A guide to cannabis strains

According to the United Nations, 158.8 million people around the world use cannabis – more than 3.8% of the planet’s population.

But not all of it is the same as there are different cannabis strains available on the market and it’s not always used for the same reasons. Cannabis use for medical purposes is on the rise, while recreational use is becoming more popular too. 

Different cannabis strains are often used for different experiences and purposes. Below, we take a look at the different types and how they can be used. Traditionally, strains have been categorised by the species of plant. When browsing a dispensary, you are most likely to see the strains ‘sativa’ and ‘indica’.


Sativas can be defined by their height, long branches and narrow leaves. It is commonly associated with causing a psychoactive “high”. Sativa-based strains, including medicines, have a higher level of tetrahydrocannabinol than the indica strain. Many cultivators and users believe that Sativa creates a more uplifting experience, despite their being a lack of scientific research behind the claims. It is more common for recreational use. 


The Indica species is noticeably different from the Sativa plant. Indica plants are short and bushy. The flower leaves are much wider. It grows quicker than the Sativa species and doesn’t require as much light. This species has a much higher quantity of CBD and so is used more widely in medicinal cannabis. It is associated with reducing nausea, being a muscle relaxant, and decreasing pain and spasms. CBD doesn’t deliver the same psychoactive element as THC, so is not suitable for those looking for a buzz. 

Should these cannabis strains guide purchases? 

Despite these broad categorisations, not all sativas will get you high and not all indicas will provide a feeling similar to sedation. Rather than paying attention to the strain of the plant, purchasers should focus on the cannabinoids contained in the strain. After all, each strain will impact someone differently based on their biology, tolerance, and their chosen method of consumption. As a way to reach a wider market, hybrid cannabis strains have become more popular – giving users a mix of everything. 

Hybrid cannabis strains 

Not everyone will fit directly into a single category when it comes to experiencing cannabis. For that reason, hybrid cannabis strains are rife on the market. To understand which strain is right for you, you’ll need to know about terpenes rather than just cannabinoids. 

Terpenes are an aromatic oil secreted from the plant that can be adapted to add new flavours to cannabis. They each cause a different experience and have led to the popularity of strains such as White Widow, Pineapple Express, and Blue Dream. 

How to choose the right cannabis strain 

In order to choose the right strain, you should ask yourself what sort of experience you require and what purpose you’re consuming the cannabis for. Then you can choose whether to purchase a THC-dominant, CBD-dominant, or balanced mix. You can also go by your favourite flavour, scent or colour, as there will be something on the market to match your taste. Remember that to choose and purchase the right strain, it must be legal in your location. 

To find out more about the uses of cannabis, make sure you follow The Leaf Desk.