When most people think of different types of cannabis, they think in terms of hemp versus cannabis. However, there is another essential way to differentiate one strain of cannabis from another: Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. If you see these descriptive terms on a cannabis product, what do they actually mean? Do the different types make a difference in the end experience? Take a look at all you need to know about Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid in the world of cannabis.
Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid – What’s the Difference?
Cannabis is a fascinatingly diverse and interesting plant any way you look at it. You only have to look at all the different strains to get a good understanding of just how diverse cannabis can actually be. In fact, there may be at least 700 identifiable strains thanks to the cross-pollination of plants in nature and the deliberate effort to cross-breed different strains by cannabis cultivators.
The terms Sativa and Indica were once used by scientists to classify cannabis into different groups depending on their physical characteristics. However, over the years these monikers have grown to be more recognized by cannabis consumers because of the supposed effects they deliver. And, there can be a lot of merit here even though Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid cannabis may not always deliver the exact same effects. Below is a look at the three classifications, where they come from, and what they may mean in terms of effects.
The first scientific name used to classify cannabis plants was Cannabis Sativa in 1753. Cannabis was the genus, and Sativa was considered the species. It wouldn’t be until much later in 1785 that a new type of species was determined: Cannabis Indica. After the differentiation, Sativa became known as cannabis which grew tall and somewhat lanky, usually in humid and warm parts of the world. Sativa also did not flower quickly.
Today, Sativa is still used by botanists for classification purposes, but the designation also means something else to users. Most people assume Sativa to be more uplifting and energizing by nature.
As noted above, Cannabis Indica was a secondary designation to categorize cannabis into different species. While the Sativa plant grew tall and tended to have long flowering cycles, Indica was shorter and flowered relatively quickly. The word Indica actually comes from “India,” which is where this particular species of cannabis was initially thought to come from.
Today, Indica strains are most often associated with a more sedating effect. The term is used by scientists, however, to explain the assumed species because of its physical characteristics.
Hybrid strains are crosses between two different species of cannabis: Indica and Sativa. In reality, the majority of cannabis available today is some kind of Hybrid strain. Most growers will simply state Sativa or Indica if the plant’s primary genetics come from one species or the other. When looking closer at descriptions, you may see phrases like Sativa-dominant or Indica-leaning, for example.
As far as effects go, Hybrid strains are often thought to deliver a balance of contrasting yet complementary effects. For example, a Hybrid may make you feel mentally uplifted and physically relaxed or vice versa.
Why Indica vs Sativa Matters
Knowing whether you are getting Indica or Sativa does matter, but it may not matter as much as is suspected. Even though it is true that a lot of Indica-dominant strains are more sedating by nature or Sativas are more uplifting, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. The true determinant of how a certain strain makes you feel is the overall plant composition.
The Importance of Cannabinoids and Terpenes in a Strain
Cannabinoid and terpene composition are actually the most important when it comes to how cannabis makes you feel. The entourage effect is a theory that all constituents found in the cannabis plant play off of one another or influence one another to generate different levels of effects. For example, a high-CBD, low-THC strain may be more therapeutic and uplifting. Likewise, a strain that has a high level of certain terpenes may be more sedating.
With all of this in mind, Sativa and Indica designations can be important, but it is also a good idea to research the strain itself. For example, Blue Dream is a popular Sativa-dominant strain. Because this strain is Sativa designated, you may expect a more uplifting buzz. However, Blue Dream also contains a high level of myrcene and THC, both of which have sedating properties.
Common Questions About Indica vs Sativa
Which is more potent: Indica or Sativa?
In terms of THC potency, most Indicas have a higher THC percentage than Sativas. Of course, this can rely on the specific strain itself and its genetics.
Why do some people prefer Hybrid vs Indica?
Some people claim Indica strains are a bit too sedating. These varieties are often associated with sensations like “couch lock” or paranoia due to the higher THC content. Individuals looking for a less intense level of sedation and a milder THC potency oftentimes opt for a Hybrid strain.
Can hemp be Sativa or Indica?
It definitely can. Hemp is simply a type of Cannabis Sativa or Indica that contains very low amounts of THC. Therefore, hemp plants can take on attributes of different species of cannabis, even though most hemp takes on physical traits of Sativa.
Is Indica vs Hybrid better for sleep?
An Indica strain may be better for sleep than a Hybrid strain. Hybrids often deliver a balance of effects, some of which may be more uplifting in nature. However, the full cannabinoid profile of the strain can also make a difference.
What is Ruderalis cannabis?
Cannabis Ruderalis is a subspecies of cannabis that primarily grows natively in Eastern European countries. The plant grows smaller than either Indica or Sativa and tends to have a much lower THC content. While you likely won’t see Ruderalis in dispensaries, what you may find is cannabis that has Ruderalis cross-breeding somewhere in its genetics. Ruderalis is considered autoflowering (flowers regardless of light cycles), which can be highly desirable to growers.
Find Your Preference at Galaxy Treats
Whether you are curious about Hybrid, Sativa, and Indica effects or already know your preferences, find what you’re looking for at Galaxy Treats. Each of our disposables and vape carts is labeled with either Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid and formulated to deliver a familiar experience so you know what to expect. Be sure to take a look at our full collection to find your preferred path to blast off.