People who have just gotten their medical cannabis card or decided to give cannabis a whirl may not know the difference between the different types of the marijuana plant. In fact, even avid cannabis users may not know about all the differences between indica and sativa strains. Of course, the cannabis menu at your local certified dispensary will list which strain each product comes from, but this may not be helpful if you don't know the differences. The characteristics of indica, sativa, and hybrid cannabis strains are quite different.

The Characteristics of Indica

Indica is known for causing a “body high.” It is more relaxing than sativa and can be used for conditions like insomnia and anxiety. Other medical conditions that can be treated with indica include arthritis and pain and inflammation from any source. It is better for nighttime usage, as it tends to make users somewhat lethargic. There are many different indica strains of varying potency. Some of the best-known indica strains include Grandaddy Purp, Hindu Kush, and Afghan Kush. Indica strains tend to smell earthy or skunky, but there is a high degree of variation in this area.

The differences in smell between indica and sativa are due to the varying amounts of terpenes. A strain with more terpenes will smell stronger, but it will not necessarily be more potent. The potency is determined by the amount of THC, which varies greatly from strain to strain.

The Characteristics of Sativa

Sativa is known for causing a “mind high.” It is more energizing than indica, which makes it better for daytime usage. It can be used to treat mental conditions like PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Just as there are many different indica strains on the market, there are also many sativa strains that are available at dispensaries. Some of the most famous sativa strains include Sour Diesel, Purple Haze, and Jack Herer. Sativa tends to smell fruity, sweet, or even spicy.

The Characteristics of Hybrid Strains

It is possible to cross-breed indica and sativa strains, as they are still genetically close enough to reproduce. The products of this cross-breeding are known as hybrid strains. Hybrid strains are often biased toward either indica or sativa, but there are hybrid strains that have an equal influence from indica and sativa. Hybrid strains are less common than indica and sativa strains, but most dispensaries will have several hybrid strains available. Some of the better known hybrid strains include OG Kush, Original Glue, and Chemdog. As you might imagine, the varying influence of indica and sativa on different hybrid strains leads to a wide range of different smells.

Only Legal Dispensaries Distinguish Between Strains

It should be noted that only legal dispensaries offer people the opportunity to know which strain a certain product comes from. This allows them to make an informed decision about which product they should use. Cannabis purchased illegally may cause a wide range of effects because it may be from any strain. There's no way to predict the potency of illicit cannabis, either.

Which Strain Should You Choose?

All of this information may seem a bit overwhelming at first, at least for people who are totally new to cannabis. However, everyone's body reacts to cannabis slightly differently anyway. Also, everyone has different preferences for the effects they want from cannabis. The only way to find out which type you prefer is to try products from hybrid, indica, and sativa strains. Even if you feel sure that one type will suit your needs better, it's worth trying a small amount of product from another type to see how your body reacts.

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