As a marijuana enthusiast, it’s impossible for you to not have heard of Indicas and Sativas. Quite frankly, these two terms have probably affected every single decision you’ve made while purchasing your weed.
In fact, due to legalization and fast changing attitudes regarding weed around the world, even people who have never touched a bong or a joint have heard them sometime or the other – whether in a song, a movie, or a YouTube video.
What might surprise you, however, is that even a regular user like yourself may not have a crystal-clear understanding of what these terms mean. This is because not only are there a lot of common myths and misconceptions out there, but also because weed has changed a lot in recent years, and not at all in a bad way.
If you’ve logged in to an online cannabis dispensary like BMWO recently, you know that there are many different strains you can choose from. Each of these has its own specific aroma, potency, taste, and even color.
We have really come a long way from the good ol’ days where you could only smoke what your local dealer could get his hands on.
With so much variety, and cross-breeding, can we really keep forcing our cannabis experience into two (or three, if you count hybrids) very limited boxes? Should we keep generalising cannabis based on a traditional (as we will find out) designation system?
The answer is both yes, and no.
While Indicas and Sativas are still different from each other, it’s not just about THC and CBD content, or ‘body’ and ‘cerebral’ highs. Let’s find out how!
Myths and Misconceptions
Before we begin, however, it would be wise to first tackle two of the most common misconceptions almost every stoner (and even many non-smokers) have about Indica and Sativa strains.
Myth 1: Indicas have higher THC, Sativas have higher CBD (Or the other way round)
How many times have you heard someone tell you that “Indicas are full of THC and Sativas are CBD rich” or “Nah, it’s Sativas that have higher THC and Indicas that have higher CBD”?
Yep. Too many to count. Not only that, but it’s very confusing to keep track of this. Aren’t Indicas the one you should smoke at night and Sativas before your exams?
There is a reason for this: all of this is a big fat myth.
Let’s take a history lesson.
If you go back 50-60 years, and make similar claims, you just might be right. Back then there wasn’t so much underground breeding going on, and marijuana wasn’t such a huge (well, not legitimate anyway) industry.
But fast forward to today, with so many different strains bred for their own specific characteristics, it’s just not true.
All you have to do to confirm this is to check the products at your favourite dispensary – you will have no trouble finding Indicas as well as Sativas with both high and low THC and CBD content.
So, you shouldn’t really be thinking about THC or CBD levels when talking about Indicas and Sativas.
Myth 2: Indica = Body high, Sativa = Cerebral high
While this is true for quite a few indica and sativa strains, this has more to do with the exact combination of terpenes and cannabinoids in each specific strain.
This is why you will find many Indicas that will give you a cerebral high and not couch lock, while you will also find several Sativas that will give you an intense body high that lasts for several hours.
This combination also has a lot to do with whether or not you get ‘munchies’ or feel highly focused and stimulated.
Indica vs Sativa: What’s the difference?
Now that we’ve addressed the most common myths regarding these two types of cannabis, let’s take a look at what the actual differences are.
Keep in mind though, again, that with some strains the difference might be stark and with others not so much. This is because of years of selective breeding and genetic modification.
To help you completely understand exactly what these terms mean, and choose the best strain for you, our comparison will be divided into 3 sections. We will discuss the difference in effects and l appearance between Indicas and Sativa, and how to choose the best strain for you
So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Indica vs Sativa: Effects
We will begin with the factor that most weed lovers are primarily concerned with – the effects of each type of strain.
Effects of Indica and Indica Dominant strains
Indica strains give users the traditional effects of being ‘high’ – a heavy, highly sedative, and relaxing body high.
The reason we are calling it a traditional high is because back in the day, Indica strains were the most dominant in the market, due to the fact that it produces a high yield.
If you’ve been smoking Indicas, you would know that they’re known as ‘organic sleeping pills’ because of the incredible calming experience they offer.
While we run the risk of generalisation here, smoking most Indica strains will have the following effects:
- Heavy body high
- Heightened senses
- Sedation and couch-lock (though not always necessary)
- Lowered heart rate
- Heady psychoactive effects (time distortion, feeling ‘high’)
- Increased appetite (munchies)
- Improved sleep
- Reduced inflammation
- Headache, migraine and chronic pain alleviation
Effects of Sativas and Sativa Dominant strains
Sativa strains generally have a more uplifting and energetic high, and are great for a productive morning or afternoon.
Most sativa strains will give you a ‘cerebral’ or mental high, that boosts creativity and focus without effecting the body.
This is why they are generally referred to as ‘daytime’ strains and commonly preferred for social or productive consumption.
While Sativas like Citrus Haze and Green crack can also give you an intense psychoactive experience, they do not affect your entire body, which is why users feel more energetic and stimulated after smoking them.
They also tend to increase sensory perception, enhancing light, sound and happenings surrounding you.
The most common effects shared by Sativa strains include:
- Mental stimulation
- Cerebral or ‘mind’ high
- Increased focus
- Boost in creativity
- Increased productivity
- Reduced appetite (in some strains)
- Improved energy levels and concentration
- Alleviation of anxiety, stress, and depression
Indica vs Sativa: Appearance
Now that we have discussed the differences that most marijuana enthusiasts will be concerned with, let’s move on to connoisseur level details.
With any luck, once you have finished this guide, you will be able to recognize whether a marijuana plant is a sativa or an indica strain without having to look twice!
Let’s look at how they are different.
Appearance of Indica Strains
The main reason Indicas and Sativas differ in appearance is because they originate from different areas, regions, and climates.
Indicas originally come from Asia and the Middle East – locations famous in stoner lore, such as Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Morocco.
Because the climate in this region is generally hot and the land arid, Indica plants tend to be short (3-4 feet high) and bushy.
They have broad, thick leaves so that they can capture a lot of sun, while retaining as much water as possible. They also mature much faster as compared to Sativa strains and produce higher yields.
Indicas have evolved to be able to protect themselves under harsh, turbulent conditions.
Not only does this characteristic make them very adaptable to rougher climates, it also makes them produce resin around the stem and leaves as a form of protection. This resin causes Indica to be extra potent and is the raw material used to make hash.
Appearance of Sativa Strains
Originating from areas near the equator, such as Colombia, Mexico, and Thailand thus, Sativas typically grow between 8 – 12 feet in height but can reach as high as over 20 feet.
Their leaves are long and “finger like,” giving them the ability to take in even scarce sunlight and they often have red or orange hues.
In fact, the popular weed leaf symbol you see everywhere? Even though it’s (wrongly) associated with Indicas, it is actually a sativa leaf – notice the long, thin leaves as opposed to the bushy leaves Indica strains have.
Sativas favor warmer, humid climates with longer seasons and this is why the total growing period for Sativa strains takes about 16 weeks.
Indica vs Sativa: Choosing Your Strain
Now that you know all there is to know about Indicas and Sativas, it’s time to put this knowledge to use.
But first, there’s a little more learning to do.
As you now know, due to years of cross-breeding, both Sativas and Indicas can have characteristics that are different from traditional generalisations.
So, how do you pick a strain that will work best for you?
Well, ultimately this is a question that only you can answer, as you know your body, your tolerance and the kind of high you are looking for, but we can help you make an informed decision.
Cannabis Characteristics: Cannabinoids and Terpenes
The main question here is, what is it that gives each strain of cannabis it’s distinct qualities?
As we learned earlier, this has less to do with whether the strain is Indica or Sativa, and more to do with the cannabinoid and terpene content in each.
Cannabinoids are responsible for giving a strain the ability to produce a specific effect. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidol) are two of the most popular cannabinoid compounds.
The difference between these two cannabinoids lies within their psychoactive impact. THC causes a high while CBD is non-psychoactive, thus no high is experienced with it.
Is your bud piney, fruity or skunky? Terpenes are in charge of the aromatics your weed gives off.
They also have the ability to produce the effects of stimulation or sedation. You can know what type of effects you’ll experience based off of the type of terpene that is your Indica or Sativa.
For example, the terpene Pinene, has a piney aroma and raises alertness while the terpene Myrcene is more earthy and has a sedative and numbing effect.
So how do you know what kind of effect a particular strain will have on you?
It’s simple. First look at the THC and CBD content in each, and then let your nose do the rest.
Terpenes don’t really need to be heated or lit on fire to work, so if a particular scent feels energising, then it will be so.
Whereas if a particular strain smells really skunky, then you’re in for getting completely stoned!
Choosing your Strain
At the end of the day, only you and your body can ultimately decide which kind of strain is the best for your needs.
Think about your routine, and what you will be using your weed for. Is it to increase alertness, relax your muscles or both? Are there certain situations or ailments where a particular strain would help you in getting through?
Once you know the answer to these, you can plan ahead before you make your purchase.
Now that you know what you do, you can also mix and match strains based on what’s right for the scenario. Between daytime and night, Sativa and Indica, THC and CBD, and a wide variety of terpenes in each specific strain, the options are nearly unlimited!
At Buy My Weed Online, we have made it easy to explore through our wide selection of strains that can address any of your cannabis desires. We stock both Sativa and Indica dominant strains, with different levels of potency and cannabinoids to create a truly customizable experience.
Additionally, our online marijuana dispensary has cannabis accessories that can be the perfect partner to the strains you choose. Use the new-found knowledge you now have on Indica vs Sativa to shop online for cannabis at Buy My Weed Online.