What is a Cannabis Strain?
A cannabis strain refers to a specific type of cannabis plant. In the cannabis industry, the terms indica, sativa and hybrid refer to cannabis strains, each having their own characteristics.
Indica is a strain that originates from the Hindu Kush mountains of India. It is generally distinguished by its relaxing effects. Sativa is a strain first identified by Carl Linnaeus, a European botanist, in 1753, and is generally distinguished for its more energizing effect. The cannabis hybrid combines the properties of indica and sativa, generally bred by growers as a dominant indica or sativa strain. There are some balanced hybrid strains with equal parts indica and sativa.
All cannabis strains stem from the plant family Cannabaceae. The Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are the two main subspecies and are considered related. When analyzed in a laboratory, researchers do not identify unique characteristics in the chemical makeup of flower consistent with sativa, indica or hybrid.
What Constitutes the Differences In Cannabis Strains?
The origins of cannabis are believed to be in Central Asia and spread across the globe by adapting to different climates. These adaptations led to what are known as landrace strains, the foundation of modern cannabis, featuring different phenotypes native to areas of the world. Landrace strains refer to the region of the world where they originated. The best known landrace strain is considered to be Hindu Kush, which originated in the Hindu Kush Mountains. Other landrace strains considered the original indica and sativa strains include:
- Durban Poison from the Durban region in South Africa
- Panama Red from Panama
- Acapulco Gold from Mexico
Cannabis growers have bred landrace strains to develop new strains that can adapt to a new environment, or change yield, or smoking experience. Some modern indica and sativa strains are combinations of various landrace genetics. The modern strains adapt to their native environments, so how they grow and how much they produce differs across the globe.
What Are the Basic Characteristics of Cannabis Strains?
- Relaxing and sedative effect, used to relieve pain, anxiety and insomnia.
- Plants typically are short and stocky with large dense buds sticky with high resin
- Plant leaves typically are short, fat and close together
- Flavor profiles include earthy, pine, pepper, berries, lavender, bananas and hops
- Energizing and creative effect, used to relieve depression and to inspire activities, such as art
- Plants typically are tall with smaller and lighter buds
- Plant leaves typically are long, slender and spread out
- Flavor profiles fruity, citrus, floral and cherry
- Effects can range from uplifting, mellow or anywhere between indica and sativa
- Flavor profiles can include fruity or earthy
- Other characteristics depend on the dominant indica or sativa strain
Why Are Different Cannabis Strains Important for Cannabis Growers?
Growers and farmers can focus on breeding different cannabis strains based on certain characteristics. Growers can breed a variety of strains to create hybrids and specific strains. This breeding produces individual cannabis strains with a different concentration of the cannabinoids tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), as well as other compounds. Breeding different strains allows the cultivator to create specific flavor profiles, plant yields, potency, growing time, size, and cannabinoid profiles.
Related Glossary Terms for Cannabis Strain
Continue learning with these related glossary terms:
- Gibberellic Acid
- Colloidal Silver
- Grow Room
- Vertical Grow Rack
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