Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: What You Need to Know

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: What You Need to Know

Cannabis users and enthusiasts often want to know the differences between indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains. Here's a complete guide on what they're all about.

As you enter the exciting world of cannabis, you’ll quickly realize there are three main classifications of its products - indica, sativa, and hybrids. These terms broadly cover the type of plant that the flower or oil originates from. So, if you need help deciding which is the right one for you when it comes to indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains, we’ve got this comprehensive guide for you. Read on for our handy sativa vs indica vs hybrid chart, in-depth information on each classification, and the most popular strains to try. 

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: Key Differences You Need to Know

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: Key Differences You Need to Know

When it comes to cultivating the cannabis flower, it is important to know that there are two distinct plant classifications - indica and sativa. During their growth, the two varying types differ in appearance, shape, size, and weight. Once cultivated, the plants produce their own distinct effects. 

In general, indica cannabis strains produce soothing, comforting, and relaxing effects. In contrast, sativa cannabis strains usually produce energizing, uplifting, and invigorating effects. 

So, where do hybrid strains come in? Over the years, cannabis breeders and growers have cross-bred indica and sativa plants to produce hybrid plants that contain a mix of both classifications. These strains vary greatly depending on which strains are cross-bred, and the ratio of indica to sativa traits. 

What Determines Individual Strain Effects?

Determining individual strain effects is more complex than just knowing if the flower or oil is an indica vs sativa vs hybrid strain. Each and every plant produces its own unique composition of cannabinoids and terpenes, the compounds that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce effects. 

Next, let’s learn more about cannabinoids and terpenes to better understand the role they play in the effects you’re trying to achieve.


The cannabis plant is capable of producing 400+ cannabinoids, the most notable among them being THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD or cannabidiol. The biggest difference between these two major cannabinoids is that THC produces psychoactive effects that trigger a high, while CBD’s effects are non-psychoactive. 

Other cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG, and THCa also influence the effects you’ll experience, depending on the level or amount that an individual strain contains. 


Most people assume that the effects of cannabis come largely from cannabinoids. But new studies show terpenes, too, are capable of producing effects and they might just have as much influence as cannabinoids. Terpenes are naturally produced plant compounds that are responsible for the distinct cannabis scents. 

Let’s now deep into the strains that come from the three broad cannabis classifications: indica, sativa, and hybrid.

Understanding Sativa Strains

Understanding Sativa Strains

During the cannabis plant’s growth, sativa strains usually maintain optimal health with high humidity levels. It is most common among cannabis plants originating in Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia. As compared to indica plants, sativa plants grow taller, are more slender, and their fan leaves are thinner.

As for impact, consumers describe sativa’s effects as more of a ‘head high’ than a ‘body high’, producing mentally stimulating effects. 

Medical Use of Sativa Strains

Outside of recreational use, sativa strains have benefits of medical use. Since sativa strains help with focus, their use shows they may help in tackling ADD/ADHD symptoms. Also, the various sativa strains’ mood-elevating effects may help reduce symptoms of depression.

Last but not the least, studies show that sativa strains have appetite stimulating effects, which can help those who suffer from low appetite due to medications or other conditions. 

Most Popular Sativa Strains

Here are some popular sativa strains that you can try:  

  • Green Crack
  • Jack Herer
  • Durban Poison
  • Mimosa
  • Sour Diesel

Understanding Indica Strains

In comparison to sativa strains, indica strains produce much more of a ‘body buzz’ that is soothing and relaxing. As far as the plant is concerned, indica strains tend to be more bushy and short in stature. Their fan leaves are fatter and broader. 

Also, in contrast to sativa plants, indica plants prefer drier climates, having originated in the Middle East. 

Medical Use of Indica Strains

Indica strains have a wide range of medical benefits, including relieving chronic pain, calming seizures, and reducing nausea. Although some people may claim that indica strains can increase dopamine levels more than the others, they can actually help reduce anxiety and uplift the mood.

Indica strains can also have sedative properties, which means people who have trouble sleeping can turn to them at night to fall asleep faster and enjoy a sound rest. 

Most Popular Indica Strains

Here are some sought-after indica strains that you can check out:

  • Northern Lights
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Master Kush
  • Grandaddy Purple
  • Hindu Kush
  • Blue Cheese

Understanding Hybrid Strains

Hybrid cannabis strains are not easy to describe in simple words, as they are a combination of various indica and sativa strains. To get a clear picture of hybrid strains, it’s crucial to know the type of cannabinoids and terpenes that hybrid strains contain. Once that is understood, you’ll get to know the various types of effects you’ll experience. 

Some hybrid strains deliver a body buzz, while others produce a head high. Some can be more potent, while others can be tamer. It’ll take more experimenting with specific strain types to see how they affect you personally. 

Medical Use of Hybrid Strains

Since hybrid strains vary with indica to sativa ratios, it’s not easy to pinpoint their exact medical benefits. Certain hybrid strains produce positive mental or emotional effects, such as relieving anxiety or uplifting the mood. Other hybrids help relieve muscle aches and body pain. 

It’s recommended that you research the hybrid strains separately to learn about their effects or ask the budtender who’s serving you. 

Most Popular Hybrid Strains

These are some of the most popular hybrid strains you can try:

  • Trainwreck
  • Blue Dream
  • White Widow
  • Lemon Cake
  • OG Kush
  • AK-47                                            

Cannabis Classification Chart

Cannabis Classification Chart

Here’s a handy Sativa vs Indica vs Hybrid chart that spells out the main differences between the three classifications:






Middle East

Central America, South America, and Southeast Asia

Mix of Indica and Sativa strains


Soothing, Comforting, and Relaxing

Energizing, Uplifting, and Invigorating

Body buzz, head high, and other effects of indica and sativa strains


Lessens chronic pain, calms seizures, and reduces nausea

Tackles ADD/ADHD symptoms, elevates mood, reduces depression

Relieves anxiety, uplifts mood, reduces muscle pain and body ache


Grandaddy Purple, Hindu Kush, Purple Kush, Northern Lights, Blue Cheese

Durban Poison, Sour Diesel, Acapulco Gold, Green Crack, Jack Herer

Trainwreck, Blue Dream, White Widow, OG Kush, AK-47

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: What’s Best for You?

Now that you know the key differences between indica, sativa, and hybrid strains, you’d be wondering how to choose what’s right for you. So, you basically need to consider the individual effects of the strains of all three classifications, and take into account the time of day in which you’ll consume them. For instance, sativa strains produce uplifting and energetic effects. Therefore, it’s ideal for daytime use.

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: What’s Best for You?

Meanwhile, indica strains are relaxing and sedating, which makes them ideal for evening or night-time use. 

Since we know that hybrid strains are a mix of both sativa and indica, they’re generally fine for both day and night-time consumption. But it is advisable to try the hybrid strains individually to find out their unique effects before you decide. 

The Bottom Line: Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid

Consuming cannabis is a highly personal experience, and knowing the differences between indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains will help you decide what’s right for you. With this guide, you now know about the medical benefits of each classification, and the most popular strains in each category. 

If you want to know more about cannabis strains, such as which ones are considered the best strains of all time, follow O.pen for the latest cannabis industry news and trends. Shop our vape pen collection to power up your consumption routines.