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What are Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid Strains?

Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid Strains

The world of cannabis has grown a lot in the last couple of decades. And thanks to all the cannabis growers and breeders, cannabis genetics have evolved too. Before legal dispensaries, consumers only had access to just a handful of different strains back in the day. Still, if you go into a dispensary today, you’ll find at least 20 different strains. And, if you look closely, you’ll see they’re more often divided into three types: Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid.

Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid refer to the kind of effect a strain offers. Sativas offers a cerebral high, while Indica provides an intense body relaxation and Hybrids a mix of both Sativa and Indica.

Identifying Sativa, Indica, and Hybrids

There are hundreds or even thousands of different cannabis strains, and all of these are divided into three types and. They are a way to understand the structure a specific strain grows and the type of effect. So let’s take a look at how these three different types (Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid) of cannabis plants differ from each other.

Cannabis Indica

Indica plants usually develop thick, strong stems, broader leaves and grow shorter due to growing a bit slower during the vegetative stage when compared to Sativa strains.

This species of cannabis plants have evolved in cold climates such as the Himalayas. Hence, most Indica-dominant strains are more resilient to colder temperatures, so scientists think they developed shorter and bushier.

Cannabis Indica Effects

Cannabis Indica flowers are usually sought after by consumers who prefer a more calm type of high. The high you experience after smoking an Indica strain is the classic “couch-lock” effect associated with CBD. It deeply relaxes your muscles and takes you to sleep in most cases.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa plants grow much taller than Indicas but develop a thinner stem and skinny leaves due to growing faster during the vegetative stage. 

This species of cannabis plants evolved in tropical climates. So scientists think they develop larger internodal spaces and fewer leaves than Indica plants.

Cannabis Sativa Effects

Cannabis Sativa flowers are usually related to recreational cannabis consumers due to offering a more uplifting and energizing cerebral high. This head rush you experience after consuming Sativa flower occurs due to the higher THC levels this plant species has.

These were the only common types of cannabis you could find a couple of years ago. Still, home growers and breeders have been developing their strains for years now. Thanks to decriminalization and legalization in some parts of the world, we can now see the result of years and years of mixing Indica and Sativa genetics. This genetic mix (aka cross-breeding) resulted in strains that offer the best of both Indica and Sativa effects traits.

Hybrid Cannabis

Hybrid cannabis plants are strains bred by mixing both cannabis species, combining the effect and every other trait such as structure, smells, flavors, and colors. This type of cannabis plant is more often sought after by growers or breeders looking to grow more modern strains. 

But, it’s almost impossible to describe a hybrid strain’s growth pattern and effect due to a mix of different genetics. All hybrid strains contain a certain percentage of Indica and Sativa genetics. For example, a strain can have 30% Indica and 70% Sativa genetics. Or 80% and 20%, 50% and 50%, etc., possible when breeding hybrids.

You might be wondering….how do we breed hybrids? Making quality genetics takes time, but the basics are: grab a male and a female plant (one Indica and one Sativa). Let the male pollinate the female. You can observe the development of seeds and harvest them. That’s it; you’ve successfully created hybrid cannabis seeds.

If you’re looking to start a serious breeding project there’s much more you have to keep in min. Breeders actually select the traits they want their hybrid strains to have, such as aroma, flavor, effect, structure and color among others, and breed until they achieve their goals with that particular strain.

But why are hybrids important? Well, there aren’t many pure Sativa or pure Indica strains nowadays. As mentioned before, breeders and growers have cross-bred cannabis for years and years, so most strains you find are either Satva-dominant, Indica-dominant, or Hybrids (which usually means it’s a 50/50 strain). Knowing the differences between the different types of cannabis plants will help you see the kind of high a strain offers and help you understand what to expect before buying seeds, for example.

Hybrid Effects

Due to containing a mix of different genetics, hybrid strains provide a mixed effect. A mixed effect means that you’ll feel a combination of the effects the parent plants had. This is why, when dealing with hybrid strains, it’s also a good idea to check the THC and CBD percentage. In most countries where you can buy cannabis legally, you’ll probably see a label that gives you the THC and CBD percentage. Now you know that if a particular strain has a higher THC content, the effects are more Sativa-like. In comparison, a higher CBD content means the effect is more Indica-like.

Remember that terpenes also affect the high, so make sure you read about them here:

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We’ve discussed all the differences between Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids but are there any similarities?

Similarities Between Cannabis Indica and Sativa

Despite the several differences, there are similarities between Indicas and Sativa ( and hybrids, obviously) because they’re both cannabis plants, after all. In the first place, all of them will get you high. You’ll either feel a more substantial corporal effect, a head rush, or a combination of both Indica and Sativa effects, so you’ll get high. They all have medical benefits that help alleviate chronic pain, anxiety, eating disorders, and much more. And in third place, all of them can have adverse effects such as headaches, panic attacks, and even psychotic breaks in more extreme cases. These negative side effects are why you should always be responsible when consuming cannabis and why you should not smoke too much if you’re not used to it, at least for the first couple of times.

Other Differences Between Cannabis Indica and Sativa

Apart from the different effects, Indica and Sativa plants have different growth cycles. Here are the main differences.

Cannabis Indica Growth

Cannabis Indica plants usually produce dense buds and develop shorter internodal spacing. These plants grow faster and take anywhere from 12-14 weeks from seed to harvest outdoors.

Differences between sativa and indica plants
Sativa vs. Indica

Cannabis Sativa Growth

Cannabis Sativa plants produce lighter buds and develop substantial internodal spacing. These types of plants can take anywhere from 20-32 weeks from weed to harvest outdoors.

So remember that apart from offering a mix of both types of effects, hybrids also contain a combination of every other trait cannabis plants have. So their colors, growth cycles, structures, cannabinoid content, and everything else will vary from one hybrid strain to another.

Final Thoughts

Nowadays, it’s extremely easy to find hybrid strains that have been selected and bred for the best traits from each parent. This means you can find improved versions of classic genetics, a strain that offers the very best of your two favorite genetics, or even unique strains that offer traits only possible with hybridization.

So if you’re looking to try the best of the best hybrid strains, make sure to check our catalog and take a look at all our excellent hybrid strains!

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What are Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid Strains?

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