Sativa, Indica and Hybrids

How do they differ?

Marijuana has a lot of varieties which are commonly a hybrid of its two major strains

  • Cannabis sativa
  • Cannabis indica

These two strains vary significantly in their morphological attributes(shape, structure, colour, pattern, size). Cannabis sativa has a tall, skinny plant structure while Cannabis indica has a stunted and more compacted structure. These strains (C. sativa and C. indica) do not just vary morphologically but also in their uses in the medicinal field. As written by Karma Holistic Foundation, C. sativa is commonly used in the morning for its uplifting and/or euphoric effect in contrast to the C. indica which has a heavy feeling and/or body-melting effect which is preferred to be used at night. These strains also differ in their specific area of the target. C. sativa targets the brain. It induces the “high” feeling which is found effective to treat anxiety and depression as opposed to the effect of C. indica which relaxes the muscles in the body which is effective in inducing tiredness and sleep (Karma Holistic Foundation).

Another type of cannabis is Cannabis ruderalis. This strain was just discovered and thrives in the wild in Russia and some parts of Europe according to Karma Holistic Foundation. Morphologically, Cannabis ruderalis is not that far from Cannabis indica. Both strains have short and dense plant structure. While the specific medicinal properties of the other two strains (C. sativa and C. indica) were known, that of the Cannabis ruderalis is yet to be discovered but this strain is often an object of hybrid for the other two strains..

As the search for other medicinal purposes of marijuana is ongoing, breeders have thought of crossbreeding different strains to achieve the different medicinal purpose and also to improve the quality of existing strains. Strains are said to be hybrid when plants of different varieties are being cross-pollinated for the succeeding offspring to achieve the best possible characteristics they can possess from the parent plants. Marijuana hybrids are classified into three categories depending on the dominant plant parent. According to Karma Holistic Foundation, these hybrids are categorized as sativa-dominant hybrids, even hybrids, and indica-dominant hybrids. These three categories differentiate from each other in their use as a medicine. Sativa-dominant hybrids are mostly used to induce a “cerebral or mental high” feeling like the effect of its dominant parent plant. Indica-dominant hybrids are mostly used to induce a “body high” feeling. While these two have different effects, even hybrids are a combination of both sativa and indica-dominant hybrids that are found idyllic to those people who would like to achieve a balance of both “cerebral or mental high” and body relaxation or “body high” feeling.

What are some of the medicinal uses?

According to the World Health Organization, marijuana can be used to treat neuropathic pain. It is approved to be used as an antiemetic drug, named Marinol®, which is effective against nausea and vomiting and treats motion sickness. It can also be used to improve food consumption due to its appetite-stimulating properties. It is also approved in Canada, Denmark, and United States as a treatment for multiple sclerosis. Sativex®, a drug which is a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the major psychoactive component of marijuana strains, and cannabidiol (CBD), which comprises around forty percent of the marijuana plant extract, is approved in twenty-five countries as a treatment for spasticity.

How is Marijuana consumed?

The main purpose of using marijuana is to get the “high” feeling but the level of being “high” will also depend on the process of taking it in. The most frequent and probably the most popular way of using marijuana is through inhalation which has two ways: smoking and vaporization. Smokers have different tools to use in consuming marijuana. One is the use of hand pipes. These pipes are used to trap the smoke from the burning weeds inside that enables the smoker to inhale it. Another one is through hookahs but these are used less frequently because the burning herb inside burns faster than being inhaled. Vaporizers are also used and are mostly favored by health-conscious marijuana users. This is due to the controlled heat from the vaporizer which burns the herb enough to obtain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids to get the “high” feeling but also not hot enough to burn possible harmful toxins. Although more effective and preferred, some users do not use vaporizers because it is more expensive.

Marijuana consumption does not end in inhaling the smoke. It can also be consumed through oral delivery. This method is commonly used to avoid health implications caused by smoking. According to Kayla Williams from Leafly.com, tinctures can be used as a mode of consumption for those who want to control the amount of substance that they intake. There are also oil ingestibles to take. Eating and drinking marijuana is also an option although these methods may lessen the level of being “high”. To consume marijuana, people usually infuse marijuana into their staple food or favorite drinks. Like using the tincture, this method is also used to ensure dosage control. There is another method of using marijuana that does not require consumers to inhale or ingest the said herb. This is through the use of topical delivery. Williams, from Leafly.com, wrote that this method uses full marijuana extract that has been decarboxylated to form a thick oil that can be rubbed to the skin and allows it to be absorbed.