Marijuana and hemp are the two most popular cousins from the Cannabis family, but most people don't know that there are other ways to categorize these plants. Marijuana has three different species—called sativa, indica, and hybrid—and another little-known and rarely used species of marijuana is known as ruderalis. Certain strains of cannabis are described using these terms, and each of these species has a characteristic chemical composition and physical appearance, differentiating them from one another. Let's take a quick look at these four types of marijuana.
Sativa plants are usually grown in hot and dry climates that experience long, sunny days. They are generally found in Central America, Southeast Asia, Africa, and parts of Western Asia. Sativa plants are famous for their stimulating effect, which is why they can be used in the daytime as well.
Cannabis sativa plants are skinny and tall with many more fingers than other species, sometimes reaching as many as thirteen. The term “sativa” is also used to describe industrial hemp, as they have a lot of similarities. Most sativa plants easily reach 6 feet in length. Sativa contains about 1 to 12% CBD and about 21 to 22% THC. Sativa plants are rich in terpenes such as pinene, myrcene, limonene, and caryophyllene. Sativa plants are usually associated with producing anti-stress effects as well as increased energy and improved concentration and focus.
Cannabis indica was originally found in Turkey, India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. It is best known for growing in the dry and turbulent climate surrounding the Hindu Kush Mountains. Indica plants are known for their short and stout physical appearance, typically having about 7 to 9 fingers. The leaves on this plant are fatter than on its sativa cousins. A fully mature plant reaches up to 4 feet in length only.
Indica plants have a significant THC quantity, ranging between 23 to 25%. Some indica strains contain up to 18% CBD. Most of these plants are rich in valencene, limonene, and pinene. These cannabinoids and phytonutrients are known to produce strong anti-anxiety and anti-stress effects. It can also help with sleep issues and pain because of its sedating and relaxing nature. Indica strains are known to produce relaxation, so they should be used in the nighttime to avoid any inconvenience during the day.
Hybrid strains are a combination of both sativa and indica. Their physical appearance and chemical makeup are dependent on the dominant parent species. Hybrids are usually grown to have specific traits of two strains in one plant.
Ruderalis plants have a distinct physical appearance. They are short and barely reach up to 2 feet in length. Since ruderalis plants lack terpenes, they don't have any specific aroma. Ruderalis may be preferred for its significantly higher CBD-to-THC ratio. However, there are no clear health benefits associated with ruderalis, as it is best for auto-flowering hybrids only.
Marijuana is a diverse plant, and its properties cannot be studied by researching only a single species. Cannabis sativa is best for medicinal use, whereas indica strains are preferred for recreational use. Hybrid strains and ruderalis are each grown to acquire particular traits of the parent strains.