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Cannabis Sativa vs. Indica: Is There a Difference

    When you are looking at the different kinds of cannabis, you might have seen hybrids, sativas, and indicas. The reason that they are broken up into categories is that they can have different effects on users. For instance, indica strains can be more sedating while sativa strains can provide uplifting effects.

    Indica vs. Sativa

    The main difference between indica and sativa plants is their classification. However, both indica and sativa are from the genus cannabis. 

    Sativa is from the hotter climates near the equator in places such as East Asia. On the other hand, indica is native to areas that have colder climates. Sativa strains tend to be taller and can reach as high as 6 metres. On the other hand, indica strains only reach 1.5 metres in height. The differences in the climates have given the strains distinct appearances. 

    The differing effects from the strains are most likely because of the terpenes and cannabinoids, which are compounds in the plants. Some strains are more likely to have certain terpenes and cannabinoids than others. However, this is not consistent enough to say that a sativa strain and an indica strain will cause certain effects. One reason for this is that sativa and indica plants have been crossbred so much. Most cannabis plants are hybrids, and even some purer forms of sativa and indica plants are still somewhat hybrid. 

    Terpenes and Cannabinoids

    Understanding the role that terpenes and cannabinoids play is vital when it comes to understanding what the plant will do. The cannabinoids play a big role in how cannabis affects your body. This is because the cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC are probably the most familiar to you. 

    The unique combination of terpenes is what gives a strain its distinctive scent. For instance, some strains give off a citrusy scent while others give off a floral scent. You might not be surprised to learn that you can find terpenes in fruits and other plants, as well. The terpenes determine what kind of cannabis you have, but they might also play a role in how the weed affects you.

    Indica Plants

    Indica Plants

    Many people prefer to use an indica strain at night. Indicas are sometimes marketed as sedatives to help people sleep or relax. One reason for this may be because indica strains have less THC and more CBD in then. This is also why some people like to use indica strains to try to relieve pain. Plus, since indicas are so relaxing, they might help with anxiety. Some people find that an indica strain stimulates the appetite more so than with other cannabis strains. 

    An indica will give you more of a body high than a head high. One reason for these effects might be because of the terpene myrcene. It has an earthy aroma, and it might also make you feel more sedated. Indica strains also often have linalool in them, and that terpene might help with relieving anxiety. Because of crossbreeding that has resulted in hybrids, you can often find these terpenes in sativas, as well.

    Sativa Plants

    The sativa strain is great for daytime use or even for going out with your friends. The effects are highly invigorating and can make you feel more uplifted and alert. That means you can use it if you will be doing a creative endeavour.

    Some people like to use sativa strains for medicinal purposes, such as those with pain, depression, anxiety, or issues with attention. One reason for these potential medicinal effects might be because of the CBD and THC in sativa strains. Many sativa strains tend to have higher levels of THC in them. 

    The terpenes also play a role. Terpenes like limonene and pinene might produce these medicinal effects. It is believed that limonene may have anti-depressive effects, while pinene may have anti-inflammatory properties.


    Of course, you do not need to be limited to only the popular sativa and indica strains. You can also go for hybrids of one kind or another. A hybrid can have a wide variety of combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes, and it might be closer to one type of cannabis or another. Some hybrids are equally indica and sativa, and these are known as balanced strains. Some hybrids have been named based on the dominant strain in it. Of course, today, you can find hybrids whose parents are also hybrids.

    Picking the Right Strain

    Picking the Right Strain

    A lot goes into finding the right strain for you. For instance, consider your level of experience with weed. If you do not have a high tolerance level, you will want to start with a strain that is low in THC. Look for one that has a higher level of CBD in it. If you have anxiety or know of other side effects you might get from THC, you also might want to look for a strain that has very little THC and more CBD in it. On the other hand, some medical marijuana users might want to consider strains higher in THC since they might be more effective for chronic conditions.

    Finally, if you want your effects to last for a longer period, look into edibles with a low dosage. On the other hand, if you just want to try THC out quickly, you might be better off looking for a tincture or a method of inhalation, such as smoking or vaping.

    Closing Thoughts

    Finding the perfect cannabis strain will take a bit of time. If you are new to marijuana, there are some good places to begin searching for the best experience. Your cannabis dispensary is a good place to start. Using weed is a personal experience, and so is the way you go about picking it. Knowing what to look for in a strain will help you make the right choice. 

    You might be happy to take any strain, and there is nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, some people like to be precise when it comes to picking out a strain. Don’t feel bad about what goes into your decision. After all, using marijuana is about having a great time.