Many people often struggle to figure out the difference between cannabis types and strains, which can consequently lead to them having subpar or underwhelming experiences because they expect one thing, and then something completely different happens. Even though the general rule of thumb is to associate indica with full-body effects, while sativa is usually considered to be the type that offers energizing effects that usually help with the reduction of anxiety.
However, these plants have much more in common than previously thought, so the type or strain of cannabis is probably not the biggest indicator of the impact and effects you’ll experience.
Join us on this journey as we try to break down the difference between indica and sativa, and you may find it useful and helpful, especially if you’re not an experienced connoisseur of the devil’s lettuce.
Indica vs. Sativa – What is the Difference?
In general, indica is considered to be a strain that provides a “body high,” meaning it makes you feel relaxed and calm.
Sativa, on the other hand, is known as the strain that gets your mind high, meaning it’s energizing, refreshing, and invigorating.
Both of these strains grow in different climates, with the sativa being predominant in hot, while indica is predominant in cold climates. However, the lingering question is whether these differences result in a contrasting high.
Understanding Cannabinoids and Terpenes
Before we start drawing any conclusions, it’s probably a good idea to get familiar with the intricacies of cannabis strains.
Contrary to popular belief, the effects that you feel when smoking either of these strains are more likely to be contributed to cannabinoids and terpenes as opposed to strain or type. This is why it’s important to make a clear distinction between urban myths and actual facts.
As far as cannabinoids go, there are hundreds of them within a marijuana plant, but the two you’ve probably heard of are – CBD and THC. CBD is a compound that is known for its pain relief and anti-anxiety effects, while THC is a compound best known for having psychoactive effects and for inducing that easily-recognizable high.
Terpenes are hydrocarbon compounds that give marijuana a distinctive aroma. It can be floral, fruity, citrus, or any other aroma. Even though there is very little research done on the subject of terpenes at this point, some studies indicate that they may have a similar role as cannabinoids as far as effects go.
With that being said, bear in mind that no strain comes with guaranteed effects.
A More Detailed Look Into Indica
Now that we’ve somewhat covered the details tied with cannabinoids and terpenes, it’s time to take a deeper look into each of these strains individually.
Indica is, as previously mentioned, a plant that has adapted to harsh weather conditions, grows in colder climates, and causes the feeling of calmness and relaxation. It can be found in hot areas such as Pakistan and Turkey, but it’s usually grown in the Hindu Kush Mountains.
It grows significantly faster than sativa, and more importantly – it produces bigger yields. It’s usually short and bushy with chunky leaves that grow wide. Indica often has a slightly higher concentration of CBD than THC, which helps with its relaxation effects.
The most popular strains are Afghan Kush, Granddaddy Purple, and the Hindu Kush.
A More Detailed Look Into Sativa
Sativa can be found in hot and dry climates, mainly Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America. The sativa plants stand thin and tall, and they often grow taller than 12 feet. The reason behind this is the fact that they need more time to mature in comparison to indica plants.
Unlike indica, sativa has less CBD concentration and higher THC concentration, which is why the effects are energizing, and one feels productive rather than lethargic.
The most popular strains include Panama Red, Blue Cheese, Blueberry, and Bubba Kush.
A Detailed Look Into Hybrids
Hybrid plants are usually grown by growers who want to create a new and unique strain with specific effects. It is done by combining different parent plants into one and trying different combinations.
Because these plants are a product of combining in controlled conditions, there is no origin per se. Instead, hybrids are typically grown in greenhouses all over the world.
As far as THC vs. CBD concentration goes, hybrids tend to be heavier on THC percentage, but again, each type of hybrid has a unique ratio of these two well-known cannabinoids.
Popular hybrid strains include Blue Dream, Trainwreck, and Pineapple Express.
How To Choose the Right Strain?
When it comes to indica vs. sativa, one of the most common questions is – which one should I use?
Even though there is no right answer to this question, one can figure out which one of these strains would have the best effect by considering the following:
Know Your Limits
Because there are a plethora of strains out there, some of them are considered to be “entry-level,” while some are specifically intended for experienced users. Naturally, if you’re a novice in this world, you should start with lighter strains and build your way up gradually. For instance, Pineapple Express would be an excellent first experience for many users as it is considered to be one of the strains with relatively mild effects.
Set a Goal
If you’re looking to have a good experience with marijuana, you ought to know what you’re trying to achieve. As we’ve mentioned, if you’re looking to get high and relax, indica is probably the best option. On the other hand, if you’re looking to build up energy and become productive and active, sativa is your poison.
The best thing here is to talk with the dispensary employee and figure out which strain would help your situation the most. Don’t hesitate to conduct a bit of research as well; you have nothing to lose.
Consumption Method Matters
Every technique of consuming marijuana has its advantages and drawbacks. For example, smoking allows you to feel the effects almost immediately, but it can irritate your lungs. Edibles are somewhat easier to tolerate, but they have a completely different potency, and on top of that – they take longer to kick in.
While there is a narrative going around that marijuana is virtually harmless, it’s definitely not true. Even though it isn’t dangerous per se, there are certain side effects and risks you may want to take into consideration before venturing into this world.
Here are some of the potential unwanted effects that you may experience:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
The vast majority of these side effects are tied to THC rather than CBD. With that said, any strain can cause side effects, regardless of concentration levels of cannabinoids within the plant.
If you’re struggling to choose between indica vs. sativa vs. hybrid, we would recommend looking into hybrids first as they usually have specific effects rather than a spectrum of different effects. Indica and sativa are worthy alternatives as well, but hybrids offer a bit more certainty when it comes to pinpointing the desired effects.
As you can tell, there are quite a few differences between indica and sativa, but it all comes down to what kind of effects you’re trying to cause. We strongly recommend reading more about each of these types, or at least speaking to the dispensary employee in order to garner more information.
In general, you’ll find sativa to be better for productivity, indica for relaxation, and hybrids offer a wide spectrum of different effects, depending on what kind of experience you want to have.
If you’d like to know more about THC, CBD, marijuana, and other related subjects, read our other articles! We strive to bring these subjects closer to our readers so that they can have an unforgettable experience without having to waste hours on research.