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Know Your Strain – Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid
18 Jul

Know Your Strain – Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid

Posted By: BestPot Times Read: 1668 Comments: 0

Some novice weed users think that marijuana plants are one and the same. They all produce highs; therefore, they are the same cannabis plants.

This isn’t true though. There are actually two major types of marijuana plants, and they both have their own unique characteristics. You have Indica vs Sativa.

Then there are also the different marijuana Hybrids strains. These are the strains created by crossing Sativas and Indicas.

These three – Sativa, Indica, and the different Hybrids – all have their own differences, unique characteristics, and cerebral highs.

Whether you’re taking marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, knowing the different strains is important. It can save you from costly mistakes, and you’ll have the knowledge to choose the best strain suited for you.

The Origins – A Brief History of Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid

Cannabis Sativa originally came from the Equatorial countries such as Mexico and Columbia as well as Southeast Asian countries like Thailand. They typically thrive in warmer climates. During the early 1750s, Cannabis Sativa was the only recognized marijuana species.

However, about three decades later, another type of marijuana was discovered in India. They were also found in Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan as well as Pakistan. This new marijuana type has different features and effects than Sativa that it was recognized as a new species, the Cannabis Indica. Indicas typically thrive well in cooler climates.

Classifying cannabis into Sativa and Indica has become a common practice. But as years passed, cannabis breeders and cultivators began cross-breeding the two types, giving birth to the Hybrids. They began creating different Hybrid strains that highlight the best features of both Sativa and Indica. Some strains are Sativa-dominant, Indica-dominant, or an equal mix of both at 50% Sativa and 50% Indica.

Plant Characteristics and Features

It’s actually relatively easy to distinguish Indica vs Sativa plants. You can easily recognize them at first look.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa plants are tall and thin. They can grow to a height of 10 to even 20 feet. Sativa plants also have long and skinnier branches.

They have a longer maturation period of about 10 to 16 weeks. It’s worth the wait though since one plant can produce as much as a 3-ounce yield.

Cannabis Indica

Indica plants are shorter and stouter. They grow to a height of about 2 to 4 feet. Indica plants also have shorter branches, and these branches are fewer in number compared to Sativas.

Indicas have a shorter maturation period compared to Sativas. They mature at about 6 to 8 weeks before you can harvest them. Although they mature faster than Sativas, they also produce a smaller yield of about 1.5 to 2.5 ounce per plant.

Cannabis Hybrid Strains

The plant structure of the hybrids is typically a mix of Sativa and Indica. It can either lean toward its Sativa-dominant parent strain or Indica-dominant parent strain.

Leaf Characteristics and Features

It’s also easy to recognize a Sativa from an Indica plant based on its leaves alone.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativas are easily recognizable by their long, narrow, and skinny leaves. Its leaves are usually light green in color.

Cannabis Indica

Indicas, on the other hand, have shorter, broader, and fatter leaves. They are dark green in color compared to Sativas.

Cannabis Hybrid Strains

The leaves of the cannabis hybrids are also mixed features of its parent strains. Some have narrower leaves due to their Sativa-dominant genetic makeup, while others have broader leaves from their Indica-dominant traits.

Bud Characteristics and Features

You can easily tell whether you have a Sativa or an Indica bud.

Cannabis Sativa

Similar to its plant and leaf structures, Sativa buds are long and cylindrical in shape. They are sparse and look very delicate in appearance. The Sativa buds typically have an orangish to reddish hue.

Cannabis Indica

Indica buds, on the other hand, are short and round in appearance, much like its plant and leaf structures. Compared to Sativas, they are heavy, densely-packed, and very sturdy in appearance. Indica buds typically have a purplish hue.

Cannabis Hybrid Strains

The cannabis hybrids’ buds share the characteristic features of both Sativa and Indica buds. Their physical appearance though depends on which parent strain is more dominant.

Differences in Aromas and Flavors

The different marijuana types have their own distinct aroma and flavor.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativas have more of an earthy, woody, pungent, and skunky aroma. It also tastes almost the same with hints of pine and spices.

Cannabis Indica  

Indicas have a sweet, fruity, and flowery aroma. It also has a wide range of flavors, depending on its genetic makeup and terpene profile. Some have robust flavors of citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and oranges. Others have berry flavors like strawberry, blueberry, as well as blackberry. It’s also not unusual to get hints of tropical fruits like pineapple and banana.

Cannabis Hybrid Strains

The cannabis hybrid strains will have a mix of Sativa and Indica aromas and flavors. You’ll get earthy and pungent with hints of fruits and spices. Or you’ll get robust sweet and fruity with hints of diesel and skunk. The hybrids’ flavors and aromas depend on which marijuana type is more dominant.

Effects of Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid Strains

In addition to knowing the physical differences of the three major types of weed, it’s also important that you know and understand their different effects.

Cannabis Sativa

Cannabinoid Content: Higher THC to CBD ratio.

Highs: Potent cerebral high that leaves you feeling

- Energetic and invigorated.

- Uplifted and euphoric.

- Happy and giggly.

- Creative, imaginative, and artistic.

- Motivated.

- Focused.

Effects: Sativas stimulate the brain. One deep lungful and you’ll immediately feel its energizing and uplifting effects. You’ll also see things in a clearer yet more colorful light. Things you usually enjoy seem newer, more enjoyable, and fun. You also feel more clear-headed, focused, motivated, and productive. Sativas also leave you feeling happy, talkative, and more sociable.

Best for: Morning use. It can help boost mood and energy.

Medical Conditions and Symptoms It Can Relieve:

- Depression and mood problems.


- Schizophrenia.

- Anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder or generalized social anxiety disorder.

- Chronic pain and inflammation in multiple sclerosis.

- Appetite and weight loss in gastrointestinal problems, chemotherapy, and anorexia.

- Fatigue.

- Skin problems.

- Cancer.

- Glaucoma.

- Alzheimer’s Disease.


Cannabis Indica

Cannabinoid Content: Higher CBD to THC ratio.

Highs: Potent full-body high that leaves you feeling

- Relaxed.

- Sedated.

- Pain-free.

Effects: The potent full-body relaxing effects of Indicas can put you in a couch-lock. This is a strong, heavy feeling in all your extremities and whole body. You will want to do nothing but simply lie around and just be lazy. The deep, whole body relaxation slows you down and even induces deep sleep. Indica is also known to uplift mood.

Best for: Evening use. It can help relax your mind and body for better rest and sleep.

Medical Conditions and Symptoms It Can Relieve:

- Sleep problems like insomnia.

- Chronic and treatment-resistant pain like nerve pain from multiple sclerosis.

- Inflammation and pain caused by arthritis.

- Fibromyalgia.

- Severe headaches and migraines.

- Anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder.

- Mood disorders like depression.

- Muscle pain and spasms.

- Nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy.

- Appetite problems.

- Cancer.

- Seizures.

Cannabis Hybrid Strains

Cannabinoid Content: Depends on whether it is a Sativa-dominant, Indica-dominant strain, or equally-balanced hybrid strain.

Highs: Depends on which trait is more dominant, Sativa or Indica or an equal mix of the two.

Effects: The effects of hybrid strains are wide-ranged and typically depend on its dominant trait.

Sativa-dominant hybrid strains are more energizing and uplifting, but its Indica traits will also induce relaxation of the whole body. The user still gets to experience the powerful cerebral high associated with Sativa-dominant strains but with fewer risks of developing paranoia and anxiety symptoms.

On the other hand, Indica-dominant hybrid strains promote whole-body relaxation, but its Sativa traits prevent the user from having a total couch-lock. The user will get to enjoy a pain-free and relaxing time without affecting his mental clarity and alertness.

Equally-balanced hybrid strains are best known for their smooth and well-balanced cerebral high that gently transitions into relaxation and sedation.

Best for: Morning, midday, and evening use. Again, this depends on its more dominant trait.

Medical Conditions and Symptoms It Can Relieve:

- Chronic pain and inflammation like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

- Nerve pain caused by lupus, multiple sclerosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

- Stress and anxiety problems like post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, and even obsessive-compulsive disorders.

- Head pain like migraines and severe headaches.

- Mood problems like depression and bipolar disorder.

- Cancer.

- Motor problems like Parkinson’s disease.

- Gastrointestinal inflammatory problems like Crohn’s Disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

- Period pains or dysmenorrhea.

- Painful muscle cramps.

- Seizures and epileptic seizures.

- Mental health problems like autism and schizophrenia.

Sativa, Indica, and Hybrids are just the major marijuana types. Under each classification are still more types of Sativas, Indicas, and Hybrids.

If you want to use weeds for recreational and/or medical purposes, knowing the difference between Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrids will help you choose the marijuana type that will fit your needs best. You may also want to do some research online, read reviews, or talk with a cannabis expert about the different strains.

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