Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid? What's the Difference?

Understanding Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid

When you think of how cannabis affects people, there is a typical assumption that it generally makes the user lethargic and perhaps even a bit lazy. However, that is not always the case! There are a few different factors that determine how cannabis can make you feel that we will be discussing in this article.

One of the most important factors that helps determine how cannabis and hemp products make you feel is the specific subspecies of hemp one is consuming. In fact, there are three subspecies of the cannabis plant: Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis.

Each of these three subspecies offers its own set of potential effects. The most common subspecies being Indica and Sativa. 

Indica vs Sativa: Understanding the Difference

Each strain is generally associated with a certain physical response, Indica generally providing a calm and relaxed response with Sativa offering more energizing effects. 

Indica

Commonly referred to as “In-da-couch”, Indica is best known for its sedating effects. When consumed, Indica strains are associated with more of a body high that can make users feel relaxed. It can provide pain relief as well as promotes better sleep.

For this reason, it is recommended to consume Indica strains in the evenings or on occasions when you are wanting to relax. 

Sativa

Providing seemingly opposite effects as Indica, a Sativa strain will provide more of a head high as opposed to a body high. Sativa is known to promote creativity and an uplifting, euphoric feeling. It can also help the user be more alert and focused.

For these reasons, Sativa strains are best if used during the day time for increased productivity.  

Hybrids

If you are someone looking for the best of both worlds, a hybrid may be a great option. There are many different types of hybrids that offer various combinations of Indica and Sativa strains. Growers can manipulate the plant to inherit specific traits from both the parent plants to provide any number of benefits specific to that individual strain.

When creating a hybrid variety, growers can combine Indica and Sativa strains,  two Indica's, or two Sativa's. It all depends on the specific effects they are after.

What determines the strain of cannabis?

We know that each strain of the marijuana plant has their own distinct effects, what is it that causes these differences? While Indica and Sativa plants each have a distinct look, there is more to the differences than just their appearance.

There is one important factor that determines if a strain is Indica or sativa: Terpenes. In fact, while there are 100’s or terpenes found in plants, there is one main terpene that plays a role in determining a strain of cannabis: Myrcene.

Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene found in the cannabis plant and is responsible for the calm inducing, and anxiety relief many experience with marijuana. Now, you may be wondering, “I thought they just said Indica strains do not have that effect?” You’re right!, that is precisely why Myrcene is a determining factor in differentiating between the two strains.

Plants that contain .5 percent of Myrcene by volume are classified at Indica, and plants that contain less than .5 percent are labeled as Sativa. 

More About Terpenes

So we know that the terpene Myrcene plays a vital role in identifying Indica from Sativa, but what actually is a terpene? Terpenes are compounds in plants that give them their taste, aroma, and potential therapeutic effects. 

Let’s take lavender for instance, we all know that the smell of lavender is calming to most and can help aid in a restful night’s sleep. However, it is not just the lavender plant that provides those effects. It is actually the terpene, Linool, that is responsible for lavender's soothing aroma.  How about the invigorating and most boosting effects of lemon? You can thank the terpene, Limonene for those effects.

With over 100 terpenes found in nature, there are many naturally occurring in the cannabis and hemp plant that contribute their own benefits and effects. Scientists and growers can identify and isolate these terpenes to help target specific needs and offer specific benefits in their plants and products. Hemp oils and tinctures that are marketed towards offering a better night's sleep will most likely feature a specific blend of added terpenes to their formula to promote sleep. 

Understanding of the different strains of hemp and how terpenes play a role in determining the stains as well as the effects will help you better understand what you can expect from the hemp products you purchase. 

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