Walking into a dispensary for the first time can be overwhelming. Sativa, indica, hybrid – what’s the difference? These terms refer to species of the plant cannabis. In the past, these terms were a way of categorizing the characteristics of the plant, where it grew and how it grew. Today, we know that the two types also differ in the effects they bring about, which is particularly relevant if you want to know which one will relieve your symptoms.

First, Let’s Talk About Cannabinoids

There are more than 80 cannabinoids in cannabis. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds within the plant that are thought to be the primary driver of the effect of cannabis (there are also terpenes to consider when it comes to the effects of marijuana, but we’ll save that for another blog!). The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD.

THC tends to be associated with a euphoric high and medical benefits, while CBD is associated with little to no high and medical benefits. THC and CBD are relevant to indica and sativa because they appear in different amounts within these cannabis species. Depending on what you and Dr. Lora Brown decide is right for your symptoms, she will recommend one of the species discussed below, in order to bring about relief of your symptoms.

Sativa vs. Indica Species


Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are species of the cannabis plant. They are the most common species and – along with hybrids of the two – are what you will encounter at dispensaries.

Sativa: Usually has a lower CBD level and higher THC level. Their effects tend to involve alertness and wakefulness compared to indica strains. Some people prefer to use sativa during the daytime. It’s known for producing a cerebral high and may make you feel more active. Patients with depression and anxiety may benefit from using sativa during the day.

Although sativa is more often associated with creating a euphoric high from its considerable THC content, it is often used for people whose medical conditions cause depression, fatigue and moodiness, as well as certain other symptoms.

Indica: Usually has a higher CBD level and a lower THC level. This species is associated with feelings of relaxation, sedation and a body high. Many people prefer indica before bedtime, to aid sleep. It can be beneficial for depression and anxiety, as well as for medical symptoms that disrupt sleep and cause insomnia.

High-CBD strains are typically ideal for treating many medical conditions, including chronic pain. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, so it is not associated with the high that comes from the psychoactive compound THC. If you do not want the mind-altering effect at all, discuss your options for low-THC cannabis with Dr. Brown.

Hybrids: Hybrids are basically blends of indica and sativa. Generally they take the best qualities of each and combine them in different ratios to create the desired effect. Some have high CBD or high THC, or a 50/50 balance.

To review, the first thing to think about are the basic types:

  • Indica
  • Sativa
  • Indica-dominant hybrid
  • Sativa-dominant hybrid
  • 50/50 hybrid

In Florida, the dispensaries have a wide variety of cannabis products. One way they are differentiated is by the cannabis types discussed above.

So How Do You Know What To Use?

You might feel comfortable enough with the different information about strains to choose your own products. But many of our patients do not want to spend too much time thinking about strains, species and taxonomy, and that’s fine! Dr. Brown and our team are here to support and guide you 100 percent of the way.

If you receive a recommendation for cannabis from Dr. Brown, you will not simply be sent out the door with recommendation in-hand. Dr. Brown makes sure each of her patients feel confident about filling their order at the dispensary. She will go over all of the things you need to know related to dosing, delivery devices, specific products and strains, so that you will know exactly what to ask for upon arriving at the dispensary.

Furthermore, Dr. Brown wants to hear from you after you obtain your cannabis order. She wants to know if the products you received are working, if they aren’t working, or if there is any aspect you want to change. She can change dosing or strain recommendations in order to make your order work for you.

Arrange a Consultation with Dr. Lora Brown

To schedule your initial evaluation with Dr. Brown in St. Petersburg, please call Access Marijuana RX at 727-209-5470. You may also reach us by completing the form on this page. We proudly provide care for Floridians from across the state, including Tampa and all of the surrounding areas.

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Our goal is for you to leave our office with a memorable and enjoyable experience, which is why our welcoming and compassionate staff will do everything they can to make you feel right at home.

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