Types of Cannabis

indica puts you to sleep and sativa gives you energy...right?

First, let's get something straight: that indica vs. sativa debate is largely a myth nowadays. The three types of cannabis are Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis; but years of breeding and co-evolution have blurred the lines between each type. Thus, no cannabis plant exists with pure "indica" or "sativa" genetics.

Instead of relying on the terms "indica" and "sativa" to categorize our cannabis, we can make more informed decisions by choosing based on the cannabinoid and terpene profile. First, let's get some definitions out of the way.


A cannabinoid is one of a class of diverse chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. The most popular cannabinoids, which you may have heard of, are: 

  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol): This cannabinoid gives you psychoactive effects, or the "high." It has also been studied for treating Alzheimer's, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, PTSD, cancer, Crohn's disease, and more. 

  • CBD (cannabidiol): Non-psychoactive, but has been shown to be relaxing, anti-inflammatory, and anti-anxiety. Medically, it is becoming an increasingly popular treatment for epilepsy.

Some less popular, but still important, cannabinoids are:

  • CBC (cannabichromene): Anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, and encourages brain growth. 

  • CBN (cannabinol): Appetite stimulant, antibiotic, pain reliever, anti-asthmatic, sedative, treatment for Glaucoma. 

  • CBG (cannabigerol): Antibiotic, treatment for Psoriasis, pain reliever, mood stabilizer.


Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds (essential oils), produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers, and by some insects. They give cannabis their amazing scent, enhance your "high," and hold numerous medical benefits. Some common ones include:

  • Myrcene: The most common terpene in cannabis, this gives you the so-called "couch lock" of certain strains.  Myrcene is also found in oil of hops, citrus fruits, bay leaves, eucalyptus, wild thyme, lemon grass and many other plants.

  • Limonene: Gives that citrusy smell characteristic of certain strains. Strains high in limonene promote a general uplift in mood and attitude. This citrusy terpene is the major constituent in citrus fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper and peppermint, as well as in several pine needle oils.

  • Terpinolene: Has been found to be a central nervous system depressant and reduce psychological excitement or anxiety. Terpinolene is known to have a piney aroma with slight herbal and floral nuances

  • Caryophyllene:  This terpene is found in many plants such as Thai basils, cloves, cinnamon leaves and black pepper, and in minor quantities in lavender. It has a peppery/woody scent . Caryophyllene is a major constituent of black pepper, and black pepper oil has been found to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties. 

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is a term used to describe the therapeutic effects that result from the biochemical interactions between all of the various compounds found in Cannabis.

So...What Now?

Now, with a basic understanding of cannabinoids and terpenes, it's easier to see why we should categorize cannabis from a chemical standpoint instead of the typical "indica," "sativa," "hybrid" groupings. We're excited to show you how we classify cannabis in our dispensary. Until then, here are the traditional categories:


Indicas are traditionally short in stature and have thick, wide fan leaves. The buds are generally thicker and more dense than seen in sativas. They are said to provide a "couch lock" high and are high in the terpene Myrcene.


Sativas are traditionally tall and wiry with long fan leaves. Compared to indica buds, sativa buds are less dense. They are said to provide a more energetic high and generally have a high amount of the terpene Limonene.


A hybrid is a strain of marijuana that results when you crossbreed sativa with indica. This the majority of strains around today. 


Ruderalis is a low THC type of cannabis native to Russia. It was brought to the USA to be bred with other strains because of it's characteristic short stature and quick flowering times.

Forrest Bloom