Cannabis 101

Cannabis Indica vs Sativa: Which is Better?

in Cannabis 101 on
inspecting cannabis

In the cannabis community, Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid are the most used terms.

Although there are distinct differences between characteristics like plant and leaf size, it is important to know the exact definition of each strain. Whether you are a new or a regular cannabis user, we are here to clear up any confusion between Indica and Sativa strains.

What is Indica?

This short and bushy cannabis subspecies originate from dry and turbulent climates. More specifically, from regions such as Afghanistan, India, and Turkey. These short, bushy and bud-rich plants typically have short and wide leaves, and develop faster than sativa plants.

If you have difficulty sleeping, have a low food appetite, or have trouble relaxing, indica is perfect in alleviating these symtpoms. it even helps reduce pain and nausea, due to its high CBD concentration. Ideally, Indica strains such as Afghan Kush, granddaddy Purple, or Hindu Kush are best used at night so that its healing abilities take effect.

What is Sativa?

As opposed to Indica, Sativa has an energizing effect. The plant itself is tall and slim with long and thin leaves. Because they derive from warm climates as found in Southeast Asia, Central America, and Africa, Sativas take longer to develop.

The higher THC dosage amount that the Sativa plant produces results in a "head high", which enables you to be more energetic and productive, rather than lethargic. This makes Sativa strains like Panama Red, Durban Poison, and Acapulco Gold ideal to use during daytime, so that your creativity and alertness are put to good use. If you suffer from anxiety, Sativa strains are highly recommended.

What is the Difference in How They Affect the Body?

While Indica and Sativa effects are often described as either opposites or perceived as complementary, the realistic effects depend on more than just the theoretical factors. Marijuana has an effect on the brain that is not directly induced by the plants themselves, but rather their compounds.

The most commonly known compounds are cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and terpenoids. Terpenes make most of the difference in how the body is affected, and not CBD content, as it is often advertised. After all, scientists have discovered more than 100 types of terpenes, so the way they come in contact with the other compounds can affect every individual's body differently.

For instance, the lethargic sedation, also known as "body high", caused by indica strains is due to the myrcene content - a monoterpene. Other symptoms of this strain include pain reduction, and relaxation.

Limonene, which is also found in citrus peels, contributes to energizing the mood. This cerebral high effect is more common to users of sativa strains, who also report symptoms such as euphoria, mood improvement, high productivity, and high creativity.

What is the Difference in Benefits?

Both indica and sativa have characteristics that make them useful both as ingredients in other medicines, as well as on their own.

For example, the sativa plant has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, and researchers are still finding new benefits to the plant. Mainly, sativa is used in strains that aim to reduce anxiety, improve focus and moods in general.

One benefit that the indica plant has over the sativa is its more rapid growth cycle. they can be harvested before the cold sets in. Stereotypically, indica is associated with the more relaxing benefits. Users often seek indica strains to consume before watching a movie listening to some mid-to-low bpm music, napping, and any other way of giving the mind a break.

Are There Side Effects With Each?

Sure, lethargy is an effect numerous users are looking for. However, if this effect is abundant, it may turn into an unwanted symptom. Side effects from using indica or sativa strains are not fatal, but they should still be taken into consideration by individuals who suffer from preexisting conditions that may be aggravated.

Some side effects of cannabis are dryness of the eyes, of the mouth, dizziness, anxiety, paranoia, decreased blood pressure, and increased heart rate. Consumers should also be cautious when it comes to the method of consumption.

For instance, individuals who have preexisting respiratory problems should be careful when smoking or vaping, as these methods irritate the airways and the lungs. Cookies, gummies, or other oral preparations are much less threatening.

But oral ingestion also has a downside. Since THC is a very potent compound, the psychoactive effects it can produce can last much longer (hours, or even days for some). This may cause paranoia and anxiety, which would defeat the purpose of using the strain in the first place.

Where Do Hybrids Fit In?

Rarely do indica strains derive directly from indica plants, or sativa strains from sativa. Instead, each is either indica-dominant or sativa-dominant. This means most strains are hybrids, with different mixture balances of both.

Thousands of hybrid strains are in use and many more combinations are constantly being experimented with. There is no such thing as a perfect crossing of indica and sativa that works as a panacea. Instead, individuals have a broader and more personalized palette to choose from if they look into hybrid strains.

Successful and medically effective hybrids have been developed to alleviate diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, epilepsy, or even Crohn's disease. Hybrids are not only the result of indicas being mixed with sativas. Cultivars can also cross different types of indicas among each other, or different types of sativas.


Research on sativas, indicas, and hybrids is ongoing, as additional benefits of cannabis have yet to surface.

For patients looking to find the perfect strain for them, they should take personal factors into consideration first. Besides preexisting conditions and potential health threats, this also means tolerance, dosage, body chemistry, setting, consumption method, and desired results.

We encourage consumers to experiment with various strains until they find the ideal one to treat their ailment. For further clarification on choosing the right strain, get in touch with our knowledgeable representatives and make the right choice by making your life easier.