Types of Cannabis Plants: Sativa, Indica & Ruderalis

Cannabis is a complex plant with a long history of use for both medicinal and recreational purposes. There’s no information about the origin of cannabis available out there, but proof of its usage dates back to 3500 BC. If you search for cannabis, then you will find that there are different types of cannabis plants available out there, and each of them comes with unique physical and chemical characteristics, making it important for a person to understand the differences between them.

Every cannabis strain or type has distinct growth patterns, appearances, and effects on the body, and it becomes really important for a person to know that information as it can help them in selecting the best one based on their needs. In this post, we have discussed different types of cannabis plants, their chemical composition, and their uses. So, don’t forget to read the post till the end if you want to know about them.

What Is Cannabis?

Cannabis, which is also known as hemp, weed, or marijuana, is a type of plant which has been used for both medical and recreational purposes for centuries. This plant contains chemical compounds like delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), and that’s what makes it different from other plants.

These compounds are proven to create psychoactive and therapeutic effects on the human body when consumed. There are different ways to consume this plant, but the most popular ones are smoking, edibles, oil, and capsules. Right now, there are three different types of cannabis plants available, and each of them has different chemical compounds and effects on the body:

Cannabis Sativa – This type of cannabis is known for its energizing and uplifting effects and is typically grown in equatorial regions.

Cannabis Indica – This type is known for its relaxing and sedative effects and is typically grown in regions with a more temperate climate.

Cannabis Ruderalis – This type of cannabis is native to colder regions and is known for its ability to flower automatically, regardless of light cycles.

Recently, a trend has been going on all over the world that includes making another type of plant named Cannabis Hybrid. As the name says, these types of plants are a result of a cross between two or more types of cannabis plants. The only goal of doing so is to get the best qualities of both parent strains in one plant.

Some common characteristics of hybrid strains include improved yields, enhanced flavour and aroma, and a balanced combination of both Indica and Sativa effects. According to a recent study, hybrid cannabis plants often have a more balanced and diverse set of effects on the body, making them a popular choice for medical and recreational users, but it completely depends on the types of strain used and the ratio of Indica to Sativa.

Sativa Cannabis Plants

Sativa is one of the most popular cannabis strains, as it is being used all around the world for both recreational and medicinal use. Moreover, it is also used as a source of industrial fibre, seed oil, and food. This type of plant can either be male or female, and they are harvested based on the need.

Since both types of plants have different benefits and outputs, it is important to know your requirements before growing or buying one. Male sativa plants are generally taller and less robust than female ones. This type of plant contains more than 500 types of chemical compounds, 113 of which are cannabinoids.

  • Leaf Shape – Compared to indica strains, sativa strains have long, slender leaves that are lighter in colour.
  • Plant Structure – Sativa plants often grow higher, with a more airy, open structure, longer internodes, and fewer branches.
  • Growth Pattern – Sativa strains often grow in equatorial locations and require more time to blossom than Indica strains do.

Chemical Composition

  • Sativa strains often contain less CBD and more THC than Indica strains.
  • Depending on the particular strain and growth circumstances, the ratio of THC to CBD in a Sativa strain might vary significantly.

Uses of Sativa Cannabis Plant

  • Sativa strains are popular for activities like socialising, creativity, and exercise because of their uplifting and invigorating qualities.
  • Sativa strains are useful in treating diseases like sadness, tiredness, and appetite loss.


  • Sativa strains are well-known for their uplifting and energetic qualities, which can assist in increasing energy levels.
  • Sativa strains are popular for activities like writing, drawing, and other kinds of creative expression because some users claim that they can aid in boosting attention and creativity.

Indica Cannabis Plants

Cannabis Indica is more popular than other types of cannabis plants because it produces a high amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which makes it perfect for recreational purposes. These types of plants are generally cultivated for the production of charas, a form of hashish grown in the subcontinent of India.

Along with making a person “high”, Indica plants are beneficial in treating medical conditions such as insomnia and an anxiolytic. Since this type of plant originated from harsh, dry, and turbulent climates, it is grown abundantly in the regions of Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. However, many professional growers have started growing it everywhere around the world.

  • Leaf Shape – The leaves of Indica cannabis plants are short, wide, and often darker in colour than Sativa strains.
  • Plant Structure – Indica plants often have shorter internodes, a bushier, more compact shape, and more branches.
  • Growth Pattern – Indica strains usually thrive in temperate climates (not very cold and not very hot) and take less time to blossom than Sativa strains do.

Chemical Composition

  • Indica strains often contain more CBD and less THC than Sativa ones.
  • The THC/CBD ratio in an Indica strain can vary substantially depending on the strain and growing circumstances.

Uses of Indica Cannabis Plant

  • Because of their soothing and sedative qualities, indica strains are popular for activities like relaxation, watching TV, and sleeping.
  • Indica strains are beneficial to certain medicinal users for illnesses like anxiety, sleeplessness, and chronic pain.


  • As a result of their calming and soothing properties, indica strains are well-known for reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.
  • Many people have claimed that indica strains can ease discomfort and pain, making them popular for ailments including rheumatoid arthritis and muscle cramps.

Ruderalis Cannabis Plants

Ruderalis is not as popular as Sativa and Indica because it contains a very low quantity of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

This species is very small in height as compared to sativa and indica but tends to contain more amount of cannabidiol (CBD) than others. This is just another reason why Ruderalis cannabis is not being used as recreational cannabis and is only used by some medical marijuana users.

It is often bred with other Indica plants to create a cross-breed plant, as Ruderalis has a unique auto-flowering characteristic that keeps insects and diseases away from the plant, making it easier to grow. Recently, after much research, many medical institutions have started using Ruderalis for the treatment of cancer, sclerosis, and loss of appetite.

  • Leaf Shape – The leaves of this plant are generally smaller than others, but they do lookalike like those of the Sativa cannabis plant.
  • Plant Structure – This plant has short internodes because it is very small in size, but it does have more branches making it bigger in yield.
  • Growth Pattern – Ruderalis strains are native to colder regions and have a unique ability to flower automatically based on their age rather than their exposure to light.

Chemical Composition

  • Ruderalis strains are typically lower in THC and CBD compared to Sativa and Indica strains.
  • The plant can be crossed with other cannabis plants to create unique effects.

Uses of Ruderali Cannabis Plant

  • Due to their distinctive capacity to blossom automatically and their resistance to cold regions, Ruderalis strains are frequently utilised in the production of hybrid strains.
  • Ruderalis strains are favoured by certain gardeners because they immediately blossom, making them simpler for beginners or those with minimal resources to grow.


  • For growers trying to optimise yields or produce cannabis in areas with short growing seasons, Ruderalis strains are a perfect choice because of their rapid flowering times.
  • Ruderalis strains are a fantastic choice for outdoor gardeners since they are often resilient and can thrive in a range of temperatures.

The Chemical Compounds In Cannabis Plants

In addition to THC and CBD, there are a number of other chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, known collectively as cannabinoids. Some of the most well-known cannabinoids include:

  • THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • CBD (cannabidiol)
  • CBN (cannabinol)
  • CBG (cannabigerol)
  • CBC (cannabichromene)

Each of these compounds has unique properties and potential health benefits, making them of great interest to medical researchers, patients, and cannabis enthusiasts alike.

Final Words

So, this is all we wanted to share about different types of cannabis and their unique characteristics. We hope you have found this post useful and that now you know much about the types of marijuana plants available out there. If you think we have missed something, then do share your views with us so we can include that on this page.

We will keep the post updated with updated and more information about different types of cannabis plants, so keep visiting if you want to know about it. Also, if you have any questions related to growing cannabis plants and what type of strain you should select for yourself, then do connect with us via the comments below.

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