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Sativas, Indicas, and Hybrids: Which Cannabis Strain is Best for Me?

Looking at a medicinal cannabis plant, it’s not immediately obvious that all plants are not created equal. Cannabis plants are commonly referred to as indica, sativa, or a hybrid of the two, which tells us how the plant will affect most people. From those plants, there are nearly 780 known cannabis strains and new ones are being developed every day! Those strains are what you see displayed at the dispensary and have names like Grand Daddy Purp, Yoda, Gorilla Glue, and more. A quick rule of thumb when it comes to considering the right cannabis strain for you is that Indica strains are more relaxing, great for nighttime use, and have higher CBD and lower THC counts. Sativa strains are more energizing, great for daytime use, and have lower CBD and higher THC counts. A hybrid is a varying percentage of the two.

Our knowledgeable budtenders are always happy to offer recommendations to our patients, and as you can see, with the wide variety of strains available we encourage patients to familiarize themselves with the various cannabis classifications in order to make the most educated decisions about medicating. Below are some of the main cannabis classifications and what you can expect from each.

Heavy Indica

Heavy indica strains can have intense full-body effects and are recommended for relaxation, nausea reduction, sleep, and long-lasting pain relief. Most patients use heavy indica strains for nighttime medicating. See the strongest indica strains according to herb.co.

Clear Indica

These strains are on the lighter side of Indica, but still offer pain relief and relaxation with less intense sedating effects. Most patients use clear indica strains for nighttime medicating. See the best indica strains according to The Chill Bud.

Indica-Dominant Hybrid

This strain of cannabis delivers full-body pain relief with a relaxing head high. Depending on the patient’s tolerance and preference, indica-dominant hybrids are good for nighttime medicating (sleep) or daytime medicating (minor pain relief without intense sedating effects). See the strongest indica hybrid strains according to herb.co.

Even Hybrid (50/50)

Even hybrid strains are frequently used to alleviate stress, headaches, and depression with the perfect balance of head and body effects. These strains are appropriate for any time of day, depending on the patient’s preference and tolerance. See a long list of 50/50 hybrid strains on Leafly.

Sativa-Dominant Hybrid

A sativa-dominant hybrid delivers a cerebral high with a relaxing body effect. Patients experience calm, clear-headed physical and mental relief with sativa-dominant cannabis strains, which are typically used during the day. See the best sativa-dominant strains according to Zativo.com.

Heavy Sativa

Heavy sativa strains are ideal for patients who want an intense and uplifting body high with a heavy head effect. These strains boost focus and creativity and can relieve depression and anxiety in patients. Heavy sativas are great for daytime medicating. See the strongest sativa strains according to herb.co.

Clear Sativa

This strain classification is recommended for patients who are looking for mental effects and little-to-no physical effects. Clear sativas are stimulants that are known to help with depression, nausea, chronic pain, and focus, and are best for daytime use. See the best clear sativa strains according to herb.co .

Now that you know the differences between cannabis strain classifications, the only thing left to do is head to one of our 4 Valley locations to choose the best cannabis strain for you. Our knowledgeable Swell budtenders will be happy to assist you making the best decision for your individual need.

If you want to get the maximum benefits and the best medical marijuana uses, we’ve got the lowdown on sativa, indica, and hybrid cannabis strains so you can pick the best option for your needs.

What Medical Marijuana Strain is Right For Me?

Table of Contents

Would you like to find the perfect strain for your symptoms?

First off, where you can get seeds for these strains?

If you know someone who is already growing any of these strains, it’s easy. Just ask them for seeds or clones.

For the rest of us…

What Medical Marijuana Strain is Right For Me?

First, let me introduce you to the main things you need to know about strains (when buying seeds online for your particular symptoms)

Medical cannabis growers should pay close attention to THC levels, CBD levels and Ratio of THC/CBD of their buds. Learn more about THC, CBD and other cannabinoids here

Medical Marijuana for ​Specific Conditions

Learn About the Different “Types” of Marijuana

All “strains” of marijuana, including hemp, are sometimes technically still considered varieties of the plant “Cannabis Sativa.”

Scientifically, these are not different “strains” of marijuana as much as they are “varieties” of the plant Cannabis Sativa.

This is confusing sometimes, because people will talk about “Sativa” varieties of Cannabis Sativa as well as “Indica” varieties of Cannabis Sativa.

This isn’t important to the grower, but sometimes you’ll run into someone who argues about the proper language, and understanding the distinction between what science says and what growers say will help you.

Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis, Oh My!

According to wikipedia, “Cannabis sativa is an annual herbaceous plant in the Cannabaceae family.”

In the common language, we have differentiated the different varieties or “strains” of marijuana because each one grows differently, contains different cannabinoid profiles, and has different effects on people.

These facts are what’s most important to the grower.

The Indica variety of marijuana tends to grow short and bushy, with wide/fat leaves. The buds produced by Indica plants tend to cause a more heavy and relaxing effect, known as a “body high”, and can cause people to feel “couchlocked.”

Indica plants tend to be well-suited to grow indoors because of their shape and Indica buds are especially suited to relieve insomnia, muscle tension, nausea, lack of appetite, anxiety, body pain, and depression.

The Sativa variety of marijuana tends to grow tall and lanky, with thin, fingerlike leaves. Sativas also generally have a longer flowering period and grow buds that are more airy and less dense than from an Indica.

The buds from a Sativa plant cause more of an “in your head” high, sometimes psychedelic, sparking creativity, uplifting your mood, and even can be energizing for some people. Sativa varieties of marijuana are often better suited to growing outdoors as they can grow to 20 feet or more in height. While an indoor grower can use growth control methods to control the height and shape of the plant, a full Sativa can be tough for an indoor grower with limited space. Therefore, many indoor growers who love the Sativa effects will opt for a hybrid that carries the same bud properties, but has been bred to be easier for indoor growing.

Well-loved by artists, Sativas are especially suited to relieve depression, migraines and certain types of pain, while being more “day-friendly” and energizing than many pure Indicas.

The Haze variety is often considered a type of Sativa, or at least Sativa-dominant, yet Hazes have a few unique properties all their own. The genetics of this strain are a combination of Sativas originally from Mexico, Colombia, Thailand and India.

Hazes tend to have psychedelic and uplifting effects, and Haze plants have contributed genetics to many famous strains such as Super Lemon Haze, Northern Lights, and Jack Herer. Hazes tend to have very long flowering periods, though stay shorter and are easier to grow indoors than a pure Sativa.

The Ruderalis variety of marijuana that was once known as ‘ditchweed.’ With no psychoactive properties on its own, pure Ruderalis plants have been mixed with other strains because of one unique property… Unlike most strains of marijuana, Ruderalis or Auto-Flowering strains will naturally go into flowering on their own, without the need for the 12-12 light change to let the plant “know” it’s time to start flowering.

Basically, a Ruderalis plant will go through its whole lifecycle in about 3 months, regardless of what you do as a grower. This can be bad if you’d like to harvest big yields, but can be convenient since Ruderalis plants tend to stay very short and are well-suited to small, indoor spaces.

A Hybrid is any combination of the cannabis varieties listed above. Hybrids make up the majority of all the strains you will encounter or be able to buy today.

A Note About Ruderalis/Auto-Flowering Plants and CBD

Ruderalis strains used to be less “potent” with THC than other strains of marijuana, since original Ruderalis plants had basically zero THC. In recent times, many strains have been developed that have nearly comparable THC levels, which maintaining the auto-flowering characteristics of Ruderalis.

Another unique property of Ruderalis strains is, like hemp, these strains tend to have higher levels of CBD which have many implications for medical uses such as anti-anxiety.

Want a high-CBD auto-flowering strain?

Here is a list of some popular high-CBD auto-flowering strains:

  • Typical CBD 10% | THC 5%
  • THC:CBD ratio is 1:2

There are hundreds of strains out there, and it can be confusing trying to pick one out. This tutorial will help you find the right strain for you!