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Not all marijuana strains are alike. You have probably already heard of sativa and indica, and even the hybrid strains, but do you know what the differences between them are? They are three distinct categories of specific traits that even the most experienced growers don’t know about.
Sativa and Indica have been on the books since the 1700s, but the hybrid didn’t come until some time later. Sativas come from a temperate climate near the equator, while the Indica likely originated around present-day Afghanistan, specifically near the Hindu Kush area. The climate and weather conditions there are harsh -- this is likely why they have a thicker protective coat of resin than the Sativa strains.
Science and historical origins
There is actually no official scientific evidence that explains the differences between Indica and Sativa strains of marijuana or even confirms that these differences exist. Nonetheless, they are widely accepted facts among the marijuana growing and using crowd.
There are some historical explanations for the beginnings of the Indica strain, also known as Cannabis Indica. It was first classified by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French biologist, in the late 1700s. He also identified the fact that the plants were intoxicating. It was different from the regular hemp crops grown in Europe at the time, as they did not intoxicate the consumer.
Because of the differences between the European hemp crops (then actually known as Cannabis Sativa), Lamarck named his Indian discovery Cannabis Indica to establish its uniqueness from the European hemp. It was considered a therapeutic remedy of sorts in Europe during the 1800s and commonly used in Western medicine.
Cannabis Indica is a more solid strain in comparison to Sativa, but it does not have the height Sativa achieves. Indica strains generally grow between 3.2-9.8 feet tall. It is a bushy plant with round healthy leaves, unlike Sativa. However, they both have marbled colored, soft seeds. Being that Indica is a short plant, this one is perfect for indoor growing.
While Sativa takes some time to flower, Indica flowers much faster and can be influenced a lot easier by adjusting the light cycle to promote this phase.
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The buds and flowers on an Indica plant will usually grow very close to each other and are stickier to the touch than Sativa plants. When you want to make hashish, Indica is the plant you would choose due to the amount of resin it contains. This weed is a stoner’s favorite since it is more like a sedative and puts your entire body into a deep state of relaxation. It has so much CBN in it that this will surely take you there when you want to go far and beyond just a regular high.
This strain can have either a sour or sweet smell to it. It has lovely healing qualities, and helps with:
Sativa is the marijuana strain that people seem to like smoking the most. This plant grows quite large, reaching up to 19.6 feet in some cases. While it is not a really thick plant, many growers like it due to how tall it can grow.
Their leaves are long, dainty, narrow, and considering their height potential, these are perfect for outdoor growing. The seeds are soft to the touch, with no spots or markings on them. Do not expect this plant to flower quickly because Sativa takes its precious time, and even shifting the light cycles could have little effect on this.
Sativa is often dried, cooked and consumed. While many people either vaporize or smoke this strain, it is the norm for users to use this to get high. You are not going to get stoned from using this strain, but it does have an invigorating, pick me up kind of effect that leads to feeling happier, unlike its more sedating counterpart, Indica.
It also can enhance your creativity, depending on the person. This is the strain you use when you want to be up and active during the day since it raises your energy and opens you up to fresh, new ideas. If you are an artist of some sort, you may love this one.
Sativa dominant strains are higher in the THC cannabinoid. This makes it less likely to be used for medicinal purposes, but it is still common in Ayurvedic medicine. They work well to combat the symptoms of depression, ADD, fatigue, and mood disorders.
Ruderalis and hybrid strains
You will rarely hear anyone talking about Cannabis Ruderalis, which is a hybrid strain and has a pretty short stature growing between 11.8-23.6 inches in height. Similar to Indica, this plant has very thick foliage. This plant is usually found growing in northern regions of the world
Ruderalis has a very fast flowering phase due to growing in the north, and needing to develop faster before the climate turns cold. This strain is what growers use when they want to encourage auto flowering. One of the reasons you hear little about this strain is because it is not known to be highly psychotropic. Most growers just use this to breed hybrids that flower quickly, to grow in cooler climates.
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Growers generally want to hybridize to mix the good characteristics of various strains into one. Hybrids are usually a balanced combination of Sativas and Indicas. You can make your hybrids have more Indica qualities or more Sativa ones. By combining the two, you end up with a unique blend that brings out properties from both strains for medicinal purposes.
In reality, Sativas and Indicas are usually some sort of hybrid with varying levels of each strain. Separating ‘pure’ from ‘hybrid’ is not a realistic way of distinguishing the two. To understand the effects you can expect from a hybrid plant or seed, it is much more important to know the background of your strain of plant rather than just the ratio between Indica and Sativa.
THC and CBD
The differences in the effects of Indica and Sativa strains come from slightly varying levels of THC and CBD. Sativas naturally produce higher levels of THC, while Indicas instead produce higher levels of CBD. The ratios of THC and CBD are what make the differences come out, but this can vary even within the strains. Sometimes you will find a Sativa high in THC or an Indica high in CBD, due to all the cross-hybridization that has gone on over the generations; therefore, the expected effects do not always appear.
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