How to Differentiate Between Different Types of Cannabis?

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If you are one of the millions of consumers who want to know more about cannabis products, there are plenty of excellent resources out there.

In fact, most online retail websites have educational blogs that explain all the terminology and obscure information to newcomers.

But the main question everyone seems to have, as they begin to delve into the world of cannabis-related products is this: “How can I identify the different types?”


Fortunately, you don’t need to be a scientist or expert of any kind to learn the basic differences between the most common strains, indica and sativa.

But when it comes to hybrid versions of these two varieties, be ready for a wealth of data and information.

Where should you begin? At the beginning, of course.

The Two Main Types

There are endless varieties of hybrids but only two main kinds of cannabis plants, which are sativa and indica.

Researchers used to think that each one had its own unique effects on users until recent studies revealed that individual tolerance levels are a better indicator of what a given strain will do in terms of effects.


When you venture away from the pure forms of sativa and indica, you’re in for an education. The fact is that there are hundreds of popular hybrids on the market and some are nearly impossible to tell apart. Many enthusiasts consult with their local retailer to figure out which hybrid is which. However, one of the more common ways people face this challenge is with apps on their phones or laptops.

For example, Strainprint’s app goes way beyond indica vs. sativa and helps users distinguish between a wide variety of symptoms of whatever form of the plant they prefer to use. By sharing their experiences and results, consumers contribute to a vast body of scientific knowledge that helps legitimize the industry. In addition to high-end apps, many of the more common ones can assist people who want answers about the type of cannabis they’re using. Typical apps can predict the strain you have based on your reaction to it, what it looks like and where you purchased it.

Becoming an Informed Consumer

Scientific research now points to a new way of differentiating between the varieties of the plant.

For starters, experts say that the type of plant is not as big a determinant in its effect as several other factors, including your personal physical makeup, the dosage, how you consume it, and your own tolerance.

There’s a general truism that indica strains are relaxing and sativa strains are uplifting. Recent research discounts those generalities. It appears that the specific chemical composition of the plant is the most important factor in knowing how a particular kind of cannabis will affect you.

The Plants

It’s actually quite easy to spot the two main varieties of plants just by looking at them. Sativa tends to be tall, with narrow leaves and a sparse overall appearance. Indica plants are shorter and have very broad leaves.

They also have short flowering cycles and are able to flourish in colder regions. Sativa is the opposite, growing in warm zones and having very long flowering cycles.

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