How can you tell what effect an Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid Cannabis strain will have ?
There is a common misconception amongst the cannabis community that consuming a certain kind of cannabis will have a pre-ordained effect. So let’s set the record straight when it comes to Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid.
For example, a common myth is that indica strains will give you ‘couch lock’ ie. get you very mellow.
As we will see, sativa plants and indica plants may look different but their effects can be very similar, the same and even totally different.
The physical differences between them can have very little indication of what is in store once they are consumed.
Confused? Don’t be.
As well as taking into account the type of cannabis there are also a number of other factors that can influence what effects taking it will have.
Chemical compounds within the plant known as cannabinoids are the major factor in determining the effects. Sativa and indica plants cover a broad spectrum of effects from deep relaxation to high level focus and energy.
Let’s go back to basics and understand what we mean by each of the three main species of cannabis as well as taking a view on hybrid strains.
The Indica strain or ‘cannabis indica’ plant originated in Central Asia & the Middle East, in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tibet.
It is generally thought of as having a higher CBD content than ‘cannabis sativa’, and is linked with the ‘in da couch’ effect. Basically making you super chilled.
Many cannabis users associate indicas with full-body effects, for example, heavy limbs or a tingly face. They also report indicas as being helpful in aiding relaxation and curbing insomnia.
Common effects associated with indica strains include feeling relaxed, euphoric, happy, and sleepy. Indicas are commonly taken as “nighttime use”, used for relaxing and unwinding at the end of the night.
If you have used cannabis to help with chronic pain then the likelihood is that you will have been recommended an indica strain.
8 Popular indica strains
Historically Cannabis sativa comes from warmer parts of the world, such as Southeast Asia, Central America and South America.
They are tall and have narrow leaves, looking dramatically different to their indica counterparts which are short bushy plants with wide leaves.
Sativa strains are considered safe for daytime use as they contain high levels of THC and leave cannabis consumers feeling happy, motivated, euphoric, and energetic.
Sativa can also be helpful for people with depression, headaches, nausea, and appetite loss. Although there have been reports of anxiety from people who use high THC ratio sativa strains regularly.
8 Popular sativa strains
Ruderalis is pretty much unknown amongst cannabis users today and to be honest cannabis growers have little use for it by itself either.
Its origins are in the cooler parts of the world, such as Russia and the border between Hungary and Ukraine. It grows wild, and some speculate that it may originate from ‘escaped hemp.’
Unlike its more popular brothers, it does not have very high levels of THC or CBD, but it does have value amongst growers for its ability to flower by itself, without assistance from a cultivator.
This is why cannabis growers frequently use ruderalis to create hybrids with Indica vs sativa.
Hybrid strains are what they say, the best bits of all three primary types of cannabis plants.
And the reason that we have hybrid marijuana strains? To deliver all of the weird and wonderful experiences that come from experimenting with cannabinoids and terpenes.
In fact it is extremely difficult in the modern world to find a pure form of either cannabis indica or cannabis sativa. When it comes to cannabis that is used for recreational purposes or for medicinal purposes you can bet your bottom dollar that they’re all hybrid to some degree.
It is difficult to give any common effects of hybrid strains due to the fact that they can literally be grown to induce any feeling in the cannabinoid repertoire.
This is very much dependent on which hybrid is consumed and what effects its “parent” strains are known to produce.
Looking at a hybrid’s parent strains may give you a better sense of what kind of effects it will produce; for example, if it has more indica in its lineage, it might have effects more associated with those strains.
That being said, most hybrid strains consumed include a happy, euphoric, uplifting, relaxing or energizing experience.
7 Popular strains
So if what we’re saying is that indica, sativa and hybrid species of cannabis don’t categorically determine their effects then what does?
The answer is the cannabinoid profile of the weed that you’re taking.
So what does this mean? Keep reading to find out.
Cannabis contains over 140 different cannabinoids, the two main ones which we’ve mentioned above are THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
THC and CBD have very different effects on the human body, these have been the main talking points on mainstream media in relation to the ‘legalise it’ campaign.
Cannabis plants with high levels of THC will induce psychoactive effects on the user, getting them high. Although this may be the main reason that cannabis is smoked at social gatherings, it does have a down side.
Negative side effects can include hallucinations, panic, anxiety and long term damaging cerebral effects.
CBD is the most widely marketed cannabinoid because it does not create a “high,” but it can affect mood and be helpful in addressing anxiety and psychoses.
Despite its reputation for inducing calm, CBD can be a stimulant in small and monitored doses.
The ‘cannabis oil’ or CBD that is widely available in stores across the world generally has a minute quantity of actual CBD in it.
As well as the cannabinoid profile there is also the terpene profile to consider when taking into account the effects of different cannabis strains.
What on God’s green earth is that I hear you ask? Well have no fear, description to follow.
According to Healthline Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants and some animals.
They’re responsible for the aromas, flavors, and even colors associated with various types of vegetation. In terms of cannabis, terpenes are what make certain strains smell or taste different from others.
They can also be processed into produce products, like cleaning solvents, pesticides, and dyes. Some even have therapeutic properties.
While nearly all plants contain terpenes, some of the more common sources people encounter them include:
- aromatic herbs, like sage and thyme
- citrus fruits
So now that we know what they are, what do they do?
The short answer is that in terms of human consumption, we don’t categorically know…
The main hypothesis is that the terpene profile — the dominant terpenes — of a strain work in tandem with the cannabinoid content — the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and other cannabinoids — to produce the effects people associate with different strains.
For example, they might explain why two different strains with the same level of THC produce such different experiences.
The conclusion you should have come to then is that actually we can’t tell a lot about how a certain strain of cannabis will affect us just by knowing if it is indica, sativa or hybrid.
As we’ve discussed, finding a pure indica or sativa is pretty rare in any case so you’ll most likely be looking at a hybrid strain.
The genetic makeup of the individual strain will give you much more of an idea. Understanding the parental strains may give some indication but the cannabinoid profile and terpene profile hold much more of the answers.
The tricky bit is that you aren’t truly going to understand what effects the strain will have unless you are given a chemical breakdown or you run a series of scientific tests…both of which are highly unlikely.
As with anything, research and a cautious approach are your best weapons. To find out more about how CBD tackles cancer, the differences between CBD and THC or what liquid marijuana is then follow the links or check out the suggested posts.