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Cannabis 101

Indica, Sativa & Hybrids

Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are two generalizations of the cannabis plant. The two vary both in how they look, what they produce and the effects they have on consumers. Cannabis indica is sometimes referred to as “broad leaf cannabis” because it has wider leaves than the Cannabis sativa plant. It also has a shorter, wider profile and tends to grow more in the shape of a bush. Typically, Cannabis indica flowers are known for their sleepy and sedative effect on consumers

Alternatively, Cannabis sativa, is a taller “more tree like” variety of the cannabis plant, with thinly shaped leaves.


Cannabis sativa’s effects on consumers tend to be more uplifting, active and stimulating; some users even compare it to drinking a cup of coffee!

What contributes to the differing effects of each type of cannabis, is very nuanced and based on an individual’s unique ECS, the composition of the plant they consume, the cannabinoids present in that plant and the terpenes that bind everything together (more on these later!) All of this means that cannabis strains can be tailored and blended to meet specific, individual medical needs.

Dig Deeper: In regards to hemp, the classifications of Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa have more to do with cultivation, combined with THC and CBD content, and less to do with language used to depict energy specificity. This can be confusing for those who are new to the terminology and some confuse THC potency as the only differentiating factor in the nuances of each strain. What will, ultimately, allow for a more energetic or relaxing user experience, is, in fact, due to the terpene content of the plant, in combination with the, previously mentioned, phytocannabinoids.

Despite the taxonomic classifications, cannabis consumption is mainly broken down into three categories of experience. A particular strain will tend to fall into one of three colloquial terms:

  • Indica
  • Sativa and
  • Hybrid

Each strain produced interacts uniquely with an individual’s ECS, dependent on its chemical composition and produces a set of exclusive effects and benefits to the consumer. The extensive range of possible effects is constantly being adapted and advanced, by blending plant strains, as a way to make more effective use (and sense) of the versatile plant.


Sativas have a wide range of uses and are known for their bright and energetic effects on users. Strains such as Durban Poison, are known for their energetic and stimulating qualities, that have the power to give a boost of energy, in a similar way to a shot of espresso. Sativa strains can also be happy and bright, like the classic Mowie Wowie strain, which boosts users’ enjoyment, without affecting cerebrally stimulating aspects that promote creativity and sociability. The end effect of a strain is fully dependent on the chemovar’s genetic profile.


Indicas, in contrast, are classically sedative, with heavy effects on the body. Many consumers find indicas to be sedative and relaxing, often promoting sleep. For individuals suffering from insomnia, indicas have, anecdotally, been shown to help when going to bed. Indica strains, like Northern Lights, are known as a strong class that can help ease pain and problems with falling asleep. Other indicas, such as Zkittles, can produce similar calming effects, without sending you straight to sleep and can be more helpful with daytime anxiety. Like sativas and hybrids, the way an indica will affect you is reliant on your own ECS and additional phytocannabinoids and terpenes, in conjunction with the plant’s genetic makeup.


Hybrids are a cross breed between Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica plants. It’s true that, taxonomically, all cannabis strains are, technically, hybrids; however, as a categorical description, hybrids are more balanced strains. Great for relaxing, without generating any residual, additional energy, hybrid strains, such as the classic Blue Dream, will, for most users, instigate a dreamlike effect; offering balanced bouts of euphoria, without being immediately sedative. Popular hybrids, like GG4, also exist to incite heavy, relaxed, ‘couch-lock’ effects, whilst still triggering mood elevation and euphoria.

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