While there are hundreds of different cannabis strains available to us today, traditionally (and still most popular), cannabis is broken down into 3 categories: indica, sativa and hybrid.

But what do these terms mean? Where did they originate? What is the difference? This week, we’re discussing the origins of indica, sativa and hybrid cannabis, and what else you should consider when choosing a strain.


History of the strains 

The terms indica and sativa were introduced in the 18th century to describe different cannabis plant species.



Indica, named by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, was used to describe the psychoactive plant varieties discovered in India. Here, the plant was harvested for seeds, fibre and hashish production.

The term “indica” is used to describe short, stout, broad-leaf plants with a short flowering cycle. People looking for relaxing, physically sedating results typically turn to indica strains.



Sativa, named by Carl Linneaus, was used to describe hemp plants found in Europe and Western Eurasia, where the plant was used for its fiber and seeds.

The term “sativa” is used to describe tall, narrow-leaf plants with a longer flowering cycle. Those looking for an uplifting, cerebral, creative experience tend to lean toward a sativa cannabis strain.



Evidentially, a hybrid strain is used to describe a combination of indica and sativa.


Can I choose my cannabis strain based on “indica” and “sativa” alone?

While these industry terms are incredibly important to know and understand, to fully comprehend which cannabis strain will provide which effects, we need to dig much deeper.

Generally, these terms may come in handy when choosing your strain. But not all sativas will energize you. Not all indicas will sedate you. The effect of any strain depends on a number of different factors: chemical make-up of the plant, your body and tolerance, intake method and dose, to name a few.


What else should I consider when choosing a cannabis strain?


Each cannabis plant is made up of hundreds of cannabinoids, each one having a unique set of characteristics that impact your cannabis experience. To get started, the two main cannabinoids you should be familiar with are THC and CBD.

THC (or Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) provides a more psychoactive experience. It can also make you feel hungry, and relieve feelings of physical pain.

CBD (or cannabidiol) is non toxicating. It is best known for relieving anxiety, inflammation and many other medical ailments.



Terpenes can be defined as aromatic compounds found in the essential oils of plants and fruits. Different terpenes can make you feel stimulated, sedated, relaxed and so much more, depending on which ones you use.


Your body

At the end of the day, it’s all about what your body can handle and how it interacts with cannabis. Do you have a high tolerance to THC? Are you susceptible to panic attacks, anxiety or depression? How long do you want the effects of cannabis to last in your body? Which intake method do you prefer? These are all important questions when it comes to choosing your strain.


Have more questions about the industry, cannabis or hemp? Contact us, we’re happy to help.