When you’re buying weed online in Canada or from your favourite local supplier, you’ll notice three different types strains of cannabis to choose from:
What’s the difference between Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid Weed?
We briefly sum up these three types of marijuana below before we go more in-depth in this guide to explain the difference between the three types of strains of marijuana:
- Indica strains are considered the best type of marijuana before going to bed or for relaxing with a movie. It is very physically sedating.
- Sativa strains have the tendency to offer more cerebral effects that are uplifting and invigorating. It pairs well with creative projects, social gatherings and physical activity.
- Hybrid strains are considered to fall somewhere between Sativa and Indica, which differs with each strain. It depends on the traits that they inherit from the parent strains.
These three differences between Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid are very distinctive throughout popular marijuana culture.
Budtenders will usually recommend you strains by asking for your preference of high, which allows them to single down on one of these three different types of marijuana.
Marijuana researchers have gathered data for this purpose which shows that the three types of cannabis are not as prescriptive as one might believe so.
It means that there is not much evidence to prove that Sativa and Indica consistently show patterns of chemical profiles that inherently makes Sativa uplifting and Indica sedating.
Everyone knows that Sativa and Indica marijuana are different in looks and growth. However, this difference is more useful for cannabis growers more than users.
Before we get into how meaningful these three types are when a consumer is buying weed, we answer the question:
How did the terms “Sativa” and “Indica” get introduced in the vocabulary of marijuana consumers around the globe?
Origin and Evolution of Sativa and Indica
It was actually back in the 18th Century when the words “Sativa” and “Indica” were introduced to describe different types of marijuana.
Carl Linneaus gave the name of Sativa to hemp plants that he found in Western Eurasia and Europe. The plants were cultivated to obtain fibre and seeds.
Sativa is tall in stature and has narrow leaves. Sativa also has longer flowering cycles, and it is better suited for warm climates with a long season.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck gave the name of Indica to the psychoactive variety of cannabis, which were found in India. The plants were harvested to produce hashish and obtain fibre and seeds.
Indica is short in stature and has broad leaves. Indica has shorter flowering cycles, and it is suitable for colder climates with shorter seasons.
Most of the marijuana varieties that people consume nowadays are largely stemmed from Indica cannabis.
However, both types are used for cultivating thousands of different cannabis strains available in today’s market.
The terms Indica and Sativa gradually shifted from their old botanical definitions in the following ways:
- Nowadays, “Sativa” is used for all the varieties of marijuana that are tall and have narrow leaves. This type of cannabis is believed to induce energizing effects. They are also referred to as NLD (narrow-leaf drug), and they were originally called Cannabis indica ssp. Indical.
- The word “Indica” was used for describing the stout plants of cannabis that had broad leaves. It was believed to have sedating effects. It is called BLD (broad leaf-drug), and it was originally called Cannabis indica ssp. Afghanica.
- The industrial and non-intoxicating varieties of cannabis are referred to as “hemp”. They are harvested for obtaining CBD, seeds, and fiber. They were originally given the name of Cannabis sativa.
The reason why you may get confused with all of this information is because marijuana has gone through mass commercialization.
The taxonomical distinctions between Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid and calcification has made it complicated.
However, it is important for you as a consumer to understand the practical value of Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid so that you get the type of high you like when buying weed online in Canada.
Effects of Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid
While it’s very convenient to use the three-category system for predicting the effects of the different strains of weed, the world of marijuana has become overwhelming and vast.
New marijuana consumers often wonder where to begin when there are so many different strains to choose from.
The answer consists of two words that you should memorize if you don’t know them yet.
The terms are “terpenes” and “cannabinoids.”
Before explaining these two terms, you should become familiar with what two well-known marijuana researchers say about Indica/Sativa classification as their opinions could be very helpful for choosing between different marijuana strains.
Ethan Russo is an internationally famous neurologist who has contributed a lot to cannabis psychopharmacology. Jeffrey Raber is a PhD chemist who founded The Werc Shop. It was the first independent lab for test and analyzing marijuana terpenes.
Russo said that the way labels of Indica and Sativa are used in commerce is total nonsense.
He further explained that the clinical effects of the marijuana chemovar have nothing to do with the structure of the plant.
According to Russo, it does not make any difference whether the plant leaves are broad or narrow, or the plant is short and bushy vs. tall and sparse.
Jeffrey Raber agrees with Russo on this point.
He was asked if budtenders should guide marijuana consumers about terms like “Sativa” and “Indica.” He claims that there are no scientific or factual foundations to make broad sweeping recommendations about these terms; therefore, it should be stopped right away.
He went to claim that people need to understand better the standardized marijuana composition.
Different cannabis composition causes different effects when delivered in different fashions. The amount of dosages also makes a difference to the variety of consumers.
It means that neither all types of Sativa cannabis have energizing effects nor all types of Indica cannabis have sedating effects.
Of course, many consumers of marijuana have noticed that Sativa has the tendency for uplifting effects and Indica has the tendency for relaxing effects.
You need to remember that there is no hard-and-fast rule. Moreover, there is no chemical that which can be used for perfectly predicting a certain pattern.
Are Effects of Indica and Sativa Predictive?
The effects of cannabis strains (Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid) depend on various factors. They include consumption method, dosage, tolerance, consumer’s biology and chemical profile of the product.
If you can understand the effect of these factors, then you have a great chance of finding the perfect strain for yourself.
A marijuana plant is made of hundreds of chemical compounds. These compounds create a set of effects in harmony.
The prime compounds are terpenes and cannabinoids.
The two most common types of cannabinoids that are CBD and THC. They are the main drivers of the recreational and therapeutic effects of cannabis:
- THC makes people feel high and hungry. It also relieves symptoms like nausea and pain.
- CBD alleviates several medical ailments like inflammation, pain, anxiety. It is a non-intoxicating compound also known as cannabidiol.
Marijuana contains more than one hundred types of cannabinoids. However, the most important types of cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
Before you choose your strain on the basis Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid, you should base your selection on the following three concepts:
- The strains of CBD-dominant contain small amounts of THC. They are mostly used by people who are very sensitive to THC. Patients who need relief from clear-headed symptoms also use them very often.
- Consumers who seek potent euphoric experience choose the strains of THC-dominant. Patients who are treating problems like insomnia, anxiety, depression, and pain also choose these strains. THC have some side effects, and if you dislike them or tend to feel anxious with THC-dominant strains then you should try higher levels of CBD strain.
- Strains of Balanced THC/CBD contain balanced levels of THC. They offer mild euphoria with symptom relief. They make a good choice for new consumers who seek an introduction to the signature high of marijuana.
It is very interesting that strains of Sativa and Indica exhibit different profiles of cannabinoid.
Raber said that initially many people thought that higher levels of CBD caused sedation. People also thought that CBD was more prevalent in Indica cultivars; however, that is not considered true anymore.
Raber also said that people are more prone to see some CBD in Sativa-like cultivars. However, there is no relationship or systematic rule for it.
You can understand the basics of terpenes if you have used aromatherapy in the past for invigorating or relaxing your mind and body.
The aromatic compounds that plants and fruits produce are called “Terpenes.”
They are found in many plants like pepper, hops, oranges, lavender flowers, and cannabis. Terpenes are secreted by the same glands which ooze CBD and THC. Cannabis smell like fuel, pine, citrus, or berries because of terpenes.
When essential oils are vaporized in a diffuser, they make people feel sedated or stimulated.
Depending on which ones are produced, the cannabis terpenes do the same task. For example, linalool has relaxing properties while Pinene is an alerting terpene.
Cannabis has many types of terpenes and it’s useful for you to familiarize yourself with the most common types of cannabis terpenes.
Raber said that terpenes seem to be the main players in driving the energizing or sedating effects.
It’s apparently very complicated to understand that which terpenes causes which effects. Terpenes seem to vary based on their types and cannabinoids, and their relative ratios to each other.
According to Raber, the Sativa or Indica morphology of a strain does not exactly determines the effects and aromas. However, individual strains do exhibit consistency. For example, the strain Tangie delivers a unique citrus aroma. DJ Short’s Blueberry always offers the wonderful scent of ripe berry.
When you are trying different marijuana strains, you can try to smell them.
Choose the strains to try out that have a very appealing aroma. During this time, your knowledge of terpenes and cannabinoids, and also your intuition, will help you decide your products and strains.
Deciding Between Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid Marijuana
When you are choosing the right product or strain for yourself, you should consider the following questions.
- Do you have any experience with cannabis? If you have low tolerance then you should go for the low-THC strain and have low doses.
- Are you susceptible to side effects of THC especially anxiety? Then try a CBD-high strain.
- Do you want the effects of strain to last long? Then consider edibles and start with a low dose. You should try tincture or inhalation methods if you want a short-term experience.
When choosing a strain, there are many factors to consider. If you experience that Indica strains deliver a positive experience, then you should continue with them or Indica-dominant hybrid strains. If you seem to enjoy Sativa strains more, then Sativa or Sativa-dominant strains are the best bet for you.
In case, you are still searching that ideal strain then you should keep these important details in your mind.
The Right Cannabis Strain for you
It may seem overwhelming for you especially if you are a budtender who guides customers to the perfect product.
How strange that more and more questions seem to arise no matter how much you know about marijuana.
The most fundamental question is that what product is right for you.
If you understand the difference between consumptions methods, terpenes, and properties of cannabinoids, then you will find a better answer for this fundamental question for buying marijuana.
You should be cognizant of the basis of your suggestion if you are a budtender.
It becomes even more important when you are dealing with or treating certain medical ailments.
You should keep educating yourself on the advantages of different terpenes and cannabinoids and use the knowledge to make decisions when buying weed, rather than solely relying on marketing tactics and oversimplifications provided by cannabis producers.
Your Next Steps
The best way to find out what the best strain for you is through trying different strains and thinking about what time of day or use you specifically use marijuana for.
Here are some reference websites to research different marijuana strains, including their effects, Indica vs. Sativa ratio, reviews, and THC content:
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