Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid: What You Need to Know

You may not be familiar with the many forms of marijuana if you are relatively new to the topic. You may have heard terms such as “indica,” “sativa,” and “hybrid” used to distinguish various strains.

Northern Lights, Super Silver Haze, and Blue Dream are all indicas, while Sweet Seeds is a sativa. But what distinguishes an indica from a sativa?

The plant was first cultivated in India. Indica and sativa plants were initially grown. However, generations of crossbreeding have resulted in an enormous number of hybrids. Here is a short description of the three primary strain types, followed by a history of these strains.

Cannabis Indica

Indica marijuana plants are often compact and bushier than sativa varieties. Indica strains can relax the body and have a sedative “couch lock” impact. As a result, they’re particularly suited for individuals suffering from chronic pain and sleeplessness.

The cannabis plant has been shown to assist with a variety of issues, including arthritis, anxiety, and Parkinson’s disease. MS, sleep apnea, and depression are common indications for using indica strains.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa marijuana plants are generally taller and thinner than indica strains. It’s not unusual to come across sativas that are over 20 feet tall!

Sativas are known for being energetic, productive, and creative. They’re particularly popular among persons suffering from medical disabilities that cause tiredness. Sativas are frequently used by recreational cannabis users as a quick energy boost in the morning or early afternoon. Sativas are sometimes utilized to treat chronic pain, glaucoma, headaches, and depression in patients.


Hybrids are a combination of two or more cannabis strains, and they generally offer a blend of bodily and cerebral highs.

Breeders are working hard to develop comprehensive strains that can help with a variety of medical conditions. Hybrid strains, for example, can help with inflammation and discomfort while also providing an energy boost.

Marijuana – Origin of the Species

Cannabis is one of the earliest crops known to humanity, and there is evidence that it has been grown for over 12,000 years. Despite this fact, humans did not distinguish between indica and sativa strains until the 18th century. Cannabis sativa was the first species to be given a name. In 1753, Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus discovered a strain and named it “sativa,” derived from the Latin term for “tended.”

Indica strains evolved in regions near the equator, such as Thailand and Colombia, since they flourish best in hot climates with a lot of sunshine. Linnaeus was largely correct to believe it was the only cannabis plant at the time because there was nothing comparable to compare it against.

Hybrids are a by-product of human ingenuity in the modern era, as breeders strive to develop unique marijuana strains.

However, in 1785, a French naturalist named Jean-Baptiste Lamarck found a new kind of marijuana. These plants had significantly shorter stems and were densely branched with broad leaves. Because of the greater chlorophyll content, the leaves were considerably darker than those of the sativa plant. Cannabis indica is a species cultivated throughout India and Turkey, according to Lamarck.

Indica strains have developed various characteristics to help them thrive in difficult circumstances. They create a sticky, organic substance known as resin, which also improves potency. Hybrids were not created until much later. They are an element of modern culture because breeders are striving to develop unique marijuana strains.

One More Cannabis Type: Cannabis Ruderalis

Another type of cannabis plant, which is still uncommon, has been dubbed D.E. Janischevsky, a Russian botanist, classified this plant species in 1924 as Cannabis ruderalis. The name originates from the term “ruderal,” which refers to a plant that can thrive under harsh conditions. Janischevsky noticed that the ruderalis was distinct from both indica and sativa plants in several aspects.

It has a wild appearance with no branches and grows to only 0.8 meters in height, making it one of the shortest plants on Earth. Several marijuana species have been identified as not related to indica or sativa, suggesting that they must be ruderalis. Ruderalis strains are not used in medicine because their THC levels are low. Autoflowering varieties based on ruderalis DNA are being bred right now.

Can You Tell an Indica From a Sativa?

To discover whether a plant is an indica or a sativa, simply Google its name. However, being able to tell the difference from a brief inspection is an important talent to have. You already know that marijuana comes in dried bud form most of the time. Close observation of the buds is the easiest method to tell them apart. The names of certain strains may also be useful hints.

How to Spot a Sativa

Sativa strains are shorter and thinner than indicas, with buds that are looser and lighter. When a sativa plant blooms, its flowers stretch out along the branch, appearing stretched out. As a result, you won’t find buds to be particularly dense. Sativas also prefer warmer climates, which means they are more likely to have bright red or orange color accents on their buds.

How to Spot an Indica

Indica buds are shorter and more compact, following the same pattern. When you look at an indica plant’s buds, notice how thick they are. This is due to the fact that their flowers tend to stay close to the stem’s nodes during blooming. The end result is a cluster of buds that appear fuller and firmer in feel. Indicas thrive in cooler climes, therefore they acquire a purple tint as a result of the cold environment.

What’s in a Name?

Traditionally, sativas have been known as ‘Haze,’ while indicas have been dubbed ‘Kush.’ However, with the rise of crossbreeding and the development of new strains, it’s not always clear what kind of marijuana you’re getting based on the name alone.

The problem of strain names being confused increases when companies invent their own names for them. In addition, the circumstances in which a plant grows may significantly alter its qualities. As a result, if two businesses sell Girl Scout Cookies, for example, you won’t always receive the same results.

Medical Effects

It’s easy to assume that only certain types of effects can be produced by indicas or sativas. This is fundamentally untrue. The cannabinoids and terpene content of a cannabis plant are responsible for the various impacts it generates.


Over 110 cannabinoids have been discovered in marijuana, with estimates ranging from 200 to over 300. These cannabinoids have a significant influence on the human endocannabinoid system (ECS), which was discovered in 1992 by scientists, since to its impact on the body and mind.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of receptors in the glands, cells, organs, and brain. They generate chemicals that have marijuana-like effects on inflammation, pain, mood, memory, and a variety of other functions. You’ve undoubtedly heard of THC and CBD if you’ve ever used marijuana. They are the primary cannabinoids in cannabis plants.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the cannabinoids present in cannabis. It’s most well-known due to its intoxicating high. CBD has attracted worldwide attention in recent years because it is linked to a variety of medical advantages and does not produce a “high.” Other significant cannabinoids include CBN and CBG.

All the cannabinoids present in hemp are present in cannabis, with a few exceptions. All species of cannabis contain all of these cannabinoids, and their levels determine the plant’s effects. For many years, people thought that indica plants had higher amounts of THC while sativas had greater quantities of CBD. Patients looking for a strong euphoric high to combat pain, anxiety, or depression prefer high THC strains.

Strains with a high CBD content are low in THC and are commonly prescribed to those who want relief for their symptoms without the intoxicating effects. Strains with a balanced THC/CBD ratio provide symptom alleviation as well as mild euphoria. Of course, it isn’t that simple!


Have you ever used aromatherapy to relax your mind and body? If so, you’ve already felt the effects of terpenes, the aromatic chemicals present in cannabis, fruit, and other plants. The unique terpene content of your favorite strain’s wonderful scent is due to its enormous number of terpenes observed thus far. Over 100 different terpenes have been identified to date, with likely hundreds more still waiting to be discovered.

Terpenes have the ability to both excite and calm people. The effects of a strain are also determined by the plant’s terpene type and concentration. Linalool, for example, promotes relaxation, whereas pinene promotes mental and physical energy. To assist you choose the best strain for your needs, we recommend that you become familiar with a strain’s terpene content.

Because strains vary in their terpene content, some can be more powerful than others, and they might produce different effects.

Terpenes may change the impact of THC on your body and have an impact on potency. For example, you might have two strains with a THC concentration of 18% each. If they contain differing amounts of terpenes, one strain may be more potent than the other and deliver effects that you don’t anticipate.

Indicas were thought to have fruity, sweet tastes such as grape and blueberry at first. Sativas, on the other hand, were typically associated with pine and earth odors. Increased knowledge of terpenes, on the other hand, has shown that a strain may have any flavor or fragrance, regardless of whether it is a sativa or indica.

What About Hybrids?

A cannabis cross is a combination of two or more strains. It’s an excellent method to blend the strength of an indica with that of a sativa. is a perfect illustration of a strain that is capable of providing “the best of both worlds.” It has the uplifting euphoria of a sativa and the body relaxation benefits of an indica. In general, there are three types of hybrids:


Cannabis seeds are usually filled with THC, which is a cannabinoid. They often give you a drowsy, physical high. You will feel calm without the need to sleep.


However, the most common is Blueberry, which boasts a head high that will make you feel invigorated. They allow you to unwind without becoming exhausted on the couch.


These strains, also known as 50/50 hybrids, have an overall influence on the body and mind.

More on Indica, Sativa and Hybrid Differences



Indica strains are from Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Turkey. These hardy plants have evolved a strong resistance to the rigorous extremes of these climates and growing conditions.

Plant Description

Indicas are short, bushy plants with broad leaves and dense blossoms. Indicas have a more compact form, making them popular choices among indoor growers.

Typical THC to CBD Ratio

The THC concentration in the vast majority of strains, whether sativa, indica, or hybrid, is many times that of the CBD content. Most strains have a low CBD level (between 0.1% and 1%), with the exception being some very rare Strains like Skywalker OG which contain up to 18%. Given that most indica have a THC concentration of about 12.5 percent and most strains have little CBD (e.g., 0.1%), this indicates a 125:1 ratio THC to CBD.

The amount of CBD in a plant, on the other hand, can have an influence. The ratio between THC and CBD is one of many factors that influences the strength or “power” of a strain. This ratio varies considerably depending on the THC content and CBD concentration of a specific indica variety. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that certain strains are developed to be high in CBD and have significantly lower levels of THC as a result.

If you’re wondering what your particular strain’s THC and CBD levels are, search our website for a thorough strain analysis to find out.


The belief that a strain’s effects are determined by its species, such as sativa, indica, or hybrid, is a frequent error. What determines a strain’s effects, however, is the amount of cannabinoids and terpene compounds it contains.

However, many indica strains have similar effects, such as relaxing or sedating full-body sensations. The awful couchlock sensation is typically linked to strongly sedating indicas, for example. Indicas are also popular insomniac candidates.

Daytime or Nighttime Use?

Unsurprisingly, indicas are typically best suited to late evening or nighttime usage, based on the typical effects we described above.

Popular Indica Strains

Many people enjoy some of the most popular indica strains, including:

  • Hindu Kush
  • Afghani
  • Northern Lights
  • Blueberry
  • Granddaddy Purple



The original source of Sativa plants is subtropical areas with warm, dry climates such as Africa, Central America, South America, Southeast Asia, and parts of Western Asia.

Plant Description

The appearance of a sativa is different from that of an indica. They tend to be tall and thin with finger-like leaves. Sativa plants, because of their tremendous potential for height, are more suited to outdoor growing.

Typical THC to CBD Ratio

Again, the ratio will vary depending on the specific cannabinoid content of the particular sativa strain. THC levels in certain sativas can reach 30%. However, according to a typical THC concentration of 13.5 percent, and a CBD concentration of 0.1%, this means a THC to CBD ratio of 135:1.


Sativas are well-known for their uplifting mood and alerting properties. As a result, they are frequently used by marijuana users who enjoy the morning wake and bake. However, not all sativas will have the same impact, so it is important to understand a particular sativa strain’s cannabinoid and terpene profile prior to using it.

Daytime or Nighttime Use?

Sativas are best used during the day since to their energizing qualities.

Popular Sativa Strains

The following are just a few of the most famous sativas in history:

  • Durban Poison
  • Sour Diesel
  • Tangie
  • Super Silver Haze
  • Super Lemon Haze



Hybrids are a sort of cross between two or more distinct strains. They’re the product of cannabis breeding, as they combine desirable characteristics from several different strains into one plant.

Plant Description

Hybrids are a hybridizing of plants from two distinct species. Because they contain individual genetic profiles, hybrids can have indica or sativa appearances based on the parent strains utilized to breed them.

Typical THC to CBD Ratio

Hybrid strains are developed to have a high THC concentration or be crossed in order to emphasize their CBD amount. As a result, the THC/CBD ratio of each hybrid varies considerably depending on its cannabinoid profile.


The effects of a hybrid strain are determined solely by its cannabinoid and terpene components. Some are invigorating, while others are calm.

Daytime or Nighttime Use?

Again, this is determined by the hybrid strain. If the effects are alerting, it’s better to use it during the day. It is ideal for usage at night or in the evening if consumers feel calm or drowsy as a result of it.

Popular Hybrid Strains

  • Blue Dream
  • OG Kush
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Chemdawg
  • Jack Herer

Picking the Right Marijuana Strain for You

It’s not always a good idea to go for the highest-rated marijuana strain. In general, your selection of cannabis is determined by your experience and tolerance level, as well as your demands. Here’s a quick overview:

Beginners: Always proceed with caution when dipping your toe in the water. We suggest using a high-CBD, low-THC strain no matter what your requirements are. THC levels in strains such as Harlequin and Sour Tsunami are usually reasonable. While you should feel pleasant euphoria, the high-CBD content ensures that the experience is not overwhelming.

Relaxation/Unwinding: Hybrids are generally the best option since they keep you from completely collapsing while still allowing you to relax. Fire OG is a fantastic choice. It may help you relax while yet allowing you to enjoy your preferred TV shows.

For Energy: Look for a pure sativa like Durban Poison if you are sluggish in the morning. It’s like drinking a cup of strong coffee when you ingest a mix of high-THC and low-CBD.

Sleep: If you suffer from insomnia, an indica such as Hindu Kush should be your ‘go-to’ choice. You don’t have to worry about a sluggish, lingering high that keeps you glued to the couch for hours. Instead, you should fall asleep rather quickly.

Pain: It depends on whether you want to wind down or power through the day. For individuals seeking sleep, Blackberry Kush is an excellent choice since it’s indica-dominant and has sedative effects. It can provide a euphoric high and make you feel happier. Harlequin might soothe your suffering while also providing a sense of euphoria and keeping your thoughts clear if you have to work.

Final Thoughts on Indicas, Sativas, and Hybrids

It’s probably best if you don’t link indica, sativa, and hybrid strains with specific effects. It is actually the cannabinoid and terpene content of a cannabis plant that determines its effects. Although sativas have more CBD and indicas typically have a higher THC content, this isn’t always the case.

The rise of hybrid strains has only made the problem worse. If you want to get high, go to a dispensary and ask for a strain with limonene. Choose a high THC strain with limonene if you want to get buzzed. If you’re looking to relieve pain, consider using a high-CBD strain with less THC and more alpha-pinene terpene content.

Furthermore, the technique of ingestion has an impact on how you feel after consuming any marijuana strain. Smoking cannabis destroys several terpenes and cannabinoids, resulting in a euphoric high that can last 20-30 minutes.

Vaping delivers more cannabinoids and terpenes while reducing harm to the lungs, making it an easier method of consumption. Because vaporizing preserves more cannabinoids and terpenes, you may get a more powerful buzz. Topicals are applied to the skin and have the advantage of being fast-acting.

Finally, there is a significant distinction between dry herbs and concentrates. The highest amount of THC possible in a dry herb is 30%. However, concentrates with up to 99% pure THC are available in the form of wax or shatter.

The effects of a little amount of concentrate should be felt almost immediately. Use extreme caution when using a strong concentrate from a particularly powerful marijuana strain, whether it is a hybrid, indica, or sativa.

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