Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid

These days, there is quite an assortment of cannabis strains to choose from! You may feel like a kid in a candy store, standing there with wide eyes and trying to decide on a new strain to experiment with. It can also be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for. Luckily, all of these different strains can be categorized into three different groups that will make things a little bit easier: sativa, indica, hybrid. One thing you might be wondering now is, “Well, what’s the difference between indica, sativa, and hybrid highs?” While each type of strain is going to provide you with a different experience, we are here to help you out! Keep reading and you will learn all the different variations to look for when it comes to indica vs sativa vs hybrid.  


What is Indica?  

If you are looking for a strain to help you relax after work or wind down before bed, an indica strain could be the perfect choice for you. Indica is often described as more of a “body high” and you may have heard it referred to as “in-da-couch." This is because it is widely known to glue you to the couch while you chill out, but it is so much more than that. It is also a great strain for helping you to feel calm and relaxed. Due to its high CBD levels, the effects of indica are more physical and can even provide you with some medical benefits like pain relief, as it helps to ease muscle pain and tension. There are many other benefits of an indica strain, like how they can help reduce nausea and even increase your appetite. An indica strain can also make you sleepy and improve your sleep cycle, making it a perfect choice for night-time cannabis use. Some of the most popular indica strains you will find out there are Girl Scout Cookies, Grand Daddy Purple, Northern Lights, Skywalker, and Afghan Kush. 


What is Sativa?  

Whenever you want a boost of energy or need to stay active, try a sativa strain. Some people call it “sunny sativa” because it helps them think of it as a strain that is good to use during the daytime. Sativa strains give more of a “head high” and can help increase your focus and concentration. It is known to help stimulate your mind, which in return can boost your productivity and inspire you to be more creative. It has higher THC levels that can also help reduce anxiety and improve your overall mood, especially if you have had a bad day. Since it can also help make you feel more energized, sativa is often the strain of choice in a social setting, but it is also good for wake and bake sessions if you have things you need to do during the day. Some of the most sought-after sativa strains are Green Crack, Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, Blue Dream, and Durban Poison.  


What is a Hybrid Strain?  

Is indica or sativa better? It really comes down to what type of high you prefer but if you are looking for something in between the two, then a hybrid strain might be right up your alley. Thanks to crossbreeding different cannabis strains, there are now hundreds of different types of hybrid strains to choose from on the market. Hybrids can have a wide range of effects that may help narrow down the specific experience and benefits you have been searching for. Hybrid strains are unique because they are made by crossing different types of indica and sativa cannabis strains. This allows the growers to mix different parent plants in order to make new hybrid strains and discover a whole new combination of effects. When people think about hybrids, they usually think of an overall “balanced high” but it really comes down to the traits of the parent strains that were used to create it. For example, some hybrids may be more indica-dominant, while some may be more sativa-dominant, and others may be a perfect 50/50 balance. If you are on the hunt for the perfect hybrid strain, you should stay on the lookout for Skywalker, White Widow, OG Kush, Runtz, and Pineapple Express. 


Understanding Sativa, Indica, and Hybrids  

Sometimes knowing the different characteristics of each strain may not be enough to know how it could potentially make you feel physically and mentally. It can be a sort of stereotype to say that all indica strains will be relaxing and all sativa strains will be energizing. Due to crossbreeding, some indica strains may have similar effects to a sativa strain and vice versa. This is because each strain has its own chemical composition that defines how it will smell, taste, and affect the human body. To fully understand the difference between indica, sativa, and hybrid effects, the first thing you need to know is that each strain contains different combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids. While it is helpful to know about these terpenes and cannabinoids, don't worry about trying to memorize all of them! A brief explanation will be enough to help you understand how they work. 


Have you ever opened a jar of bud just so you could take a whiff of its smelly goodness? You were actually enjoying the terpenes of your stash! Each cannabis strain has its own unique scent and flavor, all thanks to terpenes! While there are terpenes in almost every plant, there have been hundreds of different types of terpenes that have been discovered in cannabis plants alone. Terpenes all have their own distinct characteristics and depending on which terpenes are present in the strain’s genetics, they can make your bud taste and smell fruity, skunky, earthy, or even spicy. Not only are terpenes responsible for the aroma and flavor profile of a strain, but they may also help determine which cannabis effects to expect from it. Just to name a few types of terpenes, the most common ones include myrcene, pinene, limonene, caryophyllene, and linalool. Like we said before, don’t fret over trying to memorize all of these. 



In addition to terpenes, there are also hundreds of different types of cannabinoids. They all have different benefits, and they are found almost exclusively in cannabis plants. These cannabinoids come into play because our bodies have their own receptors that respond to them, also known as an endocannabinoid system. Our endocannabinoid system helps regulate our appetites, moods, sleep patterns, and even our memory. Some of the most well-known cannabinoids include CBD, THC, and delta-8 THC. The different levels of CBD and THC that are in strain have a big impact on the overall experience it is going to provide. CBD is mostly responsible for the physical “body high” effects, whereas THC is more associated with the mental “head high.” The terpenes that are present in a strain can also either strengthen or weaken the effects of the cannabinoids; this is referred to as “the entourage effect.” Isn’t science amazing? 


Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid  

What is the difference between indica, sativa, and hybrid? Cannabis has been grown and crossbred for hundreds of years so there aren’t technically any “pure” sativa or indica plants around today, but the terms are still used because plants can be more sativa-dominant or indica-dominant. When talking about hybrid strains, they are generally thought of as a balanced combination of the two. The difference between hybrid and sativa will come from the indica parent strain. Likewise, the difference between hybrid and indica comes from the sativa parent strain.  


Plant Characteristics  

The physical difference between indica, sativa, and hybrid plants is easy to see with the human eyes. Some strains even prefer different environments. Indica plants are short, bushy, and have dark green leaves. They will usually grow up to 6ft tall and prefer a cooler climate. Since they are a denser plant, they also mature quickly and produce more buds than sativa. Sativa plants can grow up to 10ft or taller and have thinner, light green leaves. Because they like to grow so tall, they do very well when grown outdoors. A hybrid plant, however, may look different based on the parent plants that were crossed to grow it. 


Type of High  

So, what is the difference between indica, sativa, and hybrid highs? Indica strains will generally give more of a body high and can make you feel sleepy so it’s usually the strain of choice for chilling on the couch and watching your favorite TV show. Sativa strains will be more of a head high so they can help you feel more focused and creative; a perfect choice if you have a project to work on. Since hybrid strains are a mix of indica and sativa, the type of high really depends on its parent strains. A balanced hybrid strain will give you the relaxing body high of an indica strain and the energizing head high of a sativa strain. 



As you have probably realized by now, the range of effects can vary from strain to strain. The terpenes and cannabinoids we mentioned earlier will all work together and determine what type of effects a strain will provide, so the possibilities are endless. Another thing to consider is that one strain can affect people differently based on their cannabis tolerance and metabolism. This is a lot of information to remember but you don’t need to worry; if you are still feeling confused, growers and shops can recommend a strain based on the experience you are looking for. They might even have a hybrid vs sativa vs indica chart that may be helpful to glance at, but you can also just tell them exactly what you like and what you don’t like. Here is a good list of key words you can use to describe the effects that you’re looking for in a cannabis strain:  

  • Relaxed 
  • Calm 
  • Pain relief  
  • Reduced anxiety  
  • Reduced nausea 
  • Sleepy 
  • Stimulating 
  • Energized 
  • Focused 
  • Euphoric 
  • Hungry 
  • Happy 
  • Giggly  
  • Creative 

Vaping Essentials from Strio  

When it comes down to indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains, you may favor one over another, but it also never hurts to have a variety to choose from at home so you can be ready to toke in any situation. We know we can’t be the only ones who think that getting a new strain also calls for a new ganja toy so don’t forget to check out the Strio shop for the most innovative devices and accessories in the world of smoke culture. Whether you prefer vaping, dabbing, or smoking your cannabis, our products are designed to elevate your experience and will blow you away.