Different Types and Strains of Cannabis

Last Updated on May 1, 2022 by Marie Kathleen

Discover why there are literally thousands of different types and strains of cannabis, even though they are all varieties of the same two plants.   

The world of weed can seem a little confusing. Along with a vast array of jargon – bong, vape, shatter, terpenes, 420, kief…you get the picture – there is a multitude of varieties and strains of cannabis on the market today. So why are there so many different varieties of weed? And how can a beginner go about choosing the best strain for their needs? 

Well, don’t worry. In this post we are going to demystify the hazy weed-world and help you to choose the strain of cannabis that is best for you.   

There are Only Two Types of Cannabis (and a Third One Too)!

The cannabis plant is a native of Asia. It belongs to the same plant family as the hop plants that are used for brewing beer, and is grouped in what botanists call the Rosales order of plants, which includes roses, strawberries and blackberries.

There are two main strains of cannabis: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa, along with a third, less common strain known as Cannabis ruderalis. Let’s take a brief look at the differences between these three strains of cannabis. Oh, and by the way, the words cannabis and marijuana both refer to the same thing: they are simply interchangeable names for weed. 

Cannabis Indica

A native of India, Cannabis indica (the word “indica” derives from the Latin word for India) has been cultivated for centuries as a source of resin to make hashish. Cannabis indica has a significantly higher concentration of THC (see below) which produces the strong highs associated with the traditional feeling of being “stoned.”

Cannabis Sativa

Originally grown throughout eastern Asia, Cannabis sativa has been cultivated for thousands of for use in medicine, religious ceremonies and as a source of hemp for clothing, paper-making and industrial fibre. Cannabis sativa has a lower concentration of THC and a higher concentration of CBD (also see below) making it a more appropriate type of weed for medicinal use.  

A Ruderalis Awakening 

Ok. We know that is a terrible pun! But Cannabis ruderalis is actually the third strain of Cannabis. But there’s a catch…many botanists believe that Cannabis ruderalis is simply a sub-species of Cannabis sativa

Confused? Well, you don’t have to be. Cannabis ruderalis is a low THC plant native to Russia and Eastern Europe. It is not widely available commercially so for all intents and purposes we can just ignore it. 

The Good Oils.

So why do so many cannabis growers strive to create more and more different strains? The answer lies in the concentration of active ingredients that are present in different strains and the way that these compounds affect the human body.


Tetrahydrocannabinol is the active compound in cannabis. THC compounds are produced by the cannabis plant to help repel pests, retain moisture and maintain an optimum level of humidity around the plant’s flowers.


Cannabinol is the other main compound found in the cannabis plant. While it is also synthesized by the plant to assist with pest control, cannabinol does not have the intoxicating or psychoactive effects that are produced by THC. This means that products derived from CBD can be used for such things as pain relief, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant formulations, food supplements and topical dressings.

Breeding and crossbreeding

By crossbreeding plants with different concentrations and strengths of both THC and CBD, breeders can produce ever more refined and targeted strains of cannabis. 

This allows users to finely tune the effects that they derive from consuming cannabis. It also gives the breeders the opportunity to come up with creative names for their new strains of weed.

By Any Other Name

Giving strains of cannabis different names does not mean that the weed is a different plant; it simply means that it has slightly different characteristics.

It’s really just like giving people different names: John, Jennifer and James might have different names, and different personalities, but they are still people. It’s the same with weed. Breeders like to come up with different names for their strains that are imaginative, funny and ironic, and which may tell the potential user something about the strain’s character and effects. 

For example, let’s take a look at a few of the strains available at Salish Trails

Alien Breath

Described as happy, relaxing, fruity, skunky and gassy, Alien Breath is a hybrid strain of Cannabis indica

Pineapple Express

With a THC content of around 18%, Pineapple Express is a strain of Cannabis sativa that is good for relieving stress and increasing creativity. 

Organic Mk Ultra

With its pungent, earthy and woody flavour, Organic MK Ultra produces a relaxed, euphoric and happy high perfect for pain relief and as an antidepressant.

A Weed for Every Occasion

But it doesn’t stop there. Breeders are coming up with an ever-increasing range of hybrids and strains of cannabis and giving them names that, if nothing else, are highly imaginative such as:

  • Alaskan Thunderf**k
  • Crouching Tiger Hidden Alien
  • Slap n Tickle
  • Dank Sinatra
  • Gorilla Glue  

So as you can see, cannabis strains are a vast and intriguing world just waiting for you to explore and to find out which ones best suit your requirements. 

We Have Got You Covered!

Even though the cannabis landscape might seem confusing and difficult to navigate at first, the crew at Matrix Extracts are here to help. Our staff of highly-motivated experts can help you to select the perfect strain of weed for your needs. 




* * All views expressed here are from a third-party source and do not necessarily represent the entity of Matrix Extracts itself. This blog post is intended to be used for informational purposes only.

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