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The Pineapple Express, Granddaddy Purple, Kush – there are a lot of names out there flying around marijuana, and that’s without considering the whole indica/sativa dichotomy! No worries. DC Alchemy is here to help! This time on the blog we’re going to explain the different types of marijuana, and what all those strange strains are!

The Types of Marijuana

When a new marijuana enthusiast first starts out, they may ask ‘What kinds of marijuana are there? Are there different types?” What they don’t realize is that questions can mean a couple of different things! They could be talking about individual cultivated strains, or the difference between indica and sativa. It’s okay! We all were there once. First let’s lay out the difference between these two big strains.


A common refrain for enthusiasts is ‘Indica puts you in da couch.’ Indica has a more relaxing and calming, fully body effect. People prone to anxiety or hyperactivity may find indica to be give them the best experience. 


Sativa is more conducive to energy. It was described once in a dispensary as ‘Sativa = sunrise.’ It’s for your daytime activities, and has been associated with uplifting, cerebral and creative boosts. People prone to anxiety may not appreciate the effects of sativa, while those with lower energy, who are tired, or experiencing depression may find it to be the right choice for the,

In that way, an easy way to look at it is this: indica = relaxing body high, sativa = euphoric head high. With those two out of the way that leads us to the Big Third strain option…


Most strains available today are some mix of indica and sativa, making them hybrid strains.These are cultivated for a specific, desired effect from parent strains to create the experiences that cultivators are looking for. How do they do that? Terpenes.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are similar to the cannabinoids THC and CBD, produced in the same glands. There are oils that change the color of the cannabis as well as produce smells and flavors like berry, mint, etc. These terpenes may be the key to creating new cannabis strains with focuses on different effects. We say may because the exact science behind it isn’t totally there, but based of trial, error, and experience all signs point to terpenes being crucial in these hybrids.

So far, over 100 different terpenes have been ID’d in cannabis. Every strain leans into the terpenes present in them, usually leading the strain to be named after some feature of that terpene.

Terpenes evolved naturally like most other plants with strong smells, to deter predators and lure in pollinators, like bees. The specific type of terpene developed may be influenced by weather, plant age, soil types, and more. Understanding these differences is key in mimicking them in professional grow ops to promote those terpenes secreting, and influence the quality of the cannabis grown.

We’re not going to go into all there is about terpenes, but if you like Leafly did a great write up on the different terpenes out there.

So to get back to those strains we mentioned earlier? The Grandaddy Kushes, the Pineapple Expresses, and the like? Those are all hybrid strains of cannabis, with a predominant terpene profile that determines the kind of experience users will get.

For now, for most beginner’s (such as all the new legal, recreational marijuana enthusiasts in Arizona!) it’s best to focus on the big picture of Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. Once you know which experience you prefer, you can start dialing it in until you find the exact right strain for you. That’s the beauty of legalized marijuana, the benefit and customization available to the customer is absolutely unparalleled! 

Here’s a handy graphic to understand the differences between sativa and indica.

Caption: Sativa and Indica / Photo from CrescoLabs

And don’t think you have to enjoy flower to get your pick of Indica, Sativa, or hybrid strains! While most popular products out there are a hybrid of some sort, you can find a whole new world of options available to vape right now!