Growing: Basic Types of Cannabis

Rubio's Recommendations - Basic Types of Cannabis Strains

January 5, 2020

With the legalization of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, the effects of different types of cannabis have increasingly gone under the microscope. Some strains have been bred to relieve chronic pain and to improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis, such as muscle spasms and nerve pain. Some routinely regain their appetites during treatment of  HIV/AIDS and other conditions. Meanwhile, the plant itself carries beautiful traits from the unique smells to the taste of the dried flower. Some types of the plant are short and stout while others are tall and lanky. All of these characteristics vary because cannabis comes in different variations, mainly Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. 

Cannabis Sativa is a tall lanky plant with heights up to about 25 feet with thin and narrow serrated leaves. They require longer flowering time to produce buds and it best grown outdoors. Effects stimulate the mind, psyche, and emotions--giving people an increased sense of well being--which makes this type of cannabis optimal for battling depression. Typically they contain higher levels of THC, with lower levels of CBD and CBN (cannabinoids, or chemical compounds that naturally occur in cannabis plants). Sativa highs provide the user with a boost of energy that can spark the creative process and allow focus for long periods of time. A few 100% sativa strains include Destroyer, Kwazulu, Kilmanjaro, Thai, and Malawi.

Indicas are shorter and stockier, with broader and wider serrated leaves than sativas, making them better-suited for indoor growing. Their fragrance can vary dramatically from sweet or sour to even pungent skunky. Indicas have a physical and sedative nature and are described as the couch-lock weed, used in some situations to help control seizures and manage chronic back pain and headaches. The effect on muscles is so profound it’s best used with low-activity. Many consume indicas to relax and combat insomnia in the evenings before bed because they can have slightly less THC than sativas but have higher CBD and CBN levels. Strains like Dark Star, Kosher Kush, Purple Kush, Northern Lights, Hash Plant, Afghan Kush and Mazar-I-Sharif are all 100% indicas. 

Cannabis Ruderalis plants are shorter in stature and rarely are over two feet tall with serrated leaves broader than a sativa leaf but not as wide as an indica. Ruderalis cannabis transitions from the growing stage to flower stage with age rather than the light cycle and reaches maturity faster than Sativa or Indica strains. With lower THC levels, ruderalis are not generally used recreationally can help create hybrids with desirable traits. All autoflower strains were created using ruderalis genetics and can fully mature from seed in 10 weeks. With higher CBD levels, ruderalis hybrids are used to treat anxiety and epilepsy.

The most common type of cannabis grown? The hybrid, which combines the best of both worlds to create something new and unique on the spectrum. We’ll be discussing hybrids--and what characteristics to look for when picking the right strains to grow--next time in Rubio’s Recommendations.