Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa and what is Ruderalis?

I think that the scientific botanical names of plants sound very exotic. The scientific name for common clover is Trifolium. That sounds exotic, doesn’t it?

Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa are exotic names you may have heard before with regards to marijuana, but have you ever heard of Cannabis Ruderalis? Me neither, until recently.

Three types of cannabisI will leave Ruderalis out of the discussion for now because apart from being used for it’s unusual genetic properties, like auto flowering and small size, not that much has been published about this sub species of cannabis. I’ll suffice to say it is from a very hardy climate in Russia and has been mostly ignored by growers for decades because of the lack of psychoactive properties, but I’m pretty sure you will hear more about it in the future. I will stick with the known basics and try to explain the differences between Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa.

If you were a pot smoking hippie from the 60s and haven’t revisited the culture until now, saying a lot has changed would be a real understatement. What we were smoking back then was mostly sativa. We had the occasional middle eastern hash that someone’s brother or cousin, (who was lucky enough to be sent to Germany instead of Viet Nam for their stint in the service of America), brought back on the stateside-bound US Government transport, but even that was probably made from Sativa plants. I loved that hashish. We smoked it and coughed and laughed and coughed and laughed until we peed our pants. Happy times. It was mostly a “happy high” social thing that made you want to be with other people and enjoy the world around you. Flower Power!

What plant matter we see available now is a result of selective breeding over the last 40+ years or so by dedicated growers all over the globe who are totally committed to finding that perfect DNA and breeding the perfect strain, in their minds. I must also add that much of the breeding has been done to attain the perfect desired “high” and it’s only now that researchers are delving into the intricacies of the medicinal components and values. There are now strains that won’t even get you “high” at all but are so heavy in CBDs that the list of medical use is nothing short of astounding. But most of what is available today are hybrids of Indica and Sativa, developed for short growth habits, tall growth habits, heavy body highs, cerebral or “heady” highs, flavor, aroma and everything in between.

There was a very heavy push in genetics throughout the past few decades that was sometimes designed to develop plants that could grow indoors in a very small place, for obvious reasons, and that caused a big influx of Indica dominant strains with very short, stocky and flower heavy growing habits. This is the stuff that dominated the city and suburban black market in the 1990s. It was most always domestically grown and probably didn’t travel very far to market because people didn’t want the more “traveled” weed that could arrive crushed, compacted and reeking of mold and/or pesticides because it was smuggled into the country in God only knows what manner. This condition had been acceptable in the past., but people wanted better than that in the ’90s. The market became more demanding and everyone was learning to the grow the stubby Indica plants indoors. The genetics made the plants thrive, and so did the market.

The market is changing again, as markets often do. Discoveries in the new frontier of medical marijuana studies are also driving the market and it’s important to medical cannabis users to see up front just what they are buying to use as medicine. So it’s also more important than ever to know more about the different types of marijuana. First up in the next post, introducing Cannabis Indica!


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