Knowing your strain


At this point in time, almost everyone out there knows the age-old expression when it comes to weed. Indica is “in da couch” and Sativa is “think sunny”, this was always what my friends would answer to me when I would be stoned trying to figure out what is what. While that gives me some kind of an idea of what the difference between those are, that doesn’t really give much other info. 

In this day and age we have so many different online sources to browse for info on strains. But the difference between something like Pineapple Express and Bio Jesus or indica and sativa is something I believe can always use more clarification. So today let’s go over the difference between indicas and sativas as well as truer, more accurate and reliable things to look for when choosing different strains.

Strain Chart

Source/The Woods Detriot




The “in da couch” This term usually comes from the intense body highs that smokers get from these strains. Typically, with indica’s growth patterns, the plant itself gets bushy rather than tall. The leafs also follow suit and are shorter and wider too, showing almost all leaf no stem. The indica strains you pick up from your dealer or your local dispensary can have a lot of different affects. But the most common that can occur are strong body highs, that “in da couch” because the overall high makes your feel like your muscles are melting. But with that it can also aid with relaxation and sleep time assistance, as well as provides pain relief and gives you the munchies! Some say the best time to enjoy an indica is during the nighttime before bed and to wind down after a long day.


Whether you were “thinking sunny” or just got sativa cause it’s the opposite indica, there are a good amounts of differences between that and its indica cousin. First off with plant growth, the plant will appear taller and slimmer. The leafs will be long and thinner, showing more visible stems. Now a sativa, much like the indica, can have effects ranging all over the place, but the most typical effects are as followed. A strong head high, generally increased activity and energy levels. Sativas often give creative and uplifting feelings, but rather than indicas keeping your offering intense body highs, sativas often give a certain alertness. The best time to enjoy a sativa is during the day as it goes, when you are trying to accomplish a task.


Indica vs. Sativa chart

Source/Cresco Labs


Hybrids are a great example of why everything said above can be so subjective and based on how individuals react to certain strains. These strains don’t necessarily follow any specific set of feelings. When purchasing a hybrid you will hear the term sativa or indica dominant. This refers to the strain leaning in favor of the sativa or indica growth category, sometimes the affects categories as well. When it comes to the plant they can grow tall or bushy based on how the grower decides to shape the plant and develop its growth pattern. That can go for all strains but typically when a grower is working on the plant’s development they will assist in favor of the plant’s growth pattern. The leaf growth is thicker leafs, but they grow long and thin. Typically, within the affects you are looking at something that creates balance in the mind and body, while limiting anxiety and offering a great relaxing body affect. 

How to judge the strains?

Keeping this short everything above is almost entirely subjective. Besides the plant growth and physical features, for the most part the bud aspect of all cannabis plants will give a variety of different affects and highs. A sativa can make you sleepy and an indica might make you wanna paint like Jackson Pollock. The only true way we stoners and connoisseurs can find out what we actually enjoy is by learning about something called terpenes. Terpenes are not the only way to learn about what you are smoking. But because terpenes are found in other plants we eat, we are able to attribute specific data to the flavor and feelings/affects the strain we are smoking can have on us.

What is a Terpene?

Terpenes are found in many different types of plants, and we are already familiar with them. Plants like lemons, pine trees, cinnamon and even lavender have terpenes that we have categorized and charted. The smell and flavor are not the only thing terpenes define, they also are a key component to understanding cannabis as a medicine. Terpenes have different affects on the body, some are specific to treating anti-inflammation and some can help with digestion and even tumors. On the chart provided below the scientifically name is posted with the different medical attributes that are related to those names. Below I have provided the different terpenes and the different flavors/plants you can find it.

Source/ NutMeg Disrupted

  • Pinene – pine and cedar trees, rosemary, orange peels 
  • Carene – basil, pepper
  • Limonene – citrus based fruits, mint, fennel 
  • Myrcene – hops and mango
  • Caryophyllene – black pepper, oregano, lavender
  • Humulene – clove, sage, ginseng 
  • Terpinolene – lilac, tea tree, apples, nutmeg
  • Citronellol – lemongrass, catnip, chamomile
  • Geraniol – rose, geranium, lemon
  • Linalool – lavender, birch trees, mint, citrus fruits
  • Valancene – orange, tangerine, mango
  • Trans-Nerolidol – lemongrass, jasmine, tea tree
  • Phytol – lettuce, green tea, citrus 
  • Eucalyptol – rosemary, sage, sweet basil, bay leaves
  • Camphene – woody, piney, earthy, musky 
  • Borneol – mint, earth, menthol 
  • Bisabolol – spice, chamomile, apple



The best thing any smoker new or old can get out of this is that Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid is so nonspecific and or helpful at times. For some people they rely on this info, but the sad truth is that because we have been modifying the plant for so long we no longer have a true indica or true sativa. What we do have are plants that grow in similar patterns to how an only indica or only sativa would grow. We also have subjective feelings that people talk about or refer to when talking about how the strain makes them feel. While there is some validity to their statement, it isn’t backed up with science or data. That’s where Terpenes come in, with the chart provided and my list description on different flavors, this can help smokers identify what they are actually smoking. Understanding terpenes too can allow a smoker to choose strains based on their medical needs and wants. Regardless, the idea is the bring knowledge to you, the smoker and getting to know your bud is so important, better smoking and a better high. 



Saxon Kotowski

Saxon Kotowski

Avid smoker and graduate from the School of The Art Institute Chicago. Here to bring news and education to all the smokers out there.


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