All cannabis strains fall into one of three categories, Indica, Sativa or Hybrid. While the strain will inform the biology and etymology of the physical cannabis plant, it will also have different effects on the consumer, consider this guide a compass to navigate through some of the most popular options as well as an educational resource for creating a dialogue on marijuana.
Indica plants (photo: transmitdistort)
Indica plants are generally smaller, bushier plants, with dense buds. Indicas are ancestors from cannabis plants which grew in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Their ability to grow indoors, high yield per sq/ft, and medicinal appeal has surged the popularity of the plant in the last two decades. Indicas are typically attributed to more sedating effects, with most users regarding it as a “night time” strain. Don't think of this strain as a tranquilizer though, it can be the perfect complement to chill out after a long day of work. Best Uses: Anxiety relief, insomnia, Netflix and chill, social smoking with buds, and decoding Future's lyrics. Notable strains include: Northern Lights, one of the most prolific Indica strains, features a spicy smoke, offering relaxation and a described “lazy euphoria;” Grand daddy Purple, a cross between Purple Urkle and Big bud, which is known for its high crystallization and distinctive lavender coloring; Bubba Kush, a strain that has decades-old, West coast origins, may offer you the day end ambivalence you deserve.
Sativa leaf (photo: Jon Richfield)
Sativa plants have been a dominant outdoor cannabis strain for generations, the best of these were most likely what your dad was smoking when you asked about that funny smell in the garage. Sativa plants grow to heights over six feet, so they are not the best choice for small indoor growing operations and feature thinner plants, with highly “thoughtful” effects which are more psychologically focused. Many users report a pick up effect which is highly praised for its stimulating and perceived creative input. Best Uses: aid in the treatment of depression and mood disorders, stimulating you out of malaise, a little creative spark especially for visual arts and music. Notable strains include: Jack Herer, a noble DNA featuring photogenic buds, producing a manageable elevation, with high resin production; Purple Haze is a buzzy and energetic strain, perfect for starting your day; Sour Diesel is a strain that is praised for its unique flavor and its creative effects.
Hybridization has undergone a lot of evolution and experimentation in the last couple of decades. Hybrid strains are cross-bred with the greatest of care by experienced growers and botanists, allowing users to get the best of both worlds. Hybrids can be optimized for production, climate stability, longevity, etymology, and good-old fashioned effects on the smoker. Best Uses: Optimize your smoking experience by finding a hybrid which suits your smoking needs. Notable Strains Include: White Widow, the strain responsible for more cannabis cups than any other, offers a Sativa-dominant high, wrapped in white crystals; Blue Dream offers an Indica-dominant body relaxation, with an invigorating shot of Sativa energy; Girl Scout Cookies offers a sash-decoration-worthy smoke adorned with lavender and thick trichomes, it also has a name as irresistible as the snack that should inevitably follow it.
Hopefully this list has served as a primer for you on picking your strain, ultimately, it takes time and experimentation to find out what works best for you. For additional information on strains, please check out: https://www.leafly.com/