Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid Cannabis Strains, So What’s the difference?

In this part 1 article, we get back to the basics and discuss the 3 commonly known types of Cannabis, Indica, Sativa and Hybrid strains. Next time we dig deeper into the specifics of the strains and their effects.

When discussing your purchase of medical marijuana with budtenders, its usually along the lines of whether you prefer an Indica, Sativa or Hybrid experience. The main categories of cannabis are generally Indica and Sativa which is commonly agreed to not only differentiate between the different physical characteristic Phenotypes of the plant but also the different psychoactive effects of the final flower. In this article, we will discuss the differences between Indica, Sativa and the majority of hybrid cannabis strains available today.


Cannabis indica tends to originate from equatorial regions around the Hindu Kush Mountain range that spans countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. Indica cannabis plants tend to be short in height and flowering times, with large leaflets and dense flowers. Pure Indica’s flower within 6-9 weeks and are often favored by growers for their short flowering times. Their buds are dense, bulky and pungent and contain higher levels of THC to CBD than the Sativa category of cannabis. Indica “highs” tend to be more sedative and relaxing and hit your body more or known as “couch lock”.

Indica buds are very thick and dense.

Popular Indica Strains include: Do-Si-Do, Purple Punch, Northern Lights and Zkittles


Cannabis sativa originates from Eastern Asia but is now widely spread throughout the world generally located in areas such as central and South America, Far East as well as central and southern Africa. Sativa’s are tall plants with thin leaves and long blades. They can tower to over 8 foot and produce long flowers that tend to be airy and sausage-like in shape. Sativa’s also tend to have lower levels of the cannabinoids THC to CBD. Their flowering times are usually much longer than Indica varieties and some pure landrace Sativa’s can take over 15 weeks to fully mature. A pure Durban Poison landrace can take up to 14 weeks to finish flowering, however, today hybridized commercial seedbanks offer seeds that flower in 6 – 8 weeks. Sativa’s are known to be a more uplifting high, that is cerebral and is energizing.

Popular Sativa strains include: Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, Green Crack, Durban Poison and Tangie.


Breeders for the last 50 years have been cross-pollinating Sativa’s and Indica’s to make hybrid varieties of cannabis genetics. Hybrids can be either Indica-dominant or Sativa-dominant, many strains are balanced between both types. Breeders are developing these hybrids because of either its aroma, flavor, cannabinoid content, flowering time or its yield and usually name them accordingly. Blueberry is known to flower with blue hue covering the flowers and a hint of blueberry flavor while lemon kush which is an Indica dominant variety will taste of citrus. Today most cannabis strains are made up of hybrids and new hybrids are going to market every day.

Popluar Hybrid strains include: Blue Dream, Gelato, OG Kush, Sherbert and GSC.

Although scientists and botanists have been debating cannabis, the herb, since the early 1700s, the definitions of the Sativa, Indica and ruderalis are more pop culture rather than scientific fact. Today with the development of technology, researchers are defining cannabis by identifying and mapping the over 500 compounds found in the many varieties of cannabis. These compounds are made up terpenes, flavonoids, cannabinoids and are found in varying amounts between the different of cannabis Indica and Sativa. There are thousands of cannabis strain names that are available on the cannabis market and many people are lucky enough to have found certain strains for either recreational or medical marijuana needs.

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