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Indica vs Sativa: Everything You Need to Know

Cannabis is currently legal in 18 states, with another 13 states decriminalizing its use. Whether you’re experimenting with it for the first time or you’re a cannabis connoisseur, it’s now more accessible than ever. With its increasing popularity has come an ever-growing range of new product offerings. If you don’t know a lot about cannabis (and there’s no shame in that!) then the sheer magnitude of options can seem truly daunting.

Buying cannabis is a relatively straightforward process (depending on which you reside), but choosing the right product for you can be a little trickier. That’s what we’re here for! Choosing the “wrong” product isn’t a big problem – it can be a disappointing experience if you’re expecting a buzz, and you crash instead. If you’re not sure where to start – we’ve all been there – we can help you learn more about the popular strains, what you can expect from each, and which one is more suitable for you.

Before we get too far into the weeds (pardon the pun), it is extremely important to note that not everyone’s reaction to cannabis is the same. While someone may experience a particular effect with a particular strain, someone else may not have that same experience. There is still much we don’t know about cannabis and how it interacts with the human body, but luckily, the proliferation of legal marijuana is allowing us to learn more about it every day.

Let’s begin.

 

What’s the difference between indica and sativa?

Cannabis strains are generally divided into two types: indica and sativa. This classification is based on the plant’s growth structure, with indica strains being shorter and bushier and sativa strains growing taller and lankier. Both types affect the body and mind in slightly different ways, offering a wide range of medicinal and recreational benefits.

Indicas are typically known for their full body effects, called a ‘body high,’ such as reducing insomnia and helping to induce relaxation. Sativas, generally, provide a more energizing experience and are well known for producing a cerebral, or “head high”, which can help reduce anxiety or stress. Some people even claim it helps increase their creativity and focus, too!

Cannabis indica and cannabis sativa are two different species of cannabis plants, which means that the amount of CBD and THC present in indica and sativa strains also differs. Indica plants usually contain a higher volume of CBD compared to THC, whereas sativa plants generally have higher volumes of THC than CBD. Why is this important? Well, THC is the compound that produces the psychoactive effects we typically associate with marijuana and would explain why it produces the aforementioned, head high.

Now that we’ve talked a little about the differences, let’s take a look at how to identify an indica or a sativa.

 

Cannabis flower 

 

Indica strains

Thought to have originated in the Middle East, the cannabis indica plant is shorter in physical appearance than sativa plants. Their stalks also tend to be more woody than fibrous, and their flowering time, the time period from when they start showing flower to when they’re ripe, is shorter, at 8-9 weeks. This is great for producers of indica strains as it means they can produce the highly sought after sensimilla (unfertilized flowers… you know, the stuff you smoke!), more often. Indica strains typically have a higher CBD content than sativa, with a very common ratio of CBD to THC being close to 1:1.

Indicas are known to produce a relaxing high that’s described by users as being an effective pain reliever. In fact, many medical marijuana strains contain a hybrid (we’ll talk more on this later) form of indica to help relieve pain, however, there is not currently enough scientific evidence available to support this claim.

 

Cannabis indica plant

 

Popular indica strains

Strain

Flavor

Effects

Blueberry

Blueberry, smokey

Calming, relaxing, restful

Bubba Kush

Earthy, piney, smooth

Happy, relaxing, sedating, good pain reliever

Bubba OG

Sweet, peppery, citrus undertones

Social, relaxing

Granddaddy Purp

Grape

Relaxing, potent, whole-body high

Northern Lights

Skunky citrus, hint of spice

Heavy hitting, numbing, sedating

Royal Kush

Earthy, sweet

Euphoria, relaxing, long-lasting bliss

 

Sativa strains

Cannabis sativa was thought to originate in warmer climates, such as Southeast Asia and South America and has a different growing structure; preferring to grow tall and thin with slender leaves. Sativas are known to produce a cerebral high and contain higher amounts of THC than CBD.

It’s generally thought that sativas produce a more energizing high, which can help relieve appetite loss, depression, headaches, and nausea. Research does show that sativas can cause anxiety in some people. So, while some users experience a positive high, others may not.

 

Cannabis sativa plant

 

Popular sativa strains

Strain

Flavor

Effects

Green Crack

Citrus, earthy

Clarity, focus, motivating

Lemon Haze

Refreshing lemon flavor

Calming, uplifting, mood boosting

Pineapple Express

Tropical flavor

High-energy, uplifting, motivating

Sour Diesel

Lemon, orange, skunky, diesel

Clarity, creativity, motivating

Sour Space Candy

Apple, citrus, sweet, sour

Anxiety-reducing, calming, uplifting

Strawberry Cough

Skunky strawberry

Euphoric, uplifting, stress-relieving. Very potent.

 

Hybrid strains

As if understanding indicas and sativas wasn’t complicated enough, throw in some intentional cross-breeding and viola: hybrid strains. Hybrids offer the benefits of both indicas and sativas, with each hybrid strain expressing the characteristics and traits of its parents in slightly different ways. New and unique strains of cannabis are constantly being released as growers work tirelessly to produce bigger, better, healthier, higher potency strains for both their medicinal and recreational properties.

Hybrid cannabis plants are generally grown to produce higher levels of THC and CBD, but not always. Sometimes a hybrid strain gains prominence due to its unique color patterns (dark purple buds, red-striations, bright lime-colored flowers) or its smell. Selective breeding has become big-business in the cannabis space as growers try to produce the most sought after strains. Regardless of the result, hybrid strains work to provide more to the user by combining the benefits of both sativa and indica strains in a way that provides the most benefit to the consumer, whether that be to reducing anxiety or ease the painful side effects of cancer treatment.

 

Cannabis hybrid plant 

Popular hybrid strains

Strain

Flavor

Effects

ACDC

Earthy, skunky, a little fruity

Focused, social, uplifting

Blueberry Kush

Sweet blueberry, earthy, smokey

Calming, very relaxing, sedating

Blue Dream

Blueberry, fruity

Creative, euphoric

Caribbean Dream

Fruity, hints of cedar

Alert, relaxed, uplifting

Gelato

Citrus, slight taste of cookie

Stimulating, uplifting, relaxed, low-key

Gorilla Glue #4

Earthy, piney

Euphoric, happy, heavy hitting. Stuck to the couch kinda feeling.

Hawaiian Haze

Tropical, pine, hint of lavender

Alert, confident, energetic, focused 

Stormy Daniels

Diesel overtones, berry, herbal

Calming, relaxing

Sunset Sherbet

Fruity, sweet, skunky

Carefree, clear-headed, relaxing. Great for social interactions.

Super Silver Haze

Peppery, spicy

Energizing with long-lasting effects

Thin Mint GSC

Sweet, earthy, hint of pine

Calming, uplifting

Train Wreck

Earthy, piney

Excited, happy, soothing

Zkittlez

Sweet, fruity

Alert, calming, happy, unwinding

 

How to choose the right strain for you

Now that you know more about these strains, and you have an idea of what ones you want to try, you may be wondering what’s next? If you live in a state where cannabis has been legalized, you can visit a dispensary and talk to a trained member of staff. They will be able to recommend specific products to suit you.

And if you’re not sure where to start, we recommend starting with our Gummy Sampler Pack, so you can find the THC and CBD combinations you’re comfortable with. Remember, if you’re not a cannabis connoisseur, always start with a low dosage until you’re comfortable with the product. For more information on our products, get in touch with us today!

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FDA DISCLAIMER The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act require this notice.

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