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The Difference Between Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid

There are many different strains of cannabis, and it can be hard to keep track of them and their individual effects and terpene profiles. In general, cannabis can be divided into three core types: sativa strains, indica strains, and hybrids.

There are three main popular types of cannabis strains. Indica strains are the most well-known. They grow in dry climates, and they have the relaxing effect that most people associate with marijuana. In contrast, Sativa strains are typically grown in warm, humid environments and are popular with people who want to be able to engage in physical activity after using cannabis.

Hybrid strains are a broad category, and may be dominated by the characteristics of either plant, or could have more balanced effects on the body.

Why Do People Choose Sativa?

Sativa is popular with people who are looking for a "high". It helps people focus more clearly and feel more energized. If you're going to indulge in cannabis during the day, sativa is a logical choice. It can help with issues such as:

  • Depression

  • Poor focus

  • Loss of appetite

Why Do People Choose Indica?

Indica strains are incredibly relaxing, making them popular with people who are struggling with insomnia. Their effects are more focused on the body, although they can make people "zone out" and struggle to concentrate. These strains can help with:

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Muscle pains

Why Do People Choose Hybrids?

Hybrids give people a chance to customize their experience. Someone who wants help with insomnia but doesn't want to feel "spaced out" may choose a hybrid bred to reduce the spacey feeling from pure indica variants, for example.

What Determines if a Strain is Sativa or Indica?

Contrary to popular belief, strains are not determined by the cannabinoids that are found in them. Rather, it's the level of a specific terpene that is used as the primary method of deciding if a strain is a sativa or an indica.

That terpene is myrcene, and it's known to have several benefits, including helping with relaxation. If a strain contains more than 0.5% myrcene, it's known as an indica. If it contains less than that volume, it's considered a sativa.

Understanding Hybrids

Hybrids are cannabis plants that have been bred from two different parent strains. Rather than simply evaluating the myrcene levels to classify a hybrid, breeders take into account the types of cannabis that were used to create the hybrid.

Hybrid plants are carefully bred to have a specific terpene profile that may help people who are looking for a specific effect. Mixing indica and sativa plants can create a cannabis that offers an "alert mellow" feeling, and the dominance of a specific parent strain can alter the hybrid's effects. Hybrid strains may be labeled based on their ratio, such as 80/20 sativa/indica.

It's possible to make a hybrid out of two indica varieties or two sativa varieties. These varieties may augment the specific beneficial effects of the parent strains. For example, sativa-based hybrids may be useful for someone who is suffering from extreme nausea.

Popular Sativa, Indica and Hybrid Strains

Some popular strains include:

  • Hybrids:

Cookies N Cream

Candy Runtz

Peanut Butter Breath

  • Indica:

Granddady Purple


Ice Cream Gelato

  • Sativa:

Train Wreck

Blue Dream

You can view these hybrids in our online store. If you'd like to know more about what they do or what they're best suited for, talk to one of our expert dispensers.

How to Choose the Right Product For You

Our Richmond, Virginia dispensary keeps a wide variety of strains in stock, so you can feel confident that whatever strain you choose, you'll find a high-quality cannabis product that has the desired effects.

Because there are so many different strains to choose from, it's a good idea to discuss your symptoms, and your current level of tolerance and experience with marijuana, with a dispensary expert before choosing a strain. Someone who is new to cannabis may find some of the more popular strains with high THC levels too potent for them.

Another thing to consider is the way you consume the plant. Smoking or vaping offers rapid effects but can irritate your lungs. Edibles take longer to take effect but can be more potent and offer longer-lasting effects.

Always talk to a doctor before trying cannabis. While most people can tolerate it quite well, it may interact with prescription medications or be contraindicated for those with some pre-existing medical conditions. Only a doctor who is familiar with your medical history can give accurate advice on how suitable cannabis is for you.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Green Angels' experts are here to help.

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