SATIVA VS INDICA VS HYBRID: WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT CANNABIS STRAINS
There's more to purchasing cannabis than you may think, especially if you're just getting into the habit. Not only do you have to consider the Sativa vs Indica content of a given strain, you've also got terpenes and cannabinoids to think about. This can all be very overwhelming for even the veteran cannabis user!
If you want to learn more about Indica vs Sativa vs hybrid strains, and what goes into each strain, keep reading.
INDICA VS SATIVA: THE MAIN 2 TYPES OF CANNABIS
There are two main types of cannabis: Indica, and Sativa. Both of these offer the user a unique experience for the most part.
Cannabis Indica gives the user what's considered a "body high". It's said to help the user relax, unwind, and even get to sleep. Cannabis of the Indica strain is typically used late at night, while partying with friends, or at the end of the day, as it's meant to leave the user in a relaxed state.
Cannabis Sativa, on the other hand, is purported to give a more euphoric and uplifting effect
a "head high". Some users report feeling more creative, energetic, and productive when smoking Sativa strains. These strains are more typically used in the daytime or before events to heighten the senses.
Considering this, a hybrid strain is a mixture of both Sativa and Indica. While one of these is usually more present than the other, a hybrid is made up of a significant amount of each. This can give the user the combined "body" and "mind" highs that come with each strain.
WHAT ELSE DETERMINES MARIJUANA EFFECTS?
Sativa and Indica aren't the only things to look at when it comes to finding your desired marijuana affects. You also need to consider cannabinoids and terpenes. Here's a brief guide to each:
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds in marijuana. There are hundreds of cannabinoids present in each strain of marijuana, each of which affects the bud of the plant.
The two most present cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD. THC is responsible for getting you high, while CBD is responsible for purported health benefits. These include anti-inflammation, pain relief, anxiety reduction, and more.
There are plenty more cannabinoids present in a strain than just these two, though. Some of the most prevalent cannabinoids besides CBD and THC are:
- Cannabinol (CBN) - Arrives in a bud when THC ages. Has a reported sedative effect called "couch-lock".
- Cannabigerol (CBG) - Non-psychoactive, contains antibacterial properties, reduces inflammation and pain.
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA) - Anecdotally stated to have anti-inflammatory effects and inhibit tumor growth.
- Cannabichromene (CBC) - Purported to stimulate brain cell growth, making it potentially good for anti-Alzheimer therapy.
You might be wondering, "How am I supposed to know which cannabinoids are present in my buds?"
Well, before cannabis is sold in dispensaries there are a number of lab tests that must be done depending on the state you are in. These measure exactly what terpenes and cannabinoids go into each strain. You can review these lab tests online, or often through the dispensary itself.
The easiest course of action is to ask your budtender what they know about the cannabinoid contents of a given strain, and turn to the internet for further research.
At Origins Cannabis, we measure all of our strains by ratio, and we consider more than just THC to CBD. Our cannabis ratios measure THC to CBG, CBD, CBN, and CBC. These ratios created lifestyles, so you can choose your cannabis type based on the “lifestyle” or effect you are going for.
Terpenes, much like cannabinoids, are naturally occurring compounds present in every cannabis plant. Terpenes have a huge effect on the smell of a given strain, as well as the effects given off when the plant is smoked.
There are hundreds of terpenes that can be present in cannabis, each with its own set of benefits, though much of these benefits are still being studied, some of these include:
- Bisabolol - Some claim to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, and pain reliever.
- Myrcene - The most commonly found terpene. Found to reduce insomnia and anxiety.
- Ocimene - Creates a mango/parsley-like scent. Eases congestion.
- Pinene - Adds a strong pine scent to cannabis. Purported to boost memory, ease nausea, and reduce pain.
- Linalool - Supposed to have relaxation and mood-boosting benefits.
- Humulene - Reduces inflammation, gives cannabis an earthy scent.
- Eucalyptol - Fights bacteria, reduces inflammation.
With hundreds of possible terpene combinations, it's hard to determine exactly what goes into each strain you purchase, just like with cannabinoids. Instead, it's a bit of a guessing game based on smell and effects. You can also find more information on a particular strain's contents using Google, as many people have developed "cannabis profiles" that detail the contents of specific strains.
It's worth noting, though, that you aren't always getting the exact same product from dispensary to dispensary. The soil, farming techniques, etc. that go into how one batch of, say, Sour Diesel is grown may be different from the next batch. This can change the terpenes and cannabinoids present in the strain.
Considering this, it's always a good idea to take a look at the lab studies when you buy a strain.
SATIVA HIGH EFFECTS
So, what can you expect from a Sativa high?
As mentioned briefly before, most people report feelings of euphoria when smoking Sativa strains. They describe their high as "heady" and "uplifting", and oftentimes "energizing" and "creative". Many will ingest a Sativa strain before working on art, before a long night, or in the morning.
Some of the main reported effects of Sativa strains include:
- Pain treatment
- Increased focus
- Serotonin increase
Sativa strains allegedly make some giggly, happy, and give them a positive boost in mood. These strains do not cause couch-lock or muscle relaxation like Indica strains tend to.
It's important to note that these effects are anecdotal. You may not feel any of these effects when you smoke Sativa strains, these are just some of the most commonly reported effects by users.
INDICA HIGH EFFECTS
Indica strains are best taken at night, or when you've got nothing to do on a given day. The high given off from Indica strains is anecdotally much different than that of Sativa strains.
Indica strains work to relax the user both physically and mentally. Many users' eyes will get heavy, they'll feel tired, and their muscles will relax. The "munchies" reportedly hit much harder in Indica strains for some, and comfort is increased.
Some of the main reported effects of Indica strains include:
- Relaxed muscles
- Increased hunger (the munchies)
- Nausea remedy
- Dopamine increase
- Relaxed mental state
- Pain relief
Many users take Indica strains at night, while others like to take them at parties to relax their nerves. They can be a great helper in fighting insomnia and restless nights of sleep. However, this may come down more to the terpenes in a given strain than simply Sativa and Indica difference.
Again, these effects are anecdotal. While some have been studied, others are only reported. You may not feel these particular effects when you intake Cannabis Indica.
If you want a more visual look at Sativa vs Indica, check out this Sativa vs Indica chart detailing the Sativa and Indica contents of some of the most popular strains.
HYBRID HIGH EFFECTS
Hybrids, as previously mentioned, are strains that contain both high quantities of Sativa and Indica. You don't have to decide between a head high vs body high with hybrids
you typically get both.
When you smoke a hybrid strain, you might feel the effects of each type of cannabis. You'll get a balance of that heady, euphoric Sativa high with the munchy, relaxed high of the Indica. This is often a great balance for users looking to socialize, enjoy a movie or event, or relax after a long day without getting too tired.
Hybrids are not often an even split between Indica and Sativa
instead, one type is usually more dominant than the other. You can experiment with different ratios of Sativa to Indica to find the effects that work best for you. For instance, if you prefer an indica type of effect, but don’t want to be too couch locked, you could find a 70/30 hybrid of indica to sativa and vice versa. Typically looking at the lab test on the package or talking to your budtender will help you find the right mix. Many people just starting out with cannabis will start with hybrids to get a feel for the whole cannabis spectrum without swinging too far one way or the other.
So a hybrid strain mayl anecdotally give you a mixture of the effects listed in the Sativa and Indica sections. However, these effects differ from person to person, and also depend on cannabinoid levels and terpene content as previously mentioned, so there is certainly an experimental phase when starting out with cannabis and choosing between indica, sativa and hybrids.
That said, if you're looking for a balanced high, a hybrid may be the choice for you.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CANNABIS STRAIN FOR YOU
When it comes to Sativa vs Indica, the best way to find the right strain for you is through experimentation and education.
If you're looking for something to help you relax and unwind, an Indica strain is probably for you. If you're looking for something to keep you active and alert while also enjoying a high, try out a Sativa strain. If you want something somewhere in the middle of the two, a hybrid may be the best choice.
Do your research into the terpenes and cannabinoids present in certain strains to find exactly the effects you want. Get help from your budtender, and ask friends for their recommendations. Before you know it, you'll have a favorite go-to strain for whatever type of high you desire.