Indica, Sativa, Hybrid, Ruderalis? Which One is the Right Choice?

Cannabis is an incredibly diverse and versatile plant. In recent time, it has become much more popular for its wide variety of medical and therapeutic benefits. Beyond the hype of useful benefits, cannabis has also been a popular choice for growing at home! It's crucial for all enthusiasts, growers and users to understand that not all cannabis is the same.

You may be familiar with the terms like “Sativa," “Indica,” “Hybrid”, and, if you’re a grower, perhaps even “Ruderalis”! These are the 4 main categories that cannabis strains fall under, each possessing unique characteristics, from physical appearance to growth rate/size, and effects they elicit when used or consumed!

You may ask “what does indica do? what does sativa do? and what about hybrid weed?” Understanding the differences is important to help you make informed decisions and choices about which type suits your needs best! Let's get into it!

What are THC and CBD?

thc and cbd in cannabis

THC and CBD are the two main psychoactive phytochemical produced by the cannabis plants. They have distinct effects and are used to treat different ailments and health issues.

THC is the primary compound that gives cannabis its psychoactive effects, or the so-called “high.” THC can often induce feelings of euphoria, creativity, relaxation, increased appetite, pain relief, and sometimes short-term memory impairment and paranoia. Because of these effects, high-THC cannabis is often used to:

  • Alleviate nausea;
  • Stimulate appetite;
  • Manage pain;
  • Address sleep disorders;
  • Treat anxiety;
  • Help with some neurological disorders.

CBD is quite different. It's non-pyschoative, meaning it doesn't produce a “high” like THC does! But there are still many medical benefits you can receive from high-CBD cannabis plants, such as:

  • pain relief;
  • anti-inflammation;
  • anxiety and stress reduction;
  • improved sleep;
  • management of seizures;
  • neuroprotection;
  • and even benefits for acne and heart health!

The ratio of these main two cannabinoids brings about the difference between indica and sativa strains.

Differences Between Cannabis Strains

indica, sativa, hybrid and ruderalis

Indica, sativa, hybrid, and ruderalis are the four major cannabis strains, each with its unique characteristics.

1. Chemical Compounds & Effects

The main factor which separates each strain is the ratio of compounds that induce its effects. For instance, the difference between indica and sativa, the two main varieties, largely lies in the ratio of CBD and THC they possess.

Indica

Indica strain can have moderate to high levels of CBD, coexisting with very high THC levels. Known for their relaxing and sedative effects, primarily attributed to high CBD levels, indica strains are often chosen for pain relief.

Sativa

Sativa strains have high THC, and very little to no CBD. They come with a much more energizing effect, creating uplifted feelings associated with more cerebral “head high.” This makes them a great option for daytime use and creative activities!

Hybrid

There is also “hybrid” weed strains, which are a product of cross breeding sativa with indica strains, offering a nice balances THC and CBD profile. They are often bred for specific effects from one strain and flavor or aroma profiles from the other, making them the most common and popular strains. These are now the most common and popular strains!

Ruderalis

Ruderalis is one more subspecies that is fairly new to the cannabis scene, also known as “Rudy.” Ruderalis strains typically have lower cannabinoid content compared to indica or sativa strains, but have been made popular by home growers for their autoflowering traits (more info below).

2. Growing

Indica

indica strain grown in Hey abby grow box

Image via Hey abby grower @Fyn _ indica strain

Explore the Grow Story

Characterized by a shorter stature, cannabis indicas exhibit a bushy appearance with wide leaves and an overall denser structure. Indicas are photoperiod strains, which means they need a change in light cycle to induce flower production.

Sativa

Sativas grow considerably taller in height, with much narrower leaves and lanky growth style. Similar to indicas, sativas are photoperiod strains, which means they need a change in light cycle for the flowering stage as well. Cannabis sativa generally takes a longer time to mature compared to indica.

Hybrid

hybrid strain grown in Hey abby 2
hybrid strain grown in Hey abby 1

Image via Hey abby grower @Leera _ hybrid strain

Explore the Grow Story

As a crossbreed of indica and sativa strains, hybrids weed often have a dominant lineage, leaning toward either sativa or indica dominance. Like their parent strains, hybrids are also photoperiod strains, displaying growth characteristics of the dominant parent but also incorporating traits of the less dominant strain.

Ruderalis

Cannabis ruderalis strains have grown in popularity thanks to its ease of growing. Often time home growers will choose to grow a ruderalis strain because it produces flowers automatically, and does not need a change in light schedule! Ruderalis strains are the smallest in stature, growing thinner and less bushy than other strains. These strains are often bred with sativa or indica strain to create a hybrid capable of autoflowering.

3. Flavor and Aroma

Indica

Most indica strains offer an earthy, musky, and somewhat gas like aromas and flavors.

Sativa

Sativas offer sweeter, citrusy, and occasionally spicy aromas and flavor profiles.

Hybrid

As mentioned earlier, hybrid cannabis strains are often intentionally bred to combine specific effects from one strain with flavor or aroma profiles from another. Hence, there's no specific flavor profile that universally characterizes them.

Ruderalis

Ruderalis strains have a drawback. They tend to be less potent and flavorful, containing lower levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.

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How to Choose the Best Weed Strains for Yourself?

When determining which variety or subspecies of cannabis is right for you, it all depends on your needs! Let's break it down:

If you’re using/growing cannabis for medicinal purposes

Consider your goals. Sativa strains work well for appetite stimulation, productivity and focus, while indicas are better for pain management, stress reduction and sleep issues.

If you are using/growing cannabis for recreational purposes

Factor in the desired effects and flavor profile. Sativas will have a much more cerebral effect (felt more in the head than the body), with a lot brighter aromas and flavors.

Indicas offer a much heavier, more sedative effect (felt more in the body than the head), with more musky, earthy scents and flavors.

Hybrid weed often brings a balanced effect (felt both in the head and body) and offer all different types of flavors and aromas.

If you are a beginner grower

Going for the ruderalis might be your best bet. It's easy to grow, and you might see a good harvest right from your first grow, although you may sacrifice a bit on flavor and potency.

But... if you use an intelligent cannabis growing kit like Hey abby, growing any strains from indica to sativa will become a breeze!

choose between indica, sativa and hybrid strains in hey abby app

Just pick your preferred strain in the hey abby APP before kicking off. From seed to harvest, you'll get detailed video instructions and expert support at every cannabis growing stage. The added benefits of hydroponics and automated climate control can significantly prevent diseases, pests, and mold on your plants. Your success rate will soar compared to going it alone in a tent.

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5 Popular Cannabis Strains

Here are some of the most popular strains to consider and/or look for along your cannabis journey.

Uncertain about where to purchase your preferred strain? Take a look at Seed Supreme, praised by Hey abby growers for its reliability and abundant strain choices.

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1. Lemon Cherry Gelato

  • Type: Hybrid (60% Indica, 40% Sativa)
  • THC: 19–29%, CBD: <1%
  • Terpenes: Limonene (Citrus), Caryophyllene (Pepper), Humulene (Hop)
  • Aroma: Citrus, Berry, Earthy Pine

Lemon Cherry Gelato is a must-have for citrus and berry scent lovers. With dominant limonene, the aroma bursts with raspberries and sour lemon, complemented by an earthy pine perfume.

2. Godfather OG

  • Type: Indica-leaning Hybrid (60% Indica, 40% Sativa)
  • THC: 21–28%, CBD: 0.1–0.7%
  • Terpenes: Myrcene (Herbal, Earthy), Limonene (Citrus), Caryophyllene (Pepper)
  • Aroma: Pungent, Earthy, Spice, Pine, Sweet Grapes

Godfather OG delivers potent effects with herbal and spicy flavors. A cerebral high uplifts and relaxes, leaving you happy and worry-free.

3. Granddaddy Purple (GDP)

  • Type: Indica
  • Terpenes: Myrcene (Herbal), Pinene (Pine), Caryophyllene (Pepper)
  • Aroma: Grape, Berry, Wood, Earth, Lemon

Granddaddy Purple's sweet berry and grape flavors, combined with its calming effects, make it perfect for a nighttime experience. Enjoy a euphoric head buzz and relaxation.

4. Blue Dream

  • Type: Sativa-dominant Hybrid (60% Sativa, 40% Indica)
  • THC: 20%, CBD: 0.4%
  • Terpenes: Myrcene (Earthy), Pinene (Pine), Caryophyllene (Pepper)
  • Aroma: Sweet Berries, Vanilla, Pinewood, Earth, Citrus, Floral

Blue Dream's exceptional flavor profile and sativa kick make it ideal for daytime use. Smooth tokes provide a cerebral buzz with euphoric effects.

5. Skywalker OG

  • Type: Indica-dominant Hybrid
  • THC: 15–23%, Low CBD
  • Terpenes: Caryophyllene (Spicy, Woody), Others
  • Effects: Deep Relaxation, Euphoria
  • Flavors: Earthy, Woody, Spicy, Sweet, Fruity

Skywalker OG is renowned for its potent effects and unique aroma. Ideal for stress relief, pain management, and insomnia, it carries caryophyllene for anti-inflammatory benefits.

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