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What is the difference between indica, sativa, and ruderalis?

What is the difference between indica, sativa, and ruderalis?

There are three different strains of the cannabis plant: sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Each of them differently impacts the brain and body. Sativa and indica varieties of cannabis can be consumed through edibles, by smoking or vaping, transdermally, or sublingually. Ruderalis varieties allow for shorter harvest periods due to their auto-flowering properties.

What is the difference between sativa and indica?

A pure strain of sativa tends to be a taller plant with a longer stalk, with the length of the leaves quite a bit longer than the indica plant, which tends to be more short and stout. Even though they are the same plant because of the way that they grow and the way they capture sunlight they actually bring different elements of psychoactive compounds to different components within the leaves and the buds.

What is the effect of a sativa strain?

The major effect of sativa varieties is to create a high but also to act as a stimulant. Sativa varieties tend to make people feel invigorated and alert. Some people report heightened sense of focus or heightened sense of creativity. The sativa varieties tend to make people feel less susceptible to pain and negative stimuli. So the sativa varieties are often prescribed or used in the recreational context for pain management and relief. 

Sativa is in general known for getting very tall. Growers looking at planting a true sativa should know that they can get very tall in the vegetative state. In the greenhouse setting where wind is not an issue it is easier to care for than sativa that is grown outdoors. Due to their size the daily management of these plants can present challenges, especially with the harvest at the end of the season. 

What do indica plants look like?

Indica buds are more dense and plump. The plants also don’t grow as tall but are bushy with fewer flowering sites than sativa plants. Pure indica strains lead to more full bodied effects. People report feeling more complete full body relaxation. Indica cannabis is often prescribed and or used recreationally in order to achieve a state of sleep or to help relieve anxiety, so less of a stimulant effect than sativa. 

Indicas are generally mid-sized compared to the sativa and ruderalis. They still can get pretty tall, and their wider leaves can make them slightly more susceptible to leaf damage compared to the thinner leaves of a sativa. 

What are indica-sativa hybrids?

Nowadays, through plant genetics, growers are efficient at creating a variety of different strains of the cannabis plant that give rise to very nuanced and distinct effects on the brain and body. 

In sativa dominant strains, there tends to be a higher amount of THC, which gives the stimulant effect. In indica dominant strains, there tends to be a higher amount of CBD, which produces full body relaxation. Hybrid strains have varying amounts of THC and CBD, and understanding the ratio of THC to CBD can help predict how a given strain of cannabis will impact somebody. 

How do hybrid strains make you feel?

Basically, the effects of cannabis depend on the combination of different cannabinoids and terpenes. This entourage effect changes based on the different cannabinoids and terpenes present in each specific strain.

What is ruderalis and what are auto-flowering plants? 

Ruderalis is smaller than indica and sativa and also very resistant to pests and harsh climates. Cannabis ruderalis is high in CBD and low in THC. Without it we wouldn’t have auto-flowering strains nowadays, even though pure ruderalis has very little psychoactive effect. The auto flowering gene of ruderalis we entered a whole new world of cannabis hybrids.

The origin of ruderalis is up for debate. What we do know is that among the seedlings of a particular cross, a grower found some male plants that flowered basically in the seedling stage. This meant that they could use their pollen to pollinate the fastest flowering females of the same batch. The next generation of this breed was 100% auto-flowering. Auto-flowering strains spread and more and more, so breeders started to experiment with genetics. Auto-flowers are a lot hardier than other varieties. They can grow in colder climates and they are less sensitive to pests, diseases and bloat. 

What are the benefits of auto-flowering and ruderalis plants?

Auto Flowers or ruderalis are generally the smallest of the three strains. They are great for winter growing because they flower based on how many days old the plant is, and are not dependent on the photoperiod, or amount of light that they receive. With ruderalis, two crops could be harvested in the same year essentially doubling the yield per area and compensating for their small size. 

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