What are Sativa, Indicas and Hybrids?

More than 1,000 strains (and counting) of cannabis have been bred during the past several decades. That makes it critical that consumers are aware of the different types of efficacy available to them based on their desired effects. Choosing the right strain is critical to ensuring that cannabis users receive the best effect possible. Make sure to consult your NESH budtender for help in finding the perfect strains for you.

Which is right for me?

Indica and Sativa plants differ not only in their physiological effects but also in appearance. Indica plants are short and stocky, featuring leaves that are broad and chunky. Sativa plants tend to be taller and skinnier, even lanky in appearance, with leaves that are thin and pointed.

Sativas generally produce a cerebral effect and are typically used during the day time to increase creativity and focus. Indicas generally produce a full-body sensation for relaxation as well as pain and stress relief, and are typically used at night.

Hybrids run the gamut from sativa-leaning to indica-leaning to an even balance of both.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are a diverse class of chemical compounds that occur naturally in the human body (endocannabinoids) and cannabis plants (phytocannabinoids), and interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) trigger various physiological actions.

Among the 500 or so natural components in cannabis more than 100 are classified as phytocannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the best-known compound due to its psychoactive qualities, while cannabidiol (CBD) appears to play the most significant role in the plant’s medicinal benefits.

Cannabinoids are similar to chemicals the body produces that are involved in appetite, memory, movement and pain. Research suggests cannabinoids might reduce anxiety, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, control nausea, kill cancer cells, slow tumor growth, relax tight muscle, stimulate appetite, and improve weight gain in people with illnesses.

THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis plants. It’s responsible for the “high” or state of euphoria associated with cannabis use.

CBD is non-psychoactive. It doesn’t cause a “high.” However, it may produce many physical benefits such as reducing pain and nausea, preventing seizures and easing migraines. CBD-rich cannabis is proving to be a very popular alternative to FDA-approved pharmaceuticals in the easing of pain, inflammation and discomfort and improving energy, mood and overall well-being.

Cannabinol (CBN) is used to ease symptoms and side effects of neurological conditions, including epilepsy, seizures and uncontrollable muscle stiffness.

Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) is similar to THC but it doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects. Its potential benefits include reducing inflammation from arthritis and autoimmune diseases. It may also help reduce symptoms of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and ALS.

Cannabigerol (CBG) is thought to help reduce anxiety and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Know your terpenes

There’s a whole lot of talk about how much THC and CBD are in a given strain but newer research suggests that terpenes (another naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant) may be just as impactful. Terpenes directly affect the plant’s smell. They may also influence the effects produced by specific strains. Some common terpenes (according to Leafly) are as follows:


With notes of chamomile and tea tree oil, bisabolol is thought to reduce inflammation and irritation. It may also have microbial and pain-reducing effects.


The peppery, spicy molecule may reduce anxiety, ease symptoms of depression and improve ulcers.


Linalool is said to help improve relaxation and boost mood with its floral notes.


The most common terpene, this earthy, herbal molecule may help reduce anxiety and insomnia so you can sleep better.


This terpene produces notes of basil, mango, and parsley. Its primary effects may include easing congestion and warding off viruses and bacteria.


Bright, zippy citrus notes come from this terpene. It’s said to improve mood and reduce stress.


As the name suggests, this terpene produces an intense pine aroma. It may help boost memory, reduce pain and ease some of the not-so-pleasant symptoms of THC such as nausea and coordination problems.


Cannabis with this compound may smell like apples, cumin and conifers. It may have sedative, antibacterial and antifungal properties.


This terpene is deeply earthy and woody, like hops or cloves. Cannabis strains with this molecule may reduce inflammation.


With notes of eucalyptus and tea tree oil, this molecule is refreshing and invigorating. It may also reduce inflammation and fight bacteria.

MERCENE Anti-inflamatory Sedative Muscle relaxant Pain relief Musky Herbal Somewhat citrusy Chemdawg Grape Stomper Fire Alien Kush Agent Orange
A-PINENE Boosts energy Improves focus Bronchodilator Improves memory Musky Herbal Somewhat citrusy Vanilla Kush Cookie Cross 9LB Hammer Lavendar
CARYOPHYLLENE Pain relief Anti-depressant Anti-inflamatory Anti-anxiety Spicy Woody Pepper Gorilla Glue #4 Tangerine Dream Sage N Sour Pineapple Express
LIMONENE Improves mood Anti-anxiety Anti-depressant Relieves nausea Citrus Lemon Orange GSC (Cookies) Pre-88 Bubba Kush Tangerine Dream Cush / Green Crack
HUMULENE Anti-inflamatory Appetite suppressant Pain relief Anti-tumor Woody Earthy Herbal Spicy Liberty Haze Gorilla Glue #4 Cush / Green Crack Sage N Sour
LINALOOL Pain relief Anti-depressant Anti-inflamatory Anti-anxiety Floral Sugar Citrus Bubble Gum 9LB Hammer Sour Diesel Locomotion

How to consume cannabis?

There are a multitude of ways to consume cannabis. Remember: the effects vary with each method, including the length of time before it takes effect and the duration of the effect, so


Edibles have become hugely popular, and for good reason. Discreet, convenient and delicious – but be sure to start slow, wait at least two hours to gauge the effects and do not mix with alcohol or other controlled substances. Be sure to keep edibles away from children and pets as well as other adults who do not enjoy cannabis.

Suggested dosage for edibles:

1 - 5 MG 5 - 10 MG 10 - 15 MG


Tinctures and sprays are concentrated forms of cannabis in alcohol- or oil-based solutions. They require careful dosage levels if applied sublingually. They can also be mixed in to water or other beverages. Begin with a very low dose and wait at least 30 minutes before increasing your dose.


Vaporizers extract therapeutic cannabinoids at much lower temperatures than required for burning which allows for inhalation without actually smoking. The effect is almost immediate and can last anywhere from 90 minutes to four hours. Vaporizers can be used with flower, concentrates, oils and pre-filled vape cartridges.


How it all began! Cannabis can be smoked in a pipe, a joint or a water pipe. Like vaping, effects are felt almost immediately and last 90 minutes to four hours

Signs of cannabis dependency

The ten most common signs of cannabis dependency are:


Tolerance (no longer feeling the effects and increasing dosage)


Experiencing withdrawal symptoms


Loss of control
over use


Spending too much time getting high


Smoking to
relax in excess


Lack of


Smoking despite
possible consequences


Smoking to
escape reality


Not able to cut
down consumption


Ignoring consequences

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a cannabis addiction consult your physician or contact The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

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