Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Strains

Beginners Guide to Cannabis Strains

With cannabis gaining more recognition as a medicine and a recreational plant, we can observe a growing abundance of various strains available on the market. New strains are discovered and bred each month, each having their own unique profile of fragrances, flavors, and aromas.

Unlike some people think, weed isn’t just weed — and this article will prove that.

Usually, we classify cannabis into three main categories: indica, sativa, and hybrids. However, there’s also one (less common) type this plant — cannabis ruderalis.

If you want to be a savvy consumer, it’s important to know the difference between the above varieties. In our beginner’s guide to cannabis strains, we give you a detailed breakdown of their origins, characteristics, and unique effects.

How Are Cannabis Strains Classified?

There are two main categories of cannabis strains:

  • Indica
  • Sativa
  • Hybrid
  • Ruderalis

All varieties come from different parts of the world and have distinct features that help us distinguish between one another.

Read on to find out what each type of cannabis has to offer.

Differences Between Cannabis Sativa vs Cannabis Indica Plants

Differences Between Cannabis Sativa vs Cannabis Indica Plants

Cannabis has an extremely long record of cultivation, dating back to 5000 B.C. Over the years, the plant has evolved to fit into different climates. When it comes to the indica vs sativa classification, both species are unique to different regions of the world.

Cannabis indica is believed to have originated from colder parts of the globe, including higher mountain regions. These plants are native to countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Turkestan, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. Many indica strains were originally bred in the Hindu Kush region, hence the “Kush” suffix added to some indica flowers.

Cannabis sativa, on the other hand, comes from India and countries near the equator, such as Mexico, Columbia, and several African countries.

Visual Characteristics

Both cannabis sativa and cannabis indica strains vary when it comes to their physical and chemical traits. 

Sativa plants tend to grow taller than cannabis indica, reaching up to 25 feet in height. Sativas also grow thin leaves and tall branches, allowing the sun to easily penetrate the flowers and providing large yields within 60–90 days. The buds of a sativa strain have a conical shape and their structure is rather loose.

Indica strains grow smaller and bushier, reaching only up to 6 feet. These plants produce more dense and resinous nuggets with a pungent aroma within 45–50 days.

Growing Conditions

Growing Conditions

Due to their height, cannabis sativa plants are better suited for outdoor cultivation. Although it takes a little bit more patience to maximize the yields from a sativa strain, the result is worth the extra time.

Indica plants are usually cultivated outdoors. Although they give smaller yields than sativa strains, the nuggets have insane trichome production and faster flowering time.


Cannabis has different effects depending on the type of strain.

Sativa flowers are known for giving a more invigorating and uplifting high that sharpens focus, boosts creativity, and induce chattiness.

Given this, cannabis sativa strains are better suited for social settings, creative jobs, and physical or repetitive activities. If you’re the wake n’ bake type of cannabis user, choose a sativa bud — it will help you kickstart the day with a jolt of positive energy.

Indica strains have a different nature; they provide quite the opposite effects than sativa buds.

This type of cannabis tends to have sedative properties and produce a complete body relaxation that also eases muscle tension and is typically recommended for sleeping disorders.

However, the effects of any given strain are rather driven by its ratio of THC and CBD, rather than geographical origins. Another factor that shapes the effects of cannabis is the strain’s terpene content. Terpenes are aromatic molecules that give cannabis flowers their unique fragrances and flavors, but they also modulate the potency and types of effects provided by the flower.

A Word on Cannabis Hybrids

A Word on Cannabis Hybrids

If you want to get the best of both worlds, cannabis hybrids are the way to go.

Hybrids are made by crossbreeding different types of cannabis. The result is a combination of different characteristics from each strain in various ratios.

Cannabis hybrids can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Indica-dominant hybrids
  • Sativa-dominant hybrids
  • 50/50 hybrids

By logic, consuming a sativa-dominant strain will cause you to experience the majority of its sativa traits with some delicate characteristics of indica.

Using the same analogy, indica-dominant hybrids produce mostly indica effects with some notes of sativa.

With 50/50 hybrids, you can expect a well-balanced set of effects resulting from the even ratio of both varieties — you can use this type of cannabis throughout the whole day.

Cannabis Ruderalis: Why Is This Type of Cannabis So Rare?

There’s actually one more type of cannabis named Cannabis Ruderalis. It’s not a common type of weed because it lacks psychoactive properties.

Nevertheless, cannabis breeders often use ruderalis plants for crossbreeding due to their ability to produce an auto-flowering effect. Appearance-wise, cannabis ruderalis grows dense and shorts, and can reach up to 25 inches — it resembles the structure of cannabis indica plants.

How to Choose the Best Strain For Yourself?

How to Choose the Best Strain For Yourself?

People have different preferences when it comes to cannabis strains. Your choice will boil down to the effects you’re expecting after consuming cannabis.

If you prefer a boost of energy and a creative buzz, we suggest that you go with a sativa or sativa-dominant hybrid — it can make a fine addition to your morning routine, providing you with a boost of motivation.

On the other hand, if you’re having trouble falling asleep or need a strain that would stimulate your appetite, an indica-dominant hybrid or pure indica will be the best match for your needs.

The easiest way to decide whether you’re more into indicas or sativas is to try both types of cannabis and see which effects you deem more satisfying.

Final Thoughts on Different Cannabis Strains: Can You Name Them Now?

Understanding the differences between cannabis strains is obligatory if you want to learn how the herb works and what to expect when consuming it.

Exploring different cannabis varieties is a beautiful adventure. Whether you’re looking for its invigorating properties, or you just want to kick back and relax, the abundance of strains allows you to personalize your experience with weed throughout the day to help yourself get things done with a smile your face.

What’s your experience with different cannabis strains? Are you more into sativas or do you prefer indica flowers? Share your thoughts with us!