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Demystifying Cannabis (Part IV)

This is part 4 of a 4 part series where we try to break down cannabis and explain each part in detail. In part 4 we will learn about the different types of cannabis strains and how they differ from each other.

Part IV – The different types of cannabis strains

Cannabis is divided into 3 main strains and an additional fourth –

  • Cannabis sativa
  • Cannabis indica
  • Cannabis ruderalis
  • Hybrids
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Cannabis Sativa

Native to tropical climates, the sativa species can grow up to 20 feet in length. They are adapted to spend long times a sunlight which is why they are commonly found in the tropics. This adaptation to its environment has allowed the sativa species to develop large pointed leaves with minimal markings or patterns. Unlike the indica species, sativas can grow in regions of high humidity and have longer flowering times and require plenty of place to grow. When consumed Sativa strains commonly induce feelings of euphoria and a head-focused high. In small doses, they can be used to boost energy levels, creativity, and divergent thinking. Sativas are not commonly used in the medical field unless treating specific medical conditions. 

Cannabis Indica

Compared to sativa species indica species grows much shorter and have denser branch structures with smaller leaves. Their leaves and stems grow largest at the bottom and become smaller at the top giving it a Christmas tree look. They have much shorter flowering periods. This means that in controlled environment like a greenhouse it is possible to harvest multiple times per year. Indica strains are mostly used for medical purposes as they produce a body-centric effect that can be used to sooth body and muscle pains. They are also commonly used for insomnia and other sleep issues.

Cannabis Ruderalis

Ruderalis is the smallest of the 3 species and only grow to a height of 4 feet. They have small, thick leaves with only a few branches. They are native to central and eastern Europe and Asia and can easily thrive in poor or hostile environments. What makes the ruderalis species unique compared to the other 2 species is that they do not have a specific season for flowering and instead has an inbuild timer for flowering irrespective of season and the time it takes to flower depends on type of strain. Compared to sativa and indica species ruderalis has very low THC and CBD content but have high fiber density which is preferred for textiles and clothing. However, if crossbred with sativa or indica species new subspecies can be created which have higher THC and CBD levels coupled with lower flowering periods.

Cannabis Hybrids

As the name suggest, it’s a subspecies of cannabis made by a combination of the above species. In today’s market, it has become almost impossible to distinguish between sativa, indica and ruderalis as over the year there has been so much interbreeding taking place all the time to get better strains with newer combinations of THC and CBD with lower flowering periods. In today’s legal cannabis market if you’re purchasing cannabis, it most likely came from a hybrid species.

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