uplifting cerebral effects that go well with physical activity, socializing, and creative projects. Hybrid strains are supposed to have a balance of indica and sativa characteristics.

Indica and sativa are not always synonymous with “in the couch,” and although indicas do not always energize their users, sativas do. When science advances and we learn more about the cannabis plant, it turns out that the chemical compounds in each strain—the cannabinoids and terpenes—determine the effects you’ll experience, not whether it’s an indica or a sativa. In truth, those two names derive from botany rather than effects.

Many individuals continue to believe, however, that indicas, sativas, and crossbreeds have different effects. You may recall hearing a budtender begin a strain recommendation with the question of which one of those three categories you prefer if you’ve ever visited a dispensary.

Let’s look at where the words “indica,” “sativa,” and “hybrid” originated, as well as how a cannabis plant’s chemical profile interacts with your body to produce feelings.

Origin of Indica and Sativa

In the 18th century, two distinct species of cannabis were distinguished by their names: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Hemp plants from Europe and western Eurasia that were cultivated for their fiber and seeds were called “sativa.” Indica referred to the psychoactive types found in India where it was harvested for its seeds, fiber, and hashish production.

Here’s how terms have shifted since their earliest botanical definitions:

  • Today, “sativa” refers to tall, thin-leaf cannabis types that are thought to provide energizing effects. Originally, Cannabis indica ssp. indica narrow-leaf drug variants.
  • Indica is a term that has been used to designate broad-leafed plants that are thought to be restful. Cannabis indica ssp. afghanica is a broad-leaf drug (BLD) strain.
  • The term “hemp” is used to describe hemp grown for industrial, non-intoxicating purposes, such as fiber, seeds, and CBD. Cannabis sativa was originally called this.

Although the cannabis strains we consume most often descend from Cannabis indica, both names are used—even when incorrectly—to classify the hundreds of different types available on the market today.

What Impacts Strain Effects?

What effect do indica and sativa have on impacted individuals?

The effects of different strains of marijuana are determined by a variety of factors, but primarily by the cannabinoids and terpenes contained in the strain.


The cannabis plant is made up of hundreds of chemical compounds, each with its own set of characteristics. The most common cannabinoids are THC and CBD, which account for the therapeutic and recreational benefits of cannabis.

  • THC (Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol) gives us a hunger and euphoric sensation, as well as pain and nausea relief.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid known to relieve anxiety, pain, inflammation, and a variety of other medical issues.

THC and CBD are the two most well-known cannabinoids in cannabis, but there are many more. Cannabis includes dozens of distinct cannabinoids, but start with THC and CBD to get a feel for it. Instead of picking a strain based on its indica or sativa categorization, think about selecting one based on these three categories instead (both indicas and sativas have different cannabinoid characteristics):

  • THC is the most common cannabinoid in cannabis, and many strains contain high quantities of it. THC-dominant strains are preferred by consumers looking for a strong euphoric experience. Patients treating pain, sadness, anxiety, sleeplessness, and other conditions utilize these plants. If you’re uncomfortable with THC-domination strains or dislike some of the secondary effects linked to THC, try a strain with more CBD content.
  • CBD-dominant strains have only trace amounts of THC and are commonly used by individuals who are highly sensitive to THC or those wanting clearheaded symptom alleviation.
  • The combination of the two cannabinoids creates a subtle sensation of euphoria without causing paranoia or intoxication. These are frequently a suitable choice for novices who want to try cannabis but don’t want to get too high.


You already know what terpenes are if you’ve ever utilized aromatherapy to relax or revitalize your mind and body. Terpenes are aromatic chemicals produced by plants and fruit. They can be found in lavender flowers, oranges, hops, pepper, and cannabis, among other things. Terpenes are secreted by the same glands that produce THC and CBD.

The effects of various cannabis strains still have yet to be explained by study. Another question that hasn’t been answered is how different blends of terpenes—as well as other combinations of those substances—influence the benefits of different cannabis types.

There are many varieties of terpenes in cannabis, and it’s worth becoming familiar with the most frequent—particularly myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, and terpinolene—since they’re the most prevalent in cannabis. Cannabis’ biology, dosing, and ingestion technique

Additionally, the tolerance to cannabis, the quantity consumed (dosage), and the ingestion method will all influence how a strain affects you. When looking for the ideal strain or product, keep the following points in mind.

  • How much do you know about marijuana? Consider a low-THC strain with low dosages if your tolerance is poor.
  • Are you susceptible to anxiety or other THC side effects? If so, seek out a strain that is high in CBD.
  • Do you want your experience to last a long time? If that’s the case, edibles (begin with a low dose) are an excellent option. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a quick fix, utilize inhalation techniques or an alcohol tincture.

There are a number of things to think about while selecting a strain, but if you find that indica strains consistently provide a pleasant experience, stick with what you know. However, if you’re still looking for the right strain, keep these points in mind.

What is Sativa?

While not all sativa cannabis strains will invigorate you, most people notice a propensity for sativas to generate a “head high,” an uplifting, stimulating effect. Sativas are also popular among users for helping to manage stress or anxiety and many individuals like them because they assist in enhancing attention and clarifying thought.

Sativa Effects

The effects of sativa strains are uplifting, euphoric, and energetic. Sativas are typically regarded as “daytime” strains that are used to enhance productivity, creativity, and attention while completing tasks.

Popular Sativa Strains

There are many different sativa strains to try, and you’ve probably heard of a few of the most well-known. Most dispensaries should have at least some of these sativa marijuana strains on hand as they’re frequently popular among customers.

  • Sour Diesel
  • Jack Herer
  • Green Crack
  • Durban Poison
  • Strawberry Cough
  • Amnesia Haze
  • Super Lemon Haze
  • Super Silver Haze

What is Indica?

Some indica strains will not put you “in the couch,” but many users associate indicas with full-body effects, such as heavy limbs or a tingly face. Indica strains are also said to aid sleep and tension management.

Indica Effects

Indica strains have relaxing, euphoric, happy, and drowsy effects. Indicas are recognized as “nighttime” strains and are used to relax and unwind at the conclusion of the day.

Popular Indica Strains

There are many indica strains to try, many of which you may have already tried. Look for these well-known indica marijuana strains at your local dispensary.

  • Purple Punch
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • White Rhino
  • Bubba Kush
  • Northern Lights
  • Blueberry
  • Grape Ape
  • Blue Cheese

What are Hybrid Strains?

Indica- and sativa-derived plants are used to create hybrid strains. Because cannabis crossbreeding has a long history, pure indica or pure sativa lineages are uncommon due to the high degree of crossbreeding that took place in the past – much of it was done illegally in order to avoid detection by authorities. The majority of strains known as “indica” or “sativa” actually contain both indica and sativa genetics, despite their names implying otherwise.

Hybrid Effects

Hybrid cannabis strains are a combination of indicas and sativas. Because hybrid weed strains are made up of indica and sativa DNA, their effects may also include both indica and sativa components. Happy, euphoric, uplifting, energizing, relaxing are some common effects. It all depends on which hybrid you consume and what effects the “parent” strains have been shown to cause.

The lineage of a hybrid (its parents) might provide insight into what kind of effects it will have; for example, if it has more indica in its ancestry, it’s likely to exhibit indica-like effects.

Popular Hybrid Strains

There are plenty of hybrid strains on the market, and some of the most well-known you’ll encounter are among the most famous.

  • 3 Kings *Sativa*
  • Blue Dream
  • Gelato
  • Wedding Cake
  • GSC
  • OG Kush
  • White Widow
  • Pineapple Express

How to Choose a Strain

Choosing the appropriate cannabis product or strain for you may appear daunting, but if you keep the following ideas in mind, you should be able to discover something that works:

  • Shopping for a specific mood or effect? Start there. If you’re looking for a certain experience (such as watching a film) or want to treat insomnia or nausea, use the corresponding filters on Leafly or let your budtender know so he or she can further hone in on their suggestions.
  • Don’t start the conversation with “I want an indica/sativa.” Keep in mind that not all indicas are drowsy or heavy, and not all sativas are lively and uplifting. If you tell a budtender you despise sativas because they make you anxious, for example, they may just give you a THC powerhouse like White Fire OG since it’s not a sativa. Meanwhile, a “sativa” like Harlequin—which has low levels of THC and high levels of CBD—might be a better fit. Start with the mood or effect you want to achieve or prevent, as we did in our first point. Even if it’s an indica or sativa,
  • Keep an eye on your tolerance for strain strength. Strains today may be extremely potent, owing to advances in agriculture and cross-breeding. Many well-known strains available at your local dispensary have a high THC content, so if your tolerance levels aren’t used to it, you could have a bad experience consuming them. A high THC strain packing 25% THC might be less enjoyable than a low THC strain, or one with a higher THC to CBD ratio. There’s no need to feel guilty about selecting a lower THC percentage; you’re simply searching for the ideal combination for you and your desired experience.
  • Keep track of what you enjoy and don’t like while exploring (or avoiding) other strains. While trying new cannabis strains, you might discover that you prefer terpene profiles that are similar to those in previous favorites. If you enjoy the terpinolene-dominant Jack Herer, for example, you’ll probably like Golden Pineapple or XJ-13, which are also terpinolene dominant. Similarly, Gelato may not be your thing if its humulene-dominant terp profile isn’t vibing with yours.
  • If you’re thinking about using cannabis, the first thing you should do is speak with your doctor. If you have any medical issues or are presently taking medicine, talk to your physician or a medical professional before attempting marijuana. They may have ideas for you that work in tandem with your existing medical/health regimen.


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