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Sativa Indica vs Hybrid Strains

Takeaway: Cannabaceae is a flowering plant that produces a genus called marijuana. Out of 11 genera that fall under the Cannabaceae family three prime species have made a name for themselves. These are Sativa, Indica and Hybrid. From appearances to chemical properties to physiological effects this terrific trio has distinctive properties that help us to differentiate between themselves. Each of them has many strains that are derived from these three. One should know about these three to know more about which suits you the best.

Cannabis has become an industry in itself after receiving overwhelming support from the citizens in allowing medical marijuana programs to run in as many as 31 states in the US.Several states including the capital state of Washington have waved a green flag to its recreational use giving people a thrust to believe in this plant. As marijuana enthusiasts, or users residing in the progressive states, it is evident to have come across the names of the different cannabis species.

However, how well do you know what the names, Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis, or Hybrids suggest? Even if you are living in one of the conservative states which are yet to allow medical marijuana programs, you are bound to be curious as to what the growers and experts mean when talking about these marijuana strains and species.

And more importantly, how are they different from each other?

We’ll talk about it in detail today starting with the basic description of cannabis as a plant!

An Introductory Note On Cannabis Species And Strains

Everybody knows marijuana but hardly does anyone understands it taxonomically. Marijuana, better known as cannabis, is a genus of a flowering plant known as Cannabaceae.

There are almost 11 genera that fall under the family of Cannabaceae including the genus, cannabis. Now, there are three prime species recognized under marijuana, Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis.

All three species have distinct appearances, chemical properties, and physiological effects raising the curiosity of all the enthusiasts trying to understand the plant.

What we talked about until now was regarding the species of cannabis, not strains. Each species has a number of strains which differ minutely from each other.

For instance, Sour Diesel, Durban Poison, Red Congolese, etc. are some popular Sativa strains that have some unique properties which set them apart not only from each other also from other strains.

Similarly, there are numerous strains that fall under the species Indica and Ruderalis as well.

Growers have found an exciting way to complement the chemical composition of different species by making hybrid strains.

In all, Cannabaceae is the flowering family which then branches into genera. Cannabis is a genus falling under Cannabaceae. Sativa, Indica, Ruderalis are the three species of the Cannabis genus.

Now that you know how cannabis is classified let’s talk about how the strains of Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid Cannabis differ from each other!

Sativa Vs. Indica Vs. Hybrid- Primary Differences Between Marijuana Strains

Sativa Vs. Indica Vs Hybrids

Finding the difference between Sativa and Indica is on the to-do list of every cannabis enthusiast. Now that the majority of the industry works with hybrids, it has become even more important to know the individual characteristics of Sativa and Indica strains.

There are two significant characteristics on the basis of which we can differentiate all three marijuana strains:

  • Sativa Vs. Indica Vs. Hybrids- How To Spot Physical Differences Between Them?

Sativa Strains

Sativa strains of the cannabis plant are significantly taller than the Indica strains. The length of the stalks can be as tall as 12 feet making sure to take more space to grow.

The height of the plant compensates for its narrower width. It is like watching an extremely tall person standing in a forest.

The distribution of the leaves is sparse, and the leaves are narrow and long. It almost seems like a crown when you hold a fresh Sativa leaf over your head.

Because the leaves are thinner on the tips, they have a wispier look giving extra volume to the dried leaves. And as we said, they have larger leaves which becomes an evident factor.

So, don’t get shocked if you feel like you got more Sativa buds than what you paid for in the pack.

With light green color, Sativa strains always appear fresher and alluring to some while the others are explicitly repelled by it.

Indica Strains

Indica strains are one of those things that are little but cast a long shadow. Yes, Indica strains are much smaller in appearance than its brother Sativa. Indica plants can grow up to 6 feet, almost half the length of Sativa strains.

Although Indica strains need lesser space to grow due to its stout cast, their bushier stature makes up for the missing length.

The most tangible difference between Sativa and Indica is that the texture of an Indica leaf is denser, as in, you could feel the thickness by touching it while Sativa has thin and crispy leaves.

This difference is also the reason why Indica buds seem much thicker and more like the weed than Sativa does. In fact, most professional growers prefer to plant Indica strains rather than Sativa as the former yields generously giving them better extracts.

At one glance, Indica strains are look-alikes of pine trees; denser at the bottom and the branches become shorter as it grows in height.

Hybrid Strains

Hybrid strains are like the X-men of cannabis; the growers mix Sativa and Indica to breed a custom strain which would have an impact they are aiming for.

Breeding of cannabis is not limited to Sativa X Indica, but two different strains of the same species can also be used to develop a hybrid strain.

As for the appearance of the hybrid strains, that depends on which strain does the breeder want to dominate. You can choose to make the strain have physical features that are more inclined to either of the strains.

Many Sativa hybrids are mistaken for Indica due to its bushy appearance which usually is the signature of the latter.

  • Sativa Vs. Indica Vs. Hybrids- How Different Are The Effects Of These Marijuana Strains?

Sativa Strains

Sativa strains are THC dominant and have stimulating effects on the consumers which is why they are popular for making cannabis products.

Most of the big heads in the cannabis industry use Sativa strains to develop their products because of its boosting properties.

It gives a ‘high’ making people euphoric which is why people choose these strains while socializing or having a party. People who shudder at the thought of socializing, smoke some and get in the game! Of course, if it’s legal in your state!

Sativa strains are a spot-on pick for brain and creativity stimulation. As it induces energy, users refer them as day-time strains and use it for having a productive day.

Any condition that gives you an unsettling feeling, Sativa strains could be the hero in the green cape to rescue you. Nausea, headaches, chronic pain, depression, etc. are a few health conditions for which Sativa strains are ideal to use.

Indica Strains

Indica strains, in simple terms, get you stoned! If you are looking to have a genuinely relaxing time lying on your bed, Indica strains could make you do it in no time.

Insomnia patients, listen up, Indica strains could be your natural alternative to get some serious sleep! The intoxicating effects of the Indica strains are precisely why they are called the nightcap strains.

The ratio of CBD is higher than THC in Indica strains making them a prime choice for creating CBD dominant hybrids.

Some of the popular uses of Indica are for anxiety, muscle spasms, chronic pain, insomnia, and sleep apnea.

Hybrid Strains

As we talked for the appearance of the Hybrid marijuana strains, the same applies here, in mapping their efficacy. How a particular hybrid would affect your mind and body depends on how the grower wanted it to be.

There are three basic categories of hybrids:

  • Sativa Dominant Hybrids:

These are characteristically similar to Sativa strains and provide a cerebral high to the mind and body. Sativa hybrids balance the physical and mental state easily. Sour Diesel is the most famous Sativa dominant hybrid.

  • Indica Dominant Hybrids:

    These strains have effects similar to that of pure Indicas. They are apt to use for treating full body ache and insomnia with its ‘head-high’ characteristic. Blackberry Kush, Kosher Kush, and Skywalker Og are some well-known Indica dominant Hybrids.

  • Even Hybrids:

    The ideal marijuana strains which affect the mind and body equally are created using the Indicas and Sativas in the same ratio. Also known as the 50/50 hybrids, these strains could be the perfect mixture of what you may be looking for customized effects. Purple Diesel, Silver Haze, Cheese, etc. are some of the even Hybrids you could try.

Let’s Wind Up!

We haven’t talked about Ruderalis, the wild cannabis species, as it is not yet studied thoroughly. We will definitely create a piece dedicated to this species soon. With more and more strains to explore, marijuana is sure a great plant with endless possibilities.

A fabulous example is of hemp, the reigning, domestic Sativa strain! We don’t know how futuristic results we may be able to witness, but we sure know that the present state of the cannabis industry is confident.

We hope this guide will assist you in understanding the difference between Sativa and Indica and choosing your kind of strain to experience exceptional characteristics of both.

In all, go for Sativa marijuana strains if you want to keep yourself up and about the entire day. And pick Indica strains to have a bed-locked sleep and make calm your night companion!

For everything in between, you’ve always got the Hybrid cannabis strains!







  1. Loved the way you pointed out both physical as well as composition difference. It was worth reading.


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