The differences between indica, sativa and hybrid strains

The differences between indica, sativa and hybrid strains

The differences between indica, sativa and hybrid strains

There is a slight yet enormous difference in the marijuana strains on the basis of their morphology, mode of action, desired effects and side effects. Their genetic profiles make each strain unique. The cannabinoid content of different strains of marijuana is also associated to their geographical origins thus different marijuana strains have different effects.

  1. In view of their morphology;

  • Indica plant size is short and bushy while the sativa plant is long & thin.
  • Cannabis indica thrives in warm climatic conditions while sativa thrives in cold environments.
  • Hybrids on the other hand, grow on either latitude areas depending on the dormant genotype.

Hybrid strains show traits in between the indica and sativa. These traits directly relate to the genetic component in its linkage. They are divided into three;

  • Sativa dominant hybrid- This strain gives cerebral high with a relaxing body effect. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is predominant as compared to CBD (Cannabidiol).
  • Even hybrid- Give an excellent balance between the mind and body. Both THC & CBD are present is equal quantities.
  • Indica dominant hybrid- Provide a full-body pain relieve while giving a relaxed cerebral high. These strains contain a high level of cannabidiol and relative amounts of THC.


  1. Mode of action

  • Sativa works in the body via a chemical compound THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), THC is a compound responsible for its psychological and cerebral effects. THC works much like the naturally made cannabinoid chemicals in the body in stimulating the receptors responsible for; memory, pleasure, thought process, concentration, coordination, sensory and time perception. Also known as the mind or cerebral high effect.
  • On the contrary, Indica acts by stimulating cannabidiol (CBD) that is a non-psychoactive chemical compound. CBD does not act on the cerebral pathways as THC in sativa, thus considered having minimal side effects.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) reduces the negative intoxicating effects of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) such as paranoia and memory lapse. Thus ‘indica’ can be used to counter the ‘marijuana high’ effects of ‘sativa’.
  • Hybrid strains act similar to their dormant genotype.


  1. Effects and Recommendations


Marijuana strain


Effects Recommendations












Mind or cerebral high


Relieves depression, fatigue, mood disorders, anxiety, and stress and causes euphoria.


Enhances creativity, thoughtful & focused in depth conversations.




-Use during the day.





-Treat mental disorders





-Boast motivation











Body/physical high







Anti emetic






-Nocturnal use


-Relax muscles and relieve body pains in individuals suffering from autoimmune diseases.


-Stimulates appetite


-Used to relieve nausea and vomiting in cancer patients on chemotherapy.


-Insomnia, sleep apnea






  1. Side effects

  • Indica, sativa and hybrid marijuana strains have a couple of side effects namely; dry mouth, dizziness, memory impairment, lung problems (when smoked), and paranoia among others. Nevertheless cannabis sativa depicts more side effects than indica genotype.
  • Addiction -All marijuana strains can result to psychological dependence when used long term. However the ‘sativa’ strain is more likely to display this side effect due to its high levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and its high use for recreation.


Medical marijuana in all its current genotypes and phenotypes is multiplex and very formidable for the new patient and experienced patient. Choice on the strain to be prescribed depends entirely on the different circumstances and the aspired results.

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