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Strains: What's the difference between Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strains?

Strains: What's the difference between Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strains?

The Differences Between Indica, Sativa & Hybrid Strains

Cannabis use is exploding in popularity as many states push toward legalization. When considering these products, many newer consumers are confused about the different strains. Do they provide distinct effects and benefits? There are three main strains that you should know about: Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. Let's explore what the differences are so you can make an educated choice.

What Are Cannabis Strains?
Like any plant, cannabis can be grown in a variety of forms. Growers pinpoint certain qualities to get the strains that meet their customers' needs. The two main species of cannabis are Indica and Sativa, though there is some debate among experts whether the two are really separate species or merely subspecies. There are also hybrid varieties that combine Indica and Sativa. It's important to realize that, while each strain has its own qualities, each grower and batch is unique as well. You'll find numerous brand names under each strain.

Sativa Strains
Sativa grows naturally in warm humid climates such as South and Central America, and Southeast Asia. These plants have a distinctive tall and slender appearance with thin, light green leaves. The following are some common effects of Sativa.

  • Mentally and creatively stimulating.
  • Helps with focus.
  • May ease symptoms such as pain, nausea, and headaches.
  • Improves appetite.
  • Because of its energizing effect, it may cause insomnia if taken at night.

Cannabis effects are closely related to the ratio of THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid, and CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid valued for its role in relieving pain and promoting relaxation. Sativa strains have large amounts of THC relative to CBD, which is why they tend to have an energizing effect. Examples of Sativa strains that are currently popular:

  • Blue Dream
  • Sour Diesel
  • Pineapple Express
  • Honeydew
  • Trainwreck

Depending on where you live, you may see these or other strains for sale. New cannabis products are constantly being introduced, of course.

Indica Strains
Indica strains grow in hot and dry regions such as the Middle East. Compared to Sativa, the leaves are shorter and denser, with dark green leaves. Common effects of Indica strains include:

  • Relief of muscle and other pain.
  • Reduce symptoms of nausea.
  • Manage anxiety.
  • Prevent insomnia.

While Sativa strains can also help with pain, Indica is especially used for this purpose. Its effects tend to be more relaxing than those of Sativa, making it more appropriate to consume later in the day. While Sativa has higher amounts of THC than CBD, in Indica strains the two cannabinoids are usually present in roughly equal amounts. Popular Indica strains include:

  • Blueberry Kush
  • Strawberry Shortcake 
  • Cherry Pie 
  • Wedding Cake 
  • Grape Pie

Hybrid Strains
Hybrid strains are made by combining Sativa and Indica. There are almost endless variations for hybrid strains. Some will have a stronger Sativa influence, while Indica will be the stronger influence in others. Hybrid strains give growers the chance to create unique blends to cater to their customers' preferences.

Because there is so much variety, it's difficult to generalize about the effects of hybrid strains. Consumers can get information from the sellers' promotional materials, reviews, or by sampling different strains. The best choice for you will depend on the effects you're seeking. If you want a relaxing experience, choose an Indica-dominant hybrid. If you prefer something more energizing, choose one that's Sativa-dominant. Hybrid strains let you enjoy a more nuanced experience. Some currently popular hybrid strains include:

  • Rainbow Sherbet
  • Biscotti
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Tropical Sunrise

Tips For Choosing the Best Strain
There are numerous Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid cannabis strains, with new ones being introduced all the time. Connoisseurs naturally develop their favorites, and you can follow their latest discussions. The ideal products for you may very well change over time. You may want a different experience, depending on your mood, the type of activity you're engaged in, and the time of day. The following are some guidelines to keep in mind.

  • Find a trustworthy dispensary. Whether you shop locally or online, it's important to shop with a reputable business that you can trust to provide you with accurate information. They should use independent lab testing to ensure that all quality and safety standards are met.
  • Try different varieties. While you can research the effects of popular strains, talk to friends, and ask for recommendations, and study the promotional material on cannabis brands' websites, there's no substitute for trying different strains and finding out what works for you.
  • Start with a small dose. Always research the cannabinoid content when trying a product. When trying a new strain, it's always best to start with a small amount to gauge your tolerance. Even if a product is marketed as mild, you never really know how it will affect you until you try it.
  • Consider your method of consumption. The way you consume cannabis has a major impact on the effects. You'll tend to experience the effects more quickly when smoking or vaping, for example, than if you consume gummies or other edibles.