(Last Updated On: December 19, 2016)

Since the resurgence of cannabis legalization movement, the industry grew at an exponential rate.  Nowadays, you get to see different kinds of goods related to the cannabis industry.

Different types of weed grew in popularity for various reasons. People make use of cannabis for different reasons. Some use it medically, while others use it recreationally. A trip to a dispensary will expose you to a number of strains and other related products.

If you are planning to use cannabis for whatever reason, it is crucial to have an idea of the different types of weeds out there.

Why is it important to know different types of weed?

Cannabis type

Different types of weed have different effects on the body. Different strains may contain different levels and kinds of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes.

Though it stimulates the cannabinoid system of the body, different cannabis components can give different effects. For instance, CBD acts on a different cannabinoid receptor compared to THC.

Another reason to know the different types of cannabis is to maximize the stash that you purchased. For connoisseurs that make use of high-end vaporizers, you’ll notice that these devices also have their limits. Different vaporizers have a different range of temperature. And since cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoid do have different boiling points, it is crucial that the device will be able to heat your cannabis closest to the optimum temperature. As a rule of thumb, always consider that vaporizers are not designed for all types of cannabis.

How was cannabis classified?

How did classification start? Differentiation between Indica and Sativa began in the 18th century. Primarily, taxonomic differences were focused on the resin and structure. The original classification was made by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785.

The primary characteristic observed by the French biologist was the intoxicating effect of some cannabis plants. In contrast to the hemp crops, the ones observed by Lamarck were later named Indica to characterized cannabis of Indian origin from those found in Europe. 

In the modern times, since 1970, cannabis has been categorized into three types. Cannabis can be an Indica, Sativa or a Ruderalis. These days, though, you can add hybrid type cannabis into the mix. Hybrids are usually strains that have the mixed genetics of different types of cannabis to achieve certain characteristics.


Cannabis types - Indica

Indica is believed to have originated from the Hindu “Kush” region nearby Afghanistan. If you are somewhat knowledgeable about cannabis, Kush has been associated with substantial effects.

Indica has developed a high coat of resin which allows the plant to be protected from the harsh weather. One of the things that make Indica strains special is its ability to relax the entire body. Indica has been used by many medical cannabis states for conditions such as insomnia and pain relief.

Regarding appearance, Indica has broader and darker leaves. They also have a short and dense structure and are more suited for night use because of its relaxing effect.


Cannabis types - Sativa

Sativa species, on the other hand, are more common. The size of this plant can grow from around 6.5 to 19.6 feet. For Sativa species, these aren’t thick in terms of foliage. Sativa species usually take a long time to flower. Also, the Sativa species are usually affected by light. In terms of areas where Sativa species are usually grown, these plants usually grow in countries 30° latitude. Thailand, India, and Mexico are among the countries wherein Sativa species are common.

Sativa species are usually dried and cured before being used. It is a common trend to vaporize cannabis Sativa species. Unlike Indica species that relaxes the body, Sativa is more commonly known as a higher ratio of THC and CBN which ultimately creates and energizing effect.


Cannabis types - Ruderalis

Cannabis ruderalis is among the least known types of cannabis. This is the type of cannabis that has fast flowering cycle. This usually grows up north which means it needs to grow before the cold season hits. It is also characterized by its short and thick foliage. It measures around 11.8 to 23.6 inches in height. Because it lacks psychotropic effect, this particular type of cannabis isn’t as popular as the other types.

The most common use of cannabis ruderalis is an additional source of the genetic resource by those who cultivate hybrid cannabis plants. A lot of experts are interested with cannabis ruderalis because of its ability to grow in cold seasons.


Because of increased demand for cannabis, a lot of experts attempted tremendous efforts towards cultivating the right strain. This vast spectrum of species resulted towards plants that have specific flowering cycles and even different concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Hybrids are a combination of different phenotypes. Because of this, dominant characteristics can range anywhere from on Indica or Sativa spectrum.

It is not surprising for experts to take years to find the right combination of Indica and Sativa characteristic that suit a particular market’s needs.

Understanding the origins and genetics

Many theories have been made regarding the production of THC and CBD. For instance, one prevailing theory is that Indica strains have genes that code the enzyme THCA synthase. This particular enzyme is responsible for converting CBG into THCA, which eventually turns into THC.

For Sativa, these strains usually have genes that code CBDA synthase enzyme. This particular enzyme converts CBG into CBDA, which then turns into CBD.

However today, things aren’t always black and white. You can expect to see Sativa that is rich in THC. It can be explained by the hybridization of the gene pool.

There is another theory that hopes to explain the differentiation among the types of weed that we see in the market. According to this alternate approach, the cannabinoids and characteristics of cannabis rely on both genetic and geographical components.

Types of marijuana seed based on environment

There are other ways on how to classify cannabis. One of which is by looking at its seeds. The manner of which how it was grown can be used in differentiating the plant.

Cannabis seeds can be classified either an indoor or an outdoor type. The indoor cannabis seeds are those that are best grown using hydroponics. These indoor cannabis seeds are perfect for growers that don’t have the luxury of space. Over the last half century, the popularity of indoor cannabis seeds also skyrocketed. Growers who are trying to hide from authorities grew cannabis indoors instead of a formal gardening space.

On the other hand, there are those seeds that are best grown outdoors. These seeds usually produce larger yields, not to mention more potent versions.

Seeds depending on growth type

Cannabis can also be classified according to its growth type.  It can be one of the three: regular, feminized or auto flowering. The regular seeds produce both male and female cannabis plants. Regular cannabis seeds are still considered the most stable type. Feminized cannabis seeds, on the other hand, are those that produce 100% female plants.

And lastly, you have the auto-flowering cannabis seeds. Autoflowering seeds are those that can flower even without reducing the daylight hours.

Hemp and marijuana?

You usually hear the terms hemp and marijuana being used interchangeably. What’s the main difference between the two? Federal prohibition never contributed to minimizing the confusion between the two. There are some misinterpretations such as marijuana being a drug and hemp not being a drug.

Hemp is Cannabis sativa plants that have been used for industrial purpose.  The term marijuana, on the other hand, is a slang term. It also originally pertains to cannabis Sativa that has resinous glands. The origin of the term marijuana was originally used to describe Mexicans who smoke cannabis.

But of course, there is a more legal definition of what hemp is. It is defined as a plant that has the low amount of THC, and potentially a higher level of CBD according to the Marijuana Grower’s Handbook.

Are you still confused? Taxonomists clarified that both hemp and marijuana are from genus Cannabis and same species of Sativa, as well. So does it classify cannabis? Not really.

Cannabis concentrates

Another favorite product related to cannabis is the concentrates.  Concentrates are made by extracting different specific cannabinoids from the plant. This type of cannabis option typically offers a more potent and quicker result.

Each kind of cannabis concentrate can be differentiated by its extraction method. There are two broad classifications when it comes to cannabis concentrates. Cannabinoids are either acquired using solvents or via solventless methods. Examples of solventless options include CO2 which only manipulates the pressure and temperature to obtain the necessary cannabinoids.

Concentrates are handy in places wherein legalization has been limited towards different types of cannabinoids.

But of course, this option comes with a downside as well. For instance, the potency of cannabis works better with different terpenes and cannabinoids. Also, there are related dangers that have to be considered, as well.

Since most solvents used can still be found in concentrates, this can have harmful effects on a person’s health. In addition to this, most liquids used are volatile in nature. This means that it should only be done by professionals in a lab setting to avoid accidents.


More than ever, individuals are looking for a better way to enjoy cannabis. One of the best ways to benefit from cannabis is to be knowledgeable about its different types and classifications. These days, there are a significant number of options to choose from whether it’s indica, Sativa or a hybrid. Knowing the difference can help guide you to choose which type of weed best suits your needs.

Written by The Smokazon Team
Smokazon is a group of enthusiasts, advocates and connoisseurs of the digital age. We’re here to help you achieve that ultra-lifestyle with our product reviews, feature articles and anything you need to know in the vaping world. But enough about us. Let’s talk about you. We’re here to make your vaping experience a little bit better.