The 3 types (species) of Cannabis
Cannabis users have come a long way since its legalization. There was a time when most cannabis users didn’t need (or probably care) to know the origins of their bud. But now that cannabis is legal in so many states, just getting your hands on some green isn’t the ultimate goal. You want to get the best strains, including hybrids too. Whether you’re interested in growing your own cannabis plants or you simply want to know the best strains to buy, learning about the three types (species) of cannabis is the best place to start.
No matter whether you’re a novice or a cannabis savant, you’re probably somewhat familiar with Cannabis Sativa.
Sativa is the most common type of cannabis and is originally from Eastern Asia. Thanks to the plant’s popularity spreading throughout the world, you can now find sativa growing on most continents. Many growers create hybrid strains of sativa to ensure the plant is hearty enough to grow outside of its land of origin.
Sativa plants can grow to be very tall and need up to 13 hours of light to remain in a vegetative state (the phase where the plant grows the most). The light cycle will determine the time of flowering in sativa plants.
If you’re looking for a high that is more ‘energetic’ than lethargic, you might want to ask for cannabis that has the sativa strain.
Cannabis might have over 1,200 synonyms and slang words, but sativa is the one you should know.
It’s quite possible you’ve heard of indica, depending on your knowledge of cannabis. This stockier cousin of sativa has gained in popularity over the years. Now that more cannabis consumers are educating themselves on the three types of strains, indica has gotten a lot more buzz. Pun intended.
These guys don’t grow as tall as indica and will flower relatively fast. This strain is originally from India. It looks more like a bush than a tall, thin plant. They also have wider buds than the sativa plants. The light cycle also determines the budding phase for indica plants.
Indica is famous for containing high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s most widely used to produce hash — and not smoked nearly as often as sativa. They often contain higher amounts of CBD.
The bushiest of the three strains of cannabis, ruderalis plants will only grow two-feet tall. It is from Central and Eastern Europe.
Some biologists consider ruderalis to be a subspecies of sativa while others consider it to be its own species — especially since it thrives in colder climates. The light cycle does not determine the flowering stage for ruderalis.
Ruderalis plants contain the lowest amounts of THC but often have high levels of CBD. This makes it ideal for harvesting CBD, and its heartiness makes it ideal to cross with other strains that generally only grow in warmer climates.
These three cannabis types (species) are often cross-bred to create a more perfect super cannabis plant. When you cross the ruderalis with indica and sativa, the plants can grow in various climates and flower much faster. The flowering time for strains mixed with ruderalis is only around 10 weeks.
Ruderalis crossed with other strains also allows the plants to flower, regardless of the light cycle. Many growers also love creating hybrid ruderalis strains because the plants will contain higher levels of CBD.
Some of the most common ruderalis strains include:
- Northern Light Auto
- Royal Bluematic
- Sweet Skunk Automatic
- Amnesia Haze
- Royal Dwarf
- Royal Haze Automatic
Finding Pure Cannabis Strains
All that being said, finding a pure cannabis strain is practically impossible. With all the crossbreeding in the cannabis world, you’d be hard-pressed to find a strain of pure sativa, indica or ruderalis. Even the hybrid plants have been crossed with other hybrid plants at this point.
These original hybrids made by Mother Nature were called Landrace strains. They were all named after their areas of origin including:
- Acapulco Gold
- Hindu Kush
While it’s impossible to get your hands on a pure strain of sativa, indica or ruderalis, you can easily reap the benefits of their crossbreeding. Many breeders have specifically crossed different strains to extract the best benefit from each one. Does it really matter if you can’t get a pure strain when you have Girl Scout Cookies, Wedding Cake and Citizen Kane?
Did you enjoy this article? Here’s another good one – What to Expect at a Cannabis Dispensary
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