Sativa vs Indica: What Is The Difference?

2 years ago

Like any other plant, cannabis has more than just one variation. In fact, there are currently more than 1,000 cannabis strains in existence. If you've ever walked into a dispensary you know that the selection can often be overwhelming and sometimes it’s hard to choose the perfect strain for you, because not all marijuana is created equally. We will be taking a look at the differences of sativa vs indica, and then we will take it one step further and explore the many possibilities of hybrids.


Cannabis can generally be split up into 2 subspecies: sativa and indica. "What's the difference between sativa and indica?", you might ask. We're going to dive into the differences right here to ensure you select the perfect flower for your needs.




Cannabis sativa plants grow to be tall and slender and have long and thin leaves. Sativa is best known for its cerebral effects; in simple terms, sativa gives you a head high. Sativa strains are best for daytime use as they can be uplifting and euphoric, while also being great for sparking creativity and even an increased feeling of energy.


In the medical world, sativa plants are most commonly used for people with mood disorders, ADHD, anxiety, and depression. As mentioned above, these strains can also be the perfect choice for patients looking to increase their levels of creativity. Historically, sativa strains have been the go-to for artists and musicians alike.


sativa vs indica



Traditionally, sativa plants grow slower than indica plants and have a longer flowering time. This means that, on average, the yield from a sativa plant grown at the same time as an indica plant will be a bit lower. That being said, breeders can still develop strains that will grow and flower faster. Since cannabis sativa genetics come from the warmth of the equator, these strains can handle heat much better than indica plants and that can be helpful for those that garden indoors during the summer as they do not have to  worry about expensive temperature control.




Cannabis indica plants grow shorter and bushier, and their leaves are shorter and fatter than that of the sativa plant. Whereas the sativa is great for its cerebral head high, indica plants tend to provide more of a full body high. For the most part, these are the strains you’ll want to stick with for nighttime use.


Indica plants can also treat a wide variety of medical conditions and aid in pain relief from various diseases such as Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s Disease. Its effects are also great for those with insomnia and eating disorders. The indica plant is all about full-body relaxation and can be a great fit for anyone with chronic pain or a number of sleep disorders.

sativa vs indica



Indica plants grow faster and have a shorter flowering time with a higher yield than that of the sativa plant. They also require less light to grow which makes them ideal for indoor growing where an excess amount of direct sunlight might not be an option. A lot of breeders opt to grow more indica strains due to its faster growing time which can lead to increased profits.


But What About Hybrids?


Now that we’ve discussed sativa vs indica, here’s where things get a bit more scientific. A hybrid is created when a strain is bred from parents of different types, i.e. mixing a sativa and indica to create something completely new. This allows breeders to target and cater towards specific medicinal needs since the flower can be grown to possess the qualities of both parent plants.


While it’s common to crossbreed a sativa with an indica, hybrids can also contain 2 parents of the same strain. Hybrids are usually either sativa-dominant, indica-dominant, or 50/50 blends. One example of a popular hybrid is the Moby Dick strain, which consists of 60% sativa and 40% indica, mixing both Haze and White Widow. The popular AK-47, Sour Diesel, and Headband strains, are sativa dominant hybrids while indica dominant hybrids include Skywalker OG, GSC, and Blackberry Kush. When it comes to 50/50 hybrids, look for Blue Dream, Purple Diesel, and Super Silver Haze, just to name a few. The possibilities are quite literally limitless. For obvious reasons, hybrids consistently dominate the cannabis market.


Sativa vs Indica: Now You Know The Basics


Now that we’ve gone over the many differences between sativa vs indica, as well as hybrids, it should be easier to locate the right cannabis mix for you. If you’re trying to fight off depression and anxiety or need a creative boost, you know that sativa-dominant flowers are what you should go for. If you’re looking for pain relief, sleep aids, or overall body and mind relaxation you may want to stick with an indica-dominant bud.


Keep in mind once again that hybrids exist not only because they can, but because they are necessary and more focused and targeted towards certain types of ailments and medicinal needs. Sometimes it’s nice to have the head high and creativity of a sativa while still enjoying the relaxing effects of an indica.


So, the next time you walk into a dispensary you should be a little more aware and confident in knowing the differences between sativa vs indica. Armed with this knowledge you’ll be able to decide what type of cannabis will best fit your needs.


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