- Appearance: Sativa has wider, darker leaves compared to the indica plant's slim leaves.
- Origins: Indica comes from the Middle East, while sativa originates in Asia and Central America.
- Effects: Indica is a downer that offers relaxing and calming effects, while sativa is more energizing and invigorating.
- THC and CBD: Sativa has more THC than CBD, and vice versa tends to have more CBD than THC.
- Uses: Indica can be used to help with nausea or sleep problems, while sativa can be used to help stimulate the mind and body.
- Hybrid: Often, cannabis growers cross cannabis plants in order to create new and unique strains.
- Strains: Common strains include Sour Diesel, Green Crack, Northern Lights, and OG Kush.
In simple terms, indica has calming and relaxing effects, while sativa can energize the mind and body. One of the primary differentiating factors between these two distinct species is that sativa has a higher THC content than indica. However, there are various strains of both, each with its own unique effects!
Keep reading, and we'll share with you everything you should know about these two cannabis strains.
See Related: What's The Difference Between Hemp vs. Marijuana?
#1. The Difference Of Appearance
There are plenty of terms floating around out there that are used to describe the different strains of cannabis. Cannabis can be split into three different subspecies: indica, sativa, and hybrid.
Most of the time, you'll hear people talking about indica versus sativa. But what is the real difference between these two strains?
What's The Difference Between Indica And Sativa Strains?
Indica and sativa plants differ in both their outward appearance and their effects on the human body.
Indica plants are short and bushy, with darker and wider leaves. On the flip side, sativa strains have longer and thinner leaves, with the plants themselves being taller and slimmer.
Indica plants also tend to grow more quickly than sativa plants. However, there is some debate as to why these two strains grow so differently.
Some argue that it's due to humans breeding many different varieties. Others claim that it's just due to evolution and geographical isolation.
However, it's important to note that there's been a big push in the cannabis industry to shed the classic indica, sativa, and hybrid classification system because these terms only refer to the cannabis plants' structure itself, not the effects produced by each strain.
Where Does Cannabis Indica And Sativa Come From?
The cannabis indica plant stems from the Middle East and is often found in places like Tibet, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It's widely believed to have originated on either the Asian subcontinent.
It is believed to have initially grown in the colder climate of the north. But, over time, it's been able to adapt to the harsh and dry climate of the Hindu Kush mountains.
Sativa, on the other hand, comes from places like Africa, Southeast and Western Asia, as well as Central America.
It's often found in hot and dry climates with plenty of sunshine.
#2. Sativa vs. Indica Effects
There's a general rule of thumb to go by when discussing the effects of indica and sativa strains.
Typically, sativa is more energizing and invigorating than indica, which can have a more calming and relaxing effect.
However, it's important to keep in mind that there are countless strains of both cannabis indica and cannabis sativa out there. And each of these strains will have its own unique effects.
So, it's possible that a sativa strain can leave you feeling drowsy or tired, while an indica strain makes you feel refreshed!
Is Indica An Upper Or Downer?
A common question that pops up is if indica is considered a downer. And the answer is yes.
Indica strains tend to be more sedating and relaxing, earning them a spot in the "downer" category of cannabis.
Sativa, on the other hand, can be considered an "upper." That's because of its energizing and renewing effects.
#3. CBD And THC Content Of Sativa And Indica Strains
One of the most important things to consider when comparing sativa and indica strains is the THC and CBD content of each.
Understanding CBD And THC
CBD is suggested to help with things like anxiety, insomnia, and even chronic pain. However, it can come with its fair share of negative effects like nausea and fatigue.
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis. This is what's responsible for making people feel "high."
Various strains of cannabis will have different amounts of THC and CBD in them. And that can be a huge differentiating factor when comparing cannabis sativa and indica.
When comparing the CBD content of these two cannabis strains, the ratio comes very close to one-to-one.
However, indica tends to have a higher CBD content in general than sativa. It also tends to have less CBD than THC.
Though it's not fully backed by science, it's generally believed that indica is more of a pain reliever than sativa, a characteristic that could be attributed to its higher CBD percentage.
Sativa tends to have more THC than CBD and is considered to have more THC than indica.
#4. Uses For Indica vs. Sativa
Because sativa and indica cannabis both have distinct effects, they can be used for different things.
Though some people only know indica as a "downer" and sativa as an "upper," certain strains of cannabis can cause assorted effects.
Cannabis is very nuanced, and the chemical compounds of each strain can affect different people in very distinct ways.
With respect to medical conditions, indica can be used to treat seizures, joint pain, glaucoma, and nonmigraine headaches. Sativa strains, on the other hand, are used to help with things like weight loss.
But that's not all that these strains are used for!
Sativa is often preferred to help boost energy levels thanks to its energizing effects, while indica can be used for general pain management, sleep problems, and producing a "good high."
With hundreds of different and unique strains floating around, it's impossible to identify them all as solely indica or sativa.
Hybrid strains, on the other hand, have characteristics of both indica and sativa and fall under a broader category.
Every year, cannabis growers are able to produce unique strains of cannabis by breeding parent plants. And it's possible to grow these hybrid strains in order to target specific effects.
Hybrid plants are often grown in order to contain a higher percentage of THC, but the composition of the strains created can vary. Appearance and effects of hybrid strains also vary and often are a unique product of the parent plants.
Most hybrid strains can be identified as either indica dominant, sativa dominant, or balanced.
#5. Strains Of These Cannabis Plants
It's time to dive in a bit deeper and uncover some popular strains of hybrid, sativa, and indica plants. Cannabis can come in many different forms, including edibles.
Popular sativa strains include Sour Diesel, Green Crack, and Lemon Haze, all of which offer a THC percentage of 17-18% and less than 1% of CBD.
Favorites on the indica side include Northern Lights and Purple Punch, which are often used to help with relaxation and stress.
With so many strains of cannabis out there, it's impossible to cover them all in such a short amount of time. However, it's safe to say that there are plenty to choose from!
Understanding the difference between indica and sativa cannabis can be more challenging than it seems.
It's important to understand that the definition of each isn't set in stone, as there are hundreds of different strains of each out there!
Keep Reading: Is CBD Legal? Everything You Need To Know
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