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Different Types of Marijuana

Not all marijuana is created equal. Given that generations of marijuana enthusiasts and experienced growers have created specific strains and potencies of marijuana over the decades, the pot that’s available today is very different from what your parents or grandparents might have smoked.

There are several different types of marijuana that you should be aware of, and that you’ll probably hear about.

The three most common marijuana varieties are sativa and indica, followed by ruderalis.

The Cannabis sativa plant is thought to have originated Southeast Asia, Central America and other equatorial parts of the world. It tends to be relatively tall with long, narrow leaves. Sativa fans claim the plant has a “cerebral” effect on users – more of a head high – creating a mental looseness and emotional uplift. Cannabis sativa also has the reputation for giving people energy and creativity. Its proponents say it can be excellent for exercise, doing chores around the house or helping you brainstorm new ideas.

The Cannabis indica plant, on the other hand, is usually shorter and bushier than sativa, with wider and darker leaves. Experts believe indica was first seen in Central Asia and the Middle East: think Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. They’re known to be fast-maturing and more tolerant of variable, colder climates.

Indica is generally considered a “body high;” useful in relieving pain, relaxing the body and reducing anxiety. There’s an expression some cannabis users have: that indica equals “in the couch.” In other words, you won’t want to move from the couch once you imbibe. Indicas are also known for helping people sleep.

Cannabis ruderalis is the least common type of marijuana and has very little THC, which means it’s hardly ever used by recreational or medical cannabis users.

Of course there are also dozens if not hundreds of hybrid strains of marijuana that combine the indica and sativa varieties, and which growers have bred for different effects on cannabis consumers.

If you choose a hybrid strain that is dominant to one way or the other, you should expect to experience more of the effects associated with the dominant strain. Some people, however, say that a high is a high and that the differences between sativa and indica are debatable. You be the judge!


For more detailed information about marijuana varieties and strains, consult the following:

Cannabis 101 –

Sativa Vs. Indica – The Amsterdam Weed Bank

Indica Vs. Sativa – Medical Jane

Origins of the Species –