Ok, first things first. Before we get into exploring different cannabis strains, their uses, and potency levels, and all that. I think it's important we know and establish the difference between Indica, Sativa, Ruderalis, & Hybrid cannabis plants. With that being said check out this article.
Cannabis exists in many varieties and sub-species. All strains of cannabis derive from the Cannabaceae family of plants. For all those who wanna know what Cannabaceae is. Well, I looked it up and according to the good folks at Wikipedia, Cannabaceae is a small family of flowering plants. That includes about 170 species grouped in about 11 genera, including Cannabis, Humulus, and Celtis. Now that we know what cannabaceae i let's get started. About six million years ago, marijuana diverged from the genus Humulus, which we now call hops. Botanists are unable to agree on how the cannabis genus was divided into separate species. It's debated whether it was environmental changes or human interference that resulted in the three species of marijuana. It's believed this evolution happened through environmental changes due to the fact the cannabis genus was here about 7 million years before humans. So, more than likely these changes happened before we even had a chance to touch a leaf. During the last few million years, the world has undergone climatic changes. These drastic changes in temperatures are likely part of the reason. Not to mention the vast ice sheets that once covered the Earth. In warmer eras, cannabis spread north as the ice melted. During the bitter cold eras, the migration of people resulted in cannabis being planted farther south. Now that we got that all that out the way. Let's find out what's what. Let's start this off by looking at the Indica species.
The name Indica refers to the geographical area in the mountainous regions of Central Asia. Indica plants are short and stocky with bushy greenery and chunky leaves that grow wide and broad. They grow faster than Sativa, and each plant produces more buds. Indica strains often have higher levels of CBD, but the THC content isn't necessarily less.
Indica cannabis plants rarely grow taller than 6 feet. The buds of Indica strains tend to be wide, dense, and bulkier. These bushy plants are more prone to mold in humid conditions because of the dense foliage. The Indica species is an annual plant in the family Cannabaceae. It is a putative species of the genus Cannabis. Compared to the other species of cannabaece, they have a relatively shorter flowering time which is why is plant is more favorable for indoor growers. This plant also produces large amounts of sticky resin. This resin is laden with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD and is ideal for making products such as hash. Even though there are exceptions to the rule, Indica strains tend to have a higher CBD to THC ratio than Sativa & ruderalis. These high CBD levels are responsible for many of the medicinal benefits of Indica strains. They may also be responsible for the difference in effects between Indica and Sativa weed. But, other factors like terpene profiles play a role also. Indica strains produce a heavily sedating, full-body high. Cannabis consumers often use Indicas for relaxation and stress relief and to address various medical conditions. Such as reducing inflammation and pain, relaxing muscles spasms, help to sleep, help to stimulate the appetite, relieving anxiety, and managing seizures. However, these benefits can become problematic in certain situations. If you have things to do, the last thing you want is to be stuck to the couch, bingeing on junk food, after all! The best way to avoid this is to know what to expect and be prepared. Most countries only recognize one species, Cannabis sativa, and it remains highly debated whether indica is a subspecies. Meanwhile, the marketplace still recognizes two varieties, Sativa and Indica. Although there is a less potent, less popular strain the nobody knows about but is just as important to the evolution of cannabis. Ruderalis.
The term Ruderalis stems from the root word ruderal. In the plant world, a ruderal species grow in spite, of its environment being affected by naturally occurring disturbances to the area. Many believe Ruderalis to be a descendant of Indica genetics that adjusted to the harsh climates, and the shorter growing seasons of the northern regions where it originates. Cannabis Ruderalis is native to areas in Asia, Central/Eastern Europe, and specifically Russia, where botanists used the term “ruderalis” to classify the breeds of the hemp plant that had escaped from human and cultivation, adapting to the extreme environments found in these climates. Ruderalis is a short and stalky plant, especially when compared to its Sativa and Indica counterparts. It typically sits between 1 and 2 and a half feet tall at harvest, with a rugged and shaggy growth pattern that produces wide leaflets that are a light green hue. The buds from ruderalis plants tend to be small but still relatively chunky and are supported by sturdy, thick stems. The effects of cannabis Ruderalis alone are minimized due to its naturally low concentrations of THC. Though, the durability and short lifecycle make ruderalis versatile and attractive to breeders who want to take advantage of its auto-flowering trait.
Originally, Ruderalis was considered a wild breed of cannabis. Yet, in recent years it has been brought indoors to influence new hybrid varieties. Even though Ruderalis isn't a potent cannabis strain, it does grow big, and it's not as popular as its known counterparts, they play a big role in being able to create autoflower/hybrid cannabis strains.
The Sativa name is a derivative of the Latin botanical adjective Sativum meaning cultivated. It is often associated botanically with plants that promote good health and is used to designate certain seed-grown domestic crops. You will generally find Sativa plants in nations below a latitude of 30 degrees North. These countries include Thailand, Mexico, and Colombia. Unlike the Indica cannabis plant, Sativa plants grow taller than Indicas and have thinner leaves. It is not unusual for them to exceed 15 feet. Sativas also mature much slower than Indicas, which tend to flower within 45-65 days as opposed to Sativa's 100 days. Sativa plants have longer flowering cycles. But on the upside, they tend to have a shorter vegetative period than Indicas. They fare better in warm climates with long seasons and usually grow taller with narrow, light-green leaves. They have lower yields which means smaller buds. The Sativa plant is often defined as having uplifting effects that produce a head high and not a body high like its counterpart Indica who's thought to be sedative and typically lead to a fierce body high. Sativas generally provide a euphoric and uplifting high. Sativa is used as a source of industrial fiber, seed oil, food, recreation, religious and spiritual moods, and medicine. Each part of the plant is harvested differently, depending on the purpose of its use. Medicinal marijuana consumers prefer Sativas for addressing mood disorders like depression and stress, PTSD, headaches, and chronic fatigue. But with the market changing there came a new breed of cannabis. Hybrid cannabis.
A Hybrid is a strain that is the result of crossbreeding two or more strains. The goal is to create a strain that combines both of its parents’ positive traits. Cannabis breeders often combine an Indica with a Sativa to produce a hybrid but the Ruderalis species are often less used. Most times a hybrid cannabis strain will be Indica-dominant or Sativa-dominant. Simply put, you'd have one male plant of one strain and one female plant. The female marijuana plant gets sexed up (pollinated) by the male plant. The female plant produces seeds of the new strain. Then bing, bang, boom! You have yourself a Hybrid. During 1970s , Cannabis Indica strains from Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan from the Hindu Kush mountain range were brought to the US, where the first hybrids with Cannabis sativa plants from equatorial areas were refined, widely spreading marijuana cultivation throughout the States. Forever changing cannabis for the better in my opinion.
In closing today we've learned all cannabis plants come from the Cannabaceae family,
there are three distinct species, namely Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. They all exhibit various traits and prefer different growing conditions. Ruderalis strains are used more for auto-flowering and Sativa and Indicas are used to create hybrid cannabis strains. Sativa strains grow tall as trees and Indicas grow like bushes. Sativas are more of a head high while Indicas are more of a body high. Whichever you prefer you should always use it safely and responsibly. Happy smoking friends.
Sources: Leafly,Way of leaf, Weedmaps, Wikipedia, .