Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: A guide to understanding your Cannabis Subspecies

Indica and Sativa

There are two major types of Cannabis; Indica and Sativa. One species tends to have greater effects on the human body while the other seems to affect the mind.[2] They can also be mixed or combined to create hybrid strains to help maximize medicinal benefits. General knowledge of the strains can help you choose which product is right for you.


Cannabis Indica

Indica plants grow much shorter and wider than Sativa plants. Indicas tend to be sedating and relaxing to the body and are commonly known as the "nighttime" variety of cannabis. [1] They are considered ideal for alleviating symptoms of patients suffering from insomnia and pain.[2] Indicas may also be effective in relieving symptoms of multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, sleep apnea, Parkinson’s, anxiety, and arthritis.[2&3] Due to its sedative effects, Indica is best consumed in the late afternoon or evening.[2]

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa plants are taller and thinner than Indica plants and can reach up to 20 feet tall. Sativa strains tend to be uplifting and creative with cerebrally-focused effects[1]. They are well known for their ability to relieve symptoms, while still allowing the patient to go about their daily life without feeling too tired and lethargic. Sativa strains are known to alleviate many symptoms, diseases, and disorders such as depression, nausea, loss of appetite, HIV/Aids, headaches/migraines, glaucoma and chronic pain.[2&3] Sativa strains are best consumed in the daytime as it elevates mood and stimulates creativity.[2]



Hybrid strains are a cross or mixture of two or more cannabis strains and generally provide a mix of body and cerebral effects. For example, a hybrid strain might be developed with the ability to kill pain and fight inflammation while not putting a patient to sleep in the middle of the day. A patient who medicates daily for nausea and pain might prefer a sativa-dominant hybrid if taken in the morning or mid-day but might consider an indica-dom strain in the evenings. Hybrid strains can often offer the best of both worlds for many patients.[3]

With indicas and sativas having such dramatic differences in effects and patient experience, patients may benefit by working closely with their physicians to find a cannabinoid profile that is most effective in treating their individual needs.

[1] Rahn, B. (2017, March 08). Sativa vs. Indica vs. Hybrid: What’s the Difference Between Cannabis Types? Retrieved June 19,2017, from
[2] Reichard, Z. (2016, June 06). Indica vs. Sativa Medical Marijuana Strain Differences. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from
[3] Team, S. (n.d.). Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid: Which Strain is Right For Me? Retrieved June 19, 2017, from

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