A Look at the Three Types of Marijuana Plants


One beautiful feature of the marijuana plant is its availability in different varieties. Each variety has a different combination of cannabinoids and thus yields different marijuana strains. Traditionally, there were two primary types of marijuana; Sativa and Indica. Today, hybrids varieties have become popular because they combine the potency of both Sativa and Indica strains. Here’s a look at the main marijuana varieties and the attributes of each.

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Cannabis Sativa

Among the types of marijuana, Sativa is arguably the most known. It’s also the type with the highest number of applications, both medicinally and recreationally. Sativa plants primarily originate from equatorial territories in places like Thailand, Colombia, Mexico, and India. They are characterized by a balanced light cycle, thus the ability to keep growing even when flowering.

A Sativa plant can grow as high as 20 feet. Thanks to the extended flowering phase, the plants have a high yield. They are also perfect for outdoor growing. You can tell a Sativa plant from its pointy and elongated leaves. This explains why some people refer to it as the finger-like marijuana variety.

Sativa seeds are soft and devoid of any spots or markings. Despite the extended flowering period of the Sativa variety, it takes considerable time for the plants to start flowering. They also require more light to begin flowering. The balanced light cycle has little effect on the plant’s flowering phase.


Cannabis Sativa

Popular Sativa Strains


Effects of the Sativa Strain

Cannabis sativa has a higher THC level compared to Indica and a higher CBD level. You shouldn’t expect to get stoned when you consume this cannabis variety. Nonetheless, it leaves you feeling happier, more invigorated, and with a euphoric cerebral high. Cannabis sativa also amplifies your senses, increases focus, stimulates appetites, and inspires creativity.

Due to the energizing and mood-lifting effect of the Sativa strain, it’s ideal for medical marijuana patients with depression or severe exhaustion. It also relieves some symptoms of ADHD and similar disorders. The strain can help those who want to socialize and engage in physical activities and creative projects.

On the flip side, potent Sativa strains can cause anxiety and paranoia, more so when consumed in large doses. Therefore, individuals with anxiety and those who experience panic attacks should avoid stronger Sativas. Due to the relatively high THC content, Sativa strains are rarely used for medical marijuana treatment.

Growing Cannabis Sativa

The Sativa strain has a short vegetative phase. Therefore, if you’re from a warmer place or you have trouble maintaining low growing temperatures, the strain is perfect for you. It takes higher temperatures better than the Indica variety.

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Cannabis Indica

Unlike Sativas, the Indica varieties originated from sub-tropical regions with a more significant light cycle variation. As a result, Indica plants tend to start flowering as soon as they reach maturity. This is a boon to commercial growers since they can produce more marijuana within a short time.

Indica plants are characterized by their shorter, broader, and bush-like appearance with round leaves. They reach an average of 6 feet, which is why many prefer growing it indoors. The plants have soft, marble-colored seeds and start flowering within a short time. Flowers and buds of the Indica plant tend to grow closer to each other and feel sticky when touched. The flowering phase can be influenced by adjusting the light cycle.

Effects of the Indica Strain

Most of the Indica plants have a high THC percentage, just like the Sativas. However, their CBD content is also higher. Indica strains are a stoner’s favorite due to their relaxing and sedative effect. Thanks to the sedative effect, the Indica strain is recommended to individuals who experience insomnia.

According to studies, more medical marijuana patients find relief from pain and insomnia after using Indica strains than Sativa strains. This could be attributed to the higher THC levels. Other effects of Cannabis indica include:

  • Stress relief
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Increases dopamine production

Indicas generally produce more body-centered effects than Sativas, including red eyes, dry mouth, relaxation, and physical sensations. These effects are typically grouped under the term “stoned.” They are a departure from the “high’ imparted by Sativa strains.

Growing Indicas

Cannabis Indica is primarily cultivated for its psychoactive and medicinal properties. Perhaps, this explains why they are the most commonly used medical cannabis strains. Thanks to their bushy characteristics, Indica’s are high-yielding, which is why some growers prefer them.


Cannabis Indica

Popular Indica Strains


Indica plants also have a relatively shorter flowering phase. This makes them ideal for those who live in colder regions with harsher winters. The short height makes them suitable for indoor cultivation.

Cannabis Ruderalis

As the name suggests, this is a wild type of marijuana that primarily grows along roadsides or on fallow land. Cannabis Ruderalis is the forgotten type of marijuana because botanists are unsure whether it should be regarded as a species in its own right. The Ruderalis strain is native to central Asia, Russia, and central Europe since it’s well adapted to these regions’ climates.

Whether you see it as a distinct species or a variation of the two major marijuana species, the Ruderalis may most likely have descended from Indicas, which in turn descended from Sativas. The Ruderalis is notably shorter than both Indica and Sativa varieties, with a maximum height of 80cm when mature.

The plant produces a few branches only and can be identified from its broad and flat-bladed leaves that resemble those of Indica plants. Once flowering starts, Ruderalis plants become even shorter, thus the moniker “dwarf cannabis.” Unlike Sativas and Indicas, they produce according to environmental changes. They also have a fast growth cycle since they can mature in just ten weeks.

Effects of the Ruderalis Variety

Ruderalis strains have a low THC level and a high CBD level. Although pure Ruderalis strains have little value as far as recreational use is concerned, auto-flowering ability, hardiness, and short maturity period make them attractive to breeders.

Today, some of the earliest-maturing marijuana hybrids combine Ruderalis and Indica strains. Ruderalis strains can also be useful in medicinal situations where CBD’s therapeutic benefits are preferred but without the attendant intoxicating effect of CBD-rich strains.

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Types of Marijuana: Final Words

There’s so much you should know about the marijuana plant before embarking on medical marijuana medication. This includes the types of marijuana and their derivations. Each of these varieties has different physical characteristics and effects. Thus, having some useful background info about the varieties goes a long way in making your medical marijuana journey more fulfilling. You need a medical marijuana card to consume and use weed legally. However, getting a good MMJ doctor for an evaluation and recommendation can be difficult.

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