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Cannabis Subspecies Explained

There are three different major subspecies of cannabis: sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Each one exhibits somewhat unique characteristics, including plant height, harvest time, and traits of the high when consumed.


· Native to countries such as Mexico, Thailand, and Cambodia.

· Plants generally reach 8-12 feet in height, have slender leaves with little to no visible pattern, and give off a spicy/sweet smell.

· Can tolerate humid conditions and do well when grown in a greenhouse, though they need plenty of space to branch out and up. Flowering time is longer than indica.

· The sativa high is often characterized as head-focused, uplifting, euphoric, and energy-boosting.

· Examples of sativa strains: Green Crack, Strawberry Cough, and Sour Diesel.


· Native to countries such as Tibet, Nepal, and Afghanistan.

· Plants generally reach 3-6 feet in height, have wide leaves with a marble-like pattern, and give off a skunky smell. They sometimes develop a purple hue.

· Indoor growers can harvest indicas multiple times per year, as they have a shorter flowering time than sativas.

· The indica high is characterized as body-heavy, relaxing, and hypnotic. It can soothe muscles, aches, and pains, making it ideal for medicinal purposes.

· Examples of indica strains include Hindu Kush, Northern Lights, and Granddaddy Purple.


· Native to the colder climates of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

· Plants generally reach 2-3 feet in height and have small, thick leaves.

· Ruderalis, unlike sativas and indicas, flower automatically according to their age, not by lighting schedule.

· Cannabinoid ratios tend to be lower in thc and higher in cbd.

· Pure ruderalis strains are not common, as they have mostly been crossed with sativas and indicas throughout the years in order to gain more desirable traits.

· Popular ruderalis hybrids include Lowryder, Dwarf Haze, and Amnesia Haze Autoflower.


Pure indica, ruderalis, and sativa landrace strains are difficult to find these days: growers tend to cross genetics of the three over and over in search of plants that exhibit the traits they desire, such as higher thc or cbd content. In fact, most strains that one comes into contact with are actually true hybrids, despite labels saying otherwise.


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