When it comes to marijuana, most often strains are grouped into two main categories: Indica and Sativa. Evolution has led to a third category, the hybrid, a crossbreed between the two, but we’ll get to that later on.  

So what does it all mean? If you’re new to cannabis or are just canna-curious, we’re covering only the straight basics here because it’s helpful to know the difference between Indica vs Sativa strains so you can control the type of experience you want to have.

Origins and Appearance

Both species vary in geological origin and appearance. The Indica species is native to Afghanistan, India and Turkey with the anatomy of the Indica plant sitting shorter compared to Sativa plants with bushier, broader leaves. 

Try our Chronic Haze indica pick: Pink Kush

The Sativa species can typically be found and cultivated in hot, dry climates which include parts of Southeast Asia, Central America and Africa. Unlike their indica flower counterparts, Sativa plants are tall (some growing upwards of 12 feet), less dense and have thin finger-like leaves.

Try our Chronic Haze sativa pick: Durban Poison

THC and CBD Levels

Cannabis plants contain numerous chemical compounds called cannabinoids and it’s these cannabinoids that are responsible for the effects felt when consuming cannabis – THC and CBD being the two most common.

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis plants and is the compound responsible for the “high” felt when cannabis is consumed.

CBD (cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive/non-intoxicating compound typically known for aiding physical ailments.

THC and CBD levels differ between Indica and Sativa strains but both are major factors in your overall experience. 


Sativa strains often have lower doses of CBD and higher doses of THC and are most commonly associated with producing a cerebral or “mind high.” Other common effects include feeling uplifted, alert and energetic. Sativa strains are often recommended for daytime usage, perfect for social gatherings or physical activity.

Indica strains often have higher levels of CBD and less THC. Effects typically sit within the realm of physical sedation and can contribute to deep relaxation, a sense euphoria and often encourage sleep and aid in pain reduction.


Hybrids are exactly what you think they are, strains crossbred from varying combinations of Indica and Sativa parent plants. Hybrids can be Indica-dominant or Sativa-dominant or an equal combination of the two.

Most typically grown on farms or greenhouses, hybrid strains will vary in appearance based on the combination of descendant plants.

When it comes to the experience with hybrids, that too will vary on the genetics of its parent strains but most common effects can range from energizing to reducing anxiety.

Regardless of the type of strain you go with, you’re in for a good time so take a moment to explore, figure out what your needs are, what you’re in the mood for. To get you started, we’ve picked our top strains per category below.

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