Ordering cannabis for the first time can be very intimidating. There are so many strains to choose from, and they all seem to look and smell the same, especially when you’re a beginner. So how do you pick which type of flower to buy?

Cannabis strains are sorted into three types: indica, sativa, and hybrid. Each type has its own benefits, and the right strain for you might vary based on your mood, time of day, pain levels, and location.

Knowing the difference between indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains will help guide you so you can find cannabis products that you’ll enjoy the most. In this article, we’ll tell you all about your options so you can go to the dispensary confident and excited for your first haul!

How THC & CBD Affect Your Body

Indica, sativa, and hybrid are useful categories that give you a great deal of information about each cannabis strain. However, there are a few more factors at play that you should know about first.

Each type of marijuana contains a balance of the cannabinoids CBD and THC. They’re picked up by your body’s endocannabinoid receptors, which regulate many functions in your body, including sleep, appetite, memory, and mood.

THC is the compound in cannabis that gets you high. It binds to the CB1 receptors in the brain and produces psychoactive effects. Generally, the higher percentage of THC in a cannabis strain, the more intense your high will be.

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that’s gained a ton of popularity in recent years. You won’t get high when you take CBD alone. However, it can help with a wide variety of medical conditions on its own.

When you combine THC with CBD, you’ll experience a less intense, more relaxed high. CBD reduces THC’s ability to bind to your body’s CB1 receptors, reducing its psychoactive effects. Some people even use CBD to come down when they get too high.

There’s evidence that marijuana strains that are high in THC can help patients with:

Chronic pain
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Low appetite
Muscle spasms

You might want to try a CBD-heavy cannabis strain if you’re dealing with any of the following symptoms:

Seizures and epilepsy
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Autoimmune disorders
Chronic pain
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS)

So how do indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains stack up when it comes to their cannabinoid profiles?

Sativa strains tend to have a higher percentage of THC, while indica strains have more CBD. That’s part of the reason that your body can react so differently to each strain of cannabis.

Terpenes can also make a huge difference in how a strain affects your body. These compounds are found in the essential oils of the cannabis plant, and they give each strain its own unique flavor, scent, and appearance.

There are a variety of terpenes in each type of cannabis. Some of the most common terpenes include limonene, myrcene, humulene, and pinene. Here’s our rundown of the most popular terpenes and how they can make a difference in your cannabis’s profile.

If you’re a medical patient, you might find that strains with certain terpenes work best to treat your condition. An experienced budtender at your local Ascend dispensary can help you pick out a type of flower that will best fit your needs.

Indica vs. Sativa: A Breakdown

So let’s cut to the chase: what are the other differences between indica and sativa strains?

Cannabis Indica

Indica and sativa plants look very different. Indica plants tend to be short and bushy with broad, dark green leaves, as you can see from our sativa vs indica chart .

Indica strains were first documented in 1785, when Jean-Baptiste Lamarck published his description of a new type of cannabis that he had collected in India. In Latin, “indica” means “of India.”

Some indica strains can contain a lot of CBD, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t experience any psychoactive effects.

Indica strains make you feel:

Relaxed or sleepy
Stuck on your couch (couch lock)
High in your body

Some of the medical benefits most associated with indica strains include:

Pain relief
Sleep aid
Migraine relief
Reduction of inflammation
Seizure treatment
Muscle relaxation

When looking at indica vs sativa for pain, many patients prefer indica strains. They are more likely to contain terpenes that are compatible with pain relief. Plus, indica can relax your muscles, leading to a calming experience.

Ascend carries a wide variety of indica strains. Some of our favorites are:

So indica creates a strong body high that will leave you relaxed and pain-free. What do sativas do?

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa plants are tall and slim. They have light green leaves, and can be easily distinguished from indica plants.

Cannabis sativa has been grown and used medicinally throughout history. It originated in Eastern Asia, and was first classified by Carl Linnaeus in 1753. In Latin, “sativa” means “things that are cultivated.”

Most sativa strains are heavy on the THC without a lot of CBD. When people smoke sativa, they’re usually looking to get as high as possible to get the full effects of the cannabis, and CBD can bring down their high.

Sativa strains make you feel:

Like you’re having mild hallucinations
Like your thoughts are racing
Ready to face the day

Some of the medical benefits most associated with indica strains include:

Pain relief
Reduced depression
Reduced nausea, especially in cancer patients
Increased appetite
Increased ability to pay attention, especially in ADHD patients

When choosing between indica vs sativa for pain, indica is generally considered the best option. However, people with chronic pain may need relief in the morning or early afternoon when it doesn’t make sense to use an indica strain. Sativa can also contain terpenes that relieve pain, so don’t count them out if you’re searching for help for your chronic pain.

Ascend carries a wide variety of indica strains. Some of our favorites are:

Blue Dream
Sugar Cones
Granny Skunk
Jet Fuel OG
Peanut Butter Cookies

Contrary to popular belief, there aren’t just sativa and indica strains. They can be combined in unique ways to form different types of cannabis called hybrids.


Hybrid strains can give you the best of both worlds! These varieties have traits of both sativa and indica strains, so their effects can be a combination of relaxing and energizing.

You can choose a hybrid strain  that’s either sativa or indica-dominant. While some options have a 50/50 ratio, it’s more common for a strain to lean one way, like 80/20 or 70/30.

One common hybrid is the ruderalis strain. It’s much shorter than your average plant, which you can see on the sativa vs indica chart. They also have thick and sturdy stems. Crossbreeding ruderalis is one of the ways that cannabis cultivators create new hybrid strains.

Each hybrid cannabis strain will taste and smell different depending on the plants it was crossbred with. They can also offer widely varying effects, especially based on their terpene profiles.

Each hybrid strain is a crossbreed of two existing marijuana strains with different percentages of THC and CBD. If you want to know which strains make up a hybrid or the ratios of sativa vs indica, you can ask a budtender at Ascend Cannabis.

Some of the most popular hybrid strains that you can buy at Ascend right now include:

Apple Fritter
Bubba’s Gift
Banana Pudding
Lavender Gelato
Birthday Party

Potential Side Effects

Cannabis use has a wide variety of benefits, whether you’re using indica vs sativa vs hybrid. However, weed can have some potential side effects as well.

Some of the most common side effects to using cannabis include:

Dry mouth
Dry eyes
Shortness of breath or trouble breathing (if smoking)
Anxiety, which can be severe
High heart rate
Low blood pressure

These side effects are minimal, and should go away after cannabis is out of your system. This can be a few hours if you took sativa vs indica edibles. If you’re uncomfortable, simply calming down in a safe space and waiting it out is the best option.

Knowing Which Type of Strain Is Right For You

Wondering what kind of strain to choose? Here are some factors to consider.

Medical history
If you’re using cannabis medicinally, what condition are you trying to treat?
Do you have any medical conditions that could make it riskier to use cannabis, including hypertension, schizophrenia, rapid heart rate, pregnancy, or some psychiatric disorders?
Desired effect
If you want to feel energized and excited to face the day, take a sativa vs indica edible or smoke a sativa strain.
If you want to relax and close the day out on a chill vibe, choose indica.
Indicas vs sativas vs hybrids usually don’t have a significant price difference. You always know you’re getting the best price when you shop with Ascend Cannabis.
Type of consumption
Indicas, sativas, and hybrids can be consumed in a variety of ways, including inhalation, ingestion, oral absorption, and topical methods.
Some dispensaries don’t differentiate between sativa vs indica edibles. This can make it trickier to know what type of weed you’re consuming.
Indica and sativa strains can be dosed in the same way. However, they do contain different amounts of THC and CBD, so you will feel higher on some strains than you do on others.
When taking sativa vs indica vs hybrid edibles, start with a low dose (5-10 mg) and work your way up. If you take too much the first time, you run the risk of having a bad reaction.

Knowing the difference between indica vs sativa vs hybrid makes it much easier to pick out a new strain of cannabis, whether you’re shopping in-store or online. Many customers experiment with all three types of marijuana to find the strain that works best for them.

If you’re still not sure what type of cannabis to pick, that’s okay! The expert budtenders at Ascend Cannabis can walk you through the cannabis buying process from start to finish, taking the time to understand you and your needs.

Ascend Cannabis carries a wide variety of indica, sativa, and hybrid strains. Shop now to get the best indica and sativa consumables on the market!

Extra Sources







indica vs sativa vs hybrid
sativa vs indica chart
indica vs sativa for pain
sativa vs indica edibles
sativa strains

Wasn’t sure exactly where to put this keyword since I don’t know what’s on the chart. If I see it or get a rundown of what’s on it, I can increase the keyword density.

Site made me pick a specific dispensary before any product links, so these are for their Detroit store.

Link to hybrid guide here?