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Indica vs. Sativa: 3 Important Differences

difference between indica and sativa

Cannabis is a plant, a flowering herb, that has psychoactive properties. There are hundreds of strains of cannabis that come under three subspecies, Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis. Of these three subspecies, Cannabis Indica strains and Cannabis Sativa strains are the most popular types of cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use.

If you use cannabis for medical reasons you may wish to apply for a medical card online.

There are a number of differences between Indica and Sativa plants. You can tell the difference between the Indica and Sativa flower by the look of the plants, Sativa plants are taller and thinner with longer slimmer leaves while Indica plants tend to be shorter and bushier with fatter leaves. But you can also feel the difference between Indica and Sativa strains as they have different effects on the body.

For example, Indica strains tend to affect the body more, increase appetite and have a relaxing effect that helps people sleep as well as providing better pain relief. Sativa effects are much more stimulating, they increase your energy level, boost creativity and are more uplifting and euphoric giving more of a head high than a body high.

Particular strains of marijuana have different effects and there are many hybrid strains that are bred to help with specific medical conditions. Patients may also use different types of cannabis throughout the day with a Sativa strain or Sativa dominant hybrid strain being used during the day and an Indica strain at night.

Know the Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

There are a number of ways you can tell the difference between Indica and Sativa strains including their physical appearance, their effects on the body, and their chemical makeup.

Physical Differences – Indica vs. Sativa What’s The Difference

The first important difference between Indica y Sativa are the physical differences between the plants. Although marijuana plants all look pretty similar, there are actually many physical differences between Indica and Sativa plants including the height and size of the plants, the shapes of the leaves and the color and scent of the flowers.

An Indica plant can be recognized by its shorter and bushier stature and shorter wider leaves. The difference in shape between Sativa and Indica strains is due to the difference in climate and growing seasons. Indica plants have a shorter growing season, grow more quickly and tend to have a higher yield making them a popular choice especially in cooler climates. Popular strains include bubba kush, fat banana and northern lights are popular Indica or Indica dominant strains.

A Sativa plant, by contrast, is taller and slimmer in stature with longer and thinner leaves. Sativa plants are generally found in warmer climates with long hot summers and the height can make them more difficult to grow indoors. The slower growing time also makes them less popular on the black market. Popular Sativa strains include super sour diesel and blue dream.

Sativa vs. Indica Effects

Although there are so many hybrid strains available there are some general differences between the effects of Indica and Sativa.

Sativas tend to have a more uplifting, euphoric, creative and even energetic effect. Whereas Indicas tend to be more analgesic and relaxing, stimulating the appetite and promoting sleep. With this in mind, you can easily see why Sativa strains are often preferred for treating conditions such as anxiety and depression whereas Indica strains are preferred for dealing with chronic pain or given to chemotherapy patients to help with nausea.

Because of their differing effects on energy levels Sativa strains tend to be more popular for use during the day whereas Indica strains are more popular at night. Strains are often developed to try and meld these effects together, combining the uplifting effects of Sativa with the pain-relieving effects of Indica and patients should look at the properties and composition of each individual strain to determine the one that is most suited to their needs.

Cannabis Classification System

When it comes to classification between the species of cannabis it is the presence and concentration of one of the common terpenes, myrcene, that determines whether a marijuana strain is Indica or Sativa.

Terpenes are the chemical substances responsible for giving cannabis plants their distinctive aromas. Myrcene has a musky, herbal earthy smell and is also found in thyme, hops and lemongrass. Other common terpenes include pinene, caryophyllene, limonene and terpinolene, all of which have different aromas, effects and therapeutic values.

Different strains of marijuana have a different balance of these terpenes as well as a different CBD to THC ratio which influences their effects. One of the key differences between Indicas and Sativas is their effects on energy levels, and this may come from myrcene which is thought to have sedative and relaxing effects.

Cannabinoids and terpenes work together to provide the medicinal benefits of each cannabis strain, thus it is important to understand the chemical composition beyond the cannabinoid profile when determining the physiological effect an Indica, Sativa or hybrid strain of medicinal cannabis is likely to have.

However it is also worth noting that just knowing whether a strain is Sativa or Indica doesn’t really tell you that much, especially as there are so many hybrid strains as well. For example, some marijuana plants may display unusual characteristics like having only three leaves. To learn more about such anomalies and their causes, check out our detailed guide on – Three leaf cannabis plant.

Medical Cannabis – Sativa vs. Indica

When it comes to medical marijuana again it depends on the individual and the medicinal properties they need. As mentioned above Indica strains may be more suited to chronic pain and Sativa strains to anxiety, but it’s not easy or wise to make such sweeping generalizations.

Patients will want to look at Sativa vs. Indica effects as well as the many hybrids that are available but may also be concerned with the CBD to THC ratio. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids but they have different effects on the body when you consume them. THC is responsible for getting you high, amongst other effects, but this may not always be desirable from a medication.

Many patients prefer to choose a cannabis product with lower levels of THC and more CBD content as CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive effects but can still help to manage pain, anxiety, depression and other disorders known to be receptive to cannabis treatment. This makes it easier to carry on with your daily activities than if you were consuming a strain high in THC.

Interestingly there is no real difference in THC or CBD between Indica and Sativa strains. Some have more some have less but this is not determined by the subspecies.

With so many differences between Indica and Sativa in terms of the effects of the different strains on the body, medical patients should work to find the best medication for their specific condition and lifestyle needs. Whether this is Indica vs. Sativa or CBD vs. THC.

Also new strains are constantly being created so choosing a specific strain that works for your condition doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with other strains.

To benefit from a wide range of tested medicinal strains without needing to pay sales tax you can apply for a medical recommendation online today and talk to one of our qualified physicians.