Indica Vs. Sativa Cannabis Flower

The cannabis plant has long been used as medicine by people across the globe, and it’s believed that in ancient times, people regarded the medical effects of cannabis as a gift from God.

Indica and Sativa strains are just one of the many types of cannabis available to consumers. They have a lot in common but there are some distinct differences between them.

This article will discuss all you need to know about Indica and Sativa and the features that differentiates them.

What is Indica Cannabis?

  • Originally named in 1785 by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Cannabis Indica is a stout, shorter variant of the Cannabis Sativa L. genus. Its leaves appear broad and have a chunky, bushy look. The name ‘Indica’ means “from India”, as that is where it is thought to originate. They typically grow in colder, more temperate regions like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. Because of this, they tend to flower and mature faster (between 6 to 9 weeks) than other variants.Indicas are commonly used to relax and unwind at the end of the day, earning them the nighttime strain reputation. Some common effects of the Indica strain are feeling:
  • Sleepy
  • Happy
  • Relaxed
  • A boost in appetite
  • Euphoric, etc.

What Is Sativa Cannabis?

Known as Cannabis Sativa Sativa, this strain has a lanky, tall appearance with thin, pointed leaves. Originally found in hotter, tropical climates like Central America, Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia. Sativa plants take longer (up to 14 weeks) to flower and mature. When they do mature, they yield fewer flowers than the Indica variety.

Sativas are known to create an uplifting, energetic, and euphoric effect for consumers. Because they enhance productivity and creativity, they are said to deliver a “mind high”. They are mostly used during the day to improve focus, get tasks done, and boost creativity.

What is Hybrid Cannabis?

Hybrid cannabis is a variety grown by crossbreeding Indica and Sativa plants. Because it is a mix, hybrid cannabis does not have a fixed leaf structure. It is impossible to know what hybrids will look like until they have matured. Also, growers can’t tell what effect a hybrid plant will have on consumers until it matures and it is tested.

Since hybrid plants get their genes from Indicas and Sativas, their effects also stem from these. Some hybrid plants produce happy, uplifting, euphoric, and energetic effects while others have a more relaxing, sleep-inducing effect.

Hybrid cannabis plants tend to produce more flowers than Indicas and Sativas. They are also more hardy, resistant to pests, and can grow in different climates. Although any two strains of cannabis can be mixed to create a hybrid, the most common combo is Indica and Sativa. Hybrid strains that produce more Sativa effects are typically labeled as Sativa-dom and vice versa. Some brands prefer a ratio or percentage when labeling. For example, you could see 70:30 Sativa:Indica or 70% Sativa.

How Do I Know What Strain To Pick?

Deciding whether to buy Indica or Sativa isn’t as straightforward because most cannabis flowers available for sale are hybrids. So, before you choose a cannabis strain, it is important to understand all the factors that influence the effects it will deliver. The best way to do this is to understand the strain’s chemical profile. This means exploring the terpenes and cannabinoid compounds that exist in each flower.

Exploring Terpenes
Terpenes refer to the chemical profile produced by fruits that are responsible for their smell. They also influence the effects of each strain on the consumer. Cannabis produces several unique terpenes that give it its distinct smell. The major ones are: Limonene, Myrcene, Terpinolene, and Caryophyllene.

Exploring Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are the chemical profiles found in cannabis plants that are responsible for their therapeutic and psychoactive effects. The most common types of cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Cannabis products are further classified into 3 major chemical profile types:

  • Type 1 – High THC, low CBD: This is perfect for consumers who want a high euphoric experience. They are mostly used to treat extreme pain, insomnia, anxiety, etc.
  • Type 2 – Balanced or 1:1 THC and CBD: This type contains similar quantities of THC and CBD. They are great for beginner consumers who want a mild euphoric effect.
  • Type 3 – High CBD, low THC: These strains are perfect for consumers who tend to feel anxious or just want mild relief for certain symptoms while maintaining a clear head.

These terms are mostly scientific and aren’t commonly used by consumers and budtenders. However, when deciding what strain to consume, knowing how much CBD and THC you want in your strain is key.


The significant differences between Indica and Sativa cannabis lie in their physical appearance and the effects they have on consumers. Since most strains that are available for sale are hybrids, the best way to determine the expected effect of a product is to check for their terpene profile, cannabinoid content, strain lineage, ratio and/or percentage.

Other factors that may influence how a strain can affect a consumer include the dosage, consumer’s tolerance level, consumer’s body chemistry, the consumption method, consumer’s medical history, mindset, and environment.

As cannabis consumption methods become more varied, it’s a good rule of thumb just to enjoy what you’re consuming and take it at face value. It’s probably safe to say that both types of marijuana will ultimately continue to be hybridized into new strains, each offering its own unique benefits to the user.