Indica vs. Sativa: The Science

Indica vs. Sativa: The Basics

Welcome to Cannabis 101! If you are new to the world of cannabis, it can be confusing and quite overwhelming. Strains, Indica, Sativa, Hybrids, percentages, terpenes, CBD, THC, inhaling, tincture, dosages. What do they all mean? This article will provide an overview of the primary cannabis strain types, Indica, and Sativa, including their traits, physiological effects, and which strain is best. Traits of the Indica and Sativa Plant

Most Indica plants have short and broad leaves, tending to be on the bushier and shorter side of cannabis plants. Most cannabis art and artists use the Indica leaf as their model. The typical black-market marijuana is most often Indica type cannabis because it grows quickly. Indica strains often have an earthy, skunky, or musty odor and have higher levels of CBD. In nature, they can be found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

In a nearly opposite direction of Indica, Sativa plants have narrow and taller leaves that are pointy. The plants tend to look scrawny and grow up to 12 feet tall. Sativa grows slower, yields fewer flowers (which has more medicinal value than leaves), and has a more pleasant, sweet, spicy, or fruity scent. Their levels of THC are much higher than the level of CBD. They are found in nature, where the sun is intense, like countries in North Africa and Asia.

Physiological Effects of Indica and Sativa

The range of calmness to activeness and all other effects of cannabis vary widely depending on several factors. How you consume the product, which type of product you use, and how much is used will affect the physiological effects. Yet, Indica and Sativa have quite the opposite uses and effects.

Indica is typically used for medicinal purposes when rest, recovery, and pain reduction are preferred or to help with relaxation and boost hunger. Those who have insomnia will use a more concentrated amount of Indica to help people sleep. Once imbibed, it is quick to work, spreading throughout the body and providing relaxation to muscles for a longer length of time, rather than providing a shorter ‘head’ high.

On the other hand, Sativa is known for its ‘head’ high in higher doses and providing alertness in a lower dose. Often used to add productivity to your day, add a sense of well-being, euphoria, or a sense of feeling good without a sleepy effect. Higher doses provide a larger mental shift, including extra silliness. Sativas provide a noticeable, quick head high with a distinct change of the user’s mental state; however, the high may end sooner than the slow burn of Indica.

Indica vs. Sativa… the Best May Surprise You

There is no quick answer to this never-ending debate. Both have notable effects and attributes and can be consumed in a variety of ways. It comes down to the reason(s) you are consuming and how each strain affects you personally. For medical use, it is essential to be aware there are different strains of Indica and Sativa.

Some hybrids will be covered in another Cannabis 101, which adds to over 1,000 strains of cannabis to choose from. As would be expected, Indica is best used at the end of a day, after work, or your activities are complete. With the head high provided by Sativa, these are best enjoyed in the morning until lunchtime.

For conditions such as depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders, Sativa tends to provide the most relief. Indica is used to treat diseases with pain and inflammation, such as arthritis, cancer, and chronic back pain. Since some people may experience co-morbid conditions with the latter, they may use a combination of strains like a hybrid or using Sativa in the morning and Indica in the evening.

Your Local Dispensary (Or Favorite Vacation Dispensary)

When you visit a dispensary or cannabis business, be sure to talk with one of their budtenders and share with them what you want to experience. Budtenders are always happy to help and are specialists in what is available. They can also help decide how to use cannabis, whether smoking, in a cream, or through edibles like gummies or cookies. If you’re starting your cannabis journey, they may suggest a popular strain with a less potent effect.

Notes on Black Market Marijuana

As the legality of cannabis continues to evolve, the black market still exists in legal states and countries. It is highly suggested to avoid the black market since there are no certification methods, and it is a risk to trust or consume cannabis as the strain and subspecies are very difficult to pinpoint. Cannabis products found in shops and through legitimate vendors can ensure it was grown, dried, cured, and tested (in a lab) for the content and purity of the product’s exact strain. Cheaper? Yes. Safe? Ask yourself if it is worth the risk.

Note on Described Effects of Indica And Sativa

While cannabis strains typically provide the effects listed, it is essential to remember that individuals may react differently according to their biological tolerance, amount consumed (dosage), and consumption method. It is always recommended to discuss cannabis consumption with your medical provider to consider your health and medications or supplements you are taking.

Legality of Cannabis

Be sure to know your local laws regarding cannabis, CBD, and THC. In the United States, laws are evolving and are still illegal under federal law in this article’s publication.

In most instances, sativas are a more prominent choice. They are perfect for getting chores done, working on creative projects, and socializing. Whether you are having a game night with friends or you just want to enjoy a little bit of bliss while you take the dog for a walk, sativas are a great choice for most daytime activities, particularly if you plan to be up for a while. When it comes down to indica vs. sativa, you will want to figure out what you are doing first.


Understanding the difference in strain types can help you to make a much better decision when purchasing cannabis products. The last thing that you want is to be sleepy when you are fixing up the house or wide awake and having a creative breakthrough when it is time for bed. At the end of the day, indicas and sativas are designed for use in different circumstances and should be used with intent. This will help you to have a much better experience every time you use them.

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