When it comes to marijuana, you have a choice between indica, sativa, and hybrids. These broad classifications refer to the genetic makeup of the strains you use. Indica and sativa plants have different appearances as well as different genetic makeups, which also impacts the effects you get when smoking them. On the other hand, the genetics of indica and sativa plants can be crossed to create hybrid strains.
Consumers will notice that strains are labeled as either indica, sativa or hybrid when they buy them. This is due to the differences in the effects you get from using them. Those who want a more relaxing body-focused high generally opt for indica strains, whereas sativa strains give a more stimulating cerebral high. Hybrid strains give you a mix of both, but they can lean more towards indica or sativa.
Other cannabis products also differ in whether they use indica or sativa extracts. For instance, you could use sativa or indica edibles. Although even indica or sativa strains in themselves can differ from the others, these categories help buyers know what they’re getting. They also matter to growers as the different types of plants look and grow differently. Here’s an in-depth comparison between indica, sativa, and hybrids.
Indica vs Sativa: What are the Differences?
Cannabis indica and cannabis sativa are the two main types of cannabis plants. The difference between the two types of plants is important for growers as the two plants grow differently. They also differ in their appearances. The difference between indica and sativa also matters to consumers as, when cultivated, indica and sativa products often differ in the effects they give you.
Indica plants are generally shorter and bushier with wider leaves. They’re easy to grow indoors or outdoors, and many growers opt to grow indica plants over sativa plants as they grow much faster and produce higher yields. Indica plants often have higher levels of CBD, making them good for medical use.
In contrast, sativa plants grow longer and thinner and usually have narrower leaves. Since they grow a lot taller, they usually require more space, and growers tend to prefer to grow them outdoors where they can soak up the sunlight and grow nice and tall. Although they don’t always yield as much as indica plants, good sativa strains are rarer and you can produce high-quality sativa strains, making them valuable for growers.
When it comes to consumption, these two types of cannabis are said to have contrasting effects. Indica strains are chosen for their sedating effects. They’re much more relaxing and the body high you get from indica strains is stronger, making them useful for pain, inflammation, sleep, and general relaxation. Sativa strains can actually boost your energy and give you a more stimulating, head-focused high. They’re particularly good for use in the morning or throughout the day when you need to stay alert but still want to get high.
What are Hybrid Strains?
Indica and sativa aren’t the only options. You can also find hybrid cannabis strains. Hybrid plants are made by cross-breeding indica and sativa genetics. Hybrid plants can end up having qualities of both plants, and the marijuana they produce can also share both indica and sativa effects.
Hybrid strains are often amongst the most popular cannabis strains as they give you the best of both worlds- the relaxing physical effects of indica strains along with the stimulating mind effects of sativa strains. Hybrid strains can lean more towards indica or sativa depending on their genetics. They can also have an almost even balance which makes them very versatile strains.
When you grow hybrid strains, their appearance and how they grow will often depend on the individual genetics of the seed. They’ll share traits of both of their parent strains. This also applies to the aroma and taste. Many growers crossbreed marijuana plants to create interesting and unique new hybrids.
Effects and Benefits of Indica Strains
Generally, indica strains give you more of the relaxing, sedating, physical effects of cannabis. They’re known to deliver soothing, tingly sensations all over your body, making you feel incredibly relieved.
Due to their powerful physical effects, indica strains are fantastic for reducing pain and inflammation. They help with all kinds of painful conditions, including chronic pain from health conditions and general pain and tension such as headaches and muscle strains.
Indica strains are also the best choice for those who need help with their sleep. Indica strains can quickly help you tackle insomnia and get a much easier and deeper sleep. They’re known to relax users to the point of feeling couch-locked, and will also help you drift off quickly at night.
As for the mental effects, indica strains can range from making you feel happy and light-headed to making you feel hazy and dreamy, depending on the potency of the strain and how much you smoke. Whichever way, they can help reduce anxiety and depression and put you in a much more blissful and optimistic state.
You’ll often find yourself feeling carefree and giggly, making indica strains perfect for kicking back and watching TV shows or movies. They’re best saved for evening or nighttime due to the sedating effects. Although you can smoke them during the day, you might have a hard time staying alert and focused.
Effects and Benefits of Sativa Strains
The effects of sativa strains usually pose a stark contrast to those of indica strains. While indica strains are more sedating and body-focused, sativa strains can make you feel alert, awake, and highly mentally stimulated.
Many people use sativa strains for the burst of energy they give you. If you need something to perk you up and make you more mentally focused, then sativa strains are perfect. Unlike indica strains, which help put you to sleep, sativa strains can counteract fatigue and give you much more motivation to take on the day.
They’ll also make you especially happy and giggly. Many people use sativa strains to counteract the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Studies show that, in many cases, it takes just a couple of puffs of cannabis to rapidly reduce anxiety and depression. Sativa strains are the best for this due to their stimulating effects on your mood.
Although sativa strains are known more for their mental effects, they can still give you a soothing body high. While it usually won’t be as intense as the physical effects of indica strains, sativa strains still help relieve pain, inflammation, headaches, and migraines. For the most part, sativa strains are much better-suited to daytime use or as a wake-and-bake strain to get you going first thing in the morning.
Best Indica Strains to Buy
Users who want a more calming and soothing body high are best served by indica strains. There are many of these available, each with slight differences in their tastes and the high they give you. Here are some of the best indica strains available to buy.
Blue God – Blue God is a potent mix between God Bud and Blueberry strains. It’s known for its refreshing indica effects, instantly washing over your body with intense relaxation. This makes it a particularly good strain for pain, sleep, and stress. The sweet blueberry taste makes it all the better.
Bubba Kush – Bubba Kush is a strong indica strain with THC levels reaching as high as 25-27%. It’s ideal for counteracting insomnia, anxiety, pain, depression, and more. It’s also great for recreational use thanks to the euphoric, sedating effects it gives you, perfect for relaxing on the couch in the evening.
Northern Lights – Northern lights is known for its high resin content and deeply relaxing effects. Smoking this will give you an all-over body high that can quickly take away pain, stress, and depression. It’s also great for those who need to relieve headaches and counteract insomnia.
Best Sativa Strains to Buy
Users seeking a more energizing and stimulating high should go for sativa strains. These strains can still soothe pain and stress, but also provide both physical and mental energy. They also heighten your senses and make you more happy, social, and creative. Here are some of the best sativa strains to buy.
Pineapple Express – Pineapple Express is one of the most popular and recognizable sativa strains. It’ll give you an energizing buzz that boosts your mental creativity and focus. It’s perfect for social situations but is also great for taking on daily tasks or taking part in anything creative. The tropical pineapple taste makes it all the sweeter.
Pineapple Godbud – Pineapple Godbud is a rare sativa-dominant strain that crosses Pineapple Kush with Godbud. It has an amazing tropical flavor that makes it a joy to vape or smoke. As for the effects, it instantly delivers an invigorating high that boosts your mood, creativity, and motivation. It’s perfect as a wake-and-bake or daytime strain.
Lemon Sour Diesel (LSD) – Lemon Sour Diesel, also known as LSD, is a strong sativa strain with energizing, euphoria-inducing effects. It’ll make you feel happy, creative, social, and highly motivated, making it ideal for all-day use.
Best Hybrid Strains to Buy
Hybrid strains offer the best balance of marijuana effects. They cross the relaxing body-focused effects of indica strains with the stimulating head-high of sativa strains. Hybrids can lean more towards indica or sativa or have an even balance of around 50/50. These are some of the best hybrid strains to buy.
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) – Girl Scout Cookies is a favorite hybrid strain with a ratio of about 60:40 indica to sativa. It has a delicious sweet taste and a mix of both soothing body effects and stimulating mind effects. As such, GSC is a good strain to use at any time of the day. It can help you be more social and alert but also help relieve your body of pain and tension to help you relax.
Mimosa – Mimosa crosses the genetics of the indica Purple Punch and the sativa Clementine to create a brilliant hybrid strain you can enjoy all day round. It gives you a nice, manageable buzz that keeps you happy and energetic while also providing a smooth body high. The citrus flavor makes it enjoyable to smoke or vape and the effects make it even better.
Banana Kush – Banana Kush is an indica-dominant hybrid that crosses Skunk Haze with Ghost OG. It has a fresh, fruity aroma and taste which makes it one of the best strains to take in. Banana Kush will quickly put you in a happy and social mood. It heightens your senses and boosts your creativity while also relaxing your body.
Indica, Sativa, Hybrids: Which Should You Choose?
Indica strains, sativa strains, and hybrid strains all have their perks and you can enjoy all of them equally. Which one you should choose often depends on exactly what kind of effects and benefits you’re looking for at the time.
If you need something to give you deep relaxation, go for an indica strain. These are much better for tackling pain, inflammation, and insomnia due to the soothing and sedating effects. Indica strains also help relax your mind and put you in a more carefree, dreamy, giggly state. They’re great for mellowing out, although they’re not the best when you need to be productive or mentally focused.
Sativa strains are much more mentally stimulating. They increase your mood, motivation, and creativity, making you feel eager and ready to take on any daily task. The body effects aren’t as strong, but sativa strains can still be soothing physically. People usually buy sativa strains when they need something to counteract depression, anxiety, stress, and fatigue or simply something to make them happy, social, and motivated.
Hybrid strains give you a mix of both indica and sativa effects, often making them some of the most useful and versatile strains on the market. You can find hybrid strains in all kinds of ratios. Whether you need something that leans more towards indica or sativa or something bang in the middle, there’s a good hybrid strain for you. These are great for all-day use.
The best approach is usually to try all three and stock up on the ones you like the best. Indica strains are great for nighttime use, sativa strains for daytime use, and hybrid strains for any time.