Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa are the two main varieties of the cannabis plant used as medicine. There are many original landrace genetics of both varieties that come from many parts of the world. Within each of those varieties there are a huge number of individual strains, each with a different cannabinoid profile and medicinal effect.
As Indica strains have more chlorophyll than Sativa strains they grow and mature faster. Cross breeding Indicas with Sativas or a combination thereof creates hybrids. The resulting hybrid strains will grow, mature and differ medically in relationship to the indica/sativa percentages each phenotype contains.
Cannabis-VarietiesPure Sativa cannabis is a rarity in the medical marijuana field as these strains are a challenge to cultivate, especially indoors and outdoors in the northern hemisphere (Canada). Seeds of these types are also rare to find as vendors like to stock popular strains and pure Sativas aren’t that popular. Sativa’s come primarily from more equatorial regions (Colombia, Mexico and Southeast Asia). They grow as tall, thin plants, with narrow leaves and are light green in color. They grow quickly as compared to indica strains and can reach heights of 20 feet in a single season. Once flowering has begun, they can take anywhere from 10 to 16 weeks to fully mature. Flavors range from earthy to sweet and fruity.
Sativas are known for there uplifting capabilities that may aid in depression, fatigue, appetite stimulation, pain and nausea. Sativas are the strains that were popular and readily available in North America during the 60’s and 70’s. Although pure sativas are quite rare, they are highly coveted by breeders who use their genetic stability to create designer hybrid strains.
Pure Indicas originally come from the hash producing countries of the world like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco and Tibet. They are short, dense plants, with broad leaves that often grow a darker green, with more chlorophyll and less accessory pigments (accessory pigments protect the plant from excessive sunlight). After flowering starts they will mature in 6 to 8 weeks and are better for indoor growing because they do not grow as tall as sativas. The flowers will be thick and dense, with flavors and aromas ranging from pungent skunk to sweet and fruity.
Indica plants have by far the most pain fighting, sedating and relaxing effect. Patients usually use indicas for insomnia and severe pain later in the day as it has a strong cloudy type of high. Their strong sedating and pain blocking qualities are highly coveted.
Hybrid sativa dominant strains are coveted as medicine for the motivational properties they possess, often without the paranoia associated with pure sativa strains. Sativa dominant strains are uplifting, energetic and have a “cerebral” high that is best suited for daytime smoking. These types have antidepressant and appetite stimulation qualities, and can be very valuable as medicine in that regard.
Hybrid Indica Dominant: In terms of medical value these are the best and most widely appreciated. Today’s “Kush” strains are a prime example of these types and are easily the most popular. They tend to have many qualities that both grower and patient find to their liking, therefore the majority of medical marijuana is hybrid Indica. As a result of their higher CBD levels from breeding with Cannabis Ruderalis, they are also helpful as a sleeping aid for those suffering from injury, insomnia or severe inflammation.