You probably already know the basics of Sativa vs Indica vs Hybrid strains, but let’s make it real simple. Indica = couch lock. Sativa = energizing. Hybrid Strains = a mix of the two. Cannabis culture is largely founded on these generalized distinctions, but what makes them different and where do they come from?
Indica is classically used for its sedation purposes, associated with sleeping and a strong body high. Sativa is generally associated with feelings of euphoria, creative inspiration, and mood elevation. The two were originally profiled based on the area they grew and the physical characteristics of the plants.
Indica seeds initially made their way to North America via India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Whereas Sativa plants originated in the equatorial countries of Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and South East Asia. The plant tends to grow short and bushy, whereas Sativa’s can be 20 feet high! Their leaves are different too. Indica strains tend to have wide, short leaves, whereas Sativa strains have long leaves with thin, long blades. Based on the descriptions of their leaves, you can probably guess that their buds look different as well. The buds of Indica strains tend to be wide, dense and bulky, while Sativa strains are likely to be long, dangly shaped flowers. But these outward physical characteristics have no say over what kind of high you’ll get.
Characterizing Indica and Sativa into two separate categories has been great for the black market. It’s a simple distinction that quickly categorizes the two. For the most part, these labels have resonated with buyers. But in reality, the profiling of cannabis strains is not that simple; cannabis seeds and plants are actually on a spectrum, defined in part by the amount and types of cannabinoids contained in them. For example, in order to create a hybrid strain, you would need a female Indica to catch pollen from a male Sativa (or vice versa) and then collect the female’s seeds. This will effectively reduce the amount of bud produced by the female and create hybrid seeds for the next crop.
The Cannabinoid profile of the hybrid will take varied characteristics from its parent’s genetics, and will either produce Sativa-dominant hybrids, Indica-dominant hybrids, or balanced hybrids (50/50 Indica/Sativa genetics). While isolating the chemical compounds from the composition of these strains is doable, predicting the effects after extrapolating that information is tricky. So utilizing these lab results doesn’t make sense for consumers. It’s one thing to know what’s in it, another to know what it does (especially when the effects are subjective).
To move away from Sativa vs Indica vs Hybrid categorizations, we’ve created an interactive Ratio Bar that simplifies our weed selection to your exact preference. Think of it as a “RATIOS GUIDE.” It breaks down finding your golden high using CBD: THC ratios.
Plant Forms: Indica plants and Sativa plants look different but it’s the cannabinoids inside that count.
Hybrid Plants: Produced by mating an Indica with a Sativa or vice versa.
Chemical Composition: According to Ethan Russo, “You cannot tell the effects a plant will have based on its shape—the shape of its leaflets, its size, or how tall it is,” Russo said. “What we really should be homing in on is the chemical composition of the plant.”