DELTA 8 SATIVA VS. INDICA VS. HYBRID STRAINS: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Delta 8 jumped onto the scene with a vengeance and is available almost everywhere. Buying it is a straightforward process — until you see the options.
Chances are, choosing the “wrong” one won’t be a big deal, but it can suck the fun out of the night if you’re expecting something energizing and end up crashing.
Instead, let us teach you the ways of delta 8; we’ll guide you through popular strains and what you can expect from each. Plus, find out what delta 8 is, why it might be good for you (if you need justification) and how to buy the best.
WHAT IS DELTA 8 THC FLOWER?
There are no cannabis strains currently available that produce more than 1% delta 8 THC by weight. It’s also very unlikely breeders will produce these strains because there are no enzymes in the plant responsible for making this cannabinoid.
What this means is that the plant doesn’t make delta 8 THC itself. This cannabinoid forms when delta 9 THC starts to break down. Most of it is converted to CBN, while small concentrations are converted to delta 7, delta 8, delta 10 THC, or HHC.
So what exactly is delta 8 THC flower?
Delta 8 flower is made by spraying or coating hemp (or marijuana) flower with delta 8 THC distillate. This is why the popular delta 8 THC flower strains share a lot in common with the most popular hemp or marijuana strains. Manufacturers take the most popular strains available and bump up the delta 8 content and a catchy new name.
Some companies will even spray the flower with D8 distillate and then coat it in an extra layer of delta 8 THC kief — producing what’s commonly referred to as delta 8 THC moon rocks.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STRAIN: INDICA, SATIVA, OR HYBRID?
Strains fall into one of these camps, though the differences between each are less distinctive than they used to be; there’s more to it than simply asking “sativa or indica.”
Hybrids add to the mix, bringing their own set of rules. They give us a lot more to choose from, and we’re grateful, but it makes decision-making more complicated.
Despite this, knowing whether a strain is an indica, sativa, or hybrid gives hints about what you can expect from it.
Think of these as children — they’re from the same family and have similar traits, yet simultaneously be opposites in how they look and behave.
1. INDICA DELTA 8 THC STRAINS
Cannabis indica is the short, chubby kid that likes to sit around; not athletic or overly ambitious; friendly, but content to be quietly sitting alone.
This species of cannabis plant grows small and bushy with dark green leaves. It’s traditionally higher in CBD and more relaxing and sedative than sativas.
POPULAR DELTA 8 THC INDICA STRAINS
|Strain Name||Flavor Profile||Effects|
|Bubba OG||Sweet, peppery, slight citrus undertones||Social, relaxed|
|Blueberry||Strong blueberry, smokey||Calming, restful, relaxed|
|Royal Kush||Sweet, earthy||Long-lasting bliss, euphoria, relaxation|
|Northern Lights||Skunky citrus, a hint of spice||Heavy hitting, sedating, numbing|
|Granddaddy Purp||Strong grape||Potent whole-body high, relaxed, couch-locked|
|Bubba Kush||Smooth, earthy, slight pine scent||Happy, relaxed, sedating, good for pain|
2. SATIVA DELTA 8 THC STRAINS
Cannabis sativa is the tall, thin older brother that indica hates being compared to. He’s wildly popular because he’s always fun — the life of the party, full of energy and wild ideas.
This species is the opposite of indica: tall, thin, more stimulating, and has higher amounts of THC.
POPULAR DELTA 8 SATIVA STRAINS
|Strain Name||Flavor Profile||Effects|
|Strawberry Cough||Skunky strawberry||Cerebral, uplifting, stress-reliever, euphoric, potent|
|Jack Herer||Citrusy, earthy||Mental clarity, focus, motivation|
|Lemon Haze||Bright lemon flavor||Uplifting, calming, mood boost|
|Sour Diesel||Skunky, diesel, lemon, and orange||Creative, motivated, clear mind|
|Pineapple Express||Tropical||Motivating, uplifting, high-energy|
|Sour Space Candy||Sweet, sour, appley, citrus||Clarity, calming, uplifting, anxiety-reducing|
3. HYBRID DELTA 8 THC STRAINS
Hybrids are a cross between sativa and indica — it’s kind of like the middle child that can do whatever it wants. Maybe it’ll be full of energy, and maybe it won’t. Though difficult to understand, everyone loves this kid’s versatility and obstinate opposition to fitting into any box.
Breeders combine indica and sativa to get specific traits, making the possible combinations almost endless.
HIGH-DELTA 8 THC HYBRID STRAINS
|Strain Name||Flavor Profile||Effects|
|Train Wreck||Earthy, piney||Excited, soothing, happy, potent|
|Super Silver Haze||Spicy, peppery||Energetic, cerebral, energizing, with long-lasting effects|
|Zkittlez||Fruity, sweet||Calming, alert, happy, unwinding|
|Caribbean Dream||Pungent, fruity, hints of cedar||Uplifting, alert, relaxed|
|Gelato||Slight cookie taste, citrus||Low-key, uplifting, relaxed, stimulating|
|Blueberry Kush||Sweet blueberry, smokey, earthy||Very relaxing, calming, sedating|
|Thin Mint GSC||Sweet, earthy, a hint of pine||Uplifting, calming, clarity|
|Hawaiian Haze||Tropical, pine, a hint of lavender||Energetic, alert, focused, confident|
|ACDC||Earthy, skunky, slightly fruity||Focused, social, uplifting|
|Sunset Sherbert||Fruity, skunky, sweet||Carefree, relaxed, clear-headed, good for social interactions|
|OG Kush||Diesel overtones, berry, herbal||Calming, relaxed|
|Gorilla glue #4||Fuel, earthy, piney||Heavy hitting, euphoric, happy, stuck to the couch|
|Blue Dream||Blueberry, fruity||Creative, euphoric|
HOW IS DELTA 8 USED?
You can use delta 8 THC in the same way you’d use marijuana. It can be smoked or vaped and comes in tinctures, edibles — pretty much anything you want.
Delta 8 THC isn’t abundant in hemp or marijuana flower; the amounts are too minimal to cause any effects. Instead, it’s extracted from hemp using a special process called isomerization.
Manufacturers then use the delta 8 to make tinctures, edibles, vape carts, or flowers.
IS DELTA 8 THC FLOWER LEGAL?
Delta 8, because it’s from hemp, is federally legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp and hemp products are legal as long as they contain less than 0.3% THC.
Some states have banned it, however, so check local laws before you buy anything.
DELTA 8: WHY IT’S MORE THAN A BUZZ
Delta 8 is more than just a “legal high.” It has possible benefits, just as marijuana does — if you need an excuse to use it.
Delta 8 THC and delta 9 THC (THC) are similar in structure and cause similar reactions. Both bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS); the most significant difference is that THC really likes the CB1 receptor — the one primarily responsible for memory, motor control, sensory perception, conscious thought, and the reason you feel “high.”
Delta 8 THC likes the CB2 receptor better. Those are mainly in the immune system, but delta 8 still influences the CB1 receptor and, therefore, still has psychoactive properties.
The ECS keeps our bodies in balance, and because cannabinoids have such a strong influence on the ECS, they hold tremendous therapeutic potential.
HOW TO FIND THE BEST DELTA 8 STRAINS
You know what strains you want to try, and you have every reason to try it, so what’s next? There’s probably a local store, and it might have what you want — unfortunately, even if it does, many vendors don’t supply test results for delta 8.
The only way to get a potent delta 8 that isn’t full of chemicals or other “extras” is to buy from a vendor that third-party tests its products.
Some local shops do test, but it’s an expensive process and only adds to these stores’ already-high costs — and it’s only possible if it manufactures the delta 8 itself. Most act as a third party and buy from a manufacturer (many of the same ones you have access to online).
Buy online from vendors with verifiable tests if you want the best delta 8 THC but don’t want to spend a fortune. This is the best way to check lab results, vendor credentials, and customer reviews while saving money.
- McPartland, J. M. (2018). Cannabis systematics at the levels of family, genus, and species. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 3(1), 203-212. 
- Abrams, D. I. (2018). The therapeutic effects of Cannabis and cannabinoids: An update from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report. European journal of internal medicine, 49, 7-11. 
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2017). Therapeutic effects of cannabis and cannabinoids. In The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: The current state of evidence and recommendations for research. National Academies Press (US). 
- Black, N., Stockings, E., Campbell, G., Tran, L. T., Zagic, D., Hall, W. D., … & Degenhardt, L. (2019). Cannabinoids for the treatment of mental disorders and symptoms of mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Psychiatry, 6(12), 995-1010.