There are classification types of marijuana and countless strains to choose from, each providing its unique benefits and best use. It is a good idea to consider a strain’s classification when using marijuana medicinally.
The classification of strains between Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa began in the 18th century when the distinction was made due to the differences in resin production and structure of the cannabis leaves. As cultivators crossed genetics from different geographic locations all over the world, the hybrid category was born later on.
Cannabis indica originates near Afghanistan, in the Hindu Kush mountain region. The Hindu Kush strain is a very potent indica that gained its potency and was able to survive the unforgiving and severe climate by developing a very thick, cannabinoid-rich resin coat to protect itself from the cold climate. Their potency is well known, and consumption has very strong effects. Cannabis indica plants have full-figured leaves, dense foliage, are typically short/stubby in appearance, and usually offer high THC content. Some other very potent pure indica strains are Afghani, Northern Lights, and Granddaddy Purple.
Indicas tend to offer great pain relief and have very sedative effects. Consumption of indica leaves users feeling very relaxed, or even sleepy, and are often nicknamed “in-da-couch” for their potency and ability to sedate. Indicas have been very useful for the treatment of anxiety/depression, nausea or loss of appetite, and can be very helpful to those who suffer from insomnia.
True Cannabis sativa plants are extremely tall, typically reaching anywhere from 8 to 18 feet high. Sativas are native to the warm equatorial regions of Southeast Asia, Central America, and Mexico. They flourish in the outdoor heat and typically grow between 8-12 feet high, though greater heights are possible with ideal growing conditions. The plant leaves are thinner than those found on indicas. Jack Herer, Durban Poison, and G-13 are some of the more commonly known pure sativa strains.
Sativa strains offer what regular smokers often refer to as a “day-time high.” Consumption of sativa offers a more cerebral and less sedative high than indica. Users often feel energized, focused, stimulated, and often more creative.
Growers created hybrids by crossbreeding the original strains of sativa and indica. Hybrids eventually began being crossed with other hybrids, which has led to the increased potency of the marijuana available. Selecting hybrid strains also allows the user to benefit from the effects of both strains, and each strain has very differing effects. Hybrids are extremely diverse and tend to be either sativa or indica dominate, though some 50/50 strains do exist.
Hemp’s scientific name is Cannabis ruderalis, and it is often referred to as ditch weed. It originates from Russia and is regularly seen growing along the road in Eastern Europe. While hemp doesn’t have any psychoactive properties and is not used medicinally, it is extremely valuable. Hemp seeds are very healthy to eat, offering great nutrient density. Hemp is an extremely sustainable source of biodiesel fuel and paper products. Ruderalis is unique in that it will flower with its age rather than with a light cycle, unlike its sativa and indica relatives.