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Indica vs Sativa: Is There a Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

What is the difference between indica and sativa? With the legalization of marijuana in many states (either medically or recreationally), it is likely that you may have heard these two terms to describe different types of weed.

Is there really a difference? Do these two look different or smell different? How about the sativa vs indica high? Which is better: sativa or indica?

If you’re looking for the answers to these questions and more, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get a quick rundown of the Cannabis family before we get into the real nitty gritty of the indica vs sativa debate…

Overview of the Cannabis Family: Species and Subspecies

You might be surprised to find out that cannabis encompasses a wide variety of plants. The actual number of species is somewhat disputed in the scientific community. However, Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are two of the most widely known species in the cannabis family.

Some experts argue that there are up to four species within the cannabis family, while others classify them all as one species. Those who believe there are four species include the following in their classifications:

  • Cannabis sativa
  • Cannabis indica
  • A Cannabis reuderalis
  • Cannabis afghanica

Different marijuana strains can fall under both sativa and indica species or sub-species. Hemp falls under the Cannabis Indica species. Hemp has very low levels of THC. It is also a much more fibrous plant than marijuana, making it ideal for more industrial purposes – like making paper, fabric, and textiles. Not only is hemp low in THC. It is also very high in CBD. This makes it perfect for the manufacture of CBD products like CBD oil, CBD topical pain creams, CBD gummies, and more.

So, there we have our first look at the sativa and indica difference. Let’s shed some more light on the subject by discussing sativa and indica individually…

Sativa Definition: What is Sativa?

So, just what is sativa? How would one tell the difference between it and an indica? When considering sativa vs indica, there are a few factors to consider. They include:

  • Appearance
  • Fragrance and taste
  • THC vs CBD levels
  • Benefits and/or effects for the user
  • Geographical origin

The following paragraphs will go more in depth about each of these bullet points respectively…

Sativa Appearance – So, let’s first discuss the appearance of sativa strains. Sativa marijuana plants can grow to be quite large – up to twelve feet in some instances (this generally occurs only with outdoor growing). The leaves and buds are spread far apart as it grows. The leaves of sativa plants are also usually very thin. And they usually take longer to mature as compared to indica plants.

Sativa Fragrance and Taste – Sativas have a taste that can almost be described as pungent. They are very earthy, sweet, fruity, and sometimes even grassy.

Sativa strains work well in marijuana edibles- The often fruity flavor is great for sweet treats like THC and CBD gummies. In addition, you can use sativa marijuana strains in just about any edibles recipe and yield great results.

THC vs CBD in Sativa – Sativa weed usually has higher levels of THC with lower levels of CBD. This could be one reason that it is more uplifting and energizing.

Sativa Effects and/or Benefits

The Sativa marijana strains are said to bring about an uplifting and energetic high. However, users report that the sativa high inspires imagination and creativity.

The medical benefits of indica vs sativa have some distinct differences. Here are some of the most common medical uses for sativa by those who use medical marijuana:

  • Great for daytime use – uplifting and energizing high
  • Sativa for pain
  • Sativa for anxiety
  • A Sativa for depression
  • Sativa for migraines
  • Sativa for nausea
  • A sativa for chronic pain

As always, you should consult your physician if you want to use medical marijuana. Alternatively, even if you live somewhere it is recreationally legal – you should still talk with your doctor about any reasons you may want to medicate with weed. Above all, put your health first and make sure that you don’t try to diagnose and treat any medical condition on your own. Many physicians are pro-medical marijuana and will guide you along the way, safely monitoring your health and well being.

Sativa Origins – Most all sativa strains originate in equatorial (close to the equator) regions that are temperate and somewhat tropical.

Popular Sativa Strains: Acapulco Gold, Durban Poison, Panama Red, Super Silver Haze, Sour Diesel, Durban Poison, Lemon Haze, Maui Wowie, Candyland, Purple Haze, Acapulco Gold

Indica Definition: What is Indica?

Now that we have covered sativa weed, let’s get to our next question. What is indica weed? Let’s cover indica in the same way as sativa, using the following categories (as a refresher):

  • Appearance
  • Fragrance and taste
  • THC vs CBD levels
  • Benefits and/or effects for the user
  • Geographical origin

Indica Appearance – The appearance of the indica cannabis plant is much smaller than its relative, sativa. When grown outside, it typically gets no higher than about six feet tall. Indica strains also have quite a dense structure when growing. In addition, this is beneficial as it helps reduce health problems in the plants, producing exceptional yields. Indica leaves have a very flat and wide shape, as opposed to the thin leaves of sativa strains.

Indica Fragrance and Taste – Indicas are often even more pungent than sativas. They also have earthy smells but come along with more piney and aromatic scents than sativa’s fruity smells. The taste when smoked is much like the smell. Many medical marijuana smokers prefer the taste of indica strains compared to that of sativa strains (when smoked).

Indicas make great tasting edibles, too. They can be used in just about any kind of weed recipe you can think of. One would think that sativa would work best in fruity edibles, but indicas can also be used for this purpose. Indica edibles can have very strong and long lasting effects that can make you drowsy. So, watch out for these during the daytime.

THC vs CBD in Indica – Indica weed usually has higher levels of CBD with lower levels of THC as compared to sativa strains. This is believed to be one reason that it is much more calming and ideal for night time use and/or relaxation.

Indica Effects and/or Benefits

The Indica effects are known to be quite different than sativa effects. For instance, Indica strains can lead to a more relaxing and calm feeling high. The indica high even known to make the user feel drowsy, fatigued, and sleepy.

Here are some of the most common medical uses of indica strains:

  1. Indica for insomnia and other sleep related condition
  2. Indica for chronic pain
  3. A Indica for anxiety
  4. Indica for depression
  5. Indica for muscle spasms

As mentioned above, please consult your physician about any and all marijuana use, especially if you are planning to use marijuana for medical reasons.

Indica Origins – Indica weed is indigenous to parts of Asia and Eastern Europe. Therefore, it survives well is harsh and dry climates, like those of the Hindu Kush Mountains. Indica countries of origin include:

  • Afghanistan
  • India
  • Turkey
  • Pakistan

Popular Indica Strains: Afghan Kush, Granddaddy Purple, Hindu Kush, Northern Lights, Purple Kush, Master Kush, Death Star, White Rhino, Blueberry Kush, Orange Kush, Platinum Kush, Super Skunk

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid: What is a Hybrid Strain?

Hybrid weed strains are exactly what the name would suggest. These are engineered hybrids that are made with, both, indica weed and sativa weed. For instance, a hybrid strain can have a variety of indica to sativa concentrations. Some are about 90% sativa to 10% indica or the reverse. And some are half and half, the perfectly mixed hybrid.

Popular Hybrid Strains: Blue Dream, OG Kush, White Widow, Pineapple Express, Golden Goat, Mango Kush, Bubble Gum, Sour OG

What Do the Experts Have to Say About Sativa vs Indica?

Some experts argue that the only way to truly know if you have an indica or sativa is to do a full biochemical assay. Now, what on earth is a biochemical assay? Simply put, this would be a full laboratory investigation of the biochemical makeup of a marijuana strain. However every grower and dispensary simply can not do this.

What we do know, however, is that certain strains have been studied – and are known to fall under either sativa or indica. So, if you have enough knowledge about indica versus sativa strains (and how they are supposed to look, smell, and taste) then you can make a decent and educated guess as to what you are looking at or smoking.

Final Thoughts

Now you know a lot more about the indica vs sativa debate. If you’re a medical marijuana user, then you are surely equipped with much more knowledge to make the choice between sativa and indica. Please remember to talk with your doctor about any medical marijuana use. Put your health and well being first, always.

Sources

  • https://crescolabs.com/indica-vs-sativa/
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/sativa-vs-indica#sativa
  • https://www.marijuanabreak.com/know-the-differences-between-indica-and-sativa-strains
  • https://www.analyticalcannabis.com/articles/cannabis-sativa-vs-indica-is-there-a-difference-311780
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576603/
  • https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/sativa-indica-and-hybrid-differences-between-cannabis-types
  • https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/29/hemp-cannabis-and-marijuana-whats-the-difference/
  • https://www.cannahunters.com/indica-vs-sativa-what-is-the-difference-between-indica-and-sativa-marijuana-plants/
  • https://www.leafly.com/explore/category-hybrid
  • https://www.leafly.com/explore/category-indica
  • https://www.leafly.com/explore/category-sativa

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