How Many Strains Of Marijuana Are There?

by Doug

How many strains of weed are there in the world?

These days, the dazzling variety in types of cannabis available for purchase can overwhelm new recreational users. Sativa, Indica, Kush… what do all these terms mean? Are they strains themselves? And just how many strains of marijuana are there?

While it’s a little overwhelming when you don’t know where to start, cannabis’ different strains and subspecies are relatively simple to grasp once you get a little background information. That’s what this guide is for.

We’ll break down everything you need to know about marijuana subtypes and strains and explain how many strains are likely floating around the world thanks to scientific advances and recent legalization legislation.

What is a cannabis strain?

That depends on how you define strain.

You see, in a medical or scientific context, a strain of something (like a virus, organism, or plant) is a variation of the main organic subject. For instance, there are technically multiple strains of dogs; you’d just normally call them breeds.

Basically, think of cannabis strains as different types of cannabis. Cannabis strains can vary dramatically from one another, and one of the most important characteristics is the amount of THC contained in a given strain.

Certain strains have greater THC, resulting in higher psychoactive effects or relaxing effects. But a cannabis variation’s strain can also affect other attributes like:

  • How quickly the cannabis grows. Some strains are genetically engineered so that the grower can create more of the plant and make more of a profit per season
  • Drought resistance, which is also genetically engineered to improve a plant’s durability
  • Flavor or additional effects that may be detected by the end consumer. Some strains are preferred by consumers because of subjective attributes like this

The specifics of a strain ultimately determine whether or not it’s a great fit for you. That’s why many marijuana enthusiasts try out different strains from time to time, seeing whether or not a given strain agrees with their system.

In most cases, certain cannabis subspecies work well with people while others don’t. That’s why cannabis enthusiasts may stick with one or another cannabis subspecies or type.

What’s the difference between weed strains and weed subspecies?

Let’s break down definitions even further.

Strains, as mentioned, are slightly modified versions of the base cannabis plant that can be altered or grown for specific advantages, flavors, or other attributes.

However, most people are already familiar with the three main cannabis subspecies: Indica, sativa, and hybrid cannabis. These are sometimes erroneously referred to as strains, but that’s okay – the two groups are basically separated for the same reason. You can usually use either term in regular conversation and the other person will get what you mean.

Whether or not you consider the three cannabis subspecies to be strains of their own doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you know the main differences between the subspecies and the strains that can come from cultivating them.

The 3 cannabis subspecies

Let’s break down the three major cannabis subspecies in more detail.


Indica is one of the two most common and well-understood cannabis subspecies in the world. It originated in Afghanistan (specifically the Hindu Kush region). It’s relatively easy to tell whether a cannabis plant is indica or sativa, as the former is characterized by a short, bushy appearance.

They’re favorites for growers because they have a relatively short maturation cycle and can produce relatively high yields compared to sativa plants.

In modern markets, strains of Indica cannabis are used primarily for medical consumption. They can provide temporary relief from certain types of pain and reduce inflammation if applied correctly or consumed at the right time. Indica cannabis is also the type used in states where recreational cannabis consumption is still illegal for medicinal purposes.

For recreational consumers, Indica strains have been known to help people sleep. Between this and sativa, indica cannabis is more relaxing and produces a generally calming effect. There are tons of popular indica strains on the market. A few examples include:

  • Pineapple Kush
  • Bubble Kush
  • Northern Lights
  • Pineapple Chunk


Sativa cannabis is the more energetic counterpart to indica strains. These cannabis plants can grow significantly taller and are usually skinnier in appearance. In fact, some sativa plants can reach up to 20 feet tall.

These are favorites among recreational cannabis users since they provide energetic and uplifting boosts to mood and outlook. Unlike other types of energetic drugs, sativa cannabis provides more of a cerebral boost, making this plant a favorite for creatives.

Other people can use these plans to combat mood swings and to treat certain mental condition symptoms. That’s partially because sativa cannabis usually contains a higher concentration of THC. This also makes it less suitable for medical use. Example strains include:

  • Green Crack
  • Island Sweet Skunk
  • Jack Herer
  • Candyland


The last major subtype of cannabis is called hybrid. As the name suggests, you get it by crossing indica and sativa cannabis plants together. The mixed genetics result in traits that can either display the attributes of either or both parents depending on the circumstances of the crossing and the genes of the parent plants.

Lots of growers are experimenting with combining indica and sativa to get a boost to both mental and physical effects, or to limit the high-energy effects of some sativa strains with the more moderate relaxation provided by indica.


All in all, there are far too many strains of cannabis to count, let alone try (at least in short order). But at Emjay, we pride ourselves on having only the best marijuana strains available for our consumers. This way, we know we’re providing top-tier cannabis without any unnecessary side effects or downer symptoms.

Even better, you can read all about our cannabis strains using our online catalog. Choose the cannabis strain that looks right for you, and we’ll deliver it right to your doorstep without a delivery fee!

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1 comment January 5, 2021 - 9:20 am

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