WATCH: Sativa, Indica and Hybrid: What’s the Difference?


Many users, new and old, to cannabis will notice that there are 3 distinct categories of cannabis: Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid, but what do they mean?

Christopher Teague
Jan 10, 2016

If you have the luxury of walking into a dispensary to shop for your weed, or are looking at seeds online, you will be inundated with a flood of information about the bud you are buying.

Many strains have unique names, and different levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. The smells are so varied and wonderful! Many users new to cannabis will also notice that there are 3 distinct categories of cannabis: Sativa, Indica, & Hybrid, but what do they mean?

Is Strain The Only Factor In How I Will Feel?

In short, no. There are a variety of factors that can affect how a strain will affect you. The maturity of the trichomes at harvest will affect the lean of the effect from more cerebral in earlier harvests, to more body effect if it is harvested at the end of ripeness. The drying and curing stage has a significant effect on how the terpenes come out in the final product, as well as its storage and handling between the grow and the shelf.

The terpenes are the aromatic oils present in cannabis, and many other natural plants, that give them their smells, flavors, and even many of their homeopathic abilities. In a hybrid strain, the individual plant may show characteristics of any member of its lineage, be it the mother, father, or both.

This is a major reason that many growers will pick their best mother plants from the seeds of a cross, and then continue to clone off of that mother for generations. Even the methods of growing, be they hydroponic, soil, or soilless, and the type of nutrients used, and how well they were flushed before harvest.

A General Rule…

If you don’t know, or if it isn’t labeled specifically, you can still determine lineage as long as the name is accurate, to a degree. Sativas will often have Haze in the name, due to the cerebral effects, and Indicas will have Kush, from the mountain range they are believed to have originated.

Most strains available today are Hybrids, due to the constant cross-breeding to create better strains, and the eradication campaigns of governments across the globe. In addition, names can be created by growers, and can have no direct correlation to what a plants lineage actually is.

Until genetic mapping are advanced enough to compile a complete database of the thousands of strains out there, and the dozens of new crosses created every year, there is no way except for trusting our growers and their strain selection process to truly determine the exact lineage of a particular plant.

Check out this great explanation from Leafly:


Christopher Teague
Jan 10, 2016