Indicas, Sativas, & Hybrids: What’s the Difference?

A cannabis strain refers to the specific type of cannabis plant that has been bred and cultivated to possess distinct characteristics, such as aroma, terpene profile, potency, and medicinal properties. In the world of cannabis, there are a multitude of strains available, each with its unique characteristics and effects.

At Orbit DC dispensary, we believe in providing our clients with comprehensive knowledge about the different types of cannabis strains. Today, we will delve into the differences between indicas, sativas, and hybrids, helping you make an informed decision when selecting the right product for your needs. Our knowledgeable budtenders can guide you through the different strains available, helping you find the one that best suits your desired experience or therapeutic goals.

For more information, stop by our Howard University-adjacent store, send us a message, or contact us at (202) 481-1292. We are here to assist you in navigating the world of cannabis strains and finding the right one for you!

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Whether you’re seeking relief from a medical condition or simply looking to enhance your recreational experience, discovering the right cannabis product can make all the difference. Explore the world of cannabis strains at Orbit DC Dispensary!

About Cannabis Strains

According to research estimates, there are over 700 strains of cannabis. (1) Each one has its own unique set of traits, making it stand out from others in terms of appearance, effects, and chemical composition. These characteristics are determined by the plant’s genetics, which can be manipulated through selective breeding to create desired traits.

A cannabis strain refers to a specific genetic variation or lineage of the plant. These strains can vary in their cannabinoid content, as well as other chemical compounds such as terpenes, which contribute to the aroma and flavor of the plant. These are classified into three distinct groups: indicas, sativas, and hybrids. When considering a cannabis strain, it’s important to understand how it may affect you personally. The effects can vary depending on factors such as individual tolerance, dosage, and method of consumption. Some strains may be more suitable for certain conditions or desired effects, such as pain relief, relaxation, or enhanced focus.

What Are Cannabinoids?

The cannabis plant contains over 100 different cannabinoids, each with its own unique effects on the body. The two most well-known and studied cannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning it does not produce the euphoric feeling typically associated with cannabis use. THC, on the other hand, is the psychoactive compound responsible for the blissful feelings associated with cannabis consumption.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis that contribute to its unique smell and taste. They also play a role in the overall effects of the strain. Different terpenes can have calming, uplifting, or sedating effects, adding to the complexity of each strain’s profile.

All About Indicas


The word “indica” means “of India” in Latin, showing the strain’s originating country. Indica plants tend to be shorter and bushier compared to sativa plants. They have wide leaves and dense buds, which contribute to their unique appearance. This physical structure allows for a higher concentration of cannabinoids within the plant. Indica plants are well-suited for indoor cultivation due to their compact size.

Psychoactive Characteristics of Indicas

  • Known for their sedating effects
  • Promote relaxation and tranquility
  • Popular choices for relief from stress, anxiety, and insomnia
  • Often described as providing a “body high”
  • Induce a deep couch-lock or sleepiness

Famous Indicas

  • Granddaddy Purp
  • Northern Lights
  • Hindu Kush
  • Godfather OG
  • Girl Scout Cookies

All About Sativas


The word “sativa” means “sown”, signifying that the plant propagates from seeds rather than roots. (2) When comparing indicas and sativas, the most immediately noticeable visual differences are in the leaves. Sativa’s long, slender leaves are a stark contrast to the broader and more rounded leaves of indica strains. The leaf structure of sativa plants showcases their adaptability to environments with ample sunlight, as they allow for optimal light absorption during photosynthesis. Remarkably, sativas have been known to grow up to 20 feet in height and have a longer flowering time compared to indica plants.

Psychoactive Characteristics of Sativas

  • Known for their uplifting and energizing effects
  • Renowned for their invigorating and stimulating properties
  • Popular choice for feeling more alert, staying focused and energized
  • Often described as providing a “head high”
  • Encourage creativity and mental clarity

Famous Sativas

  • Acapulco Gold
  • Jack Herer
  • Maui Wowie
  • Durban Poison
  • Strawberry Cough

All About Hybrids


A hybrid is created by combining different strains of the cannabis plant. This blending of different strains results in a variety that combines the unique characteristics and effects of its parent strains. They are created through a process called crossbreeding, where two different strains of cannabis with desirable traits are bred together. This allows for the combination of various qualities such as flavor, aroma, potency, and medicinal properties. By carefully selecting and breeding specific strains, growers can create hybrid strains that offer a tailored experience to meet the needs and preferences of individual users.

Psychoactive Characteristics of Hybrids

  • Hybrids possess a wide range of effects, flavors, and aromas, making them suitable for different purposes and preferences
  • Indica-dominant hybrids can provide relaxing and sedating effects.
  • Sativa-dominant hybrids can offer energizing and uplifting sensations.
  • Balanced hybrids provide a harmonious blend of both indica and sativa characteristics.
  • Known for their “best of both worlds” characteristics

Famous Hybrids

  • OG Kush
  • Wedding Cake
  • Blue Dream
  • Gelato
  • Runtz

How Do I Know Which Cannabis Strain Is Right For Me?

If you are unfamiliar with cannabis consumption, or if you are simply venturing into unfamiliar territory and want to try something new, deciding which cannabis strain is right for you involves careful consideration of various factors. At Orbit DC, we understand that finding the perfect strain can greatly impact your overall experience. Here are some important aspects to consider when making your decision:

  • Therapeutic Effects: Determine the therapeutic effects you desire from your cannabis experience. Are you seeking pain relief, stress reduction, mood elevation, or improved focus? Identifying your desired outcomes will aid in selecting a strain that aligns with your goals.
  • Cannabinoid Profile: Understanding the cannabinoid profile of a strain is crucial. Consider the total THC content and the ratio of THC to CBD that suits your needs, and don’t be afraid to ask for details from your budtender.
  • Terpene Composition: Terpenes play a role in the strain’s effects. For example, the terpene myrcene is associated with relaxation, while limonene can promote uplifted moods. Pay attention to the terpene profile of each strain you’re considering.
  • Personal Preferences: Take into account your personal preferences regarding taste, aroma, and consumption methods. Some strains have distinct flavors and smells that may be more appealing to you than others. Additionally, consider whether you prefer smoking, vaping, or using edibles.
  • Expert Recommendations: Consult with knowledgeable budtenders like our amazing staff at Orbit DC, who specialize in all things cannabis. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your needs and guide you towards strains that are most likely to be effective for you.

At Orbit DC, we are here to support you every step of the way in finding the right cannabis strain for your needs. We encourage open communication and collaboration between our clients and our expert budtenders. Remember, finding the ideal strain is a personalized journey, and we are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal well-being!

Weed for Delivery in the DMV

At Orbit DC, our team is dedicated to helping you find the perfect cannabis strain to suit your individual needs. Get started by browsing through our Menu, contact us at (202) 481-1292, or visit our Washington DC location for expert guidance and a wide selection of premium cannabis products.

Want to ask us a question online? Use this form.


Can I try different cannabis strains to see which ones I like?

Experimenting with different strains is an essential part of finding the perfect fit for your unique requirements. Dispensaries offer a wide selection of cannabis strains, allowing you to explore and discover the ones that resonate with you. Keep track of your experiences with each strain to better understand their effects on your mind and body.

Which cannabis strain is right for me?

Consider the differences between indica and sativa strains. Indica strains often provide relaxation and physical sedation, while sativa strains tend to offer uplifting and energizing effects. Hybrid strains combine characteristics from both indica and sativa. Different cannabis strains offer unique effects, such as relaxation, pain relief, creativity, or energy boost. Understanding the desired effects you seek will help narrow down your options, so it’s best to ask a knowledgeable budtender to guide you if you are new to cannabis.


  1. Gloss D. An Overview of Products and Bias in Research. Neurotherapeutics. 2015;12(4):731-734. doi: 
  2. Odieka AE, Obuzor GU, Oyedeji OO, Gondwe M, Hosu YS, Oyedeji AO. The Medicinal Natural Products of Cannabis sativa Linn.: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). 2022;27(5):1689. doi: 
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