What Is The Difference Between Sativa And Indica?

by greenrush
difference between sativa and indica


When you walk into a dispensary, two of the most common terms you can expect to hear are “indica” and “sativa”. It is commonplace for a cannabis consumer to understand these two words now and it’s pretty important if you want to walk away with the right product for you. Essentially, these two phrases differentiate different strains of weed, each of them having their own characteristic effects on the user. The general understanding is that indica makes you drowsy while sativa is psychedelic but there’s more to indica and sativa than this. The difference between sativa and indica ranges from the way the plants look to where in the world each type grows to their overall effect.



difference between sativa and indica

Knowledge of the difference between sativa and indica has been around for a long time, with scientists naming cannabis sativa and cannabis indica as early as 1785. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a European naturalist named cannabis indica after India, as it was the first kind of cannabis to reach Europe.


Geographical context and morphology


In general, indica types of cannabis tend to grow in colder climates and at higher altitudes. A perfect example of this is Kush, which originated in the Kush mountains near Afghanistan. The buds of the plants that originate in this area develop thick layers of resin to protect themselves against harsher climates. These weather conditions also caused plants to grow short and bushy with plenty of leaves as another sort of protection. This makes them suitable for indoor growing.


The effects of indica strains


Another difference between sativa and indica is in the effects each one creates. The effects of indica err on the sedative side, giving a full effect in the body. They usually have a relaxing effect on the user, sometimes making them drowsy or lethargic.


The flavor profile of indica strains are usually very earthy, sweet and with a strong aroma. Those who have smoked Pure Kush know that signature kush flavor.


The medical application of indica is quite varied. For those who experience chronic pain or insomnia, indica strains are a great remedy. Because of their highly sedative effects, indica strains also make great stress relievers.



difference between sativa and indica

Here’s a piece of trivia for you. Cannabis strains have a tendency to grow where there is a higher concentration of UV light, which generally happens in two kinds of geographical locations. One of those is at higher altitudes (which we talked about with indica) and the other is on the equator because of the oblong-spherical shape of the Earth. Sativa is essentially the result of high UV exposure near the equator.


Geographical context and morphology


Sativa strains developed their strong resinous film as a protection from UV light in places near to the equator. The best sativa strains come from Mexico and other parts of Central America. They grow to be tall and lanky plants, making them better for outdoor growing operations than for indoor.


Sativa strains tend to carry that diesel taste that we generally get from strains such as Sour Diesel. However, they often have fruity flavors too that are much more tangy than indica dominant strains.


Effects of sativa strains


Sativa strains are generally more appropriate for treating mood-related illnesses when it comes to medical marijuana. For example, depression and anxiety are often treated with sativa. The effects are also said to be inspiring in terms of creativity. One of the biggest differences between indica and sativa effects is that sativa is much more uplifting and energetic than indica, and incurs more of a cerebral high than a physical high.


Pure sativa strains are often sought after by breeders because they are much harder to find. In general, they aren’t easy to grow either. They often require much more space than indica, and a lot of the time they aren’t as strong. It’s not easy to create that tropical climate in the USA!



difference between sativa and indica

Hybrid strains are an interesting addition to the traditional cannabis sativa and cannabis indica types of marijuana. Since we took to growing weed rather than letting nature do its thing, breeding has meant that there has been some overlap of the two. In fact, many growers and users alike take to hybrid strains because they contain the best of both worlds. If the difference between sativa and indica is too much, why not combine the two?


For growers, hybrid strains can have the flavor profile and effects of a sativa while growing robustly and in a small space, just like an indica. For consumers, the mix of a cerebral and physical high is often welcomed over an overwhelmingly cerebral one.


There’s no saying what a hybrid strain will be like, as each one is so characteristically unique. Each one has its own cannabinoid profile, with different ratios of THC to CBD. In fact, this unique cannabinoid, flavonoid and terpenoid profile is what makes marijuana so varied in its effects from strain to strain. Hybrid strains are basically the reason that there is such a wide range of strains to choose from in the modern dispensary.


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