Indica vs. Sativa: An Introduction to the Major Cannabis Types
Most dispensary workers love to educate people about the difference between strains. What they don’t love having to explain is that your inability to get high isn’t because your weed variety isn’t strong enough — it’s because you’ve been smoking it wrong.
Whether you’re eager to gain more knowledge about cannabis or just hoping not to look like a total noob when you walk into a dispensary, below is a cheat sheet to the different types of cannabis, their health benefits, and even their most common strains. Once you’ve mastered the types, consider pairing your weed with wine.
Terms to Know
You’ve probably heard about cannabidiol (CBD) and THC, but what exactly are CBD and THC? Below, we explain what the two compounds are and how they relate to cannabis.
- THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol is the psychoactive component that produces the high.
- CBD: Cannabidiol is a similar component that can enhance your mood but will not make you high.
Also known as “in da couch,” this variety of cannabis gives you more of a body buzz (as opposed to a heady “high”) and leaves you more relaxed. Oddly enough, indica strains tend to have a lighter THC concentration than sativa, even though they result in a more “stoned” sensation.
This ultra-mellow type of pot, characterized by shorter plants with broader leaves, is perfect for insomniacs and the type who wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about stuff. It’s also a good option for inducing appetite, easing stress and anxiety, and alleviating physical conditions like muscle pain and even seizures.
Common indica strains: Bubba Kush, Granddaddy Purp, and Northern Lights
The second most plentiful cannabinoid in the marijuana plant, CBD is the yin to THC’s yang. It produces that nice, mellow relaxation without the psychoactive effects (what your grandpa might call the “reefer madness”). If smoking pot makes you anxious, paranoid, or prone to hallucinations, a CBD-heavy strain will probably be your cup of tea. It can also be your cup of joe, as there are now CBD coffee brands on the market.
It’s also good for people who are exclusively interested in the medicinal effects of cannabis, such as pain and stress relief, mood disorders, and other chronic physical and mental issues.
Thanks to the booming interest in medical marijuana, growers have developed cannabis strains that offer an equal ratio of CBD to THC; one such strain is ACDC. However, some CBD-heavy strains can go as high as a 22:1 ratio of CBD to THC. If that’s what you’re after, look for a strain called Ringo’s Gift.
Common CBD strains: ACDC and Ringo’s Gift
Related Reading: Best CBD Snacks for Delicious Relaxation
Thinner leaves, taller plants, and longer flowering cycles characterize the sativa variety of cannabis. The strain of choice for the “wake and bake” crowd, the THC-heavy sativa gives you more of a heady high as opposed to a heavy stoned feeling. Some strains can even act more like an upper than a downer, providing positive energy that is particularly helpful in creative and cerebral endeavors. If you’re trying to finally write your novel or have to put together a PowerPoint presentation, this bud’s for you. Sativa is also said to be helpful for depression, social anxiety, and even ADHD.
Common sativa strains: Jack Herer, Lemon Haze, and Sour Diesel
Despite cannabis having been around and in use for thousands of years, it’s still undetermined whether indica and sativa are truly separate species of the plant. Regardless, hybridized strains of the two have become quite popular among smokers who want a little bit of everything. The first hybrids appeared in the United States in the 1970s but really came into their own during the ‘90s when hydroponic cultivation technology allowed growers to really geek out.
Today’s hybrids tend to be indica-dominant or sativa-dominant, which means it’s a good idea to decide what direction you’re leaning before buying. If you’re looking for a nearly perfect balance between the sedative effects of an indica and the euphoric energy of a sativa, keep your eyes peeled for Blue Dream, a California strain that has achieved legendary status.
The Best High-CBD Strains of Hemp Flower
With names like Death Star and Bruce Banner, many high-THC strains of cannabis can be too intense for those who want less of a mental high and more of a body high. If you’re looking for cannabis strains that don’t “go to your head,” then a high CBD strain of hemp is for you.
Why Does CBD Matter?
CBD is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants, and it has peaked the interest of cannabis advocates and critics alike. This is because Cannabidiol (the scientific name for CBD) won’t produce an intoxicating effects or “high” like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), but it has many potential wellness advantages.
CBD is tolerated by most people, and there are little to no side effects. Research also suggests that there are many benefits of CBD, such as:
- Reducing inflammation
- Relieving pain and headaches
- Soothing anxiety
- Treating seizures and epilepsy
- Reducing insomnia
In addition to these benefits, other cannabinoids and terpenes that are abundant in the best high CBD strains or full spectrum CBD products work together to help elicit the entourage effect for more profound results.
What is a High CBD Strain of Cannabis?
CBD strains have a higher ratio of CBD to THC. Some strains may have a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio, in which case the CBD may help to counteract the psychotropic effects produced by THC for a more relaxed high. For CBD strains with 2:1 and 2:0 ratios, there is little to no intoxicating effects.
A series of lab studies in Washington state tested the cannabinoid levels of different strains found in cannabis products, listing their THC to CBD ratios. The study found that seemingly homogenous products found in multiple testing labs actually had varying levels of THC and CBD.
As regulations evolve for cannabis, products may not always have the exact same ratio. However, the highest CBD strains are assumed to have more CBD and a low THC content.
The Top High CBD Strains of Hemp Flower
Here is our list of the cannabis strains that contain the highest CBD percentages.
1. Northern Lights
This CBD-dominant strain is highly sedative strain and best for nights. The strong smell and earthly flavor are reminiscent of it’s more THC-laden cousins.
Percentage Levels: CBD
2. Cherry Wine
A Sativa and Indica hybrid, this strain is best for focus and relaxation, while bringing along none of the “high” associated with THC buds.
Percentage Levels: Total CBD: 16.48%, Delta-9 THC: <0.3%
3. Grape Soda
This is a flavorful bud, tasting of grapes and pine. Grape soda is also recommended for calm, focus, and relaxation.
Percentage Levels: Total CBD: 15.33% / Delta 9 THC: 0.1%
4. Super Silver Haze
Super Silver Haze is a CBD-dominant strain that is best for an uplifting and energetic daytime smoke, recommended for the creatives out there.
Percentage Levels: Total CBD: 18.91% / Delta 9 THC: 0%
5. White CBG
This CBG flower contains a high level of the cannabinoid Cannabigerol (CBG) and may be best for relaxing to relieve aches at the end of a long day.
Percentage Levels: Total CBG: 21.8% / Delta 9 THC: 0.0%
About Cheef Botanicals CBD Flower
Cheef Botanicals was founded by a group of cannabis enthusiasts to deliver high-quality, Colorado-grown hemp to the masses. Today they produce some of the highest quality, most potent CBD flower on the market.
All Cheef Botanicals products contain only the best organic vegan ingredients. They are also cruelty-free, non-GMO, gluten free and dairy free.
Other CBD-Dominant Strains to Consider
Whether you are new to cannabis and CBD, or you’re an aficionado, you’ve probably heard of Charlotte’s Web. In fact, Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s endorsement of the strain on daytime television made it so well-known, that Florida passed the Charlotte’s Web law, legalizing only that strain. It is one of the most recognizable names among CBD cannabis strains.
In a study among pediatric epilepsy patients, patients given Charlotte’s Web with a 27:1 CBD to THC ratio had reduced seizures and improved mood, focus and appetite. It’s no wonder that its benefits make it so popular. You can even get it in chocolate mint, orange blossom, lemon twist, and olive oil flavors.
ACDC was another high-CBD oil tested in the above study, with ratios from 15:1 to 28:1 CBD to THC. It provided positive effects as well for pediatric epilepsy patients.
As a sativa-dominant strain, it is known for providing some energy and focus to those who consume it. Though evidence is anecdotal, it may be useful for some with pain, inflammation, stress, depression, epilepsy, and even Parkinson’s disease.
Though ACDC is sweet with a zing of citrus, its rockstar name is a bit misleading as there is virtually no high in its low-THC make up. So, don’t expect any intoxicating side effects.
A play on “catatonic,” the Cannatonic CBD flower strain is one of the best for anxiety and stress. This earthy strain is known for creating the warm fuzzies. Use this strain if you need a boost in your energy or mood, but with a dose of calmness.
Cannatonic typically contains a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. There are some euphoric effects from the THC, but its high CBD content prevents any real high. So, newcomers who are anxious about cannabis and THC can still enjoy it.
Remedy is derived from Cannabis Indica, which often means that it is best for relaxation, reduced muscle tension and improved sleep. Therefore, you should use Remedy if you are looking to stop insomnia and get a calming “body high.”
Like the previous strains, Remedy has an earthy and citrusy flavor profile. It’s a cross between Cannatonic and Afghan Skunk, but it has a higher CBD to THC ratio than Cannatonic.
An Indica-dominant hybrid, Pennywise is a cross between the Harlequin strain and the Jack the Ripper strain. This is most likely where it gets its name, which comes from the famed killer clown. Like traditional clowns, however, Pennywise is meant to make you happy.
Pennywise may be the perfect strain for depression and even PTSD. This is in part due to its near 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC. You’ll get some of the happy-inducing high with the calming, balancing effects of the CBD and Indica-based properties. Its flavor profile is sweet with a hint of pepper.
Speaking of Pennywise, a harlequin is also a type of clown or jester. It’s also the name of one of Pennywise’s cross-strains. The name for this Sativa-dominant strain is fitting, because it is likely to soothe pain, increase energy and improve mood.
Most Harlequin strains have a 5:2 ratio of CBD to THC, so you won’t get high despite being feeling happier, energetic and more sociable.
Sour Tsunami is a cross between Sour Diesel and NYC Diesel. Therefore, you can expect a sweet flavor with the unique aroma of diesel.
The strain’s CBD to THC ratio is about 1:1, specifically with CBD levels around 11 percent and THC levels up to 10 percent. This may not be the best strain for beginners or the THC-averse, because a slight high can be expected despite the calming balance of CBD.
Ringo’s gift is similarly comprised of a 1:1 ratio. However, if you want a strain that’s all about the CBD, you can often find ratios up to 20:1 CBD to THC . The high-CBD versions of this strain are used by cancer patients and the medical community at large for pain relief.
Ringo’s Gift is actually named after a cannabis activist, rather than the famous Beatles drummer. However, it does have some connection to music, because it is a cross between Harle-Tsu and ACDC. Both are excellent CBD strains.
You don’t see Trident on many top 10 lists, but it has an impressively high CBD content. This makes it a popular medical cannabis strain.
Despite its high levels of CBD, it can have up to six percent THC, so some cerebral effects may take place. On the other hand, its status in the medical cannabis community proves that you won’t lose your alertness or focus.
This hybrid strain is the epitome of high-CBD/low-THC strains, though it is not always easy to find. You’ll get a nearly 20:1 ratio with no intoxicating effects. It is a cannabis strain rich in terpenes , which can help with inflammation, insomnia, nausea and other symptoms.
Harle-tsu’s name is a mashup of the two strains from which it’s crossed: Harlequin and Sour Tsunami. Unlike the diesel aroma of Sour Tsunami, Harle-tsu has a woodsy flavor.
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