When it comes to the difference between indica, sativa, and hybrid strains of marijuana, we’ve been lied to, sort of. With any strain of marijuana, there isn’t a one size fit all description that can be used to classify the effects. Various factors contribute to weed’s effects; A strain that feels like a sativa to you may feel like an indica to your friend hitting the same joint.

Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid a quick breakdown

Now there are the definite difference between Sativa’s and indicas. For example, the physical structure of each plant is visibly different. The indica plant has a short and stalky stature with broad leaves. In contrast, the Sativa plants are tall and skinny with finger-like leaves. Hybrids can fall in either category depending on the dominant strain within the plant.

What are Hybrid Strains?

Due to the centries of crossbreeding and our need to make the most potent strains, most marijuana strains we have today are hybrids. You may notice at dispensaries that the strains are separated into the three categories; this is done based on the dominant strain.

Rough Breakdown based on dominant strains(on average)

  • Hybrid: 50/50 or 60/40 or 40/60 (Sativa/indica)
  • Sativa 70/30 (Sativa/indica) 
  • Indica 30/70 (sativa Indica )

Please note, all these values can be different for the same strain of marijuana. No two plants are identical, and you may find sativa dominant and indica dominant versions of the same strain.

With technology and marijuana laws opening the jars to genetic testing, we’ve been able to identify exact percentages. Next time you got to buy some, take a look at the packaging. More companies and dispensaries are adding genetic breakdowns to their products.

What are the Effects of each strain?

The effects of each strain vary due to them being a generalization of complicated genetics and other factors. A few of these factors being tolerance, how much you consume, and the possible placebo effect. If you begin smoking with the intention of going to sleep, there’s a good chance you will fall asleep even if you were smoking a sativa.

Now that I’ve hammered in the fact that there’s no one size fits all to categorizing the effects, here are the generalizations and often a good rule of thumb.

The Effects of Indica’s

  • Relaxing: Indica strains are great for relaxation due to the “body high” the strains produce. 
  • Sleep: Indica’s are also great for insomniacs or those who have a hard time going down at night. 
  • Pain: Indica’s generally have higher levels of CBD when compared to Sativa’s. That plus the “body high” makes for excellent pain relief.

The Effects of Sativa

  • Energizing: Sativas are great for daytime use and can significantly boost your mood.
  • Creativity: While indicas give “body highs”, Sativas give “head high” and can have psychoactive effects that boost creativity.
  • Focus: With the boost of energy and creativity, Sativa helps you direct that into the things you desire.

Hybrids can fall into either category and have traits of both categorize. When shopping for a hybrid, ask what strain is dominant, and you can expect those effects. 

Side Effects of all Strains

There are a few adverse effects associated with every strain of marijuana there is. These will vary from person to person, strain to strain, and sessions to session.

  • Dry mouth (aka cottonmouth)
  • Dry/ Red eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia 

I’ve personally experienced everything on the list, and there’s no need to panic. They are very temporary, and many ways to remedy each.

How to pick the best strain

The first thing to consider when picking a strain is your purpose for consuming marijuana. Are you looking for pain relief? Are you dealing with anxiety? Just need something to brighten your day? Figure out your reason for consuming marijuana, then begin searching for strains that do just that. 

There are great sources out there like Leafly.com or the folks at your local dispensary. Leafly has amazing break downs of each strain down to the effects and history. Take the time to research and try a few out to find what is right for you.

In Conclusion

We’ve been lied to, kind of. There are various differences between strains and more science that goes behind it all. It isn’t very easy to classify the effects of each plant based on the three categories. Take the time to find what’s right for your needs. Don’t be afraid to try different strains and brands along your journey.