Hybrid, Indica, and Sativa Differences: How to Choose the Best Strain

The cannabis plant boasts diverse properties, with its unique strains offering a spectrum of distinct experiences for your relief and enjoyment.

Not only do different varieties of cannabis offer different flavor profiles, aromas, and physical characteristics, but they also provide unique psychoactive effects and therapeutic benefits that can be the exact opposite of what others provide. 

Knowing what separates the unique cannabis strains from one another is crucial for finding the right one for your needs; you don’t necessarily want to vape some sativa when you’re looking to relax and unwind after a long week, nor do you necessarily want to pair an indica with daytime activities.     

So, what is the difference between indica and sativa vapes? How do hybrid vapes compare? To help you get a better idea of the answer to that question and more, take a look at this comprehensive guide to unravel the distinctions among hybrid, indica, and sativa strains more profoundly.

What is Sativa?

The cannabis sativa strain is native to eastern Asia but can also be found growing naturally in both Africa and Central America. It evolved to prefer sunny, dry, warm climates and has been utilized by the inhabitants of these climates for a wide range of purposes that extend well beyond its recreational and therapeutic benefits. 

Over several millennia of regular cultivation, sativas have been used to create oil, food, fiber, medicines, and more. 

Of course, the psychoactive effects of sativa strains have also been a critical factor in their cultivation. The powerful plant has not only been used recreationally for thousands of years but has played essential roles in religious and spiritual ceremonies for just as long. 

Sativa Physical Characteristics

Hydrid, indica, and sativa differences are not limited to their effects alone; the plants are distinctive, too. Sativa plants are taller, with longer, thinner leaves than indica plants. The average sativa plant is around six feet tall but can grow up to twice that tall.

Sativa Effects

So what does sativa do to you? Everyone experiences cannabis slightly differently, but generally, you can anticipate a sativa gummy or other product to provide an energizing, uplifting effect that makes you feel more alert and creative. The high this subspecies provides is often referred to as “cerebral,” which means its impact on thinking and perception is the most notable.

Therapeutic Benefits of Sativa  

There is an array of sativa medical benefits you can potentially enjoy. These strains’ stimulating and euphoric effects can make them useful for anyone looking to improve their mood, address low energy, and achieve mental clarity. The enhanced creative thinking these strains can offer also makes them great for pairing with artistic pursuits. 

What is Indica?

The indica subspecies is native to southern Asia. It originated in the Hindu Kush mountain range, which may sound familiar to cannabis enthusiasts who have enjoyed the individual strain of that name or any of its countless offshoots. 

Having evolved in erratic mountain conditions, these plants are rugged and can thrive in harsh climates. Unlike sativas, the indica subspecies has historically been cultivated primarily for their recreational and therapeutic uses.

Indica Physical Characteristics

The indica plant is stockier and more robust than the sativa plant. This is true of the plant itself and its leaves, which are broad rather than long and narrow like the leaves of a sativa. While sativa plants can grow well beyond six feet tall, indica plants tend to grow to around three or four feet tall, rarely exceeding six feet.

Indica Effects  

Indica products like vapes, edibles, and flower are known to provide a relaxing, sedative effect, as well as a stimulated appetite. 

Some use the term “couch-locked” when describing the experience of a potent indica high. By that, they mean you can feel so relaxed and at ease with an indica that you see little purpose in leaving the comfort of your couch. This effect makes the indica strain most preferable for nighttime use.

You may hear the effect of an indica strain referred to as a “body high.” That means the psychoactive experience of these strains is centered more around physical sensation than mental stimulation. 

Therapeutic Benefits of Indica

The sedative effects of the indica subspecies make it an ideal option for anyone looking to decompress after a stressful week and who might have trouble getting to bed at night. 

Indica strains are also reported to be beneficial to anyone dealing with daily physical discomfort. This strain’s appetite stimulation properties can also potentially benefit those struggling to eat regularly. 

What is a Hybrid Strain? 

A hybrid is any cannabis strain created by crossing two different strains to produce an entirely new one with its own set of unique characteristics. While this can include the crossing of two indicas or two sativas, it is more likely that someone referring to a strain as a hybrid is talking about a cross between sativa and indica.

The indica and sativa strains that evolved naturally without human intervention are referred to as “landrace” strains. 

Over the millennia that cannabis has been cultivated, these landrace strains have been crossed with one another countless times to provide well over one thousand different variations. With that crossing came an array of combinations in terms of physical characteristics, therapeutic benefits, and psychoactive effects. 

Hybrid Physical Characteristics 

Much like when humans procreate, the physical characteristics of a hybrid plant will be a combination of the physical characteristics of its parent strains. It may be taller than an indica but with the broad leaves that the subspecies is known for, or shorter and stockier than a sativa with the longer, more narrow leaves of its sativa parent. 

Hybrid Effects

One of the best things about a hybrid strain is that it can allow you to enjoy the effects of both sativa and indica strains at the same time. 

Often, hybrids will not be a perfect balance of sativa and indica. The subspecies that comprise a larger part of the strain’s genetics is considered the “dominant” strain. A sativa dominant strain will offer more sativa effects than indica and vice versa.

Therapeutic Benefits of Hybrid Strains

Again, the therapeutic benefits of hybrid strains will depend on the benefits provided by the parent strains and whether the strain is sativa or indica dominant. This combined effect can be particularly useful for anyone who can benefit from the therapeutic effects of both strains but would rather not have to use two different types of flower to achieve them. 

Hybrid, Indica, and Sativa Differences

There are various advantages to each unique strain of cannabis, but those particular benefits may not be the ones you’re looking for at the moment. Take a look at what differentiates the types of strains to get a better idea of what you might want to pick up next time you’re perusing Hemp XR’s menu.

THC Content

Some cannabis enthusiasts prioritize high THC content over all else when it comes to choosing a strain. In contrast, others prefer a milder high and a more comprehensive range of therapeutic benefits. While each strain type offers a range of THC contents, certain ones are more inclined to high THC than others. So what is stronger — sativa or indica?


Sativa strains tend to have higher THC content and lower CBD content. This can mean that the psychoactive experience of these strains is more pronounced than the therapeutic effects. However, certain aspects of the psychoactive experience can be therapeutic in themselves. For example, the euphoric feeling provided by sativas can help improve the mood.


Indica strains tend to have more CBD content than sativa strains while still maintaining high THC content. This means the ratio of CBD to THC is more likely to be balanced in these strains, offering both potent psychoactive effects and therapeutic benefits. 


Hybrid strains can be bred to produce whatever the most desirable balance of THC and CBD may be to that particular breeder. Some can offer incredibly high THC content with little CBD, some can have a perfect 1:1 ratio, and others can be low THC/high CBD.

Typically, when you’re looking for a strain with a particular ratio, your best bet is to look at hybrids. 


Now that you have a decent idea of sativa vs. indica vs. hybrid effects, you should be able to more easily determine the strain best suited for your needs. But before you make your selection, make sure you have the following usage tips in mind:


Because sativa strains are stimulating and uplifting, they tend to be better suited for daytime use; if you’re looking to be active after you’ve enjoyed some cannabis, you may not want to be sedated like an indica can make you feel. Sativa gummies and their effects can also be great when your planned activities are mentally stimulating, like painting, writing, or playing music. 


The sedative effect of indicas makes them the ideal candidate for a relaxing night in, decompressing and chatting with friends or watching a movie with some tasty snacks. You might also enjoy yourself in this setting with a sativa, but there is also the chance that the mood set by those energizing strains is not what you’re going for. 


The fun of hybrid strains is that they can be more versatile than indicas or sativas on their own. You might want the enhanced creative thinking of a sativa without the energy, or you may want the relaxing body high of an indica without feeling couch-locked. Hybrids can provide these unique experiences if you’re willing to search for the right one.

Medical Benefits

So, what is the difference between sativa and indica vape cartridges when it comes to the therapeutic benefits they offer? The answer to this question is essential, as the range of potential medical benefits that both sativas, indicas, and hybrids have to offer is wide and can vary significantly. 


Some use sativa strains to boost their mood when they’re feeling down or uneasy, as the euphoric effects these strains provide have the potential to address those issues promptly. The mental clarity that sativas provide can also be helpful for those who are feeling foggy and unfocused. Some also use sativa strains to ease physical discomfort.


The relaxation brought on by a good indica strain can benefit one’s mental state, but it also has its physical advantages. If you’re feeling physical discomfort, such as aches and soreness, relaxing your body can potentially help alleviate these issues. 

The appetite-stimulating effects of indica strains can also prove useful in addressing a variety of issues. However, it’s always a good idea to choose what and how much you eat wisely. 


Hybrids are a good option for someone looking for a particular set of potential medical benefits. Each strain will have unique therapeutic properties based on the ratio of sativa to indica, so you may have to do some research to find what you’re looking for. The odds are that it’s there if you’re willing to look.

Explore CBD Products From Hemp XR

If you want to know more about the different strains of cannabis, one of the best ways to learn is to try them for yourself. Browse Hemp XR’s extensive range, featuring THC cartridges, flavorful gummies, tinctures, and other premium products, to elevate your cannabis experience and discover the unique properties of each strain.