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Effects Different Strains of Cannabis Have on the Body

Updated December 15, 2022

Cannabis is known for its relaxing effects and the “highs” that it produces. Cannabis is also commonly used to treat a range of ailments, from pain to anxiety to inflammation. Most people who smoke or use cannabis in other ways are aware that there are various strains. However, you may not realize the extent to which the variety determines the effect that cannabis has on your body.

Every strain has its own set of effects that you are likely to experience. There is plenty of overlap between them, but when you account for results, THC and CBD content, aroma, and other factors, each strain is genuinely unique. Take a look at some of the more common cannabis strains and how they affect you.

Sativa vs. Indica

Before getting into specific types of strains, it is wise to go over the difference between sativa and indica. These are the two main types of cannabis strains that you will come across, although hybrids also exist. There is a third type of cannabis, ruderalis, but this is seldom used for a “high” or other benefits due to its extremely low potency.

The Major Difference

The biggest differences between sativa and indica strains are their appearance, origins, and typical THC to CBD ratio. Sativa plants tend to be tall, growing over 12 feet high. They have very thin leaves and take longer to develop. By contrast, indica plants are shorter and stocky, featuring chunky leaves and growing more quickly.

Sativa plants are native to western Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America, doing well in dry and hot climates that have long, sunny days. Indica plants are native to Turkey, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. They do well in turbulent, dry, and harsh climates.

As a rule of thumb, indica strains have more CBD than THC, while sativa strains have more THC than CBD.


Many people connect sativa strains of cannabis with energizing effects and indica with relaxation. Some research, however, shows that this is not something you can count on. Instead, the effects of a given cannabis plant will depend on the strain’s specific characteristics. In other words, you can easily find a sativa strain that relaxes or an indica strain that energizes.

Hybrids Exist

In addition to cannabis sativa and indica types, some hybrids combine them. These hybrids are typically developed by growers to have specific desired effects. Hybrids can be balanced, sativa-dominant, or indica-dominant.

Further Categorization

There is still some debate as to whether there is an actual difference in effects between sativa and indica strains. Because of this, some people have created various categories between those two types of strains and hybrids.

Heavy indica strains are said to offer an intense head effect and long-lasting physical relief. It is popular for pain relief, relaxation, and sleeping. Clear indica strains have lasting physical relief along with a clear head that makes functioning easy. It is popular for physical relief during the day.

Heavy hybrids balance mental and physical effects. They are said to help with relaxation and pain relief without too much drowsiness. Even hybrids balance the body and head effects. They are supposed to help those who do not want to feel too tired or too energized.

Clear hybrids balance the effects on the body and head but keep things mostly clear. It is recommended for those who want to stay clear-headed. Heavy sativa is said to offer uplifting body effects with intense mental and physical relief. Clear sativa strains are supposed to give you a clear, uplifting effect without physical effects.

Other experts or growers may have similar scales that aim to show the range of effects you can feel between sativa, a sativa-dominant hybrid, balanced hybrid, an indica-dominant hybrid, and indica strains.

Effects Vary by Person

Before getting into the specific effects that you are likely to experience from a particular strain, keep in mind that everyone will experience cannabis differently. This comes down to differences in how our endocannabinoid systems react to the CBD, THC, and other compounds in the cannabis strain.

Some of the variations between people come from the differences in biochemistry. The effects of a particular strain can also vary across people based on their biological sex and their overall health. People with certain medical conditions, for example, will more likely feel a decrease in their symptoms instead of a “high,” although that is not always the case.

The bottom line is that no matter how much you read about a particular marijuana strain, you will never know how it will affect you personally until you try it. With that in mind, take a look at some of the most popular cannabis strains and the strains’ most common effects.

Acapulco Gold

Acapulco Gold is a strain that gets its name from its origins in Acapulco, Mexico. This strain induces euphoria and provides energization. Users also report that it can reduce nausea, pain, stress, and fatigue.

Afghan Kush

Afghan Kush is a very popular strain that comes from the mountains of the Hindu Kush close to the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. This strain is known for its relaxing effects, as well as its ability to help users fall asleep. It is also suitable for pain relief and for stimulating the appetite.

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is a popular cannabis strain for those who want to relax without feeling sedated completely. As such, it is a popular option for overcoming pain, inflammation, and cramps in situations when you still need to stay alert. At the same time, Blue Dream typically provides a mood boost with some feelings of euphoria.

Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush is a cannabis strain known for its ability to promote relaxation and induce sleep. It is an excellent choice for those who have insomnia. It also helps relieve stress and reduce pain.

Do Si Dos

Do Si Dos is an indica-dominant hybrid, and its parent strains are Face Off OG and Girl Scout Cookies. This strain is famous for assisting with stress relief, arthritis, and pain management. It is known for its strong head “high” combined with medicinal properties, including assistance in managing depression, inflammation, and pain.

Fruity Pebbles OG

Fruity Pebbles OG is sometimes called FPOG and helps with relaxation and euphoria, making it an excellent choice for those suffering from stress. Using Fruity Pebbles OG can also help in reducing nausea and increasing appetite while leading to the giggles.

Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies is indica-dominant and has THC of between 21 and 28 percent. It smells like earth, cherries, and blueberries. It is popular for its euphoric effect with creativity, energy, relaxation, and happiness.

Golden Goat

Golden Goat is a strain that leads to feelings of creativity along with euphoria. It is an excellent choice for those who want to overcome their fatigue and stress and would like a mood boost to go along with it.

Granddaddy Purple

Granddaddy Purple is a cannabis strain that is also known for its relaxation effect. It also helps fight stress as well as insomnia. This strain also appeals to those having a lack of appetite due to its ability to increase the feeling of hunger. As a bonus, it boosts your mood by creating feelings of euphoria.

LA Confidential

LA Confidential is a nice choice for cannabis users who want something that will soothe their insomnia symptoms by inducing sleep and providing relaxation. Users also agree that LA Confidential can help with pain reduction and has anti-inflammatory benefits. This makes it a very popular choice among those who deal with chronic pain.

Maui Wowie

Maui Wowie is yet another cannabis strain commonly used for relaxation. It is unique, however, in that the feelings of relaxation are accompanied by creativity and a dose of energy. Maui Wowie is a popular option for those who need a burst of energy as it reduces fatigue and helps with productivity.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights is a cannabis strain that can help you fall asleep and will provide relaxation. It is also a mood booster, helping those with depression. In addition to assisting with insomnia and depression, Northern Lights can also help reduce stress and pain.

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express predates the famous 2008 movie, but that movie helped make it famous. It has a scent reminiscent of pineapple and will boost your mood while relaxing you. At the same time, Pineapple Express also provides you with an energetic buzz, making it a healthy choice for those times you need to be productive.

Purple Kush

Purple Kush is associated with creating a feeling of bliss. This helps users feel happy, sleepy, and relaxed. Because of its sedative abilities, many people with insomnia use Purple Kush to get better sleep at night. It can also help with reducing muscle spasms and pain.

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is a strain that helps lift the mood of its users while also providing a nice dose of energy. After consuming Sour Diesel, you are likely to feel a burst of productive energy. It is also popular for relieving pain and overall de-stressing.

Super Silver Haze

Super Silver Haze is a cannabis strain known for its energizing effects. Consuming this strain can relieve nausea and pain while also boosting your mood with feelings of euphoria. As such, it is a popular choice for those in search of stress relief.

Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake offers well-rounded effects that appeal to recreational and medicinal users of cannabis. It provides an immediate and robust head “high” that then shifts to a warm and heavy body “high.” It is famous for exercising, gaming, and creating.

White Widow

White Widow will boost your mood while also helping you to relax and providing you with energy. Those who use this strain also indicate that it relieves stress, depression, and pain. It can also help those who are fatigued to remain alert and energized.

How to Choose a Strain

With so many strains of cannabis available, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and be unsure about which one to try.


Start by looking at the effects of each strain and comparing them to what you want to get out of your marijuana experience. With so many strains available, it should be easy to find one that meets your unique goals.


When looking at the effects of potential strains, also examine their potency, paying attention to both CBD and THC content. Choose a strain with a higher THC content if you want a potent strain that will give you a solid “high.” If you are more concerned with effects like pain relief than getting “high,” then you may prefer a strain with higher CBD content compared to THC. It all comes down to personal preference.

Flavor and Aroma

You should also consider the flavor and aroma of each strain. For many people, the flavor of a strain is a significant factor in their enjoyment of the cannabis, so you do not want to overlook this.

Ask an Expert

If you are still unsure what strain to try, consider asking an expert for their advice. When you go to your local dispensary to make a purchase, ask them for recommendations. This is a standard service that most dispensaries will gladly provide. After all, their staff tends to be incredibly familiar with the various strains on offer. They should have information, such as the likely effects and whether a strain is indica or sativa.

Side Effects

The side effects of cannabis tend to be minimal and similar across strains. You are most likely to experience dry eyes or dry mouth. You may also notice other effects like an increased heart rate or lung irritation.

The Bottom Line

Every strain of cannabis will give unique effects on your body, with some being better suited to helping you get a good night’s rest and others doing best at pain relief. You should have no problem finding a cannabis strain that provides the effects you want, whether you need more energy or to relax.

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