If you’ve ever been to a dispensary, hopefully you have gotten that amazing opportunity, you’ve more likely than not noticed that the various cannabis strains all seem to be classified into a category: sativa, indica, hybrids. If you don’t know what each type is all about, you might end up with something that’s either way too weak or way too heavy; generally speaking, without a good knowledge base of what you’re looking for, you’ll probably end up choosing a strain that isn’t right for you.
You may think that all cannabis is the same, but that thinking is far from accurate. The main reason for the different categories is to separate the various types of plants. This has been known about since the 18th century, when taxonomic distinctions were made between Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica (more recently hybrids were created by taking genetics from a parent strain of both sativa and indica). Each type has it’s own characteristics for how the plant should look, smell, grow, and how much it affects you and with what effects.
Sativa strains originated in temperate climates near the equator. The plant grows tall and thin, and is ideal for outdoor gardening. The effects of sativa’s tend to be very cerebral – highly uplifting and boosting creativity. They are excellent for people suffering from depression, ADD/ADHD, fatigue, and other mood disorders.
Indica’s are believed to have originated in the Hindu Kush region near Afghanistan and Pakistan. The buds of an indica are covered in a thick coat of resin, which it had to develop as protection from the harsh climate. The plants are very short and bushy and are better suited for indoor growing. Sativa’s are the heavily sedating and relaxing buds that give your body a nice buzz and might keep you confined to the couch. They’re wonderful for treating anxiety, insomnia, pain, and muscle spasms.
Hybrids are made by cross breeding a sativa strain with an indica strain, producing an offspring that contains properties of both sativa and indica. They can create effects of either category, but can also have its genetics dominated by one parent, so a hybrid could only have the effects of an indica or sativa.
As with all things, everyone is affected in different ways. Where one strain might give someone the giggles, it could make someone else paranoid or just fall asleep. It’s best to know what you’re looking for, what you need from your weed, before you blindly shop.