Many marijuana consumers enjoy knowing the names of each strain and where it came from. Unfortunately, names like Blue Dream and Pineapple Kush don’t relate to the plant all that much. In reality, they’re just names given by the growers in hopes that it sounds appealing for customers and helps it sell more.
But, if you take it a step further, you’ll find that marijuana comes in two different species: cannabis indica and cannabis sativa.
Have you ever consumed marijuana right before bed, only to find that you couldn’t sleep? Have you ever gotten high during the day and as a result became extremely sleepy?
Knowing the difference between the two kinds is marijuana can mean avoiding these situations and consuming the appropriate strand at the best time. So, let’s dive in and look at the differences between indica cannabis and sativa cannabis.
Are Sativa and Indica THAT Different?
Legally, there’s no difference.
There’s evidence that the two strands are different, though scientist can’t seem to agree on how different they are. Some argue that they are different subspecies, while others believe that they are different species entirely.
Because each species varies in strength, quality, and freshness, the effects depend vastly on how users choose to consume the cannabis. It also varies greatly on the person, how often they consume cannabis, their current temperament, etc.
Despite the debate of multitude, it is common thought that these two strains differ in appearance, size, how it’s grown, treatments, and how it affects the human body.
So, what makes indica and sativa different?
What Is The differences Between Indica And Sativa?
Sativa vs. Indica: What Do The Names Mean?
Both of these words come from Latin. The title indica originally came from the fact that the plant came from India. Indica is Classical Greek and Latin for India.
Sativa, on the other hand, is one of three (Sativum and Sativus) Latin adjective that means “cultivated”.
Where Does It Come From?
As its name hints, the majority of indica plants originated in central Asia and the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, etc.). This goes hand in hand with the fact that Indica is known for growing best in cooler environments.
During the 1970s, indica strains were brought to the United States from Afghanistan for the first time. It was then when the first hybrid of indica and sativa were made.
Sativa originates in equatorial countries such as Thailand, Mexico, Cambodia, Colombia, and so forth. Sativa thrives in warmer and more tropical climates.
Sativa vs. Indica: Physical Appearance
While both of these plants have green leaves for the most part, Indica is a bit darker than sativa. Indica also has broader and fuller leaves. Indica plants usually grow short and wide, between 2-4 feet tall, making it better and easier for indoor growing.
Indica plants make up for their height with their dense clusters and thick and heavy buds. These plants tend to be quite fragrant. Its branches are closer together, and it produces more buds than sativa plants. Indica is often grown in mountains and rougher weather conditions. Because of its high density, indica usually has a higher THC ratio compare to sativa.
Sativa, on the other hand, tends to be light green with skinnier leaves. Sativa plants are typically tall and skinny with branches far apart from each other. The tallest sativa plants can be up to 20-25 feet high, though most are only about 6 feet on average. It’s common for sativa plants to gain 200-300% of their height during the flowering period.
Sativa usually weighs less than indica when dry, due to its low density. Sativa is also less fragrant than Indica, both when growing and when dry, and is therefore known to have a smaller THC-to-weight ratio.
How To Grow It
Indica plants usually take between 6-8 weeks until it is ready for harvest. Indica grows best in cooler climates. Since it takes less time and its plants are smaller, indica is best suited for indoor environments. It also yields a higher percentage of buds per pound.
Sativa plants take much longer to grow than Indica plants. Each plant takes on average 9-12 weeks before it is ready to harvest. Sativa plants grow best in warmer environments. Due to their height, it’s less common to be grown indoors.
Sativa vs Indica High
Consumption of sativa and indica give its users a different feeling. Let’s look at the best ways to consume each kind.
Indica produces a more lethargic and lazy body high. It should be consumed at night for optimal results. It produces more of a heavy feeling on the body, causing most of its users to want to sit down and relax.
Users still enjoy an increase of creativity, but users of indica experience a decreased attention span. Indica causes its users to feel sedated, whether it is used in low doses or high doses.
The sativa plant, on the other hand, leads to more of an energetic head high and is best used during the day. It gives its users a lighter ‘high’ feeling, making it easier to take action on the user’s creativity.
In small doses, it makes users feel more alert (though in large doses, it still leaves users sedated). For these reasons, it’s much more of a social high relative to indica, making it easier to retain thoughts, have conversations, and take action.
Sativa vs Indica Effects and Benefits
Indica’s effect on the human body is usually referred to as “stoned” or a “body high”. This means, its effect is felt more throughout the body rather than in the head. Indica tends to enhance senses such as sound, touch, and smell, though it also leaves its users extremely relaxed, and sometimes even drowsy.
Indica’s benefits mostly deal with relief. Indica relieves anxiety, stress, body pain, migraines, and also spasms. It can also help users relax their muscles as well as reduce frequency of seizures. Indica reduces nausea and is also used to help fight depression. Indica is often used at night as a sleep aid, since it relaxes your body, usually leaving its users sleepy.
Sativa, on the other hand, gives users what is described as a stimulating “head high”. It’s less likely to make the user tired, and sometimes can even leave him/her more energetic and creative.
Sativa leaves its users with feelings of well-being and serenity. Its benefits are far more diverse, as it aids depression through uplifting thoughts and increasing energy levels. It also stimulates happiness and hunger, promotes creativity, boosts your imagination, and increases focus.
For these reasons, sativa is best used during the day.
Sativa High vs Indica High: Real Life Examples
Let’s explore some situations and discover which kind of cannabis is paired with it:
You just smoked a blunt and feel the urge to get out a pen and a piece of paper and sketch your dream house. You feel focused while listening to your favorite EDM music and snacking on some frozen yogurt: Sativa
You have a headache and you unwind after a long day with a nice bong rip. You curl up in a blanket and plan to watch the latest Bob Marley documentary until you fall asleep: Indica
Indica is often used to treat chronic pain, muscle spasms, and chronic nausea. It is also used for specific diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, and Fibromyalgia. It’s commonly used as a sleep aid as well, especially for people who suffer from insomnia.
Sativa is used to treat mental and behavior issues including ADD, ADHD, and depression. Sativa tends to stimulate hunger more, making it a great remedy for cancer and anorexia patients.
Though this hasn’t been scientifically proven, the following strains are said to be of the sativa family: Blue Dream, Jack Herer, Power Flower, Silver Haze, Royal AK (also known as AK 47) Sour Diesel, and White Widow.
The popular indica strains include: Master Kush, White Rino, Northern Lights, G-13, Pineapple Kush, and Granddaddy Purple.
Most of the cannabis today is not 100% sativa nor 100% indica, rather some sort of hybrid, mix, of the two. There is a wide range of blends, making it easier to cater to the needs of each user.
Hybrids can range from a 50/50 split of each type, but can also be indica or sativa dominated.
Which Cannabis Species Is Best For You?
See the list of behaviors below to see with kind of cannabis species best fits your needs and why.
These results are from research done by LeafScience, a Canadian website that covers the latest news on cannabis.
ADD or ADHD: Sativa, it helps you focus more
Fibromyalgia: Indica, it relaxes your muscles, relieving your body of pain
Chronic pain: Indica, it relaxes your muscles
Muscle spasms/pain: Indica, it relaxes your muscles
Depression: Sativa, it stimulates positive thoughts and energy
Migraine headaches: Indica, it relaxes your muscles and relieves pain
Fatigue: Sativa, it promotes creativity and often comes with a boost of energy
Lupus: Indica, it relaxes your muscles, relieving your body of pain
Anorexia: Sativa, it stimulates hunger
Lack of creativity: Sativa, it stimulates creativity
Cancer: Sativa, it relaxes your muscles, relieving your body of pain
Insomnia: Indica, it relaxes your muscles, relieving your body of pain, leaving you tired
Multiple Sclerosis: Indica, it relaxes your muscles, relieving your body of pain
Now, for some recreational situations:
You drank caffeine late in the day and what to get to bed early: Indica
You’re about to go to an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet: Sativa
You want to write, draw, or play with legos: Sativa
You’re going to the dentist: You should be 100% sober at the dentist!
You’re sore from the gym and are going to get a massage: Indica
You are hungover and need inspiration to complete a small task for work: Sativa
You are hiking a mountain, watching a sunrise, or playing music around a campfire: Sativa