What is Marijuana?


Written and Fact Checked by: S. Zulfiqar

Marijuana is legal in Canada, and you may be curious about trying the substance.  But, long before its legalization, the history of marijuana in Canada and the world is quite storied.

Cannabis production is serious business in Canada, raking about $8 billion per month in Canada alone. Online weed dispensaries have made buying marijuana so easy and convenient that a recent government survey reported that the number of Canadians trying weed for the first time has doubled. 

What is Cannabis?

As cannabis becomes more mainstream, you may be wondering, “what is cannabis?” Or “what is marijuana?” and even “what is weed?”

Cannabis, also known as marijuana, weed, and many other names, is a psychoactive drug derived from the Cannabis plant. It has many medicinal and recreational purposes. A cannabis plant with less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (the prominent cannabinoid in cannabis) is known as hemp and has many commercial uses, including the fabrication of textiles. 

What Type of Drug is Marijuana?

So, what type of drug is weed? Throughout the thousands of years that marijuana has been used, numerous strains have been created. There are two main categories of cannabis: Photoperiod and Ruderalis (Autoflower). 

Photoperiod Strains

Photoperiod strains are grown according to a set light schedule. The plant first develops in a vegetative state, growing taller but not yet developing flower or bud. Flowering starts once the amount of light drops below a certain threshold. For indoor grows, 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark are typical. Photoperiod strains can also be grown outside, but the weather and seasons need to be considered.  

Photoperiod strains are generally more robust, so they produce larger volumes and better quality than autoflower strains. 

Ruderalis (Autoflower) Strains

Autoflower or ruderalis strains are marijuana plants that will typically be ready for harvest within a set amount of time, no matter the environment. The plants of the autoflower strains are usually smaller. They produce less than photoperiods because photoperiods have an extended vegetative period where they can grow in height. Compared to photoperiod growing, however, autoflowers are much easier to grow and require less work. 


Subcategories of Cannabis

Photoperiod and autoflower are divided into smaller categories:

  • Indica
  • Sativa
  • Hybrid strains

There are others, but these three are the most well-known weed strains.

Indica Strains

Indica (genus Cannabis Indica) is a relaxing strain of weed and is an effective treatment for chronic insomnia because it causes the user to sink into a sedated state. It is also used to treat PTSD, anxiety, depression, and lack of appetite, among many other ailments. Indica flowers for eight to nine weeksmaking it the perfect crop for areas that have brief summers like what we experience in Canada.  

Sativa Strains

While Indica may be better used on the weekends and nights when the user doesn’t have anything to get accomplished, Sativa (genus Cannabis Sativa) is the perfect daytime pick-me-up to inspire and help users focus. In addition, Sativa has been proven effective at treating social anxiety and ADD / ADHD. 

Like Indica, Sativa is also used to treat depression, lack of appetite and help chronic pain.

Flowering time takes ten weeks plus, much longer than the time needed for Indica to flower.

Hybrid Strains

When the pollen of a male Indica or Sativa flower is used to pollinate a female of the opposite strain, that female plant will make seeds that share Indica and Sativa strains’ genetics. Hybrid weed allows users to experience the “best of both worlds.” Since hybrids contain Indica and Sativa, you can use them during the day or night without causing harm disruptions to what you need to do while still providing you with a relaxed feeling. That makes hybrid cannabis strains immensely popular among Canadian cannabis users.

Hybrid strains have many variations; one seed from the pollinated female may have more common with Indica, while the next seed has more genetic material from the Sativa side. The buds of hybrids vary widely as well, depending on genetic makeup. 


The Characteristics of Cannabis

In addition to its therapeutic and psychoactive effects, cannabis commonly has a vibrant green colour. But, some phenotypes can also be pinkish, blueish, or purplish. The different colours occur when farmers decrease the temperatures at the end of the flowering season.


Trichomes or crystals are the sticky, hairlike growths that you may spot on buds. Marijuana plants get their variety of intoxicating and therapeutic effects from trichomes, which turn an amber colour when they are at their peak— a good indicator of when to harvest the crop.

Size and Density

Cannabis flowers differ from strain to strain. Sativa buds are usually larger and have cone-shaped buds. Indica buds tend to be tinier, denser, and circular. Environment plays a big part in size and density, regardless of the strain. 

Moisture Level

Marijuana may be very potent before harvest, but its quality and potency will drastically decrease if it is not dried correctly. The ideal moisture level of cured buds ranges between 59% to 63% humidity. It’s essential to find that sweet moisture spot because buds should not be overly saturated, but they should not be so dry that they quickly crumble. By the time the bud reaches you, the marijuana will be even more dehydrated because it dries out on its journey to the consumer.

In Conclusion

We hope that this blog post has answered all of the questions you may have about “what is cannabis?” And “what type of drug is weed?” If you have any more questions or would like to learn more about the history of weed, please feel free to reach out to us today. You can get same-day weed delivery in Vancouver to Toronto or order online today at JustCannabis! Try the Just Cannabis selection of the top marijuana strains in Canada. We are even featured on sites such as WeedMaps and Cannabis Ontario.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Interesting Reads:

What Are The Different Types Of Cannabis Products?, The Best Practices for Storing Cannabis, Everything to Know About Cannabis



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