The world of cannabis strains comprises two broad groups: sativa versus indica strains, each with its unique properties and benefits. There are also sativa-indica hybrids that combine the best of both.
Cannabis Sativa originates in dry and hot climates such as those found in Central America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The plants are thin and tall, with narrow leaves.
Sativa strains are higher in THC, the euphoria-inducing component in cannabis, and lower in CBD. They have an energizing, stimulating, mentally invigorating effect known to improve focus and clarity. Sativas are usually recommended for morning or daytime use.
Some examples of popular sativa strains are Haze Berry, Acapulco Gold, and Sour Diesel.
Cannabis Indica hails from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey. Indica plants are short and bushy, with broad chunky leaves. Indicas are faster growers and more prolific producers than sativas.
Indica strains are lower in THC and higher in CBD, which makes them especially rich in medicinal benefits. They have a soothing, relaxing, sleep-inducing effect and are perfect for evening use.
Popular indica strains include Granddaddy Purple, Hindu Kush, and Blue Cheese.
Hybrid strains are crosses between various indica and sativa breeds. Hybrid strain qualities depend on the properties of the parent plants. Cannabis growers are always busy producing new strains to achieve desired effects.
The percentage of THC and CBD in a hybrid plant will depend on whether the strain is sativa-dominant, indica-dominant, or balanced. Some examples of well-known hybrid strains are Blue Dream, Wedding Cake, and Gelato.
Some cannabis farmers may combine their plants with Cannabis Ruderalis, a type of cannabis that has low potency but an exceptionally fast growth cycle. Crossing with Cannabis Ruderalis may result in a faster-growing hybrid that retains the medicinal and psychoactive properties of sativa or indica strains.
How Do I Choose a Cannabis Strain?
Choosing the best cannabis strain for you will depend on various factors, including:
- Desired effect: Do you want to reduce anxiety and stress, battle chronic pain, improve your quality of sleep, or achieve higher mental clarity and focus?
- Tolerance level: If you are just beginning to use cannabis, it may be better to start with low-potency strains such as Pineapple Express.
- Medical history: Do you have a pre-existing medical condition or regularly take medications that might interact with cannabis? If you aren’t sure, consult your healthcare provider.
- Consumption method: Smoking cannabis might give you a quicker high, while cannabis edibles may be slower to kick in but will also provide a longer-lasting effect.
Certain strains target specific medical conditions, for example:
- Bubba Kush: insomnia, nausea, PTSD, low appetite, acute pain
- Northern Lights: pain, insomnia, mood disorders, low appetite
- Granddaddy Purple: low appetite, insomnia
- Pineapple Express: social anxiety, mental fog, acute pain
- Super Silver Haze: stress, anxiety, low energy, mental fog
- Blue Dream: pain, inflammation, cramps, insomnia, PTSD, mental fog
You might want to experiment with various strains until you find the perfect combination. Pick up an energizing sativa strain for daytime use, an indica strain for evening relaxation, or a hybrid to enjoy the best of both.
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