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Home / Discover / Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid Marijuana Strains – What’s the Difference? Canadians Need to Know

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid Marijuana Strains – What’s the Difference? Canadians Need to Know


If you are a budding marijuana enthusiast, you will almost certainly be aware of terms like ‘Indica’, ‘Sativa’ and ‘Hybrid’. You will be hard-pressed to find a dispensary in the days post-legalization era in Canada that does not use this terminology for marketing the different strains of cannabis that they have in stock.

That said, what exactly is the difference between an Indica strain and a Sativa strain, and how are they both different from a Hybrid? In this post, we delve briefly into some of the key contrasts between them. If you’re in Canada, shopping online makes the most sense. If you want some customer service, try a local dispensary but the best deals and selection are found online.

Cannabis Species: It’s All in the Name

The two different cannabis species differ in some significant ways. Not only are there contrasts between the size and shape of the plants, but there are also some changes in the chemical makeup of the plants, which can mean they have a different effect on the human body when consumed.

Cannabis Indica

Cannabis Indica is characterized by its short, squat stature and its bushy, broad-leaved foliage. Indica strains are usually darker green in colour. They also have dense, heavy buds which are often globular in shape. The plant is most at home when growing in cooler climates which are similar to the high-altitude climates of the mountainous regions of Central Asia of which it is native.

Indica strains are usually lower in THC and higher in CBD than Sativa strains. People often report that the high from consuming Indica strains is mellower and more relaxing. They are known for producing a full-body high that is associated with peace of mind and tranquility. For this reason, Indica strains are often used to treat symptoms of anxiety as well as pain.

Cannabis Sativa

Cannabis Sativa grows a lot taller and thinner than Indica. Its leaves and flowers are also slenderer and wispier when compared with the buds of Indica plants. The colour of the plant is generally a couple of shades lighter than the dark green Indica plant. Cannabis Sativa grows naturally in tropical and subtropical climates like those of South Asia and Mexico where it grows in the wild.

Sativa strains are high in THC, which gives many of them an intense cerebral high. They are great for people who like to smoke cannabis and retain the get-up and go to accomplish things during the day. Sativa strains are perfect for people who like smoking socially since they promote talkativeness and sociability.


Hybrid strains are strains that have been crossed with parent plants from both the Indica and Sativa genera. This may be done for a number of reasons, including to experiment with new tastes, to increase potency and yield, or to make a strain more resistant to mold. Breeders often attempt to marry the effects of two or more of their favorite strains for what they hope will be the ultimate smoke.

After strains have been crossed, breeders will often back-cross the result with one of its parents. This is done to tweak attributes to create the perfect phenotype. In the end, you are often left with a plant that may be 75% Sativa and 25% Indica, which explains why you will often see the terms ‘Indica-dominant’ or ‘Sativa-dominant’ on the description of weed on the websites of online dispensaries.

In the End, It’s All About Taste

Although many people will have you believe that Sativa has one effect and Indica has another, in reality, the distinction between the species is a little blurry. There are some Indica strains that can be quite energetic while there are some Sativa strains that are more calming. While you can use the Indica/Sativa distinction as a general rule of thumb when buying a new strain, finding your favourite is often a case of trial and error. Different strains will suit different people than others, so there really is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing the right cannabis for you.

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