Cannabis or marijuana, as it is popularly called, exists in a variety of types. Thus, even if the word „cannabis“ covers them all, it’s worth knowing that there are different strains of cannabis out there. This is in particular important if you plan to grow your plants. You will need to know how to tell them apart and become familiar with their particularities. So, in the lines that follow, you will get comprehensive information about the various types of marijuana. With the help of this information, you’ll be able to choose the best strains for your culture wisely.
Different types of Marijuana
When it comes to cannabis or marijuana, there are three main types. There’s Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis.
The first two, Sativa and Indica, are mainly used for their buds and properties.
The Ruderalis type, which is the smallest, was considered a wild version of the cannabis plant, a type that adapted to harsh growing conditions. In other words, it pretty much grew like a weed.
But, in the past years, cannabis growers brought this variety indoors as well, to obtain new strains. We will talk about each type, including Ruderalis, in the lines below.
Cannabis Sativa is probably the most popular type of cannabis. Popularly known as hemp, it was mainly cultivated as a food source, fibers in the textile industry, as fuel, medicine, source of paper, and even nutritional supplement.
This type is the tallest one, light green and narrow leaves, and a long flowering cycle. Also, it has more leaves on the stem than the Indica variety. It is mainly appreciated for its energizing effects, its ability to uplift one’s mood, and the power to increase focus. This is why it is recommended to use Sativa products during the day.
What’s great about Sativa is that it influences one’s mind, by adjusting the mood and increasing activity level. Of course, it all lies in taking the right dose. This is something that needs to be personalized according to personal experiences.
Sativa is best used in the morning or noon so that it’s energizing effects wear off until the evening. This type is highly recommended for people suffering from exhaustion or depression because it uplifts and energizes.
However, it is worth mentioning that Cannabis Sativa comes in a wide variety of strains, some of them having a higher THC level. THC is responsible for creating that euphoric state, characteristic for consuming some cannabis strain.
So, pay attention when choosing the strain of cannabis. Even if you opt for Sativa, its buds may be rich in THC. We will talk about stains, later on, so you’ll know what they are and what makes them so different.
Cannabis Sativa can grow rather tall, so it’s great for growing in the outdoors if the weather allows it. Of course, it can be grown indoors as well, as long as you have sufficient space to house the plant.
If you don’t have room to house a large plant, Sativa may not be such a good option for you. Sativa enjoys large levels of light and will develop greatly in such conditions. But the plant doesn’t appreciate cold temperatures. It can deal with a bit of heat, but low temperatures will affect it.
The plant can also display nutrient deficiencies rather often. This happens when there’s insufficient light when the plant experiences dry heat or has a low number of leaves.
Nitrogen toxicity is often met in Sativa strains, even when the standard nutrient strength was applied. So, it is worth paying attention to this aspect. Signs indicating such toxicity exist. Leaves with a dark green shade and curled tips tell you that there’s too much nitrogen in the soil. If you notice this, diminish the amount of nitrogen you serve to your plants.
Flowering and harvesting
It takes Sativa about 3 months to fully develop and grow buds. Once buds are formed, the plant needs 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness to flower. It’s possible to hurry the plants to flower faster, by exposing them to longer nights and shorter days.
This means 13 or 14 hours of darkness, instead of 12. However, in conditions of stress, the plant could develop a larger number of hermines or buds that contain both female and male reproductive organs. Also, if the flowering process is initiated too soon, the plant could grow one single large bud.
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Cannabis Indica is shorter than Sativa, has a lower number of leaves of the stem, and a shorter flowering cycle. The leaves are broader and feature a darker shade of green.
In comparison to Sativa, Indica strains have a higher content of CBD and a lower level of THC. This is why this type of cannabis is recommended for use in the evening, as it has a calming effect.
So, if Sativa affects the mind, by changing one’s mood, Indica will mainly affect the body, calming it and reducing any physical discomfort.
Thus, this type is recommended for physical pain and discomfort, stiffness, muscular spasms, anxiety, depression, and even sleep disorders. It has a relaxing effect, reducing hyperactivity and promoting a state of calmness.
It is said that once Indica is consumed, you’ll mainly want to lounge on the couch. So, you should not have this type during the day, as it can seriously affect your activity level.
Yet again, Indica is available in a variety of strains as well, each with its flavor and effect on the body. If you’re looking for cannabis suitable for medicinal purposes, the Indica variety may serve you well. This type is mainly cultivated for its health advantages and less for other purposes, as it can’t provide fibers for paper or textiles, unlike the Sativa type.
Cannabis Indica doesn’t reach staggering heights, being more a rather short and bushy plant. So, it is easier to grow in smaller spaces, as a potted plant. Also, the pots of Indica can be placed quite close to each other, which allows you to house a good number of plants in one single room.
Growers appreciate this type in particular because it flowers faster and delivers large yields. This particular feature allows people to grow Indica outdoors even in areas where winter months come rather faster after autumn. And, when the plant is cultivated indoors, this means a higher number of cycles during the year.
While Indica is easy to grow by beginners, opting for an Indica hybrid is a much better idea. Hybrids are more resilient when it comes to rotting and being affected by pests.
So, there will be fewer worries in your hands. Indica requires long days with light during their vegetative stage and a 12-12 light schedule once they reach maturity. When the plants are quite large and barely fit in the room, you could adopt the 12-12 schedule to promote their flowering.
One of the biggest potential risks that can harm Indica plants and their buds is mold. This cannabis type comes from dry areas, where water is quite scarce. So, high humidity conditions can make the plants susceptible to mold.
To prevent mold from occurring, ventilate the grow areas and allow a good airflow inside the room. Humidity levels should be between 40 and 50% during flowering and under 40% during the harvesting period.
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The name Ruderalis indicates that this cannabis type is capable of growing in a wide range of environments.
So, whether it was disturbed by man or not, or had to withstand many other disturbances, this type of cannabis continued to adapt and develop well.
This is why it is considered by many a wild type of cannabis. It is also the shortest, growing to heights ranging between 1 and 2.5 feet, looking more like a weed in comparison to Sativa.
It is a type that is easy to grow and flowers once maturity is reached, without depending on light changes or other environmental factors. It may take anywhere between 21 and 30 days for a Ruderalis plant to flower, from the moment its seeds were planted, regardless of light levels. So, this variety could be great for beginners or people that don’t have too much time to invest in cannabis culture.
Because Ruderalis flowers easily, the hybrids obtained with its help are called “auto-flowering” varieties or strains. In other words, you don’t have to do anything, in particular, to convince this plant to flower. It will automatically do so once the maturity stage is reached.
The effects of this type of cannabis are rather light, as the type has low THC levels by nature. However, it is highly appreciated for its resistance, stability, and ability to flower on its own, without requiring specific conditions. So, cannabis growers use this variety of come up with strains that provide the same set of characteristics.
It is also possible to find hybrids obtained by crossing the Sativa, Indica & Ruderalis types. This happened out of the desire of people to enjoy a bit of both, enjoying a more balanced type. As soon as cannabis started to be cultivated, germinated seeds belonging to varieties from different parts of the world were crossed.
The selection was made so that the user enjoys the best each type has to offer, in one single plant. If you enter a cannabis dispensary, most probably you will see the “hybrid” type available as well. Now you know what this means.
What is a “Cannabis strain”?
Now that we talked about types, let us cover the “strains”-related subject. If you look for information regarding marijuana, you’ll notice the word “strain” coming up quite often. Well, a particular marijuana type can produce various types of strains.
Each strain was cultivated for a particular set of effects. So, yes, the man tried to produce strains of cannabis that can produce specially selected results. This is why cannabis strains usually have rather colorful names. Northern Lights or Purple Haze are just two examples of cannabis strains, this time belonging to the Indica type.
In other words, a strain will indicate a particular “breed” of cannabis. People took the main types of cannabis and refined them into various breeds, meant to provide specific flavor, taste, and effects. But, even if a strain is marketed as having a particular effect, it’s important to note that people react differently to cannabis.
So, while opting for a strain will let you know what you may experience, your personal experience may be slightly different. To be sure that a cannabis strain will provide the result you expect, you should purchase the cannabis plants or products from reliable sources only.
Also, if you plan to grow your plants, investing time and effort in finding good strains may be worth it. It all depends on the results you want to achieve, available time, space, and effort as well. For example, if you need cannabis for medicinal purposes, it would be wrong to get a strain made for recreational purposes. So, always check your source and make sure you understand what kind of strain you are about to buy.
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How to choose a cannabis strain
Before you end up picking cannabis strains for your own culture or consumption, you need to know a few things about cannabis and available varieties. The most important thing you learned so far is that marijuana is available in three large types. You now know what sets them apart and what are the recommendations for each type.
Of course, pay attention to hybrids as well, as they tend to offer characteristics from two types as once. However, in comparison to the types, cannabis strains are more specialized. They are bred for specific results, which will definitely narrow your search. Here is what you need to know before deciding which marijuana strains work for you best.
Research various types of strains
As mentioned earlier, cannabis strains are developed to serve a particular purpose. Some can boost your energy levels, make you more attentive and alert, while others will totally relax you, remove pain, or provide a calming effect. It is worth understanding these differences between various strains, as they will help you make the right call.
Once you gathered a good amount of information, decide what kind of effects you’re looking for and focus on those strains more. This way, you’ll figure out which of them will serve your purpose better.
Do you know your level of tolerance?
While cannabis strains and types are described in a specific manner, each person reacts differently to the plant’s active substances. So, you need to take into consideration your past experiences with cannabis. If you’re new to this and never experienced cannabis before or you have little experience, you should direct your attention toward strains with high levels of CBD and low levels of THC.
This will give you the chance to experience the benefits of cannabis, without strong psychoactive effects. The recommendation is, even in this case, to start with the lowest dose in your case. Adopt this dose for a week or two and see how you feel.
If you want more kick, slightly increase the dose. Make the adjustments gradually and keep tabs on how you’re feeling. This way, you’ll be able to determine what’s the best dose for you.
Knowing how you react to cannabis will allow you to choose the best strains. As you accumulate experience, you’ll be able to move toward strains that contain higher THC levels. However, once again, it all depends on the effects you want to obtain.
Find the best smell
Do you plan to smoke your cannabis? Then you should know that strains have various smells. There are strains with a fruity or sweet smell. Others may have a darker, earthy smell, while some can really stink, having a pungent scent.
Do you know which one will be more appealing to you? If you’re not that sure, it may be a good idea to visit some dispensaries and experience various strains. Take a small amount of each and see which one smells best for you. Make a note for your favorite smell and look for strains that could deliver similar smells.
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How available is a strain?
Not all strains are readily available or popular. Some strains can be found easier than others. You could have freshness issues if the plant or buds take too long to travel to you. Also, trying to grow exotic or rare strains may spell out failure, especially if you’re inexperienced.
Ideally, you should find out what kind of strains are cultivated locally. This way, you’ll know which strains can be adapted to the local conditions and which strains can be found fresh whenever you want.
Closely examine the strains
Don’t just buy a strain because the dispensary’s representative tells you it’s good. Take a good look at it yourself. A great quality marijuana product will have a bright shade of green, which reflects its freshness as well. Also, the trichomes of the buds should still be visible. Ideally, the crystals covering the trichomes should be noticeable.
A brown color of the cannabis and absent trichomes indicates that the cannabis is not fresh. So, when you’ll consume it, you won’t experience the desired effects. Knowing these details can make the difference between buying fresh and high-quality cannabis and the opposite.
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