The Differences Between Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids
When you walk into a nearby marijuana dispensary, you’ll come across many varieties of cannabis-products that are labeled indica, sativa, or hybrid. It’s easy to get lost in the full range of offerings, but we’re here to help you understand the difference between these three groups.
Cannabis indica is a group that originated in countries such as Nepal, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Siberia, and Western China. It’s recognizable from its characteristic traits: broad leaves, short stature, and bushy nature. Cannabis indica flowers have dense buds and brief flowering times due to short summers.
Indica strains are widely known to make users sleepy, also known as couch locked. Although this is generally accepted as accurate, ongoing research has discovered that terpenes play a much more significant role in the effects that we feel.
Myrcene is a terpene that’s is commonly found in large amounts of indica strains. The reason for this is unknown, but likely stems from an evolutionary trait to attract pollinators or repel predators. Researchers that have studied myrcene indicate it’s potentially responsible for a strong sedative effect, hence the couchlock feeling when indulging in indicas.
Indica varieties are also known for their primarily physical sensation and their medicinal value. Rather than affecting users with a “head high,” indicas leave users with a “body high.” Indica cannabis strains are known to help with insomnia, chronic pain, appetite loss, and anxiety management.
Cannabis sativa is ubiquitously known for its long slender leaflets and tall structure. This group is mainly found in tropical to sub-tropical regions such as Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa, Cambodia, and India.
The buds found on sativas usually are very long but airy. These have long flowering times due to long summers and daylight hours. These varieties are well adapted to humid environments that lack intense sunshine.
Cannabis sativa strains are known for their psychoactive effects. These strains are responsible for the “head high” that boosts creativity, productivity, and energy. Sativas are also known to reduce barriers when socializing, making it an excellent option for those that have social anxiety. Particular sativa strains are capable of producing semi-hallucinogenic effects, which makes them too intense for beginners.
Sativa marijuana strains are helpful when looking for a motivational boost, or when coffee isn’t an option. Sativas can also be singled out by their overwhelmingly fruity aroma, which can be attributed to their high levels of the terpene limonene.
Hybrids are a select group because they consist of both indica and sativa genetics. This means that a breeder had a sativa male and female indica (or vice versa) reproduce, thus resulting in seeds that carry traits from both groups.
Hybrids are difficult to characterize because they express a wide variety of traits. Hybrids are generally classified into 3 categories: sativa-dominant, indica-dominant, and true hybrid. The first two are self-explanatory, but a true hybrid means that it displays a 50/50 mix of indica and sativa characteristics.
When browsing hybrids, it’s imperative that you check the lineage to understand the potential effects. Hybrids are capable of giving users an intense sativa-like high for the first half, and then a narcotic-like indica high during the end. It’s best to consult with a budtender at a local dispensary to discuss the effects that you can expect from hybrids.
Endless Cannabis Varieties
As cannabis continues its march towards global legalization, breeders are continually pushing the boundaries of cannabis strains. Exotic varieties with high THC/CBD content, shocking flavors, and breathtaking aromas is the current trend; and you’ll never lack a vast menu to choose from at your local cannabis dispensary.
The Medicine Box Cannabis Dispensary in Kanesatake (Oka) carries 40+ cannabis strains at all times.