Strains: A Basic F.A.B Guide

Confused on where to start with cannabis strains? Ready to experiment, but unsure as to which strain is right for you? Unable to identify what weed you’re even smoking? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, this article is for you!


The majority of cannabis users in Australia are mostly left in the dark as to what species their buds are, let alone as to what specific strains they may be. Breeding methods and the whole growing process are generally kept secretive. Business practices remain opaque to Australian cannabis consumers, primarily because they have no choice but to deal with shifty and inefficient black markets in order to get what they’re looking for. Australians are uneducated when it comes to the cannabis they smoke, which is a serious risk to our public health. As usual, outmoded legislation and a broader misapprehension of our social reality is to blame. [1]

It’s about time that potheads from all across this great southern land informed themselves as to what strains they’re smoking on. Furthermore, it’s time we asked the question: which strain is really suitable to our psychology, and under what contexts? If your dealer can’t answer you, the following article might help you identify some telltale signs.

(First: Maybe it’s worth checking that your buds weren’t sprayed with Plant Growth Regulators… Don’t know what to look for? Check out our article on PGR weed here).[2]

So, what is a strain? Put simply, the various ‘strains’ of cannabis are genetic differentiations of the plant, which occur both organically and under the influence of crafty human breeders.

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You don’t need to possess an expert knowledge of marijuana to establish that strains generally fall into one of three categories:

  1. Sativas
  2. Indicas
  3. Hybrids

Sativas and Indicas are the two primary naturally occurring species of cannabis, whereas hybrids are simply a particular mixture of these two species. Hybrid strains allow for endless possibilities when it comes to crossbreeding and developing altogether new strains.


The physical appearance of a Sativa is a light, elongated, leafy bud. Often described as the ‘daytime’ species of sativa, its high THC content stimulates the mind and induces a state of altered sensation and awareness that can include non-linear thought processes and energetic euphoria. If you are a person looking to develop their creative, social or intellectual proficiencies, and can handle your anxiety, then sativa may be right for you. On the other hand, if you or your family has a history of schizophrenia or induced psychosis, perhaps it’s better to stick with the other dominant strain. I am of course talking about…

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Indicas are the couchlock bud. They are the night to Sativa’s day. Short, wide and bushy, with a deeper, darker colour, a toke of CBD rich Indica will induce a state of relaxation and calm which can lead to deep meditation, or even sleep…

The relatively high CBD content in Indica strains is actually a major asset, as CBD has been shown to possess a myriad of medicinal properties. There is evidence to suggest that CBD is anti-carcinogenic[3]; also, it is hypothesised that the CBD content in Indica buds balances out the psychotic tendencies that can be potentiated through the consumption of THC.[4] If you or your family have a history of mental illness, or you find it is a struggle to calm your body and mind, then maybe Indica is for you.

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Hybrids are quite remarkable due to the unique effect they provide. This effect is determined by the lineage of the particular strain/s in question. Hybrids are diverse; either the plant will reach some sort of equilibrium between the Indica and Sativa genes, or else one parent will express its dominance in the characteristics of the child over the other.

Indica dominant hybrids usually provide a strong body high without fatigue or tiredness; Sativa dominant hybrids might instead induce a wakefulness and sociability alongside a blissful tranquillity and calm.

Alternatively, Sativas and Indicas have been bred with Ruderalis plants, which are full of CBD, but tend to lack in THC. These breeding efforts have led to the development of auto-flowering buds, which do not depend on light cycles to flower. These modifications are especially crucial for indoor hydroponic growers.

Works Cited

[1] Friendly Aussie Buds – The Case for Recreational Marijuana in Australia (June 2018):

[2] Friendly Aussie Buds – PGR: The Toxic Chemicals in Your Marijuana (June 2018):

[3] G. Velasco, C. Sánchez and M. Guzmán – Anticancer mechanisms of cannabinoids (March 2016):

[4] Zuardi AW et. al – A critical review of the antipsychotic effects of cannabidiol: 30 years of a translational investigation (2012)

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Photos from GREEN: A Field Guide to Marijuana



Mitch Keys is a young writer from Brisbane, Australia unfolding in a dynamic process of becoming (like everyone else, so don’t go thinking he’s special or anything). He likes being alive.


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SmokeWeapon Online Headshop
SmokeWeapon Online Headshop
2 years ago

great article Mitch, very instructional!


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[…] are many different varieties to choose from. Seeds can be placed into a few primary categories: Indicas, Sativas and Hybrids. CBD-rich Ruderalis genetics are another favourite amongst growers. Ruderalis genes are often used […]

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