Many users new or experienced are not always familiar with the different types of cannabis species or cannabis strains for that matter. In fact, most people who do have some knowledge only know about the two most common cannabis strains, sativa and indica. Cannabis belongs to the Cannabaceae family and the truth is there are three specific species that are also often referred to as ‘Cannabis strains’.
DID YOU KNOW? Hops (humulus) and hackberries are also apart of the cannabaceae family.
History of Classification
Originally we only know about Cannabis sativa which actually means cultivation of seeds. Sativa remained the only cannabis species known to man until French biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck discovered Cannabis indica in 1785. Upon discovery indica was used as medicine throughout the Western world in the 1800s to the 1910’s – 1920s.
Then in 1924 Russian botanist discovered Cannabis ruderalis growing wildly.
About 95% of cannabis strains that exist today are hybrids, with only a handful actually being pure Sativa, Indica, & Ruderalis.
For decades people have believed that there was a THC and CBD difference among sativa and indica.
However, new studies have proven this to be inaccurate.
See it is common for the THC or CBD to vary based off the plant itself and not so much the category of sativa or indica.
What new studies have uncovered is high volumes of Myrcene in most indica plants which is what creates the ‘stone’ high that people mistook these ‘supposed differences’ for.
Myrcene is also seen in lemongrass, which is also known to cause a ‘stone’ high meaning an intense body buzz or sedative.
Sativa’s are usually a lighter green plant with loose, long branches and can grow up to 20ft high. The sativa plant tend to produce a smaller yield than the indica’s and flower in about 10 to 16 weeks.
Sativa is local to places like Columbia, Thailand, Mexico, and Africa. In areas with a latitude of 0 to 30 degrees.
Sativa’s flavor ranges from amnesia (ammonia smelling) to fruity.
Haze strains are often made of sativa or hybrid strain with a larger ratio of sativa.
Sativa is often considered best for day use as users attribute sativa to an uplifting and cerebral increasing high, meaning more mentally focused.
Sativas are suppose to aid conditions like depression, ADD, fatigue, and mood disorders.
Indica’s are generally darker green plants with dense, wide branches and are smaller in height, about 3 ft.
Indica’s tend to produce a larger yield and flower in 8 to 12 weeks.
Indica plants are local to Nepal, Morocco, Turkey, and Afghanistan. In areas with a latitude range of 30 to 50 degrees.
Indica’s flavors range from fruity to skunky and are often called kush. Hybrid strains called kush usually have a higher ratio of indica.
Indica’s have the reputation of being best for nighttime use as users report relaxation throughout the whole body and mind.
Indica’s are believed to help with anxiety, insomnia, pain, and muscle spasms.
The most rare species of cannabis is the ruderalis, native to central/eastern Europe and Asia.
The ruderalis is very unique given the fact it has adapted to not only live in these colder climates but is also autoflowering, unlike its relatives sativa and indica which are activated by a photoperiod.
Ruderalis are smaller, stumpy plants growing anywhere from 1 to 2.5 feet tall and have incredibly thick, sturdy stems.
Ruderalis begin autoflowering just 21 to 30 days of vegetation and are ready to harvest in between 70 to 110 days from seeds.
This uniquely amazing trait is the major reason why hybrid strains are using the ruderalis more than ever before.
What Are Hybrid Cannabis Strains?
Hybrid strains are mixture of the different cannabis species and fall into 3 categories.
- Sativa dominant hybrids – Higher ratio of sativa such as 70/30
- Balanced Hybrid – Equal ratio of both sativa and indica, 50/50
- Indica dominant hybrids – Higher ratio of indica such as 60/40
Hybrids show traits directly related to the genetics in its lineage, meaning they will produce effects based off those they’re related to.
For example hybrid strain blue dream took the body buzz created by a blueberry indica and crossed it with a sativa haze making a strain known for its powerful body buzz with slowing the mind.
Using the resources at your local dispensary is a great way to familiarize yourself with not only strains but the categories of cannabis species up-close and personally.
Understanding the genetic makeup of your cannabis is the best way to uncover the treatment plan that works best for you.