Anyone who’s spent any time around dispensaries knows that there’s a lot of chatter about different kinds of cannabis. Budtenders will usually ask first-timers what they’re looking for in their high. Do they want to feel energetic or mellow? Are their aims to fall asleep or write a novel? It may just seem like hype, but these questions have less to do with marketing claims and more to do with the species of cannabis available today. There are four main types of cannabis. Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Ruderalis, and Hemp though not all of them are going to show up at your local cannabis store.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa is an annual flowering plant that loves heat. It’s native to Southeastern Asia, Mexico, and Central America. This form of the plant is tall and skinny, looks somewhat unkept and wiry, and flaunts the thin distinctive leaves most people imagine when they think of cannabis. Enthusiasts searching for a stimulating, energetic high typically go with Sativa strains to get those effects.

Cannabis Indica

Indica is a hardy flowering plant that’s tailor-made to withstand extreme temperatures. Indica plants tend to be shorter, with thicker leaves. It originated in the Hindu Kush mountains, a range that runs through parts of China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. However, it now makes its home quite happily throughout the world and in any number of greenhouses and grow rooms. Cannabists in want of a mellow, sleepy high steer toward Indica strains as they’ll usually fit the bill.

Cannabis Ruderalis

Ruderalis is the smallest of the cannabis plants. It’s native to Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia. Some dismiss it for its low THC properties, but many growers love crossbreeding with this tiny but mighty plant. It flowers far faster than its other cannabis counterparts, allowing for faster harvests in plants with higher THC content and other desirable genetic qualities.


And last, but certainly not least, is Hemp. Hemp is a variant of Sativa and got its start in the Northern hemisphere. It’s a tall skinny plant with thin leaves clustered at its height with very few branches emerging from its stalk nearer to the ground. Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of hemp is that it has less than one percent THC content. Alas, hemp cannot get you high, but there are so many things that this member of the cannabis family can do. You can eat it. Make clothes or rope and even create fuel.


Sativa and Indica are your main options when you’re scrolling through a menu. However, cannabis cultivators have also created many different hybrid strains. These strains utilize the best parts of Indica and Sativa plants and sometimes lean upon ruderalis for help with faster flowering times. Hybrids run the gamut from being Indica heavy to bring Sativa’s characteristics to the fore. So it will take some experimentation to discover which kind of hybrid works best for you.

Decide Your Own Cannabis Adventure

There are many ways to enjoy cannabis and many strains to try. So which kind is right for you? It depends. Even beyond choosing between Indica and Sativa (and all of their hybrid iterations), there’s a lot to decide. Do you want to smoke it? Eat it? Inhale it? How much CBD and THC are you looking for? Each person reacts in slightly different ways to various strains. The best way to discover what’s right for you is to get great recommendations from trusted friends or budtenders and to try new things slowly.

We’d love to answer any of your cannabis questions! Check out our menu and stop on by Island Herb soon! We’re always happy to help.