Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid – Everything You Need to Know

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid - Everything You Need to Know

When choosing your strain, it is common for some to get confused, or question the difference between Indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains. Which one to choose, and most importantly, what are the key differences between these three types of strain?

They are all “highly” enjoyable in their own way, and they can all certainly have a very positive impact whether your purpose is recreation or medicinal use. Knowing the difference though, is something which will set you apart as a knowledgeable marijuana user, and allow you to select the perfect strain to match any occasion.

With that in mind, we have compiled a comprehensive indica vs sativa vs hybrid strain guide. This should tell you everything you need to know about the similarities and differences of each strain. It should also function as a helpful tool you can look back upon at any time when needed.

Basic Definitions

There is often confusion in the names. This is not only when it comes to strains, and the indica vs sativa question, but generally throughout history there have been many misunderstandings in regard to cannabis names. Simply looking at the hemp impact on the cotton industry, and prohibition by association will tell us that people do not always understand the nuance within a name.

Let’s take a look at exactly what the difference is behind each name:


Cannabis indica is a name which originates from the 18th century, associated with the discovery of psychoactive cannabis varieties from India. Here is was harvested in the production of hashish.

In the present day, we know indica as a shorter, broader plant. The broad-leaf plant has shorter flowering cycles, and oppositely to the sativa species, it is best suited to colder climates with shorter seasons. The buds of an indica plant are typically dense in nature, much more so than the sativa species.

When it comes to the effects of Indica, these are typically seen as more relaxing. The largely sedating effect makes them ideal for evening use, and popular for medicinal use among chronic pain sufferers in many cases.


The cannabis sativa species is in fact what would have originally been referred to as hemp plants. This has molded over time and evolved with the market to where we now know the sativa species as a taller and narrower plant variety.

From a grower’s perspective, the sativa is a taller tree, with narrower leaves. The flowering cycle of the sativa is generally longer, and it is best suited to warmer climates with a longer season.

Traditionally the effects of sativa strains are thought to be more cerebral. An energizing and more uplifting, out-of-body high which many have noted from sativa strains make it ideal in a social setting. This is something we will cover later in-depth.


Very few cannabis strains are purely indica or purely sativa strains. Many are mixed to some degree. This is where the hybrid name originates from. Within that, there are a variety of strains again. Some will be evenly balanced between indica and sativa, while others will be dominant in one or the other.

The effects of these strains will depend heavily upon the dominance, though as we will explain in the following sections, the effects of a particular strain can be more heavily influenced by their cannabinoids than the actual species of indica vs sativa plant itself.

What are the Differences Between Indica, Sativa and Hybrid

Generally speaking, the results of each strain on your experience will be different. Indica high effects will be different when compared with hybrid high effects, and those of a sativa. The reason behind this difference, however, has probably been simplified and categorized too neatly in recent years.

The categorization is of course due to the legalization of cannabis in many places, and the surging popularity of so many new strains and types. It is impossible to completely understand and discuss the effects based on indica vs sativa vs hybrid alone, though what we can do is touch on some general aspects of what to expect. The best guide as to the effects of a strain comes from the cannabinoids within that strain. This understanding of CBD and THC is something which we will cover in a later section.

Indica High Effects

A common question which many will ask is does indica make you relaxed? Broadly speaking, indica strains are known for their grounding, relaxing properties.

The effects of an indica strain can include relaxation; this can leave you feeling laid-back and easy going in general. Stronger indica strains will certainly leave you with a sedated feeling. This is what many term as “locked-in” where you are experiencing the effects of the high, but from an immobile position.

On the medicinal side, sativa strains are particularly popular when it comes to relieving aches and pains as well as anxiety and stress-related issues. This is predominantly due to the relaxing nature of a sativa produced high.

Bubba Kush and Purple Kush are among the most popular indica-dominant strains.

Sativa High Effects

A sativa high usually produces a much more energized result. This uplifting high is excellent at stimulating creative thought and certainly combines well with productivity and high energy tasks. For these reasons, it would be a common strain of choice when you are considering indica vs sativa for sex.

Many will ask, is sativa an upper? The answer to that question would be yes. Effects will often include a sense of well-being and mental positivity. This helps to relieve conditions such as depression and anxiety for which sativa dominant strains are often preferred. A full-body buzz and feeling of ecstasy can often be felt with stronger sativa strains. The length of time which this feeling lasts can also depend upon the strength of the strain, although they can provide full body highs which last for hours.

Sour Diesel is one of the most popular sativa-dominant strains.

Hybrid High Effects

Hybrid strains are exactly that. Since they are a mix of indica and sativa properties, it can be difficult to form an accurate conclusion as to what hybrid high effects may occur. Naturally, an indica-dominant hybrid will produce effects which are more in that line and vice versa.

For certain medical uses, a hybrid strain of the correct balance can produce results which are well-balanced and have a certain nuance to treat particular medical issues.

OG Kush and Blackberry Kush are among the most popular hybrid strains.

The Importance of THC Content in Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid Strains

Breaking away from the usual descriptions of Indica vs Sativa or Hybrid strains is vital if you wish to understand both the plant, and how to meet your own needs effectively. Many experts agree that these descriptions are simply too broad and overused in today’s marketplace.

Ultimately, this can leave you with a feeling of disappointment or confusion if you are expecting to be relaxed by every indica, and uplifted by every sativa strain you try. The synopsis which you often get is just too vague. In fact, it is for that reason that all of our products at grass chief include a detailed description, paying particular attention to the levels of THC and CBD contained in a strain.

These cannabinoids are the key drivers which will ultimately determine how the strain makes you feel. Those, along with the terpenes in a strain go a long way toward tailoring your high and overall experience.

Cannabis has more than 100 different cannabinoids, but these are the two with which you need to be most familiar as they will have the greatest impact on your high experience.

THC Dominant Strains

THC is essentially the component which causes you to feel a euphoric high. This is the psychoactive element of your strain. This cannabinoid is causing you to feel that uplifting energy, and full-body high experience. Naturally, them the higher the levels of THC in a strain, the more spaced-out you will feel. These are basically the sativa effects, and you will notice that sativa strains often have a considerably higher THC content. This is a definite contributor to our view of the sativa strain as being one which can energize and uplift. Much of this is in fact down to the THC content levels within the strain.

CBD Dominant Strains

On the other hand, strains which content a ratio weighted toward CBD, with a lower level of THC are much more likely to have us feeling relaxed and laid back. This is what makes it the perfect choice for patients who want to be relieved from their symptoms in a clear-headed manner. This distribution of a lower THC to CBD ratio is most commonly found within indica strains. This would lead us to greatly associate indica strains with these effects even though they are predominantly occurring thanks to the distribution of cannabinoids within the strain itself.

This is not to say that indica vs sativa strains’ exhibiting these characteristics is incorrect. In fact, both of the plant species have a different cannabinoid profile. This means that they are both more likely to conform to type, and produce the general characteristics we associate with them. The point though, is that to truly understand how you will react with a certain strain, you require more in-depth knowledge and profile other than simply a indica vs sativa, vs hybrid categorization.

Which Strain is Right for You?

Selecting the right cannabis strain is a personal choice just like any other. The first thing you have to identify is what type of high you are looking for, and for what purpose.

A patient with some anxiety-related conditions may prefer to try an indica strain which is weighted with a lower level of THC. On the other hand, someone who wants to feel a euphoric and exciting buzz after a long week of work, may choose a strain with a higher level of THC.

Sometimes, the perfect balance for many lies in the hybrid strains. These are becoming so customized that you can almost pick out the perfect strain which will perform the exact nuanced function which you want it to do.

The key important element when choosing a strain is simply to perform your own due diligence, and use guides like this to help you understand the differences between indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains. This should set you well on the way to finding the perfect strain for every occasion.

Another key point which you will need to keep in mind is changes in your weed tolerance over time. This can change for any number of reasons, be it an increase in your body tolerance, or a change in your physical or mental condition. It is something which you need to acknowledge and adapt to. There is always a possibility that a strain which once had one particular effect on you could alter or produce others. This is not necessarily a positive or negative point, just something to keep in mind when choosing between indica, sativa, or hybrids. It is also another good reason to continue choosing quality products and information from sources you trust, such as us here at Grass Chief.

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: The Final Word

Now that you have read through our comprehensive guide, you should have a solid base knowledge on the differences when it comes to these three choices of strain. It is our hope that this knowledge can assist you in making the best choice which suits your needs.

With that in mind, the final point to remember is, always do your research and that the differences when it comes to indica, sativa, or a hybrid go to a much deeper level than just the name tag. This is though, all part of the joy and experience of learning more about the cannabis world. Use our guide and content to help yourself continue evolving and developing alongside the cannabis industry!

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