Categories: Medical

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid – Everything You Need to Know & How To Choose

When you first begin consuming medical marijuana for its therapeutic potential, you’ll learn one thing very quickly. That every product, and every strain, produces wildly different effects. What you should know is some of these effects are classified genetically by sativa vs indica vs hybrid types of strains. By knowing the top facts about these distinct classifications the next time you purchase medical marijuana you’ll know which one will work best for you. So, keep reading for an in-depth guide on the difference in sativa and indica and hybrid strains for maximum efficacy and cost-efficiency.

The Background on Sativa vs Indica vs Hybrid

Before we get into the individual plant classifications, let’s get a brief background on how they came to be. The cannabis plant has been around since the 1700s with the three main types found to be growing in varying regions. That being, cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. Ruderalis is lesser-known as it is a wild-growing species that does not rely on photoperiods of light to grow optimally. In today’s world, cannabis ruderalis genetics are known as ‘autoflowering’ for their automatic and fast nature in growth.

Cannabis sativa and cannabis indica are the plant types well-known for producing high levels of the cannabinoid THC, notable for its psychoactive high and potential health effects. But it’s crucial to keep in mind, both varieties produce varying compounds which determine their individual effects. In addition to THC (and CBD) there are nearly 144 total known cannabinoids that contribute to cannabis’ effects. In addition to these cannabinoids, cannabis plants also produce terpenes that give the flower its powerful and distinct scent. These terpenes, like caryophyllene, myrcene, and limonene – also have their own individual effects.

So, why do you need to know this information right off the bat? Because no matter the sativa or indica classification – the exact cannabinoid, and terpene count is what technically determines the types of benefits you’ll experience. While cannabis sativa genes and cannabis indica genes do have ‘general’ similarities, this is an important piece of information to keep in mind when seeking out the type of strain that will work best for your individual needs or desires.

So now that you know, let’s get into more on the differences in sativa and indica and hybrid strains in today’s modern world of weed.

All About Sativa

The plant that’s known as cannabis sativa was classified by the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in the mid-1700’s. With the word sativa meaning ‘things that are cultivated’ quite literally. The plant’s origins come from the Asian region of the world but quickly spread globally.

The difference in sativa and indica and hybrid strains aren’t just inclusive to their origins. Each plant differs in general effects, shape, size and other individual traits. Here’s a breakdown of some of the most important sativa factors to know:

  • • Origins – Cannabis sativa plants thrive in areas that have hot dry climates and increased periods of sunlight. The plant originates from regions in Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia and parts of Western Asia.
  • • General effects – Sativa strains are commonly known for their energizing and mental head highs. They can be effective at reducing anxiety, and stimulate creativity and productivity.
  • • Best time for use – Most consumers use sativa strains during the day as they boost energy vs relaxing just prior to bedtime.
  • • Plant traits – Sativa plants can be described as long and lanky as they grow tall and have skinnier leaves vs indica varieties.
  • • Common terpenes – Pinene, limonene and myrcene.
  • • THC & CBD – Sativa strains tend to contain lower levels of CBD, and higher levels of THC in comparison to indica. But this does vary, strain to strain, phenotype to phenotype.
  • • Most popular sativa strains – Some of the most popular true sativa strains on the market today include Durban Poison, Acapulco Gold, Green Crack and Sour Diesel.

For the most part, consumers turn to sativa strains for daytime use to relieve common symptoms while staying alert, focused, motivated, and energized. In general, sativa strains are classified by producing more of a head high vs body high and can be mentally stimulating.

All About Indica

The second cannabis plant to be classified was near the end of the 1700s by a French biologist, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. The species varied from cannabis sativa in appearance and was later classified as cannabis indica. The name ‘indica’ was given to the species in reference to the area it originated, that being the country of India. Shortly after its discovery, cannabis indica plants became highly popular in Europe for its therapeutic benefits.

Now to answer what’s indica and to learn more about the species’ most notable traits, here’s a look at what you need to know:

  • • Origins – Cannabis indica plants tend to thrive in drier environments, and have adapted over the years to thrive in harsh or turbulent climates. This makes the species in general, easier to grow for cultivators and may be one reason why indica strains are highly more available vs sativa. The plant originates from the countries of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey.
  • • General effects – Indica strains are recommended for consumers seeking to relax the body with soothing, comforting effects. Medically, indica strains or indica dominant hybrid strains are ideal for relieving nausea, pain and increasing the appetite.
  • • Best time for use – Due to sedating and relaxing effects, indica strains are preferred for nighttime use.
  • • Plant traits – Appearance wise, indica plants tend to be more short and stocky in stature. They grow more bushy versus tall, and have leaves that are broad and wide. They also have a shorter life cycle than sativa plants meaning they grow faster overall.
  • • Common terpenes – Myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene and pinene.
    THC & CBD – Indica strains tend to have more CBD than sativa strains and lesser percentages of THC in comparison.
  • • Most popular indica strains – Many of the well-known ‘kush’ strains are indica in nature, including Hindu Kush (which originates from the Hindu Kush mountains) and Afghan Kush (a nod to Afghanistan). In addition Grandaddy Purple and Northern Lights are other notable indica genetics.

Overall, when it comes to consumer use indica strains are highly sought after by those seeking a more profound body high. Or, those who have trouble sleeping, or relaxing at night. Indica strains are highly preferred for nighttime use as many of them can be sedating in nature.

All About Hybrid

In today’s modern world of medical marijuana, most cannabis products available for purchase are hybrid strains. That’s because the original landrace versions of pure cannabis sativa and pure cannabis indica genetics have gotten lost over time. Hybrids are the outcome of advanced breeding where cultivators are able to cross two strains. Once this revelation was uncovered the sky became the limit for mixing and matching good genetics in hopes of producing an even better one.

Of course, keep in mind that there are sativa dominant hybrid strains and indica dominant hybrid strains. This is how you can better determine the general effects you’ll receive from a hybrid without diving deep into actual cannabinoid % ‘s and terpene levels. While it’s somewhat difficult to classify hybrid strains since they all differ in actual compounds – below is a breakdown of key facts in comparison to full indica and sativa strains –

  • • Origins – Each hybrid strain has its own individual origin as they’ve been bred specifically by crossing sativa, indica or hybrid strains. Depending on whether they are indica dominant hybrids or sativa dominant hybrids will determine what climate, or region they grow best in.
  • • General effects – It’s nearly impossible to pin down definitive hybrid effects as each will differ depending on individual THC, CBD and cannabinoid % ‘s, in addition to the types of terpenes it contains. It helps to know the indica to sativa ratio in the hybrid strain to see which general effects will be more dominant.
  • • Best time for use – Generally, hybrids can be used ideally during the day or night since they have a good balance of indica to sativa traits.
    Plant traits – Again, depending on the sativa to indica ratio will decipher if the plant grows more tall and lanky like a sativa, or short and bushy like an indica.
  • • Common terpenes – Varies depending on the sativa and indica strains that are cross-bred.
  • • Most popular hybrid strains – Some of the most popular hybrid outcomes today include Blue Dream, White Widow, Trainwreck and AK-47.

Like goldilocks and the three bears – sometimes sativa strains can be too much, sometimes indica strains can be too much and it’s hard to find which balance or ratio works best for you. That’s why hybrid strains can be additionally beneficial when treating specific ailments, or achieve certain desires. As more and more cultivators continue to improve upon hybrid effects, the more you’ll see unique genetics for more definitive effects or symptoms. When purchasing be sure to know the exact THC, or CBD content and terpenes to get an idea of what effects the dominant hybrid strains will produce.

The Final Word on Sativa vs Indica vs Hybrid Strains

With the information you’ve gained today, now you can make better-informed choices when heading to the medical marijuana dispensary. As you can see, there are distinct differences in sativa vs indica vs hybrid strains that can point you in the right direction for the types of effects you may be seeking. All in all, the more knowledge you gain on medical marijuana the better you can make informed choices that will benefit the unique symptoms you’ve set out to relieve.

So, stay tuned for more valuable cannabis knowledge and keep up with MCCFL. If you’re not an approved Florida medical marijuana patient yet visit our website for more information on how to begin natural cannabis therapy with the help of a qualified and trusted physician.


Recent Posts

Florida Passes House Bill 387 – What This Means For Medical Marijuana Doctors

Welcome to Medical Cannabis Clinics of Florida (MCCFL)! We are a Florida medical marijuana doctor…

3 weeks ago

The Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Seniors in Florida

Benefits of Medical Marijuana for Seniors in Florida Medical marijuana has been gaining popularity in…

3 weeks ago

The Role of Medical Marijuana in Pain Management in Florida

Pain Management in Florida: The Role of Medical Marijuana Living with chronic pain can be…

1 month ago

What to Consider When Choosing a Medical Marijuana Doctor in Florida

MCCFL Is Your Trusted Medical Marijuana Doctor in Florida At Medical Cannabis Clinics of Florida…

1 month ago

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Medical Marijuana in Florida?

Are You Suffering From Conditions Relieved By Medical Marijuana?  Learn How You Can Get Treated…

1 month ago

How to Find a Qualified Medical Marijuana Doctor in Florida

Read Our Guide On How To Find A Qualified Marijuana Doctor Near You! Are you…

2 months ago