Exploring the Cannabis Strains

You don’t have to delve too deeply into the world of marijuana and cannabis without very quickly realizing the importance of the word strain.

And with the ability in some states to now legally purchase medical marijuana (and even recreational marijuana) has come an even greater inclination to define marijuana and cannabis by its strain. After all, just like anything else you buy, you want to know what you’re buying — where it comes from, how it compares in quality to the other options, and so on.

And now that any given marijuana dispensary sells its products according to their strains, there’s no better time to explore the questions: What is a cannabis strain? Is it the same thing as a marijuana strain?

The short answer to that second question: Yes. For all intents and purposes, the phrase “marijuana strain” means the same thing as “cannabis strain.” A cannabis strain is the type or variety of cannabis used to create a marijuana product. From here on out, you can regard the term “marijuana strain” and “cannabis strain” to be pretty much the same thing.

What Is a Cannabis Strain?

A cannabis strain refers to the type or variety of cannabis it is. This means it can be either one of the three pure types of the cannabis plant, or some combination thereof.

There are three different types of the cannabis plant:

Cannabis sativa. Comprising taller plants with thinner leaves, the cannabis sativa variety is more commonly — though not exclusively — used for hemp, rather than marijuana.

Cannabis indica. Shorter and “bushier” than sativa, is more commonly cultivated for marijuana and hashish.

Cannabis ruderalis. This type of cannabis is most closely associated with the type of plant that grows wild and isn’t deliberately cultivated.

So, what’s the difference?

We tend to think of indica strains as being more sedating and relaxing, with full-body effects that ‘lock’ you to the couch (meaning you’re content to sit back, unwind, and enjoy a Netflix marathon of your favorite show).

On the other hand, we anticipate with sativas racier cerebral effects that leave us feeling energized and uplifted. Because of this typal contrast, consumers tend to prefer indicas for nighttime use while sativas are typically used from morning to afternoon.

But examining the three types of cannabis plants is just scratching the surface. Most cannabis or marijuana strains are created by combining two or more of these pure types of cannabis in different proportions. This kind of cross-fertilization is done to create specific flavors and/or bring out different proportions of cannabinoids.

Within the world of cannabis strains, there are also a number of varieties — for instance, clone-only varieties, stable and unstable seed varieties, and so on.