Difference between Indica & Sativa
Cannabis comes in all kinds of forms nowadays, from strains of weed to delicious edibles and even vape juices. However, when it comes to buying marijuana products you’ll often be met with an interesting choice: indica vs sativa? While indica strains will give you more relaxation, sativa strains are known more for their mentally stimulating effects. Of course, there is a third option- hybrid strains, and while some are balanced, many lean more towards either indica or sativa.
The difference between indica and sativa goes as far back as growing the strains. Indica and sativa plants look differently and grow differently. The same applies to the effects and often the medical benefits you’ll get from them. Any strain can be enjoyable and all of them have their medical perks, but there are subtle differences which may make consumers prefer one to another.
Most people will sample both indica and sativa strains (or even just stick to hybrids) but how do you make the choice? In what situations is indica preferable over sativa or vice versa? There are a few things which go into separating these two types of strains. So indica vs sativa: what’s the difference? Here’s a guide to explain.
Let’s start with indica strains. These are strains which come from cannabis indica plants, known for their short stems and wide leaves. Indica strains are generally the most common and the effects are what people typically associate with marijuana.
Indica strains will quickly put you in a state of relaxation. They usually provide a more body-focused high, making you feel soothed and tingly all over. These physical effects can relax you to the point of not wanting to get up. These are often used as chill-out strains to wind down with at night. They can also be very useful to tackle insomnia and help you sleep.
They also have some solid mental effects. Indica strains will often make you feel happy, euphoric, and giggly. Depending on how strong the strain is, you may find it hard to focus or be productive. However, for those who simply need to mellow out, indica strains usually make for the perfect choice.
The effects can often vary depending on the THC levels. Strains higher in THC will give you a much more intense, overpowering high. Some strains are lower in THC and higher in CBD. These will give you more of a smooth relaxation. Popular examples of indica strains include Bubba Kush, Northern Lights, Blueberry, and Master Kush.
The effects of sativa strains usually differ significantly from those of indica strains. Most importantly, while indica makes you relaxed and sedated, sativa strains will often make you more stimulated and energetic. They provide more of a head-focused high with some highly enjoyable psychoactive effects.
Sativa strains are known to make users very happy and uplifted. In contrast to indica strains, they often increase your mental focus and creativity. This makes them great for daytime use when you need to be more productive and motivated. They can also perk up your mood and your energy first thing in the morning.
The physical effects of sativa are also interesting. While indica strains will mellow you out, sativa strains often make you more energetic. They can be great for counteracting fatigue and making you more hyperactive and social. While the body high isn’t quite as strong as with indica strains, sativa strains can also give you some soothing physical relaxation without being too intense.
People often opt for sativa strains for social events. The boost in your mood and energy make them perfect for hanging out and talking with friends. Of course, they can also be great for waking up in the morning or giving yourself a quick boost in mood and energy. Popular examples of sativa strains include Sour Diesel, Green Crack, Jack Herer, and Strawberry Cough.
Medical Uses of Indica Strains
Medical marijuana users can benefit from both indica and sativa strains. Both give you a wide range of medical benefits, many of which are the same. However, users will often find one preferable over the other depending on the specific symptoms they need to treat.
Indica strains are particularly useful for pain and inflammation. The heavy body high brought on by indica strains is ideal for pain relief. A few hits of indica cannabis can instantly make your body feel relaxed and stress-free. It can also help reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.
They’re also particularly useful for anxiety. Those who find it hard to relax and clear their mind can do so by smoking indica strains. They put you in a more stress-free state which can be very helpful for those who need to quickly relieve anxiety symptoms. While cannabis shouldn’t be used as an anxiety treatment in itself, it can assist with many of the symptoms.
Indica strains are also the best choice for those who need to improve their sleep. They often have sedative qualities which can make it very easy to sleep, even for those who suffer from insomnia and other sleep disorders. The pain relief and stress relief brought on by indica strains can also be helpful for those who have a hard time sleeping.
They can also help with nausea, migraines, loss of appetite, and depression. All in all, you’ll get a lot of medical benefits from indica strains, but they’re best used for pain, inflammation, and insomnia.
Medical Uses of Sativa Strains
Much like with indica strains, sativa strains can also help with a wide variety of symptoms. For instance, they can relieve headaches and migraines, reduce nausea, and increase your appetite. However, there are a few medical symptoms which sativa strains may help with more than indica strains.
Sativa strains are known for their incredibly mentally uplifting effects. This makes them ideal for those with depression. One study found that cannabis users can often relieve symptoms of depression in just a couple of puffs of cannabis. Sativa strains are perfect for this as they can boost your mood while also giving you energy and motivation.
The increase in mental and physical energy you get from sativa strains also comes in handy. They can be particularly useful for stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Those who need to quickly perk themselves up are much better off using sativa strains than indica strains.
Sativa strains can also help with pain and inflammation. While indica strains offer a more powerful body high, sativa strains can still soothe your body and relieve all kinds of pain and physical tension. Those who need something more suitable for daytime use will be well-served by sativa cannabis.
Best Indica Strains to Buy
Now you know all about the effects and benefits of indica strains, which are the best ones to try? Even though indica strains will give you many of the same effects, they often differ in their taste and specific characteristics. Here are some of the best indica strains to buy.
Bubba Kush is one of the most popular and well-known indica strains on the market. It’s a potent strain with THC levels often hitting as high at 27%. As such, this one will give you heavy sedative effects that can often leave you locked to the couch. It’s ideal for those who need to treat pain, inflammation, insomnia or simply want to experience the effects of indica cannabis in full force.
Blueberry is an award-winning strain that took home the prize for Best Indica at the High Times Cannabis Cup 2000. It gives you a long-lasting body and head high which will make you feel happy, euphoric, and stress-free. It’s also known for its delicious taste with smooth smoke that has hints of the fruit itself. It’s also high in CBD, making it a fantastic medical marijuana strain.
Purple Urkle is a rich indica strain that provides deep, relaxing indica effects. It’ll take you into a smooth and tranquil high that will relieve you of all pain and stress. It can also send you to sleep quite easily. Purple Urkle has a unique earthy, berry taste.
High Octane is a pure and potent indica strain. This strain is best reserved for nighttime use as it can put you to sleep. It’ll hit you hard and fast with deep relaxation and an enjoyable all-over body high. It has a spicy pine aroma which many will enjoy.
Best Sativa Strains to Buy
If you prefer a more cerebral, psychoactive head high, then sativa strains are ideal for you. These can quickly boost your energy and your mood. There are plenty of enjoyable sativa strains which you can enjoy at any time of the day. Here are a few of the best sativa strains to buy.
Purple Haze is a hugely popular sativa strain, immortalized by Jimi Hendrix’s classic song. It gives you a strong psychoactive head high that’ll enhance the enjoyment of any given activity. You’ll feel happy, creative, energetic, and euphoric when under the influence of this tasty sativa strain.
Hawaiian Snow is a former Cannabis Cup winner that crosses three different sativa strains- Haze, Neville’s Haze, and Hawaiian Haze. The result is the ideal sativa. It’ll make you feel energetic and creative with a sharp boost in mental focus. It has a delicious tropical flavor with hints of pineapple and lime which make it a joy to smoke or vape.
Crystal Coma is a sativa-dominant strain that’s fantastic for social situations. It’ll make you talkative, happy, and giggly. It has high THC levels of up to 26% which results in a very hard-hitting high. After the uplifting head high wears down, you’ll feel calm, relaxed, and ready to sleep.
Girl Scout Cookies is a sativa-dominant hybrid that’s a favorite strain for many users. It provides a happy and uplifting head high along with a smooth, relaxing body high. This makes it great for practically any time of the day. It has a sweet yet earthy taste.
Indica Vs Sativa: Which Should I Use?
Both indica and sativa strains have their perks and the choice of which to use can be a tough one. Indica strains give you more of a body high making them prime for relaxation. Sativa strains give you more of a psychoactive head buzz which is more useful for those who want to be active and focused.
Those who need to treat symptoms of pain, inflammation or insomnia are better off with indica strains. These will give you more of a tranquil and relaxing high which will relieve all kinds of pain and help you sleep.
Indica strains are also useful for those who simply want to mellow out. If you enjoy laying back on the couch while watching TV, the deep high given by indica strains can be your best friend. Indica strains are usually best for nighttime use, as they can leave you sleepy and couch-locked.
Sativa strains, on the other hand, are better for those who need a pick me up. Sufferers of depression and stress can benefit from the uplifting effects. They’re also great for those who need to counteract fatigue, headaches, and migraines in order to better deal with their day.
They also make for great social strains. Sativa strains will often make you more energetic and talkative. The boost in creativity and mental focus can also be helpful for those who want to try out all kinds of tasks while high. Whether you like to play video games, write or listen to music, it’s more fun with a sativa high.
Indica vs Sativa: Not always what you might think.
To this day, researchers are still struggling to figure out whether the indica/sativa distinction holds any truth.
The long history of human interaction with the plant makes it difficult to tell whether or not indica and sativa plants are different species.
These plants may have developed different characteristics after spending centuries in a particular climate.
Yet, these characteristics may also be partly caused by the way humans used the plant throughout history in select geographical areas.
Prior to the late 1900s, hemp and fiber varieties of cannabis were often referred to as Cannabis sativa while intoxicating “drug” varieties were labeled Cannabis indica.
Today, both terms are used to describe intoxicating cannabis cultivars.
The supposed difference? The experienced psychoactive effect the plant produces.
Cannabis indica in popular culture
Fast fact: Indica means ‘from India’.
In popular culture, the term “indica” is generally used to describe strains with a sedative, drowsy effect.
Many consumers often joke that indica strains produce an “in ‘da couch” experience, offering sleepy, physical, and tranquilizing qualities.
Unfortunately, the idea that indica and sativa varieties produce distinct effects may be wrong.
In fact, recent research suggests that the indica-sativa denomination may have little to no bearing on the actual effect of a particular cannabis strain (cultivar).
At this point, most cultivated plants have been so intermixed that any given plant can produce a sedative, energizing, or any number of overall experiences.
For example, a strain classified as a sativa may cause drowsiness and some indica strains do not produce heavily tranquilizing effects at all.
However, the idea that indica cultivars provide a sedative experience is still pervasive.
Enjoying cannabis has been an underground and poorly researched phenomenon for the past several decades.
During this time, a culture and language developed around the plant that still persists today.
Using genetic testing and new scientific analysis, researchers are debunking some long-held understandings about indica vs. sativa strains.
Cannabis sativa in popular culture
Strain effects are based off cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Not sativa versus indica.
While indica cultivars have a reputation for putting consumers to sleep, sativas are thought to have the opposite effect by popular culture.
Sativa strains are expected to be energizing, providing clear-headed mental stimulation.
These cultivars are the strains that consumers often select when they are looking for something to consume during the day that will not cause drowsiness.
However, as with indica strains, the energizing nature of sativa plants may be nothing more than a cultural myth when you consider all the other factors that make up a specific cannabis sample or cultivar.
Centuries of human intervention and migration with the cannabis plant means that the varieties now thought of as sativa and indica have been cross-bred with each other countless times to create new strains.
What are Hybrid Strains?
Of course, you also have a third option. Hybrid strains are strains which mix the genetics of both indica and sativa cannabis. Not only do they inherit characteristics from both plants, but you’ll also get a mix of both indica and sativa effects when you smoke these.
Popular hybrid strains include Mango Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, Blue Venom, and NYC Diesel. You can check out a range of balanced-hybrids in our online store.