One of the first questions you’ll encounter when you start purchasing medical marijuana is whether you prefer an indica, sativa or a hybrid strain. If you’re new to the world of marijuana or have only purchased it from unlicensed sellers who only offer one strain, you may not be aware of what these terms mean and how the strains differ. Understanding the difference between each of the types of cannabis plants can help you have a better experience when you purchase and use the product.
Keep in mind that no matter what form of cannabis you take and what strain it is, the effect on your body and mind can be different than what others experience using the same thing. Different forms of the same strain can also impact your system with varying degrees of effectiveness. Edible cannabis products are processed through the digestion system, while vaporizer cartridges and joints are ingested through respiration, so smoking cannabis can take effect much faster than eating.
Here are the main types of strands you’ll find for sale and what to expect when you use each one:
Indica plants are visually different from sativa plants as the leaves do not extend as long, making the overall plant look thicker and fuller than sativa plants. These strains are recommended for those who want pain relief and relaxation, and are not ideal for people who have a full to-do list. Instead, they are perfect for use by those who suffer from chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis or other inflammation based conditions that cause bodily pain or limit the range of motion.
The effects of ingesting indica plants include:
- Relaxation and relief from anxiety, paranoia and intrusive thoughts
- Increased appetite or relief from nausea
- Insomnia relief
- Decrease in body pains
The sativa plant has long, slim leaves and a thinner appearance than indica strains. Sativa strains provide an energetic high that can be better for daytime ingestion than indicas, which can leave the patient feeling relaxed and lazy. Medical professionals recommend sativa strains for relief of mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and PTSD.
When taking sativa plants, you can expect to feel:
Hybrid strains are cultivated by crossing different plants to get a mix of the effects of each, but which strains is up to the maker. This means that a strain labeled as hybrid might mix multiple sativa strains or employ a mix of indica and sativa. These strains are designed to have potent effects for patients with medical conditions or those who want to experience a euphoric high.
While understanding the different types gives you a good starting point, experimenting with different strains across the spectrum of cannabis is the best way to establish which is right for you and provides the effects you want, like pain relief, ease sleeping or freedom from depressive thoughts.