Definition - What does Strain mean?
In general horticulture, the term strain refers to variations found within plant cultivars, and also refers to the offspring that descend from modified plants.
Cannabis strains consist of either pure or hybrid plants. Typically, strains of cannabis that are relevant to the medical marijuana community are broken up into three distinct groups: sativa, indica, and hybrid. There is also a strain called ruderalis, which isn't referenced much due to it not having much, if any, effect on humans.
Basically, the distinct groups of cannabis are a way for medicinal consumers to better understand marijuana and its overall effects. The sativa group of marijuana plants tend to provide an uplifting cerebral effect, the indica cannabis plants are more relaxing, and hybrid types often combine a bit of both indica and sativa strains to offer the best of both worlds.
In addition to the effects they have on humans, cannabis strains are also a way to characterize or predict a plant's growth habits and patterns. For example, indica plants are known to be shorter and more compact than their sativa counterparts.
Hydrolife explains Strain
The distinction between cannabis strains first began to occur in the 18th century when researchers and scientists first started to study the differences in various marijuana groups and plants. Researchers started to divide the cannabis plants into groups and then individual strains when they began to discover that certain cannabis plants thrived in mountainous regions but others needed more temperate climates. As cannabis cultivation became more widespread, researchers started to breed the strains together to produce distinct hybrids.
Today, there are 779 known cannabis strains that all fall into one of the three distinct cannabis groups. However, as cannabis becomes more widely used around the world, the list of strains changes and grows almost daily.