Understanding Your Medical Cannabis Plants: Sativa, Indica or Hybrid?

If you thought that cannabis was limited to one single type of plant, you’d be very wrong. There are, in fact, an innumerable number of strains on the market nowadays. Some of those strains will be sativa, others will be indica and certain strains will be a mix of the two, known as hybrid.

The more you learn about the different types of medical cannabis plants prior to visiting a dispensary, the more you can understand about using herbs as a healing tool. So, without further ado, let us take you on a brief and fascinating journey into the wonderful world of weed.

 What is a sativa cannabis plant?

 A cannabis plant that is tall and lanky will likely be a sativa strain. The leaves of these cannabis plants tend to be long and narrow. Maturing time is around 10-16 weeks and once matured, sativa strains can be used to enjoy a cerebral high.

Generally, these strains will increase energy, focus, alertness and creativity, making them a suitable daytime option. However, they can sometimes contain large quantities of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Since this is the psychoactive component, you may feel slightly paranoid if you consume too much of it.

 Three examples of popular sativa cannabis strains include:

 Strawberry Cough – Kyle Kushman was the creator of this award-winning strain, which guarantees relaxation at its best. The smell and flavor is remarkably strawberry-like. It contains around 18 percent THC, making it highly psychoactive.

  • Lemon Haze – This two-time Cannabis Cup winner is caked in kief and it grows with multiple colors. The THC content is high at 17 percent and CBD is a lot lower, with most strains containing approximately 0.38 percent.
  • Durban Poison – This strain is uplifting and has a sweet scent. The level of THC has been known to hit 24 percent.

 What is an indica cannabis plant?

 The shorter, bushier kinds of cannabis plants are usually indica strains. You can identify an indica strain from its leaves, which will be short, wide and deeply serrated, unlike sativa strains, which have narrowly serrated leaves. Maturing time is between 8 and 12 weeks for this variety, which is preferred for nighttime use.

Why, you ask? Well, plants of the indica variety will produce a strong and hazy head-high. While this can prove enjoyable for recreational users and medical cannabis users in search of a strain that puts them to sleep, it’s not exactly ideal for someone who has a lot of tasks to complete during the day.

Expect to feel deeply relaxed when you consume indica strains. Popular stress relievers, they are a natural sleep aid that may, in some cases, trigger a serious case of the munchies.

Three examples of indica cannabis strains include:


  • Bubba Kush – Get a mean punch of psychoactivity with this strain, which contains 27 percent THC! It tastes a little bit like coffee.
  • Northern Lights – This fast-flowering cannabis strain is very useful for medical purposes. It has a high potency of THC and medium potency of CBD.
  • Shishkaberry – A mix between an unknown Afghani strain and SJ Short Blueberry, this THC-rich indica has around 26 percent of the psychoactive cannabinoid and just 0.3 percent CBD.

 What is a hybrid cannabis plant?

 Finally, we have the hybrid cannabis strain. With so many cross-breeding techniques leading to the creation of new strains all of the time, the majority of cannabis plants you see saturating today’s market will be hybrid. This means that the plant will possess genetics from both the sativa and indica plant.

It is advisable to consult with your Doctor or a budtender to determine exactly what percentage of each strain trait you require for your medical ailments.

Three examples of popular hybrid cannabis strains include:


  • Trainwreck – Prepare to be stuck to the couch for a while after indulging in one of California’s strongest sativas.
  • Blue Dream – Enjoy full-body relaxation when you consume this sativa-dominant hybrid, which is powerfully invigorating for all the senses.
  • White Widow – Found inside most Amsterdam coffee shops, this balanced hybrid shares the genetics of a South Indian indica and Brazilian sativa landrace.

 Where to Find Sativa, Indica and Hybrid Cannabis Strains

As cannabis legalization pushes further afield, the number of online and brick-and-mortar businesses to start selling the herb for medical use is increasing. This means that you need to be extra cautious in regards to buying your buds from a medical cannabis supplier. Not every single supplier will be trustworthy and reliable.

Refrain from buying online, as this may pose some risks in terms of understanding where the cannabis was cultivated and whether or not it was exposed to contaminants in the process. An SF dispensary that is able to prove it is licensed and regulated will be worth visiting for your sativa, indica or hybrid cannabis strains.

You won’t be limited to buying buds and flowers when you visit a dispensary. What’s featured on the menu will be a reflection of the company’s reputation and legitimacy as a supplier. Popular products include oils, capsules, sprays, tinctures, edibles and liquids. In order to obtain these products, you’ll need a Doctor’s recommendation/MMJ card, a valid form of identification and, of course, money!