Typically, when a person browses through the different varieties of marijuana strains or is considering purchasing marijuana at a weed dispensary, one will notice right away that each of these strains is primarily coming from the three distinct categories namely, Sativa, Indica, and hybrid. Many of the consumers and growers use these as indicators in predicting the effects. For new growers and consumers, one might wonder what exactly is the difference between Indica vs Sativa?
This is where the article will come in handy as this is what the purpose of the article is for.
Know the Basics Between Indica Vs Sativa
When someone comes across these “indica vs sativa” cannabis strains, the automatic assumption would be that strains under the classification of indica are physically sedating, which is perfect for having that relaxing feeling as if they were just on their favorite couch getting comfortable while watching a movie or act like sleeping pill before bed. Sativa strains, on the other hand, would automatically be assumed as invigorating and give an uplifting head high that can be paired well with any activity that involves the locomotive movements, socializing in events and other gatherings, creative activities, or just about anything that has to do with elevated energy. As for the hybrid strains, they are thought to have a mix of both indica vs sativa.
Indica, as one would easily associate this term with “in da couch”, doesn’t necessarily imply that it gives that relaxing feeling, nor does sativa does not necessarily energize all the users or consumers. According to some researches done on these two categories, it turns out that these two are not responsible for these effects, but the chemical compounds that were found in each strain. These chemical compounds are cannabinoids and terpenes. The truth is, the origins of these two terms were deeply rooted in botany, and not the effects.
Although, at present, there are still some who believe that indicas, sativas, and hybrids give their distinct effects. These beliefs were deeply rooted in the mainstream culture of marijuana. For those who frequent weed dispensaries, they may have likely heard a few budtenders talk about strain recommendations by asking which of those three types they prefer.
This article will dig deeper and look where the terms “sativa”, “indica”, and “hybrid” originated, and also understand how a marijuana strain’s chemical profile interacts with a person’s body to create those distinct effects.
How ‘indica’ and ‘sativa’ started
These two words, “indica” and “sativa” were introduced in the 18th century as a description of two different species of cannabis – cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. The “sativa” term was used to describe hemp plants that were found in Europe and Western Eurasia, where it was cultivated for its fiber and seeds.
Cannabis indica on the other hand refers t the intoxicating varieties that were discovered in India. They were harvested for their seeds, fiber, and the production of hashish.
A trace of how the terms have changed ever since the botanical definitions were introduced:
- At present, “sativa” refers to varieties that are tall, narrow-leafed marijuana plant that is thought to induce the energizing effects. But, these narrow-leafed drugs (NLD) varieties originally stemmed from the cannabis indica.
- “Indica” on the other hand, refers to stout, broad-leafed plants that are thought to be sedative. This type of broad-leafed drug (BLD) varieties is said to be from cannabis indica ssp. afghanica.
- The term “hemp” refers to the commercial, non-intoxicating varieties that were primarily harvested for their fiber, seeds, and CBD. This was originally called cannabis sativa.
However, the cannabis varieties that people consume largely came from the Cannabis indica, both of these terms were used to organize the number of strains that are circulating in the market today.
What are the factors that affect the strains’ effects?
If the indica vs sativa are not the best predictors of a strain’s effects, then what is?
There are several factors that affect the different marijuana strains, but more importantly, the cannabinoids and terpenes have a lot to do with it. In fact, the chemical compounds are more likely the reason for these effects.
The marijuana plant is made up of hundreds of chemical compounds that form a unique harmony of effects that are primarily headed by the cannabinoids. The two most common cannabinoids are CBD and THC – these are the main drivers of marijuana’s therapeutic and recreational effects.
- THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid that makes the person feel hungry and gives the psychoactive effect that can relieve some symptoms like pain and nausea.
- CBD (cannabidiol) is a cannabinoid that is a non-intoxicating compound that is known to alleviate a person’s anxiety, inflammation, and certain medical ailments.
Marijuana contains many different cannabinoids, but it is recommended to get familiar with THC and CBD first. So, instead of choosing a strain that is based on its classification such as the Indica vs sativa, then take into consideration these 3 basic groups instead of basing it on the three categories such as the sativa, indica, and hybrid.
THC-dominant strains are basically chosen because of their potent euphoric effect. These are also good for patients who are suffering from chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more. For those who feel anxious with the THC-dominant strains or develops some side effects associated with THC, then a CBD-dominant strain would be best.
CBD-dominant strains have small traces of THC and are primarily used for those who are sensitive to THC or for those that need to relieve pains without any feeling of euphoria.
Balanced THC/CBD strains contain equivalent levels of THC and CBD. These types of strains offer a mild dose of euphoria that goes along with symptom relief. These seemed to a better choice for beginner consumers that would like to experience some introduction to marijuana’s signature high.
Everyone is familiar with aromatherapy to help relax and invigorate the mind and body, this is the basics of terpenes. These are aromatic compounds that are commonly produced by plants and fruits. These compounds are strongly pronounced in lavender flowers, pepper, hops, oranges, and marijuana. Terpenes are secreted by the same glands that have THC and CBD. Terpenes are the compound that makes the cannabis smell like berries, lemon, pine, and etc.
There is one question that is yet to be answered through research is how the terpenes compound and other combinations of terpenes can shape the effects of the different cannabis strains.
It is obvious that there are many types of terpenes found in a marijuana plant and it is worth knowing especially with the most common and they are, myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, and the compound terpene type terpinolene. They are the most likely to prominently occur in different cannabis strains.
Biology, proper dosing, and consumption of marijuana
In addition, a person’s tolerance to marijuana, the dosage, and how it is consumed will determine how a strain can affect you. The checklist below should guide marijuana users in choosing the right strain to consume, whether they are a beginner or not.
- Experience with cannabis when smoking. Check whether the tolerance is low when it comes to THC-dominant strains. If it is, then a lower dosage of THC should be the right strain.
- For those susceptible to anxiety and other side effects of THC, then a CBD-dominant strain is recommended.
- Should a consumer prefers a long-lasting effect, then edibles with low doses to start are ideal. However, for those seeking a short-term experience, this can be achieved through inhalation or via tincture.
On a serious note, there are several factors to consider when choosing a strain, but some people find that indica strains constantly deliver a positive experience, so that means, they stick to what they know. However, for those searching for that ‘ideal’ strain, it is important they know the details.
The sativa strain
Remember that not all sativa strains will give an energizing effect, many marijuana consumers noticed sativas produced a “head high,” stimulating, or uplifting effect. Some find sativas to be helpful in mitigating anxiety and some claimed sativas to boost their creativity and focus.
Effects of sativas
The most common sativa effects include a happy feeling, euphoric, energetic, and uplifting. Sativas are associated with daytime use because it gives a feeling of productivity, focused, creative, and help in getting the chores done.
List of popular sativa strains
There are a number of sativa strains to check, some may have been familiar and are generally a crowd-favorite.
- Sour Diesel
- Jack Herer
- Green Crack
- Durban Poison
- Strawberry Cough
- Super Lemon Haze
- Super Silver Haze
- Amnesia Haze
The indica strain
Not all Indica strains are sedative or give you that “in da couch” feeling, but there are a number of consumers that associate indica with full-body high such as a feeling of having heavy limbs or a numbing face. They also report indicas to be helpful in relaxing the body and alleviates insomnia.
Popular indica strains
Below is a list of indica-dominant marijuana strains that people are familiar with.
- Purple Punch
- Bubba Kush
- Granddaddy Purple
- White Rhino
- Northern Lights
- Grape Ape
- Blue Cheese
What are hybrid strains?
These are strains that are a result of a crossbreeding from sativa- and indica-descended marijuana plants because of the long history of crossbreeding of different cannabis strains and many of these were done practically underground to escape from the eyes of the law. For strains that have pure indica and pure sativa are very rare. Most strains are referred to as “indica” or “sativa” are already hybrids having genetics stemming from both subspecies.
Effects of Hybrid Plants
Knowing that the hybrid strains come from the indicas and sativas, their effectivity can also be taken from either strain – Indica vs Sativa. Common effects of hybrids to the user are the following: happy, energetic, euphoric, relaxing (depending on if the hybrid and what the effect of the parent strain brings).
The lineage of these hybrids can give growers and consumers a better sense of understanding as to what effects the strains will be able to produce.
Popular hybrid strains
There are a number of hybrid strains available in the market and here is a list of the most popular ones.
- Blue Dream
- OG Kush
- Wedding Cake
- Pineapple Express
- White Widow
Tips in Choosing a Strain
Having to pick the right marijuana product or strain can be a daunting task, this is article will help give consumers a better way of choosing what is right for them.
- Looking to find a strain to give a specific mood or result. User and consumers looking to find a very specific effect from marijuana, then pick the strains that can give you those results – to help narrow down on the choices. If unsure, there is always the budtender who can assist you with picking the right choice.
- Never start with an “I want an Indica/Sativa…” nor “I don’t want an Indica/Sativa…”. Keep in mind that not all indicas are sedative and not all Sativa can give a high. Be more specific and note for anything that the body might be sensitive about or might have an adverse reaction because of its THC content.
- Know what the body can tolerate. Consumers need to their bodies’ tolerance to some of the potent strains. In fact, many of these strains available on the market are highly potent.
- Make sure to know some of the similar strains. Having the same aroma and flavor that is likable or those that might be pungent.
- Seek some expert advice before making the decision. To buy a potent marijuana strain – a healthcare provider needs to be involved.
List of popular strains by strain type and their effects
- Sour Diesel is a Sativa-dominant with 18% THC content and less than 1% CBD content. It is good to bring out one’s creativity and fights mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- Green Crack is a Sativa-dominant with 17% THC content and less than 1% CBD content. It provides energy and gives a euphoric high. It is also good to fight stress.
- Lemon Haze is a Sativa-dominant marijuana plant with 18% THC content and less than 1% CBD content that can alleviate fatigue and pain. It gives a feeling of happiness to the user.
- Charlotte’s Web is a sativa-dominant marijuana plant with less than 1% THC content and 13% CBD content. This is good in relieving stress, pain, and anxiety.
- Candyland is another sativa-dominant marijuana plant with 18% THC content and less than 1% CBD. It helps the user with socializing, gives a feeling of relaxation and energy.
- Purple Punch is an indica-dominant that gives 19% THC and less than 1% CBD can give a feeling of relaxation, fights stress, and give a euphoric high.
- Pennywise is an indica-dominant strain with 8% THC and 8% CBD. Users will get the feeling of being relaxed, fights anxiety, and alleviates pain.
- Northern Lights is an Indica-dominant cannabis strain with 16% THC and less than 1% CBD that is a great strain to relieves stress, stops anxiety as well as pain.
- GMO Cookies is an Indica-dominant cannabis strain that has 25% THC content and less than 1% CBD. This relieves pain, helps fight insomnia, and gives a relaxed feeling.
- Bubba Kush is an Indica-based marijuana plant that has a 17% THC level but it only has 1% CBD
- GG4 is a hybrid strain with 20% THC and has less than 1% CBD content, which can give a feeling of relaxation and happiness. It is a good strain to fight against strain.
- Sour Tsunami is a hybrid with less than 1% THC and 12% CBD content that can fight pain, stress, and anxiety.
- Sherbert is a hybrid with 18% THC and less than 1% CBD contents and can give the user the feeling of happiness, creativity, and relaxation.
- Cannatonic is a hybrid with 5% THC and less than 10% CBD contents and can give the user focus, fights pain, and fights stress.
- Blue Dream is a hybrid with 18% THC and less than 1% CBD contents and can give the user a feeling of relaxation, euphoria, happiness.
FAQs on Indica vs Sativa
There are plenty of resources available on the Internet to help understand more about the difference between the two marijuana types. This article will give the basics.
Is there a difference between sativa and indica?
The truth is, there really is no difference when it comes to effects.
What is the purpose of sativa, what can it treat?
Sativa strains that are used for medical purposes are said to treat certain conditions directly related to pain, anxiety, and depression.
Does sativa really provide the energy a user needs?
There is no specific evidence for sativa to give the user energy because they are thought to be euphoric and uplifting.
Is sativa really providing the user a body high?
Sativa may give the user a cerebral high as well as body high, but there really is nothing concrete to back these claims.
Can sativa give the user the munchies?
The sativa strains may be able to help stimulate one’s appetite to give the munchies, but of course, this will still depend on the body’s chemistry.
Will sativa keep the user awake?
Smoking sativas will not keep a user awake all night like drinking coffee.
What is indica good for?
For medical purposes, indicas are said to treat certain conditions that are related to anxiety, inflammation, and insomnia.
Can an indica strain make a person sleepy?
Generally, indicas give a relaxing effect that can make a person sleepy.
Can indicas give a body high?
There are some strains that were known to give the body a high.
Can an indica cause paranoia?
For users that are prone to anxiety or paranoia when sober, indicas may tend to elevate one’s paranoia.
Can indicas turn the eyes red?
There is no solid evidence that is directly related to making the eyes red.
Now that the article has covered the information beginners and marijuana users, in general, need to know.