Cannabis strains like sativas, indicas, and hybrids are the three classifications that are commonly used to determine the effects of a strain. Hybrids are strains that are created using a mix of more than one strain. Most hybrid strains actually tend to lead towards a dominant strain (most hybrids are either indica-dominant or sativa-dominant, meaning that they contain more indica than sativa or vice versa).
Even though these classifications are used to identify most strains, since many strains are crossbred, it is often hard to identify the effects based solely upon the type of the strain. Where the actual plant was grown and harvested will have an effect on the outcome of the plant. Each strain has a unique biochemistry that includes major and minor cannabinoids and Terpenes., Based on the biochemistry of the plant, you can figure out what effects it will have on you. So figuring out the terpene profiles and levels of cannabinoids in different strains will help you to figure out what you can expect from that specific strain. Also knowing what strains a hybrid was created from can help identify what kind of high it will produce.
What do the names of the strains mean?
When buying product you may see strains named “Jack Herer” or “Girl scout cookies”, what do these mean? Not much to the average consumer, while some popular strain names are well known in the community, depending on where they are grown and the conditions, the high may be completely different from a Jack herer grown on the west coast to an east coast jack herer. Names like these are mostly for cultivators to keep track of their inventory. The actual name of the strains don’t have much of an indicator of what the strain does, that’s why knowing if it’s an indica, sativa or hybrid strain is very important so you can gauge what type of effect the strain will give you. Most cultivators end up cross-breeding many of their strains to create new unique strains, that will lean toward sativa or indica dominant.
Medicinal effects of Sativa & Indica
Sativas strains are viewed as ideal daytime strains because they typically have energetic and uplifting effects, the total opposite of indicas. Sativas are commonly associated with creativity, energy and better mental focus. Think functional, having more ideas, being more productive or countering fatigue in the morning or mid-afternoon
Indica strains are associated with very relaxing and sedating effects. Commonly associated with a sleepy, relaxed feeling behind your eyes, indicas are often used at night when you can just fall asleep shortly after consuming. Alternatively, indicas are widely regarded to provide intense body effects, like loosening of limbs or muscles. They can be so relaxing that you just sit on the couch for an extended period of time, hence the popular term “couch-lock” to describe the effects.
- Looser & Lighter than indica
- Long, Wispy bud, fluffy
- Less Dense
- Often feature red or orange coloring
- Short & more compact than sativa
- Heavy, dense & tightly packed
- Often feature purple coloring
- Sativa-dominant: These hybrids usually provide a stimulating head high that pairs well with a relaxing body feeling, typically used to relax and unwind both physically and mentally
- Balanced: These hybrids represent an even, 50/50 balance of sativa and indica, providing an all-over effect that affects both mind and body
- India-dominant: Generally provides a strong body high with a sedated feeling, but with a mild mental effect that won’t necessarily put you to sleep
Terpenes are secreted alongside cannabinoids like THC and CBD and are responsible for many of the distinguishing characteristics of different strains. Terpenes are organic, aromatic compounds found in oils of all flowers, including cannabis. Naturally produced to attract beneficial insects and repel predators, terpenes emit strong smells and flavor and change based on various growing conditions. The most interesting aspect of terpenes is their ability to work alongside cannabinoids found in the plant. Various research has hinted that terpenes can modify the effect of THC on your body and impact a strains’ potency. For example, you could have two strains at 16% THC but they could smell and taste different and also have different effects, because of the terpenes. It’s also been reported terpenes can modify how much THC passes through the blood-brain barrier, with their influence even reaching as far as to regulate neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in your brain.