With so many variations of cannabis out there choosing your perfect strain can be a bit of a minefield. Indica vs sativa vs hybrid, which is the best for you? And are there any perfectly balanced 50/50 hyrbrid cannabis strains.
To make things simple let me first explain that there are two main types of cannabis, indica and sativa or a hybrid which is a cross of the two.
Both indica and sativa cannabis plants are visually different, have varying effects and highs and are used for different medical ailments. So it is important that when you are choosing a strain to grow at home yourself or buying some bud in your local dispensary that you understand the differences between indica, sativa and hybrid weed
|Appearance||Short, bushy and compact with fat fan leaves||Tall and thin with long narrow fan leaves|
|Effect||Relaxing, mellow and sleepy high that can leave users feeling couch locked||Uplifting, energetic and creative cerebral high|
|Growing||Flowering Time: 8 – 10 weeks|
Height: 100 – 220cm
|Flowering Time: 10 – 14 weeks|
Height: 180 – 600cm
|Strains||Afghan, OG Kush, Granddaddy Purple, Forbidden Fruit||Durban Poison, Thai Stick, Amnesia Haze, G13 Haze|
What are Sativa strains?
Sativa cannabis plants are native to warm humid climates such as the jungles of Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil and Colombia.
Structurally they grow tall and thin with flowers spaced out across their long branches. This allows them to deal with the humid conditions without developing mold.
Sativa strains typically give users a more energetic, uplifting high that is great for daytime smoking.
What people like about sativa weed?
Some people swear by sativa weed and wont smoke anything else, but what is it that makes sativa weed so appealing?
Energetic high: Sativa strains give you a more energetic uplifting high, which some users prefer to the body high of indica strains that can leave users feeling ‘couch locked’.
High THC/Low CBD: Sativas are generally considered to contain a lower amount of CBD overall then indica strains.
Medical uses: Many people use sativa strains for depression, nausea and improving focus.
Does sativa weed make you sleepy?
All cannabis strains have different effects depending on the cannabinoids that they contain and their potency. Generally sativas are thought to make you less sleepy than indica strains and many users claim that they give you an energetic high that helps to improve focus.
The benefits of sativas?
Huge Yields: Besides the positive effects of sativas they are also great to grow. If you are growing outdoors in a warm climate you can get huge yields from sativa plants with some growing up to 20 feet tall!
Mold resistance: As we have mentioned sativa’s are native to humid climates so there is a much smaller risk of them developing mold.
Great Daytime smoke: Thanks to the energetic high, sativa weed is great for a wake and bake or a daytime smoke where you have an active day ahead of you.
What are the most popular sativa strains?
Durban Poison – A 100% sativa landrace, Durban Poison was originally grown in South Africa and has been unaltered for millenia. This strain grows incredibly tall and outdoors can reach up to fifteen feet in height. With moderate THC levels of 15-20% the high from Durban Poison is ideal for most beginner smokers with a really uplifting, energetic and creative feeling, great if you want to smoke and socialise.
Super Lemon Haze – Having won multiple High Times Cannabis Cups, Super Lemon Haze has rightfully earned itself legendary status. With enormous yields of up to 700g/m2 when grown outdoors this strain is perfect for any outdoor growers.
A cross of Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze, Super Lemon Haze offers uplifting and stimulating highs that will boost your mood and spirit making it a great wake and bake strain.
Purple Haze – A rare purple sativa dominant strain, Purple Haze is a hybrid cross of Haze and Purple Thai. With THC levels at a reasonable 15-20% not the most potent strain Purple Haze more than makes up for it with its cerebral dominant high. The 60/40 sativa dominant strain has fast acting effects that initially make you feel buzzy and uplifting, this gradually leads into a more indica feel leaving you feeling chilled out and relaxed.
Thai Stick – A pure sativa landrace that originally grew in the humid jungles of Thailand. Thai Stick is a mellow 15% THC and gives you that perfect energetic, creative sativa head high making it a great strain for beginners or daytime smokers. Growers be warned, Thai Stick is not he most difficult strain to grow, however outdoors she can grow up to 20 feet tall so be prepared to do plenty of training to keep this plant under control in any indoor grows.
What are Indica strains?
Indica cannabis plants are native to cooler climates than their sativa counterparts. Indicas grow naturally in places like Afghanistan, mountainous regions of India and central Europe.
Structurally indicas are much shorter bushier plants with a dense foliage and fatter fan leaves. Despite their shorter size they can still yield huge amounts of weed, but they are much more compact than sativas which makes them more susceptible to mold.
Indica strains typically give users a heavier hitting ‘body high’, that in high THC varieties can lead to a couch locked effect.
What people like about indica weed?
For some the idea of smoking something incredibly potent that gives you couch lock is appealing.
Super Potency: Some indica strains can be well over 25% THC and for many users, the higher THC, the better.
Great for indoor growing: Thanks to its much shorter and more manageable size, indica strains are great for anyone growing indoors with limited space.
Does indica weed make you sleepy?
Cannabis is widely used as a treatment for those that suffer with sleep disorders such as insomnia. However, does indica weed make you more sleepy than sativa?
In a recent study conducted by the University of New Mexico Cannabis Research Fund found that cannabis in general can help insomnia sufferers. The study itself was carried out over 1056 separate cannabis sessions, users suffering with insomnia rated the level of reduction in their symptoms after consuming cannabis.
The results showed that on the whole all cannabis varieties helped to reduce the symptoms of insomnia. However, the best results came from users that smoked with a vaporiser or pipe with joints being the least effective way to consume and with the most negative side effects.
Indica Vs Sativa for sleep
The results also found that both indica and sativa varieties did help relieve symptoms of insomnia sufferers, however sativa strains had more negative side effects than indicas.
The conclusion being, that yes indica strains do make you sleepy, but so do most cannabis varieties.On the whole the best way to treat insomnia or sleep related issues with cannabis would be to smoke an indica strain using a vaporiser or a bong.
The benefits of indicas?
As we have mentioned, indica cannabis is a great way to naturally treat sleep related issues such as insomnia. However there are lots of other reasons that users prefer this variety. Here are some of the other common medical conditions that indica cannabis strains are used to treat:
- Sleep related issues such as insomnia
- Relaxation and stress related symptoms
- Pain relief
- Appetite inducing
- Anxiety and depression
What are the most popular indica strains?
With so many cannabis strains choosing between indica, sativa or hybrid can be a difficult decision. Here are our top indica picks.
Granddaddy Purple – An 80% indica dominant hybrid cross of Big Bud and Purple Urkle, that will not only deliver on yield but also bag appeal. Producing up to 500g/m2 of vibrant purple bud with THC levels up to 24% Granddaddy Purple is a cash cropper’s dream.
Thanks to its heavy indica high Granddaddy Purple is a very popular medical strain and is used by those suffering from insomnia, pain relief, stress and anxiety.
Ice Cream Cake – A 75% indica dominant hybrid, Ice Cream Cake is a beautiful tasting cross of Gelato and Wedding Cake. This creamy, desert tasting weed is one of the best indica strains to come out in the last few years and with yields of up to 600g/m2 one harvest from this will fill your jars for months to come.
Ideal for an evening smoke watching movies with a load of munchies, Ice Cream Cake is also widely used by medical consumers thanks to its ability to relax and relieve stress and anxiety.
Forbidden Fruit – One of our more recent releases, Forbidden Fruit is a super potent indica dominant hybrid. A delicious cross of Tangie and Cherry Pie this strain tastes of fresh tropical fruit combined with sweet candy. Go easy on this strain though, with THC levels over 25% THC this hard hitting indica will have you seriously couch locked.
Afghan – Keeping it old school Afghan was and still is one of the most popular landrace cannabis strains. If you are after a 100% pure indica that has been unaltered then Afghan is the way to go. Originally bred in the foothills of Afghanistan this strain is super robust and resilient and will grow well in most environments.
With THC levels of around 15-18% its not the most potent of strains, however it is an ideal relaxing evening smoke without having to worry about any of the couch locked effect.
What are hybrid strains?
You may be reading this finding it tough to decide if you want to smoke an indica or sativa strain, afterall they both have their positives and negatives. Rather than making that decision, why not grow and smoke a hybrid instead?
Hybrid strains are simply a cross breed of an indica parent with a sativa parent, giving users the best of both worlds. Strains such as Gorilla Glue are a near perfect blend of indica and sativa characteristics giving you a plant that is not only high yielding but also high THC.
What people like about hybrid weed?
Not only does hybrid weed provide the best of both worlds when it comes to smoking, but hybrid strains are also great to grow. Take Big Bud as an example, a cross of Northern Lights, Afghan and Skunk #1. It combines the best characteristics of three great strains. Big Bud is an indica dominant strain, however thanks to its Skunk #1 genetics it is around 15-20% sativa. This allows the plant to grow taller, yielding more than the average 100% indica strain and it handles warmer climates better than a typical Afghan landrace would.
Thanks to some of the modern day breeding programs hybrid weed also gives users the opportunity of smoking two of their favourite strains rolled into one, Glookies is a perfect example of this.
Many people stay away from certain cannabis strains because something in their genetics causes paranoia, however the genetic mixture of two or three cannabis strains may potentially dull down these negative side effects by balancing the indica and sativa effects creating more mellow highs.
What are the most popular hybrid strains?
Can’t choose what you like best between sativa and indica weed? There are plenty of excellent 50/50 hybrids out there to choose from too that contain a perfect blend of the characteristics of both types of weed. Here are our pics of the top 50/50 hybrids.
Gorilla Glue – Arguably the most popular cannabis strain in the world. We had to fit Gorilla Glue somewhere on our list and thanks to its well balanced genetics this sits right at the top of our favorite hybrids. A cross of Sour Diesel, Sour Dubb, Chem’s Sister, and Chocolate Diesel, Gorilla Glue 4 is still one of the worlds most potent cannabis strains with THC levels above 25%, smoke too much of this and you will almost certainly be glued to that couch.
Blue Dream – A sativa dominant hybrid strain, Blue Dream is a cross of Blueberry and Haze, it maintains a near perfect balance of sativa and indica effects. Upon the initial inhale you feel the uplifting sativa effects before the indica side takes hold and drags you into a sense of relaxation and euphoria. With THC levels ranging between 15 – 20% and CBD between 1-2% she is an ideal strain for anyone looking to grow their own medical cannabis at home and is perfect for pain or stress relief.
Runtz – A hybrid cross of Zkittlez and Gelato, two of the most popular desert strains, it was inevitable that Runtz would go on to become a legendary strain in its own right. Runtz is a 55/45 indica hybrid, so almost perfectly balanced. With THC levels ranging between 20-25% she is one of the most potent strains you are likely to grow. As soon as you smoke Runtz you will notice the effects are very cerebral to begin with, this gradually leads into a soothing sense of relaxation.
Indica vs sativa effects
With so many cannabis strains out there it is difficult to find a 100% indica or sativa strain. However strains such as Durban Poison, Hindu Kush, Acapulco Gold and Afghan are all examples of what are known as landraces, meaning that their genetics have not been tampered with and they should be either 100% indica or sativa.
If you were to smoke an indica or sativa dominant strain such as a landrace, what are the likely side effects and what is the difference between their highs?
Sativa high vs indica high
- Sleepy, drowsy body high
- Couch lock more common
- Higher potency
- Uplifting, energetic high
- More of a head high – causes ‘the giggles’ more.
- Slightly lower potency
What are they best for?
sativa or indica for anxiety
Sativas are best known for their uplifting, energetic high that is often used as a daytime smoke allowing users to focus, whereas indica strains are typically higher THC and provide a harder hitting body high. With this in mind, sativa strains are normally what would be recommended for reducing anxiety.
However there are other factors at play here such as potency. High THC strains can have a negative effect for those that suffer with anxiety, therefore it should be noted that a sativa may not necessarily be great for relieving anxiety if it is highly potent.
Indica or sativa for nausea?
Indica strains give users a more relaxed body high, and therefore would probably provide most relief for anyone suffering with nausea.
Indica or sativa for migraines?
Users in general prefer sativa strains, this is thought to be because they have a more balanced CBD and THC ratio compared to indica dominant strains. The fact that many people feel a cerebral high from sativa strains could also be one of the factors that allows this variety of cannabis to relieve the effects of migraines.
Sativa or indica for sleep?
The evidence suggests that both varieties are able to aid sleep, although it is generally thought that the higher THC indica dominant varieties are best for inducing sleepiness. Some sativa dominant strains provide an uplifting, cerebral high that many people find puts them in an upbeat and creative mood, this stimulating effect in some cases can have the opposite effect to sleep.
Is indica or sativa better for back pain?
A recent study found that both indica and sativa strains did help with the effects of pain, however all types of pain in general were helped most with the use of hybrid cannabis strains. Therefore, a hybrid strain such as Gorilla Glue which has 50:50 indica/sativa genetics would be most suited for back pain.
Is indica or sativa better for high blood pressure?
When investigated it was found that most cannabis users blood pressure actually increased slightly after smoking cannabis. However, if you are comparing indica vs sativa for heart rate, then indica dominant strains generally provide the most therapeutic effects and therefore tend to be better for anyone suffering with high blood pressure.
What is the hybrid weed high like and what are its effects?
It is difficult to describe the exact effects of all hybrid cannabis strains because there are so many variations in the genetics. The average 50/50 hybrid such as Gorilla Glue, provides a good mixture of both indica and sativa effects. With a nice cerebral buzz many feel the initial high from Gorilla Glue as uplifting, euphoric and creative, however after a few more tokes users are likely to feel the indica effects kick in as a wave of relaxation washes over you. Hybrid effects provide a nice middle ground for anyone that wants to feel a bit of the uplifting cerebral high but to drift off into a deep sleep afterwards.
- Effectiveness of Raw, Natural Medical Cannabis Flower for Treating Insomnia under Naturalistic Conditions. 1Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
- Patterns of medicinal cannabis use, strain analysis, and substitution effect among patients with migraine, headache, arthritis, and chronic pain in a medicinal cannabis cohort – The Journal of Headache and Pain volume 19, Article number: 37 (2018)