Cannabis Newbie: What’s The Difference Between Cannabis Strains?

Posted: November 3, 2016

Guest post by Mike M.

In previous Cannabis Newbie posts, I’ve covered some of the basics (Getting To Know The Cannabis Plant) and I’ve covered a complicated one (Cannabis Concentrates). Yet, we’ve come to one of the most important aspects of cannabis use – understanding what’s the difference between cannabis strains!

When you shop for strains (or flower, as it is commonly referred to), you will find that there are three different types. Indica, Sativa and Hybrid.

The history of these go back to the early taxonomic labeling. Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are the latin and scientific taxonomy names for the plant. Hybrid refers to genetic mixing of the two varieties.

Each type of plant has different characteristics – from appearance and leaf shape to symptom treatments and effects on the body. This handy chart from Leafly does a nice job of breaking it down.

difference between cannabis strains

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that qualify what the difference between cannabis strains is. The combo of those two are Hybrids. Hybrids are controlled by growers to get the best traits out of each genetic parent. Say a grower wants a happy and uplifting Sativa but also a relaxed Indica – well, then you might find yourself with Blue Dream (Blueberry Indica and Haze Sativa).

Strain heritage is a wormhole of learning. Leafly has an incredible database of strains and you can go down that wormhole if you’re into serious exploration of strain heritage and characteristics.

Yet, understanding all of that, the basic gist if the following:

Sativa: If you want to feel happy, energetic and creative (cerebral effects)

Indica: If you want to mellow out, relax and get to sleep (full-body effects)

Hybrid: If you want to get a balance of the two, lots of options with hybrids! (a happy medium)

Lastly, there are some strains classified as CBD. CBD or cannabidiol, is the chemical compound that is most responsible for the medical benefits of the plant.

Naturally, each strain is unique, offers it’s own effects and reactions, so you’ll want to speak with a Cannabis Advisor or do your homework in advance. Additionally, each person metabolizes cannabis use differently. What may effect someone for a long time, may only be a short time for you, so it may take some sampling to find your favorites and understand the difference between cannabis strains.