Indica strains produce a body-centric effect that can be used to soothe muscles, aches and pains. Certain indica strains can also help induce sleep or tackle insomnia. These attributes usually make indica-dominant strains preferable for medicinal use.
Capable of towering over six metres in height, the sativa species is native to tropical climates, where long periods of intense sunlight are the norm. This adaptation to its environment has allowed the sativa species to develop large pointed leaves with minimal markings or patterns. Their branches are outstretched with 3–6 inches between nodes.
Cannabis is an incredibly diverse plant that can be split into thousands of different strains, dozens of categories, and several different species. What’s more, the different subspecies also have unique characteristics, which can make navigating the legal cannabis industry confusing if you don’t know where to start.
Indicas are less adept to humid conditions, and can easily fall victim to mould, unless monitored. They are usually the preferred option for recreational growers as they have a shorter flowering period. This means that in controlled environments (indoor grow room) it is possible to harvest multiple times per year.
Sativa strains commonly incite feelings of euphoria and a head-focused high when consumed. They can also be used in small doses to boost energy levels, creativity, and divergent thinking. Sativas are not the first choice for medical markets, unless dealing with specific medical conditions. Sativa-dominant strains are an ideal choice for the recreational food and drink market.
With that in mind, we are going to break down the three subspecies, sativa, indica and ruderalis. We will cover their key characteristics, as well as the effect they can have when consumed. Armed with this information, you can continue to build an overview of the legal cannabis industry’s core commodity.
The fundamental difference between ruderalis and sativa or indica is how the subspecies flowers. Usually, a cannabis plant would use the change in seasons to prompt the shift from the vegetative phase to flowering. However, due to the lower sunlight intensity in Europe, the ruderalis subspecies has developed an inbuilt timer for flowering—regardless of seasonal changes. Its genetics determine the length of time it spends in the vegetative stage before automatically flowering.
Sativa strains are capable of dealing with higher concentrations of humidity compared to their indica counterparts. However, sativas have a longer flowering time, with plenty of space needed for them to reach their full potential. Cultivating the sativa subspecies requires a knowledgeable hand, and a carefully prepared growing environment or greenhouse.
Existing somewhere between the sativa and indica subspecies, ruderalis have small, thick leaves with only a few branches and a fibrous stem. They do not grow very tall, only reaching up to four feet in height. Native to central and eastern Europe and Asia, the ruderalis subspecies has become adept at thriving in poor, or hostile environments.
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A fairly recent phenomenon is the increased focus on CBD-rich cannabis and flower-rich hemp species, due to their therapeutic value.
Cannabis sativais known as the largest species, it usually grows to 2 to 4 metres high. She is known for her cerebral effects, and usually produces a strong long-lasting high. The large shrubs also yield large harvests, but patience is needed, some varieties bloom for up to 16 weeks.
Because the cannabis of Cannabis sativa often contains high concentrations of THC and few CBD, most users experience a mental high, with relatively few physical effects. It is usually described as euphoric, inspiring and motivating and many users indicate that they have an improved mood and appetite, as well as more energy and focus.
It has its origins in the more tropical parts of our planet, especially around the equator. Wild sativa species occur in the countries of Central America, Central Africa and Central Asia in particular. Their natural environment is usually warm, humid and densely vegetated, with fairly constant environmental factors throughout the year. The species has adapted very well to this climate, it grows in height to be able to reach to the light, the finer fingers on the leaves are a clever adjustment to the high humidity, in fact the whole plant and especially the buds are lighter and looser to prevent moisture problems.
Typical Cannabis indica species usually contain moderate levels of THC and relatively high levels of CBD, which makes them very suitable for persons who want to use Cannabis for medical reasons. For most of them, the effect is the classic couch-lock, deep mental relaxation with a reduction of stress and anxiety, and a bodily stoned feeling with relief from muscle tension and pain. Most species also improve appetite.
Cannabis indica is a smaller, more compact species than Cannabis sativa. Indicas are known for the strong physical effects they provide, but also for their mental calming effects. Pure indicas look like small Christmas trees and usually stay shorter than 1.5 metres. As soon as an indica reaches the correct height, she puts all her energy into making compact, resinous, aromatic buds. The flowering is also shorter, averaging 6-8 weeks.
Sativa, indica and ruderalisSince the species was first described as Cannabis sativa L, it has been split, re-grouped, disassembled and bundled as one species several times. Everyone thought something different and on the latter one couldn’t see the wood for the trees. However, growers and smokers worldwide have known for decades that not only in effect, but also in appearance and growth, there is an essential distinction between different species. In addition to the obvious differences between (fibre-) hemp and cannabis, there is also a clear distinction between Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. All of the thousands of modern species can be traced back to these three subspecies: Cannabis ruderalis, Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. By crossing, the best properties of different plants were united in their offspring, which has been applied systematically since the 1980s. Most modern cultivars are hybrids and hybridisation has also occurred in the wild, which sometimes makes it very difficult to distinguish. Pure indica or sativa plants, the’ landstrains’ that lie at the origin of modern cannabis, are becoming increasingly rare.
The plants often grow in dry, arid mountainous areas, such as in Lebanon, Afghanistan and India, where there are large fluctuations in daylight and temperature during the year. By staying more compact, with broader fingers on the leaves and with increased resin production, indicas can make the most of the short growth period in their natural habitat.
Cannabis ruderalis is the smallest of the three species, they rarely grow taller than a metre and the flowers are also much smaller. Due to its very low yields and cannabinoid contents, it was not considered useful to the home grower for a long time. Although it was historically used both medicinal and recreational, until recently Cannabis ruderalis was mainly used to produce fibres, the seeds as animal and bird feed.
Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis Sativa, indica and ruderalisSince the species was first described as Cannabis sativa L, it has been split, re-grouped, disassembled and bundled as one species several