Decoding the Different Types of Cannabis

“Strain” is a slang term that has been used for decades in the traditional cannabis culture to help separate the thousands of different varieties of marijuana flowers into a few basic groups based on their common characteristics and effects. The three main marijuana strains are Sativa, Indica and Hybrid.

Sativas generally contain a higher amount of THC and produce a “mind high.” They can be energizing and uplifting, and make you feel creative and productive. They can also help relieve stress and anxiety.

Indicas generally contain less THC and can have a sedative effect on the body and mind, ranging from mild relaxation to complete “couchlock.” They can relieve pain and nausea, increase appetite and promote sleep.

Sativa and indica plants can be combined to create sativa-dominant, indica-dominant or “balanced” hybrids. Many are specifically bred to optimize the flower’s appearance, flavors, aromas and certain recreational or medicinal effects

OK. That was the easy part. These main cannabis strains are divided into a bunch of sub-groups according to:

  • the flower’s botanical origin (Grape Valley Kush, Afghani, Maui Wowie)
  • its flavor and aroma (Sour Diesel, Cherry Pie, Island Sweet Skunk)
  • its main effects (Catatonic, Green Crack, 9 Pound Hammer)

and many more. If all of this sounds like a foreign language or a secret code, you’d be right.

Today, there are thousands of different marijuana strains, each with a different name. So, it’s often difficult or impossible to tell if one strain is a sativa, indica or hybrid, let alone where it comes from or what to expect when you try it.

Strains like XJ-13, Harlequin, Dancehall or Schrom could give you the giggles or the munchies, relieve inflammation or nausea, make you want to clean the whole house or put you in couchlock for hours. But you’d never know by the strain name alone.

Our Marijuana Strains Guide helps you cut through the confusion, crack the code and begin to learn more about the many wild and wonderful strains of cannabis available in Shango stores and other dispensaries across the country.


Different strains of cannabis usually fall into two main categories, Sativa and indica, and both types come with a range of medicinal benefits. While Sativa often makes users more productive and energetic, Indica is a sedative that’s more useful for deep relaxation, meaning it can be used to treat ailments ranging from insomnia to acute pain.


Sativa, along with indica, is one of the two main species of cannabis. Each species delivers a different high and comes with various medical benefits, but sativa is more commonly associated with euphoria and productivity than its more sedate cousin. As a result, sativa is often used as a herbal treatment for ailments such as ADHD, depression and bipolar disorder.


Cannabis hybrid strains are a combination of indica and sativa. Nowadays, two or more hybrids are often used to create a new strain.

Producers of hybrid cannabis can achieve specific goals, often using a combination of plants to increase the potency of THC or CBD, the two main psychoactive constituents of cannabis. Consequently, hybrids can be used to treat the symptoms of a broad range of medical conditions, from restlessness and anxiety to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.