Did you know that there are over 700 strains of cannabis? For those new to medical marijuana, this number can be overwhelming. There are three species of cannabis: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis (high in CBD). Most strains found at a dispensary will be either sativa, indica, or a hybrid of the two. Understanding the difference between sativa vs indica vs hybrid can help users find the right starting point in their search for the perfect strain. It’s also worth learning about how cannabinoid and terpene content can impact the effects of different strains. Indica strains are known for relaxing full-body effects, while sativas produce a “head high” with more cerebral effects. Hybrids fall somewhere in between. The cannabis industry has been moving away from these terms and instead divides types of cannabis into high THC, THC/CBD combined, and high CBD options.

Cannabis indica is native to Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and Turkey, where the plant is adapted to the harsh climate of the Hindu Kush mountains. Indica plants grow broad and wide, produce more buds, and have relaxing effects. Sativa is indigenous to Eastern Asia and grows tall and thin, with finger-like leaves.

Sativa strains are more stimulating and help with psychological disorders such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression. Hybrids are new and unique strains that producers create by crossbreeding parent plants to target specific effects. They can be a great choice for beginners or long-time medical marijuana patients. Additional factors that can influence the effects of each strain include the chemical composition and growing technique used. Cannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemical compounds responsible for producing the effects of cannabis. Researchers still have much to learn about all of the cannabinoids present in cannabis.

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