There is an area that all experienced cannabis users are proficient at: knowing all about the different types of weed and the differences between them.
Because when you’re buying cannabis from a local dispensary or an online shop, the process is always the same:
First — decide which effects you want to achieve.
Second — choose a strain that will produce those effects and make you happy… or relaxed… or both.
For a novice user, however, getting to the second step means knowing the ins and outs of cannabis strains and the effects each of them produce.
And today, we are going to lay down the basics of all different subspecies of cannabis: Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis and their crossovers, commonly known as Hybrids.
What are the different types of cannabis?
There are 4 main types of cannabis:
- Cannabis Sativa — most popular type of weed among consumers, produces an euphoric high and boosts energy
- Cannabis Indica — also a popular strain, produces a relaxing high that is felt mostly in the body
- Cannabis Ruderalis — popular mainly among growers, as it is used for crossbreeding with other strains
- Hybrid — a combination of two strains, so it can produce a wide variety of effects, depending on the strains used in crossbreeding
Let’s now explore each of these in more detail.
Cannabis Sativa makes you euphoric and active
Cannabis Sativa is basically the Alpha Herb… and it’s been on this planet probably even before us humans.
It is believed that its historical place of origin was Asia, however there is no backed up evidence of that, contrary to popular belief. What we do have is a number of culturalized fossils which can be backtracked to China and a period of around 12,000 BC.
But when it comes to civilized cultivation, we do know this:
Cannabis Sativa is a flowering plant that’s been purposefully cultivated for around 6,000 years.
How about that for a legacy?
Here are the main features of Cannabis Sativa:
- Very tall, usually 2-4m
- Elongated buds
- Light green leaves
- Sweet aroma
- High on THC and very low on CBD (learn about THC and CBD)
- Euphoric and uplifting high
- Produces a wide array of medicinal benefits
- Best for daytime use due to its energy boosting effects
Some of the more popular Cannabis Sativa strains: Sour Diesel, Willie Nelson, Laughing Buddha, Amnesia Haze.
Cannabis Indica keeps you relaxed and static
Cannabis Indica is quite different from Sativa: both in appearance and in produced effects.
It is believed that it originated in the mountain area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Indica is believed to be a subspecies of Sativa, meaning that it is a product of adaptation to cooler climates with short growing seasons.
Here are the common features of Cannabis Indica:
- Very short, about 1-2m (looks like a miniature Christmas tree)
- Bushy and dense buds
- Dark green leaves
- Sour aroma
- Moderate amounts of both THC and CBD
- Produces a sedative high when consumed
- Usually the primary choice for medicinal use
- Best for nighttime, due to its relaxing effects
The most notable thing about an Indica type strain is that it produces a “couch lock”, a high that is so relaxing that you can’t bother to stand up. Literally.
Here are just some of the popular Cannabis Indica strains: Grandaddy Purple, Purple Kush, Northern Lights and Pineapple Kush.
When it comes to strains for recreational and medicinal use, everything revolves around Indica and Sativa. However, there is one strain of cannabis that enables cultivators to produce high quality products much faster.
Cannabis Ruderalis keeps cultivators happy and relaxed
Cannabis Ruderalis is a strain that originated in Russian steppes and was used as a medicine in that region for centuries, probably due to its high CBD content.
When it comes to its history, little is known, except that it was brought to Amsterdam in 1980s in order to enhance breeding programmes.
Because Cannabis Ruderalis has two particular features that make it desirable among growers:
It flowers automatically and is resistant to insects and diseases.
When a grower crossbreeds Ruderalis with Indica or a Sativa strain, he can get a plant that flowers automatically and produces a full yield in 8-12 weeks.
That means a hassle-free growing process with a quicker delivery of finished, consumer-ready buds.
Cannabis Ruderalis is very low on THC, which is why it’s not used for recreational purposes.
However, this strain is a goldmine of positive effects when combined with other strains.
Hybrid Strains make everyone happy… or relaxed… or both
Yes, the world of cannabis is symbolized in duality, just like the entire universe.
Night and day, black and white, one and zero…
And when it comes to cannabis: you have one strain that’s uplifting and another that’s relaxing.
But modern cultivators realized just how much better you can make the experience if you crossbreed certain strains.
The end result:
Some of the most popular strains in modern dispensaries are hybrids.
With that in mind, hybrids can be either Sativa dominant or Indica dominant. And since they are offsprings, hybrids inherit certain traits from their parents. This means that hybrids are great for indoor cultivation and large scale production.
The trick to hybrids is connecting the two types of high that you get with Sativa and Indica: an euphoric feeling that’s felt in the head and a relaxing buzz that is felt in the body.
For example, Girl Scout Cookies is one of the most popular hybrids out there:
It usually makes users relaxed with a primary cerebral high. Something you cannot have with strains exclusive to Sativa or Indica.
Since there are countless combinations of hybrid strains, we cannot standardize this particular group.
You’ll just have to figure out the differences by yourself. Wohoo!
To help you out, here are some popular hybrid strains and the effects they produce:
Girl Scout Cookies (Sativa dominant hybrid) — primary cerebral, euphoric high, coupled with mild body buzz
OG Kush (Indica dominant hybrid) — primary relaxing high, coupled with intense euphoria
Pineapple Express (Sativa dominant hybrid) — primary head buzz, with intense feelings of happiness