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The differences between cannabis strains*

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    Posted: 27 May 2005 at 12:18
What's the difference between Indica and Sativa?

Scientifically (and legally), all cannabis plants are considered to be Cannabis sativa L..

In practice, Indica and Sativa are broad categories used to distinguish different ends of the cannabis 'spectrum'. There are a multitude of different growth-patterns, qualities and effects within this spectrum and the variations between strains are largely due to the fact that cannabis displays a remarkable ability to adapt to a wide range of different environments.

Since all branches of the cannabis family tree can interbreed freely (including industrial hemp and Cannabis ruderalis J.), some botanists consider all forms of the plant to be members of a  single polymorphic species.

Cannabis indica L.
  • Most Indica varieties come from central Asia and the Indian subcontinent - Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, Tibet, Nepal, etc..
  • Indicas are compact and stocky, with dense, heavy, fragrant buds. Cannabis plants produce nodes at regular intervals along their stems, and these nodes are the sites at which leaves, branches and flowers (buds) form. Indica buds tend to grow in dense clusters around the nodes of the stem and branches, with relatively short spaces (known as internodal gaps) between each cluster
  • Indicas are the faster flowering varieties, and usually have a flowering time of 6 to 9 weeks.
  • Indicas gain height quite rapidly once flowering begins, but they shouldn’t grow out of control in normal circumstances. An Indica may be expected increase its vegetated height by a factor of 50-100%  during its flowering period.
  • The effect of Indica is generally classified as a 'stone', meaning that it’s more centred on the body. Indicas may enhance physical sensations such as taste, touch and sound. The Indica effect is noted for being physically and mentally relaxing and it may be soporific in larger doses.

Cannabis sativa L.
  • Sativas generally originate in the tropical regions - Thailand, southern India, Jamaica, Mexico, etc.
  • Given the same conditions, Sativas grow taller than Indicas. Sativa buds tend grow larger than Indica, as they run along the length of a branch instead of clustering around the nodes. However, they will usually weigh less than Indica when dry, due to their lower density. Sativa buds also tend to have a less striking odour, both when growing and when dry.
  • Sativas take longer to flower. They will usually need between 60 and 90 days to finish blooming. However, they need less time for vegetative growth prior to flowering than Indicas do, so the overall time required for Sativas is about the same as for Indicas (and sometimes less in terms of 'light hours').
  • Sativas can increase in height very rapidly once flowering begins and will often continue to gain height throughout their blooming phase. It’s normal for Sativas to gain 200-300% (or even more) of their vegetative height while flowering.
  • In tropical regions, the days tend to be relatively short  - close to 12 hours long all year round – so Sativas are adapted to grow and flower at the same time instead of having distinct vegetative and blooming stages as Indicas do. In a 12/12 indoor flowering cycle, Sativas will grow and flower at the same time as they would in their native environment.
  • For this reason indoor growers should not allow a Sativa too much vegetative growth before inducing flowering. When growing from clones, many Sativa varieties may be flowered as soon as the clone has rooted.
  • Despite their lower weight and potentially longer flowering time, Sativas are valued by many growers for their 'high' effect. This high may be characterised as cerebral, energetic, creative, giggly or even psychedelic. It is less overpowering than the Indica 'stone', and less likely to send the user to sleep.



What is the difference between Indoor, Indoor/Greenhouse and Outdoor strains?

- INDOOR strains are generally only intended for indoor growing with artificial light. The optimal light conditions available indoors will allow these strains to reach their full potential.
It is possible to grow these strains outdoors if you live in a warm, sunny climate, such as the Southern hemisphere, equatorial regions, the tropics and subtropics.

- INDOOR / GREENHOUSE strains are suitable for the widest range of growing conditions. They may be grown indoors with artificial lights just as successfully as the regular Indoor strains.
In the Northern European spring and summer, they may be grown in a greenhouse with just the power of the sun.
In Southern Europe and beyond they may also be grown outdoors with great success.

- OUTDOOR strains are those that may be grown outside in spring/summer, even in Northern Europe. Of course, these varieties will also flourish elsewhere, but their hardiness and early-flowering tendencies will allow them to ripen even in a short, cool summer. All Sensi Seeds Outdoor varieties are able to finish flowering by September or early October.

Which are the best strains for beginners?

Sensi usually recommends fast-flowering, compact, easy-to-grow Indica and Indica-dominant varieties for beginner growers.

Most of the Skunk hybrids possess Sativa qualities while retaining the more manageable Indica growth pattern.

Indicas and Skunks are generally tough and vigorous, enabling them to bounce back from common errors made by novice growers.

In addition, the strains recommended for beginner growers tend to be the more affordable ones in our collection. Premium strains are usually recommended for slightly more advanced growers with some experience, as a little experience makes it easier to  grow them to their full potential.

Sensi strains recommended for beginners include :

Shiva Shanti II
Sensi Skunk
Skunk #1
Hindu Kush
Shiva Shanti
Super Skunk
Maple Leaf Indica
Afghani #1
Shiva Skunk

Some Indica-Sativa hybrids, such as Marley's Collie and American Dream, display an easy to control Indica growing pattern.

 
Cannabis enthusiasts can find clear descriptions for all Sensi Seeds and White Label Seed Co. varieties - including data on harvest time and potential yield - here on the Sensi website and by following the links above.

Strains which are particularly suitable for beginner growers are marked with a Best for Beginners icon.



Which strains are your fastest / biggest yielding / most compact?

Nearly all Sensi Seeds Indica and mostly-Indica varieties fall into the fast/heavy/compact category, with certain strains being particularly good performers. Big Bud® and Fruity Juice® (Indica/Sativa) would be two of our heaviest yielding varieties with a flowering time of 10 weeks or less.
However, the faster, slightly lower yielding varieties such as Northern Lights® , the various Skunk strains, Maple Leaf Indica® and other Afghanis may prove to be better producers over time. This is because their 7 to 8 week flowering time could allow a whole extra harvest per year.



Which strains are your most powerful?

The Sativa 'high' and the Indica 'stone' are difficult to compare in terms of power. The immediate hit and rich taste of an Indica may seem more powerful initially; a Sativa may have a subtler, yet far more profound effect.
Therefore, it is necessary to define the most powerful in each category:

SATIVA
Jack Herer®
Mother's Finest®
Northern Lights #5 x Haze®
Jack Flash®
Marley's Collie®

INDICA
Mr. Nice G13 x Hash Plant®
Hash Plant®
Northern Lights®
Black Domina®
Shiva Skunk®



Which strains have the most Sativa in them?

INDOOR 
Northern Lights #5 x Haze®
Jack Herer®
Jack Flash®
Mother's Finest®
Silver Haze®

INDOOR/GREENHOUSE
Fruity Juice®
Marley's Collie®

OUTDOOR
Jamaican Pearl®
Durban®
Mexican Sativa®
Early Pearl®

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