Cannabis Strains 101: Classifying Cannabis

Cannabis is a highly unique and complex plant – composed of thousands of chemical compounds and hundreds of varying aromatic profiles. 

Cannabis cultivars, also known as “strains,” are what categorize a flower by its aroma, flavor, and effects. Between sativa, indica, and hybrid cannabis strains – there are plenty of options to choose from. However, with the many other factors and elements that contribute to a cannabis strain, it’s helpful to know what defines each cannabis strain classification so you can choose the best strain for your needs. 

Use this blog as your ultimate guide to learning about the history of the plant and how to understand the different cannabis strains. Explore the Jamaican landrace strains that are a part of Rastafari cannabis culture, and how to shop the best products at Rasta Rootz. 

What are the Different Cannabis Strains? 

The cannabis sativa plant existed long before the 18th century, but it was around this time in Western Europe when society discovered the various uses of the plant and cultivated it for its fiber and seeds. Various materials were made using all parts of the hemp plants – from the fibrous leaves as clothing textiles and paper, and the sturdy, lengthy stalk as resourceful tools. 

In Ancient Southeast Asia, seeds and extractions from the plant were also used in ceremonies and rituals for its medicinal and therapeutic properties. 

Later discovery and genetic formation of cannabis sativa created different varietals of the plant, what we know today as sativa, indica, and hybrid. 


When it comes to this plant’s morphology, cannabis sativa grows best in warm and tropical regions. Sativa plants are tall and stalky in shape.

Depending on the cultivation method and plant genetics, some sativas are known for their naturally higher THC content. This is why sativa holds general characteristics and effects ideal for daytime use. Many sativa-leaning cannabis strains will bring on more euphoric and energetic effects that may boost a mood or one’s energy. 


Cannabis indica historically goes back to originating from the cold and mountainous regions of Central Asia. It was first identified by European botanist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785 when he received samples of the plant from India and named the classification after it. 

Compared to cannabis sativa, indica plants slightly differ in morphology. Cannabis indica plants grow to be more broad, bushy, and stout in size. With a thick woody stalk and plump, short-fingered leaves, some indica plants are often darker shades of green. 

Indica cannabis strains also have differing effects that polarize that of sativa. Ultimately, indica is famous for its “couch lock effect,” sedating users into a warm body high with more mellow moods, deeper relaxation, or sleep. 


A hybrid cannabis strain is a combined, or hybridized, version of both a sativa and indica cannabis strain. It’s basically what happens when indica and sativa plant genetics breed together to create a hybridized version of the plant. Hybrid cannabis strains can either be more sativa-dominant, indica-dominant, or a true hybrid 50/50. 

Most of the cannabis strains you’ll find on our Rasta Rootz dispensary menu are a version of hybrid cannabis. Considering the ongoing popularity of cannabis genetics and breeding, the list of hybrid cannabis strains grows longer and longer. 

With hybrid cannabis, you’re able to get a conglomeration of the different therapeutic effects specific cannabis strains offer. Some hybrids may give off more energetic and euphoric effects, while other hybrids might leave you sleepy or hungry with munchies. 

What Makes Up a Cannabis Strain? 

Considering these three main categories of cannabis strains, it’s important to note that the actual composition and content of cannabis strains are far more complex! 

No matter the strain, cannabis flower is made up of thousands of different chemical properties – cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds all contribute to the plant’s unique smells, flavors, and effects. 

  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) 

THC is one of the major cannabinoids found in cannabis, widely known for its strong psychoactive effects. When consumed, THC binds with CB1 receptors in our Endocannabinoid System, which is largely responsible for signals and responses in our body and can directly impact and improve our motor cognition, pain receptors, and stress regulators.

  • CBD (Cannabidiol) 

Another major cannabinoid found in cannabis strains, although hemp holds larger contents. Similar to THC, this cannabinoid can bind with our CB2 receptors and throughout our Endocannabinoid System to send signals and responses that alleviate and soothe inflammation or stress in the body. 

  • Terpenes

When it comes to all cannabis strains, terpenes are the star of the show! They are the unique aromatic compounds that distinguish the flavor and smell of cannabis. When you consume cannabis, the terpenes interact harmoniously with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids to orchestrate a flurry of therapeutic effects. 

Certain terpenes are noted to induce specific effects or feelings, which can be helpful to note when choosing the best strain for you. 

To assess what to expect from a cannabis strain, you can look into its genetic parental lineage, or learn more about the THC content and terpene profile.

What Are Jamaican Landrace Strains? 

Cannabis,” ganja,” holds a significant place in Jamaican culture, with roots stretching back for generations. The island is renowned for its Jamaican landrace cannabis strains, which are indigenous varieties of cannabis that are typically sativa in structure and effect due to the region’s latitude and temperate climate.

  • Lamb’s Bread (Sativa): With ties to Bob Marley, this Jamaican landrace has a bright green and sticky sativa strain with energizing effects and positive introspection.
  • King’s Bread (Sativa): With an unknown genetic origin, this sativa landrace from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica is known for mellowing and euphoric cerebral effects. Today, it is associated with pain relief, appetite stimulation, and stress alleviation.
  • Jamaican Dream (Sativa): A 90% sativa strain bred using Jamaican genetics, offering a subtle and sweet flavor, elevated mood, and weightless euphoria. 

At Rasta Rootz, we proudly celebrate the Rastafarian cannabis culture! Although we’re still on the hunt for bringing these legendary Jamaican landrace strains to our Boston dispensary, we hope to embrace and educate our MA cannabis community on the historic roots of cannabis in Jamaica. 

Rasta Rootz: Celebrating Cannabis Culture at Boston’s Best Dispensary 

With new and innovative cannabis strains constantly coming into Boston’s cannabis market, you should be able to get all of your quality products and cannabis experiences from one trusted source. 
Conveniently located in Downtown Boston, stop by Rasta Rootz to explore our extensive selection of the best cannabis strains in Boston. Talk terpenes with a budtender to learn the best strain for your desired high, or check with our Rasta Rootz team for more insight into Rastafari cannabis culture.