Cannabis Strains: Your Complete Guide 

There are thousands of cannabis strains in the world, and it can be hard to know the right strain for your needs. Some help people get to the gym and focus their creativity while other strains are intended for muscle relaxation, anxiety relief, or to aid in giving you an appetite. With nearly 100 million people trying the substance and 55 million people currently using it, you’re not alone in wanting to seek out your dream strain for your specific situation.

What are some common cannabis strains?  Cannabis Strains can be broken up into the categories of Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids. Indicas will have a body calming effect with higher CBD and commonly used at night, while Sativas will offer a more alert high that is useful for medicinal purposes like gaining an appetite or treating ADHD, better taken during the day. Hybrids are the ideal cross-breed of the two. There are thousands of strains within these three categories, and we will cover the most popular strains in each. 

Bob Marley said, “when you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself.” You’ll want the right strain for your needs as they’re extremely varied in effects, psychoactivity, and symptom-treatment. Whether you are a grower seeking to find the product you plan to distribute or if you’re a consumer looking for a strain – you’ll need to understand the basics. This guide will help you find the ideal strain for your needs by discussing the best of the best and understanding what to look for in the most popular strains of this healing flower.

Cannabis Strains: Your Complete Guide 

Whether you are a grower seeking to find the product you plan to distribute or if you’re a consumer looking for a strain – you’ll need to understand the basics.

The three major classifications of cannabis can be split into Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids. To offer you an in-depth look that may answer a lot of your questions about where to begin, check out this table

Indica Sativa Hybrid
Standard for Colors Purple-hued Green Orange-hued
Plant Characteristics Short and fat Tall and thin Between
Yield Average of 2 ounces per plant Average of .75 pound per plant
Leaves Fatter than the leaf you imagine when you think of marijuana Narrow as depicted in most artforms – the leaf you picture when you think of marijuana Often the perfect 5-leafed depiction. Between the other variations.
Bud Shapes Look like berry clusters, round and dense Longer and wispy Incredibly varied
High Mind Body Both
THC Lower Higher Between
CBD Higher Lower Between
Effects Calming and body-relaxing. Better to use at night as it will make you sleepier and is known for making you ‘couch locked.’  Energetic, creative, and focused. Many use it to work on projects that start in the morning Incredibly varied
Best for treating -Insomnia

-Body pain

-Reduces seizures

-Reduces headaches

-Reduces anxiety

-Relaxes muscles but less psychoactive



-Stimulates an appetite 

-Induces positive-thoughts 

-Increases focus

Increases creativity

Really any of these symptoms, but you’ll need to read about each hybrid’s specific purposes and effects as hybrids leave the most room for variation.
Smell -Pine






Origin Found 32 years after Sativa in countries South of the equator or right along with it. Found originally in India and the Afghanistan Kush mountains, Indica strain names will often include the word, ‘Kush.’  Found in 1753, Sativa is known for growing in 12-hour light regimes in places where day and night are similar year-round. It was initially found in countries like Spain, Italy, and Turkey, moving North to countries like Russia and Kazakhstan. 

Names will often link to the word ‘haze’ due to Sativa’s psychoactive properties of creativity. 

Mostly created in North and South America but can be created anywhere nowadays as it is 50/50 intentional crossbreed of Indica and Sativa.


Now that you have a basic understanding of these classifications, let’s discuss some of the most popular strains in each: 

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What to Look for On a Shopping Label

Getting started can be overwhelming, but with legalization in so many states and countries around the world, it is easier to shop for these plants.

There will usually be a helpful shopping guide or employee that is happy to answer any questions you have, but the main things you’ll be looking for on each label will include:

  • If it’s Indica, sativa, or hybrid (since you’re now an expert on what each of those does)
  • The THC level – this is the psychoactive level of each plant, with Sativas usually being higher than Indicas. If you do not want to feel extreme effects, aim for a lower THC level like Euphoria (Hybrid at 80% Indica, 20% Sativa), or Easy Bud (15% Sativa, 55% Indica, 30% Ruderalis). Most Indicas will be lower in THC level and more of a body high than mind-high.
  • The CBD Level – this will also be on each label, just like the alcohol percentage on a beer. If you want your body to feel very at ease and relieved of muscle tension, aim high on the concentration of CBD.  Remember-THC, not CBD, is the psychoactive part of the cannabis that gets you ‘stoned.’ This is why many people and pet-owners use CBD Drops for pain relief if they don’t want to smoke it and feel significant effects. (Important to note – there is a unique CBD for Animals, so do not give them the human products. 
  • Harvest Date – to know if it’s fresh, you’ll usually see when it was harvested, and this allows you peace of mind knowing that it’s a fresh product. 
  • Activation time – not all labels will have activation time, but if it does, this is a way they measure how rapidly you may feel the effect after inhaling–anywhere between 0-15 minutes.
  • DTHC – this is the amount of THC in the flower that is active. It will usually look something like this: <0.00% and is linked to the reason why edibles have to be cooked down with heat to have THC, and you can’t just throw raw herb into butter. 
  • CBDa & CBN – similar to CBD, these are measurements you may see on the label for further terpenes and cannabinoids. 
  • Terpenes – are described by Leafly as “aromatic compounds commonly produced by plants and fruits. They can be found in lavender flowers, oranges, hops for beer, pepper, and of course, cannabis. Secreted by the same glands that ooze THC and CBD, terpenes are what make the cannabis smell like berries, citrus, pine, fuel, etc.” 
  • Batch ID – ignore this, it’s just for manufacturing purposes.
  • Weight – usually in grams to ounces to pounds, you’ll want to know how much concentration you’re getting per gram. Prices will vary greatly depending on quality. Indicas will usually be denser than sativas.  That’s why it may appear as if you’re getting less bud for the same price since it is typically heavier. 

If Purchasing Gummies, Candies, or Any Edibles 

You’ll want to check the concentration of THC per product. As a reviewer writes on a How much THC is too much THC’ Grass City Forum, “remember that 0.2 grams of the herb are less powerful than 0.2 grams of hash in edibles. These will be upwards of 80-95% pure THC. Edibles are measured in MG’s of Raw THC content, not herbal content. 200 mg will get a regular smoker stoned, and a non-smoker REALLY stoned.”

You should measure it by about 25 mg per dose if you are not a regular smoker, around 50 mg per dose if you are an active smoker. This will get you incredibly stoned.  For some people, this is too much, so we recommend taking 5 mg at a time. Many gummies are measured out in 10 mg doses per candy. 

I would recommend starting small and not overdoing it, especially as a novice. 

Or else you could end up like the newbie samplers that are told to take the whole thing and wait. The most common issue with edibles is that people expect them to kick in immediately when, in fact, it may take up to an hour/hour and a half to feel the effects.

It needs to work its way through your digestive system and into your bloodstream.  Don’t make the common error of thinking you didn’t take enough, then taking double, and nearly tripping on psychedelics thinking you’re dying and need an ambulance. 

A bit of moderation can avoid all of this commotion. Use it responsibly and always start out slow as a novice to edibles. 

On the labels for edibles products, you will see things like:

  • Potency – CBD, THC, CNB, etc. will all be listed
  • Nutritional Facts – As with any food product
  • Dosage – Which will be measured in drops or grams

Edibles are much more potent than regular smoking, so read these labels even more carefully than the strain labels on j’s, blunts, leafed buds, or oils. 

Most Popular Sativa Strains

Sativas will offer you relaxation without the couch-lock. This helps explain its popularity.

The 5 best Sativa strains we will be covering are:

  • Strawberry Cough
  • Lemon Haze
  • Sour Diesel 
  • Green Crack
  • Blue Dream

Strawberry Cough
Strawberry Cough

As sweet as the name suggests, this berry hinted Sativa is just the fix if you’ve been trying different strains that don’t have a powerful enough impact on you.

Strawberry cough is Sativa, so you will feel energized and avoid the couch-lock of Indica, all while tasting like a basket of wild strawberries (a somewhat rare berry taste for Sativas, usually found most in Indicas and hybrids).

The words to describe this strain are optimistic, euphoric, and energetic (yet relaxed is another common description word for this strain in addition to its energizing-quality). As stated by thousands of reviews.

  • THC – 17.5% – 25%
  • Height: 30-80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 3 ounces to every 6 feet (medium yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: May take some time to kick in but will be powerful with a reaction time of about 15-20 minutes after smoking. It is known to make you cough more than other strands, hence the name, but is very cerebral in effect and relaxing for a Sativa. 

Lemon Haze

Meanwhile in a Growroom near you

This citrusy flavor will grow slowly at first but reap a big payoff if you’re a dispensary or grower. The lovechild of Lemon Skunk and Silver Haze, Lemon haze really tastes like sweet lemons and offers a similar uplifting feeling to Strawberry Cough. 

With leaves that look like reptile skin, these will have a yellow tint to them and require lots of nutrients in the grow process

Sativas are known for their anti-depressant and focus on ADHD benefits. Lemon Haze will offer a calming buzz without feeling overtaken by a body high. A favorite of many and considered one of the agreed-upon bests of Sativa, Lemon Haze will give you what all good Sativas should – a euphoric feeling that is not feel too heavy. 

  • THC: 19%-20%
  • Height: 30-80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 1 oz to every 3 feet (high yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: Known to help many focus, and people say they ‘want to learn.’ Also has lower ratings on the munchies-side effect and is not known to cause an appetite as powerfully as most strains. 

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel

This is actually a hybrid that is commonly mistaken for being a Sativa because it is so predominately Sativa-based. The reaction time on this is almost immediate so you won’t need to wait 10-20 minutes to feel its effects.

Yields are high if you’re a grower and will be very fragrant, so you may need further odor control as it smells like peppery skunk. Nicknamed Sour D, this will be great for anti-depressant treatment and is known to help people stay productive and motivated. 

  • THC: 18.5%-22%
  • Height: over 80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 1 oz to every 3 feet (high yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: It is reviewed as being great for treating depression and getting users to convert to a natural form of medicine instead of using anti-depressant pills that cause many to feel like a zombie. 

Green Crack

This energy buzz tastes slightly like mango and possesses an herbal quality. Used as a day-time smoke, this will help fight anxiety and body pain while keeping you invigorated. 

Known for a large yield, this pineapple, and mango-tasting bud will offer a slight cedar fragrance and flower much quicker than other strains.

  • THC: 17%-20% 
  • Height: over 80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 1 oz to every 3 feet (high yield) 
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: Very delicious fragrance if you are interested in smoking weed but don’t tend to enjoy it’s smell/taste. This unique flavor is described as lime, citrus, and fruit, offering a euphoric effect that is also motivating when lethargic or depressed. 

Blue Dream

Blue dream will grow large and in charge! Another hybrid that is less 50/50 like other hybrids, this is mostly Sativa which is why it’s ideal to tokers. Yielding a hefty bounty of leafy energy that is considered the crème-de-la-crème of nuggets.

This strain is very dense and will smell similar to other haze and Sativa variations being very skunky, piney, and peppery, with the most predominant fragrance lending itself to the name, blueberry.

Similar high-effects to the other Sativas with even more creativity than many other strains on this list, there’s a reason Blue Dream is a favorite.  

  • THC: 18.5%-20%
  • Height: over 80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 3 ounces to every 6 feet (medium yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: Aids many users with psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. Some feel that Sativas will cause more anxiety or paranoia as compared to Indicas, but that is not a reported side-effect for this predominantly-Sativa hybrid strain. 

Most Popular Indica Strains

Being the more sedative and less mentally-overpowering variation of strains, Indica is the sleeping aid that the medical industry didn’t want you to get your hands on as it ran thousands of their sleeping products into the ground.

The 5 most popular, well-known, and stress-relieving Indica strains are:

Bubba Kush 

Detail of color bloom of Bubba kush medical marijuana

Bubba Kush will knock you on your tush and is known for its tranquilizing effects. You will feel euphoric and at ease, with your body high being much more predominant than your mental high. 

You will taste some chocolate and pepper with coffee notes in the aroma, with your muscles being zapped from stress and put to rest. Also notorious for the happy moods it creates, this Kush will be deep green and slightly purple from the tiny hairs similar to most afghani-originated Kush strains. 

Thought to be a child of Northern Lights and OG Kush, no one is quite sure where this strain originates from, which adds an air of mystery. It has been popular in California since the late 1990s. 

  • THC: 16.5% 
  • Height: less than 3 feet (fatter bushes and less tall) 
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 3 ounces to every 6 feet (medium yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: A favorite strain of many, you will feel the effects almost immediately. It is a cerebral high as compared to most other Indicas, so you will feel it from your head to your toes. 


Macro view for OG kush variety of medical marijuana with white crust

Northern Lights

This is what you may call the GOAT (as in “greatest of all time”). You will see many strains with the name, ‘lights,’ or ‘northern’ in some kind of variation. This is because Northern Lights is the Indica parent of many hybrid strains and is used to create beautiful hybrids as it’s an ideal Indica.

You will feel mellow and enjoy its minty and piney flavor that tastes like its area of origin in Seattle, Washington, by Nevil Schoenmakers in the late 1980s. His creation is (NL#1, NL #2, NL#5), which were created using Afghani male seeds and creating Northern Lights, which are female seeds.

Very crystallized and used for many phenotypes, Northern Lights is a crowd-pleaser that has won many Cannabis Cups and festivals. It is a pure Indica that will aid with anti-anxiety, muscle pain, and give you an intense appetite to stow away more than your fair share of helpings. 

  • THC: 16.5%-18%
  • Height: less than 3 feet
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 3 ounces to every 6 feet (medium yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: You will commonly see reviews of people that select this strain when they are recovering from surgery or have severe muscle pains/body disorders. One reviewer says thatDaily usage has allowed me to greatly reduce the dosage of the morphine and oxycodone with their awful side effects, and I live a much better life since using this strain.” 



Originally found in the 1970s, Blueberry was created by accident by combining Afghani and Purple Thai strains. It is a very tall bushel due to the Thai heritage and can be difficult to grow.

Considered an A-grade strain, Blueberry has taken the Cannabis Cup 2000 for Best Indica strain and has been a fan-favorite for over 50 years.  Not to mention, it tastes like blueberry! 

  • THC: 17%-18%
  • Height: 30-80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 3 ounces to every 6 feet (medium yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: Quite mild if you are a frequent smoker or have a high-tolerance, it may be difficult to notice a ground-breaking effect. This is a great strand for beginning smokers with a lower tolerance and also great for a moderate effect that won’t overwhelm you before bed.  


Purple Kush

Purple Kush

This is a powerful force that you will want to be careful with! Developed in Oakland, California, this is the child of Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani, this strand is known to be one of the most potent Indicas on the planet. Head the warning and start slow, as THC can go up to nearly 30%! 

Like any Indica, it will be useful if you suffer from insomnia or just need to aid your muscle pains. People claim to feel sleepy, happy, and hungry. All good things, wouldn’t you say? 

It is known for being slightly more energetic than other Indicas and very giggly/fun. 

  • THC: 15%-28%
  • Height: less than 3 feet
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 1 oz to every 3 feet (high yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: Very based in its body-high-effect and a true classic.  


Blue Cheese

Our final homage to Indica’s magic will be Blue Cheese, making our top 5 because it is truly a dream-Indica that any Indica lover would favor. A lovechild of Blueberry and UK Cheese, it’s bred a few other babies named CBD Blue Shark and Purple Cheese. Awe, they grow up so fast! 

Blue Cheese is a hybrid with 80% Indica and will grow in very stout and fat, offering a high yield per grow and early flowering between 7-9 weeks. Grown in Hawaii, these are known to be mold and mildew resistant, as we as an easy-to-grow crop. 

It will offer you a body high and an intriguing aroma, hence its name. People use it to treat Tourettes, twitches, anxiety, and pain. 

  • THC: 17%-25%
  • Height: 30-80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 1 oz to every 3 feet (high yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: Popular globally and used in Europe frequently, this is medicinally prescribed to help with body pain as well as psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. A great middle-ranging strain that helps with the ideal symptoms for each Sativa and Indica, this Indica strain will also allow you to feel uplifted and relaxed. 


Most Popular Hybrid Strains

Just to offer you a few more strains you need to try, the top 3 hybrids we recommend you start with are: 

Girl Scout Cookie

A favourite among smokers, GSC is sweet and earthy in taste, offering every stoner what they want from a good high – balance. Remember, when you don’t want to be too relaxed, choose a hybrid.

You will feel relaxed yet still productive, making it ideal for a midday toke. It has won the Cannabis cup numerous times and is worth trying for yourself. 

  • THC: 19%-25%
  • Height: less than 3 feet
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 0.5-1 oz per foot (relatively low yield)  
  • Worth Noting on This Strain:  Known to make people giggly, euphoric, optimistic, and happy.  


Pineapple Express


You may recognize this one from the James Franco and Seth Rogan film that fans adore, but it’s also an incredibly popular hybrid worth sampling. With parents like Trainwreck and Hawaiian, there’s no world in which Pineapple Express could be wrong. 

Fragrant like pineapple, pine, and mangos, this will be your afternoon go-to for creative inspiration and muscle relaxation without the skunky taste. 

  • THC: 17%-30%
  • Height: over 80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 3 ounces to every 6 feet (medium yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: A great hybrid for social engagement and before an event/party. It won’t make you too sleepy like an Indica and will keep the talkative quality that Sativas are known for a while, offering you a comfortable balance. 


White Widow


Bred in the Netherlands, this is heavy on the Indica but still a very balanced hybrid. It’s been on the ‘coffee-menu,’ which is the name for dispensaries in The Netherlands, since the 1990s and is a world-wide favorite.

This strain will stimulate conversation and creativity, and flower very quickly but allow it to mature for full flavor development and highest enjoyment. 

This is known to not be the most potent strain, which is what some people love about it. It won’t overpower you like heavy Indicas and does not commonly lead to paranoia. 

  • THC: 17%-20%
  • Height: 30-80 inches
  • Yield (0z to Foot): 1 oz to every 3 feet (high yield)
  • Worth Noting on This Strain: Considered a beginner strain, it may be milder than others.  


Happy Toking! 

If you have any questions about any strain, just look it up and learn more about it before purchasing. You want to be sure it is suited for your needs and mental state. 

You can use this link to find a legal medicinal or recreational Cannabis Club near you.

Read Our Guides:

How to Grow High-Quality Marijuana

Medical Cannabis in Spain

Marijuana Smoking Accessories

Cannabis Rules in Spain

How to Open a Cannabis Club in Spain