Cannabis is complex, being a cannabis writing I still don’t know everything about it. There’s cbd, cbns, terpenes, thousands of strains, different types of concentrates and that’s just scratching the surface. The one thing that has always been a staple in the cannabis world is how we categorize strains. We at Online Dispensary Canada spit our menu into three sections, Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid.

When people ask for product suggestions it’s usually accompanied by “for relaxation”, “for sleep”, “or going out” or various other sought-after effects. This breaks down what categories we send them to and what strains we recommend. When looking for a cannabis strain you have to be clear on what effects you’re after, not all strains have the same effect. This process is quite top-down.

Oddly enough, the initial question you should always ask is, do you want to get high? I know this sounds weird, all marijuana gets you high right?

Actually, no.

While there are 3 major strain categories Indica, sativa, and hybrid weed, some strains contain primary CBD and unnoticeable traces of THC, meaning you won’t feel the normal psychoactive effects. While these high CBD low THC strains primarily have medical uses,

To learn more about strains they don’t contain THC, check out our top 10 CBD strains list.

Once you’ve made the decision that you would like to drip your mind into the sticky substance called THC, the two main categories you will pick from are relaxation, indica strains, and sativa the energizing strains. While the effects vary from strain to strain. If you dig deep into the chemical compounds of marijuana you wouldn’t find much of a difference, or that there was any indication sativa or indica strains provide contrasting effects.

So without being able to check the chemical “ingredients of each strain, how can we even tell them apart?

Now, lets take a step back and take a look at how each strain category was discovered:


While there is evidence of cannabis plants found in Japan’s Oki Islands dating back to 8000 BC, we are only really interested in the different categories of strains discovered in this article.

Sativa was the first type of cannabis plant to be discovered. While it isn’t probable that sativa cannabis was the first to be around, it was discovered by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus first identified psychoactive cannabis plants as cannabis sativa. Carl Linnaeus, bobbed the “father of modern taxonomy”, was the first published in 1753 describing the plant as tall, thin, with narrow leaves. With the plant originating from Central and South America the name sativa originates from the Latin word cultivated, a name given to hemp thought history.

It took almost half a century for indica cannabis to be discovered by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in India. As you’ve probably guessed, indica is Latin for “of India”. As you’ve probably guessed, indica is Latin for “of India”. She described the plant as bushy, thick and wide.

As we can see from the descriptions given to these plants, the main characteristic on how we can tell them apart is how they grow.

Sativa being suited for warm climates and long summer have longer flowering cycles, tall in stature, and narrow pointed leaves. Indica is suitable for colder climates with shorter seasons and short flowering cycles and broad leaves.

Now if we can only tell the difference between sativa and indica plants through the grower, why do we say they’re different?

Indica vs Sativa Effects.

For some time the term indica and sativa have caused some controversy. While most dispensaries, including us, use common phrases like cerebral, heading, energizing to define sativa and relaxing, couch lock, and full-bodied to describe indica, the plant’s lineage isn’t always aligned with the effects.

Taking a deep dive on sites like reddit /growingmarijuana or other cannabis cultivation sites, you can see hybrid cultivators have been popping up more than ever. One of our top selling strains GG#4 is a hybrid and many flavor these strains for a good reason.

Technically all cultivators today grow hybrids, we often classify hybrid as crosses between sativa and indica lineage to product-specific qualities and effects. Being able to focus on effects and characteristics of stains allows for some out of the box creates that are nothing short of marketing genius.

Northern Lights is a combination of Afghani and Thai strains that produces a popping deep purple that is unforgettable, it was the first strain that popped into my head when thinking of altered hybrid strains.

If colorful strains aren’t your thing as you don’t see the weed rolled up in a joint anyways, cultivators have designed the thing for you. Crossed from G13, Neville’s A-5, and Afghan strains, Tangerine Dream was bread to give your sweet tooth kick in a tasty strain. Most of our customers say this strain was sweeter than expected and truly tastes like a tangerine.

So what does Indica and Sativa Really mean?

Indica vs sativa is outdated and not completely accurate. However, it does still help how we categorize strains. Indica is still a relaxing strain and sativa is still provides an energizing effect but what really we should be looking at is a little thing called terpenes.

Terpenes make us the organic compounds of the marijuana planted are responsible for the plants flavors and aromas. These compounds also greatly influence the effects the plant will produce.