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February 6, 2024

Sativas, Indicas and Hybrids, Oh My!

a graphic of an illustrated sun with the word sativa, an illustrated moon with the word indica and an illustrated tao symbol and with word hybrid.

Classifying Cannabis

Today, when you walk into a dispensary, cannabis is grouped into three classifications: sativas, indicas and hybrids. Although these are a good starting point, they should not be solely relied upon in determining a strain's effects. Not all sativas are inherently uplifting, nor are all indicas inherently sedating. Their effects largely depends on cannabinoids, terpenes and your unique physiology. 

Many dispensaries provide lab test results detailing each strain's cannabinoid and terpene profile. These tests are an essential tool to discover how a particular strain might distinctly affect you. 

Where these categories originated

Cannabis is believed to have originated in Central Asia and the northwest Himalayas. Through human migration over time, cannabis was introduced to new regional climates and selectively bred, resulting in different cannabis categories with similarities in growth cycles, medicinal effects and uses. 


Sativas are typically associated with cerebral and uplifting effects. You may hear terms such as creativity, energizing and "head high". Leafly shares common sativa strains you may want to try if you're interested in experiencing similar effects. 


Indicas are associated with mind and body relaxation. Terms such as "full body high" and "couch lock" are often mentioned when discussing indicas. Consider trying Leafly's list of popular indica strains to experience sedating effects. 


Hybrids are a crossbreed between a sativa and an indica plant, thought to combine and balance their effects. You'll likely see strains listed as "sativa-dominant hybrid" or "indica-dominant hybrid" and Leafly shares popular hybrid strains you may want to try to find the strain that suits you best. 

Ultimately, it will likely take some trial to find the strains that fit your needs best – we encourage you to enjoy the journey!


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