What is the difference between Indica and Sativa?

Cannabis Sativa (left), Cannabis Indica (middle), Hybrid (right)

Indica Strains VS Sativa Strains: What is the difference?

There are so many different types of weed that it can be difficult to understand the differences.  This can lead pot enthusiasts to ask themselves are they really that different, and what will work best for me?

One of the first things to understand when learning about marijuana strains is whether a strain is an Indica or a Sativa. A strain can also be considered a hybrid of these types. These categories indicate both the ancestry of the strain and type of effects one might experience.

Traditionally people have said that Indica strains will make your sleepy and Sativa strains will wake you up. A hybrid would be a strain that would have traits of both Indica and sativa strains with one side often being more dominant than the other.

It should be noted that just because it is an indica does not necessarily mean it will make you tired, and not all sativa strains will wake you up. These rules are not universal.   They vary greatly depending on genetics and growing conditions.

The balance of different cannabinoids and terpenes present in different ratios affect the high significantly. Additionally, many people experience different strains differently than others.

This means that for some, indica dominant strains may have in an energetic and talkative high.  Some sativa dominant strains can be very chill and sleepy.  Since there is a wide variety of strains available at any dispensary, it is always good to ask your budtender for thorough strain information.

Indica and Sativa plants look different. They can also grow differently with some sativa varieties taking significantly longer to finish than many Indica strains.

There is another classification for marijuana called Ruderalis, but its history is complicated. It has a very quick flowering and maturation time. It also is noted for its high percentage of CBD. However, because most cannabis enthusiasts enjoy THC, they tend to focus on indica and sativa varieties.

Indica Strains

Cannabis Indica, Black AfghanRythm Cannabis

In general, Indica plants are shorter, with broader leaves and thicker buds.  They are also generally easy and quick to grow, with a fast flowering and maturation time. Indica strains generally have higher THC to CBD ratios. Which is why many growers like to grow indica strains or indica dominant hybrids.

Indica strains historically come from the mountain regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have a strong association with pain relief. They can also be relied upon for rest and relaxation.

This means they are great for chilling and watching a movie, or for nights when it is difficult to get to sleep. Many believe most Indica strains are best enjoyed at night.

Sativa Strains

Cannabis Sativa, L'Orange, Rythm Cannabis

Many sativa plants are thought to be energizing, as they encourage physical and mental activity. They can be uplifting and give what a lot of people call a head high. Most people enjoy a sativa strain during the day or while socializing. Many sativa strains encourage creative or musical thought.

Sativa plants generally grow taller than their Indica counterparts. They often take longer to mature and have longer thinner leaves. Sativa strains trace their heritage from the Americas back through Africa and all the way back to their origin in India.

There is a great deal of variance between the two varieties. Even within the categories of Indica and Sativa, the variance can be great from strain to strain. This is a reason why many growers crossbreed these varieties to create hybrid varieties.  

Hybrid Strains

Hybrid Cannabis, Jet Fuel OG, Rythm Cannabis

Hybrids are strains that are grown by crossbreeding any two different strains of marijuana.  The offspring of this will have traits of both parent plants.  This selection can help growers to create new types of weed with the traits they like.

Hybrids containing the energizing uplifting effects of Sativa strain combined with the relaxing effects of an Indica can be a perfect match for many. However, a hybrid does not necessarily mean that it is an Indica crossed with a sativa strain.

Mixing two or more parent types of the same type of weed is also very common. Breeding an Indica with another indica can make the effects more pronounced. Likewise, breeding two sativa strains together can become a strong sativa strain. This type of crossbreeding can create powerhouse indica or sativa strains whose effects seem amplified. 

A lot of hybrid strains are great for anytime as they offer the best of both worlds when it comes the high.

Landrace Strains

The varieties of weed that grow naturally around the world are known as landrace strains. These strains are what are thought of as original strains. They have grown in their particular geographic regions for thousands of years and have developed unique characteristics.

Strains like Acapulco Gold and Thai are great examples of Landrace Strains. These strains are unique. They are valuable to both the ancestry and future of weed. That is why it is common for landrace strains to be used as the parent plants by growers all over the world. 

Indica and Sativa for Medical Patients

For medical marijuana patients, knowing the different effects that come from different Indica and sativa strains can be critical.  Some varieties can be great for pain and deep relaxation, which can be better alternative for many medical patients.

Some Indica strains induce hunger, and others can make you very sleepy. This can be very helpful for patients who need to induce hunger or sleep in patients for all sorts of medical conditions. While many can be uplifting for patients who are seeking to improve their mood.

Medical marijuana patients will often need to know information beyond just indica and sativa.  Often knowing the chemical breakdown of active cannabinoids is necessary in finding something effective.  Many patients will want to seek strains with high CBD to THC ratios, while others will want a different makeup of cannabinoids.

How to choose the indica or sativa strain that’s right for you?

The differences go way beyond indica vs sativa. There are so many different types of weed that it can be difficult to choose.  The smoking and high can vary so much from strain to strain.

For those who are new to weed It is always great to ask your budtender for advice. They can help you to know a lot about the quality of the weed and help to match you with the experience you are looking for.

There are many strains that have become household names. They are known for their THC, terpene flavor profile and high experience. Many of these have become parents to new strains as growers seek to capitalize on the power these strains hold.

The quality of weed is not entirely based on its genetics.  It is significantly influenced by its growing conditions. A seed from a grown in poor conditions probably will not give you a great result even if it has great parent plants.

Knowing what strain your weed is will give you a good idea as to what to expect as a high.

Where to find Indica and Sativa strains?

It can be difficult to know what a dispensary will have and people are often subject to whatever is available when you walk in. This can often lead to limited options and an unhappy customer experience.

Find the cannabis product you want, when you want it. Thousands of dispensary menus available anytime.  Whether you are looking for an edible or a specific strain, find it all on CannMenus.