Sativas, Indicas, and Hybrids: Which Cannabis Strain is Best for Me?
Looking at a medicinal cannabis plant, it’s not immediately obvious that all plants are not created equal. Cannabis plants are commonly referred to as indica, sativa, or a hybrid of the two, which tells us how the plant will affect most people. From those plants, there are nearly 780 known cannabis strains and new ones are being developed every day! Those strains are what you see displayed at the dispensary and have names like Grand Daddy Purp, Yoda, Gorilla Glue, and more. A quick rule of thumb when it comes to considering the right cannabis strain for you is that Indica strains are more relaxing, great for nighttime use, and have higher CBD and lower THC counts. Sativa strains are more energizing, great for daytime use, and have lower CBD and higher THC counts. A hybrid is a varying percentage of the two.
Our knowledgeable budtenders are always happy to offer recommendations to our patients, and as you can see, with the wide variety of strains available we encourage patients to familiarize themselves with the various cannabis classifications in order to make the most educated decisions about medicating. Below are some of the main cannabis classifications and what you can expect from each.
Heavy indica strains can have intense full-body effects and are recommended for relaxation, nausea reduction, sleep, and long-lasting pain relief. Most patients use heavy indica strains for nighttime medicating. See the strongest indica strains according to herb.co.
These strains are on the lighter side of Indica, but still offer pain relief and relaxation with less intense sedating effects. Most patients use clear indica strains for nighttime medicating. See the best indica strains according to The Chill Bud.
This strain of cannabis delivers full-body pain relief with a relaxing head high. Depending on the patient’s tolerance and preference, indica-dominant hybrids are good for nighttime medicating (sleep) or daytime medicating (minor pain relief without intense sedating effects). See the strongest indica hybrid strains according to herb.co.
Even Hybrid (50/50)
Even hybrid strains are frequently used to alleviate stress, headaches, and depression with the perfect balance of head and body effects. These strains are appropriate for any time of day, depending on the patient’s preference and tolerance. See a long list of 50/50 hybrid strains on Leafly.
A sativa-dominant hybrid delivers a cerebral high with a relaxing body effect. Patients experience calm, clear-headed physical and mental relief with sativa-dominant cannabis strains, which are typically used during the day. See the best sativa-dominant strains according to Zativo.com.
Heavy sativa strains are ideal for patients who want an intense and uplifting body high with a heavy head effect. These strains boost focus and creativity and can relieve depression and anxiety in patients. Heavy sativas are great for daytime medicating. See the strongest sativa strains according to herb.co.
This strain classification is recommended for patients who are looking for mental effects and little-to-no physical effects. Clear sativas are stimulants that are known to help with depression, nausea, chronic pain, and focus, and are best for daytime use. See the best clear sativa strains according to herb.co .
Now that you know the differences between cannabis strain classifications, the only thing left to do is head to one of our 4 Valley locations to choose the best cannabis strain for you. Our knowledgeable Swell budtenders will be happy to assist you making the best decision for your individual need.
If you want to get the maximum benefits and the best medical marijuana uses, we’ve got the lowdown on sativa, indica, and hybrid cannabis strains so you can pick the best option for your needs.
How to decide which strains to try
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- What are strains?
- What makes cannabis strains unique?
- The deal with indicas, sativas, and hybrids
- How to decide which cannabis strain to try
- The importance of lab testing
- Choose strains that are right for you
Most dispensaries have a huge variety of strains on display and choosing which strains to try can feel overwhelming. This article will answer some of your questions about strains, their characteristics, which ones are worth trying.
What are strains?
First, a bit of cannabis history. Cannabis is thought to have originated in central Asia but over time, the plant traveled around the world, where it was planted and cultivated. Over time, these plants acclimated to their new environment, resulting in changes to their physical and chemical characteristics. These plants became known as landrace strains .
As time passed, people started experimenting with these landraces, crossbreeding different combinations of male plants and female plants to produce new strains. This experimentation gave birth to the ever-growing variety of cannabis plants in existence today. We call the varieties strains.
As time passed, people started experimenting with landraces, crossbreeding different combinations of male plants and female plants to produce new strains. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Historically, cannabis has been cultivated mostly underground as a result of prohibition during the turn of the century. The cannabis plant was not able to be widely grown or studied and the botanical classifications you may find for, say, tomatoes, are not as clearly documented and defined for cannabis.
What makes cannabis strains unique?
There are a variety of elements that make up a strain’s unique profile:
- Cannabinoid content. The cannabis plant contains a host of cannabinoids , chemical compounds that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce a variety of effects. A strain’s cannabinoid profile or, the concentration of cannabinoids like THC and CBD , is a key differentiating characteristic. For example, strains with high THC and little or no CBD are more intoxicating while strains with a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio can be more relaxing and produce less of an intense or intoxicating high.
- Terpene content.Terpenes are molecules in the cannabis plant that not only produce flavor and aroma, but also help support cannabinoids and other cannabis molecules in producing effects in both the body and the mind. The cannabis plant produces over 200 terpenes, and individual strains will have varying terpene profiles and concentrations. As such, strains can have different flavors, aromas, and effects.
- Environmental variables . Environmental variables during cultivation, like the nutrients in the soil, can affect both the terpene and cannabinoid profile so the same cannabis grown in different environments could wind up as different strains.
The deal with indicas, sativas, and hybrids
Another set of terms you’ve probably heard in connection with cannabis strains is indica, sativa, and hybrid. But chances are, what you’ve heard about them probably isn’t accurate.
Most people think that indica, sativa, and hybrid are used to describe a particular strain’s effects, that sativas produce an uplifting, cerebral high; indicas leave users more relaxed, mellow, and sleepy; and hybrids produce some combination of the two.
A strain’s classification as indica, sativa, or hybrid isn’t actually about any particular effects. It’s about the physical characteristics and structure of the plant. Photo by: David Lozada/Weedmaps
The truth is, a strain’s classification as indica, sativa, or hybrid isn’t actually about any particular effects. It’s about the physical characteristics and structure of the plant , which can be extremely helpful information for growers, but not so much for consumers.
In terms of growing cannabis, the indica/sativa/hybrid classification is good to know. But when it comes to choosing the right strain of cannabis, it’s much less important.
How to decide which cannabis strain to try
There are a few criteria you’ll want to consider when choosing a strain:
- Flavor and aroma. A strain’s terpene profile can produce subtle or intense flavors and aromas. Depending on your personal preferences, you can choose a strain that provides that flavor and aroma at the intensity that seems appealing to you.
- Desired effects. Everyone reacts to cannabis differently, and there’s no guarantee that a strain will produce any particular effect. You can, however, try strains with a cannabinoid and terpene profile that are likely to produce your desired effect. For example, if you want to experience intoxicating effects, it would make sense to go with something with a higher THC content. If you were looking for a more relaxing experience, you might try a strain containing linalool , a terpene reported to have stress-relieving properties.
- Potency. Depending on the concentration of cannabinoids, particularly THC, some strains are more potent than others and the level of potency you’re looking for can help you decide which strains to try. Looking for an intense high? Try something more potent. Looking for a less intense experience? Go with something less potent.
- Growing method. Some people have a preference for weed that is grown in or outdoors. If you’re one of those people, you’ll obviously want to try strains that align with your personal preference.
- Potential medical benefits. Depending on a strain’s cannabinoid ratio or terpene profile, it could have a variety of possible medicinal properties. If you’re thinking about using cannabis to treat a medical condition, talk to a medical professional to find out which strains might be helpful.
- Budget. There are strains at every price point, from wallet-friendly to high-end. If you have a particular budget in mind, that can definitely play into which cannabis strains you decide to try.
The importance of lab testing
There are a lot of different characteristics that make up individual strains. In order to effectively decide whether you want to try a strain, you need to know what those characteristics are and that’s where lab testing comes in.
Any cannabis you buy in a legal dispensary is required to go through rigorous lab testing to determine both the cannabinoid and terpene profile of each particular strain. It also tests to make sure the plant doesn’t contain harmful levels of pesticides, fungicides, or other chemicals, which can lead to health issues.
Not only does lab testing let you know what’s in your strain, but it also lets you know that the cannabis you’re consuming is safe. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Not only does lab testing let you know what’s in your strain, which can help you decide which strains to try, but it also lets you know that the cannabis you’re consuming is safe, no matter what strain you decide to go with.
Choose strains that are right for you
When it comes to choosing cannabis strains, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The strains that other people love might fall flat for you (and vice versa). But now that you know the defining characteristics of each strain and how to evaluate them, you have the information you need to explore what’s on the market and choose the strains that are right for you.
How to decide which strains to try Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What are strains? What makes cannabis strains unique? The deal with