Cannabis products are currently categorized and separated into four classifications : “Indica”, “Sativa”, and “Indica or Sativa leaning hybrids”. This classification uses three main factors, the geographical location of the strain or “phenotype”, the terpene profile that the strain contains, and the effects that the strain provides the consumer.
We use this classification to identify what strain would best suit our customers based on their past history, personal preferences, and desired effects.
Another way to think about it is a scale ranging from Sedative, Calming & Relaxing at one end of the spectrum, and Uplifted, Energized, Focused being at the other end of the spectrum with varying ratios across the scale.
History Of The Classifications
Indica cannabis strains originate from the Asian sub-continent, thriving in harsh climates such as Morocco, Afghanistan, Turkey and India.
In order to survive these harsh climates, the plant developed unique characteristics such as an increased resin production to protect itself from rough climatic conditions, and a short, broad and wide plant structure to withstand strong winds.
Indica is easily identifiable by its broad leaf structure, darker color and thick, stout buds.
Indica terpene profiles tend to consist of Terpinolene, Linalool, Myrcene, and
Caryophyllene. These terpenes are the reason for Indica’s relaxing, sedative and calming effects on the user. Examples of indica landrace strains are Afghani, Hindu Kush, and Lashkar Gah.
Sativa Cannabis strains originate from South and Central America. Thriving in warm dry climates, they tend to require a longer period of growth before harvest. Due to this climate, cannabis sativa has developed to be a tall, thin leafed plant, with skinny, elongated, conical bud structure,
and less overall yield at harvest.
The sativa plant is generally lighter in color and has typically hosts a terpene profile consisting of Limonene, Valencene, and a-Pinene.
These terpenes are the reason for sativas uplifting, euphoric and sometimes energizing effects. Examples of sativa landrace strains are Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Columbian Gold, Durban Poison and Lambs Bread
“Landrace” strains have become less common as cross breeding and hybrids became popular. Created by cannabis tourists in the 60’s and 70’s who would travel to the regions where these landraces were native to, acquire seeds and bring them home to grow. These cannabis tourists would cross breed various landraces and produce the very first hybrid strains, phenotypes with terpenes and characteristics of both parent plants. Hybrids can be bred from two indica plants, two sativa plants, or a cross of indica and sativa.
Over time, and as cannabis users began to experiment, cross breeding became more intricate and purposeful. Growers began choosing strains based on traits such as high yield, high resin producing, and high potency, creating ideal crosses with chosen characteristics of the parent plants. We can use the terpene profiles and information on parent plants to determine the effects of different strains, to better inform our customers and find the ideal strains for their preferences.