Indica and Sativa What Is The Difference

Indica and Sativa – What Is The Difference?

As the use of marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes becomes legal in more places, there is a rising interest in the diverse impacts that different strains, including indica and sativa, may cause.

Cannabis sativa & Cannabis indica are two cannabis species. This means that they have numerous similarities but also major distinctions.

While anecdotal evidence as well as some marijuana retailers suggest that indica is more soothing and sativa is more energetic, several experts believe such claims are deceptive. Many more elements than strain have a role in the recreational and medicinal effects of marijuana.

Learn more about the distinctions between each strain, in addition to the effects that indica and sativa may cause, in this article.

Physical distinctions between strains

Possible Effects of Cannabis

Physical distinctions, such as variances in height, branching patterns, and the form of leaves, are used by botanists to distinguish between various strains of plant. Sativa and indica both derive their names from this.

Woody, not fibrous, stalks are seen in indica plants, while sativa plants have fibrous ones. Sativas take longer to reach maturity than indicas.

Disagreement exists about the origins of these strain-specific physical characteristics. Some scientists believe these variations are the result of people selectively breeding distinct strains, while others believe they are the result of a complex interaction between natural selection and geographic isolation.


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) & cannabidiol (CBD) are two of the most widely studied and debated cannabinoids found in various strains of marijuana. Researchers have discovered at least 144 distinct cannabinoids so far.

The effects of THC and CBD on the human body are vastly different. Knowing if a cannabis plant is indica or sativa does not usually give much data on the relative amounts of THC / CBD it may contain, contrary to popular belief, but it can be useful.

It’s also worth noting that THC and CBD are just two of the hundreds of compounds that contribute to the various impacts of different marijuana strains. More information about these two substances may be found in the sections below.


THC, according to medical specialists, has psychotropic characteristics. In other words, THC is responsible for the “high” sensation that many associate with cannabis use.

Marijuana strains with a high THC level may be beneficial for persons suffering from pain, difficulties sleeping, or depression, but they might cause anxiety in certain people.


CBD does not provide a “high,” but it can impact mood and be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety and psychoses. Despite its reputation for producing relaxation, CBD may be a stimulant in modest and controlled amounts.

Learn more about mixing of CBD and THC together.

Indica Strains

Cannabis indica originates in the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tibet.

It has a larger CBD concentration than Cannabis sativa, however the CBD to THC ratio is around 1:1.

Indica is often regarded as a good pain reliever with a flat and soothing high. A hybrid version of this strain may be found in many medicinal marijuana strains.

However, it is vital to remember that there is little scientific evidence to support these claims. There are significantly more differences between indica and sativa strains, and many experts argue that we should avoid generalizing the psychoactive and other impacts of multiple strains.

Sativa Strains

Sativa Cannabis sativa is native to warmer regions of the planet, including Southeast Asia, Central and South America.

It is often seen to produce a more invigorating and creative high, while it might cause anxiety in certain people. Sativa can also aid patients who suffer from depression, migraines, nausea, and appetite loss. THC levels in Sativa plants are higher than in CBD levels.

It is worth noting that certain scientific study refutes these statements. Some sativa plants are stimulating, while others are not. The same holds true for indica strains.

Hybrids Strains

Hybrids Throughout the long history of human cannabis usage, both cultivators and nature have generated hybrid varieties of both Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica.

People created hybrids, for example, to create plants that grow faster, yield more, and balance the invigorating and soothing benefits.

Ruderalis Strains

Cannabis ruderalis originated in colder climates such as Russia and the border of Hungary and Ukraine. It grows naturally, and some believe it is descended from escaping hemp plants.

It does not contain a lot of THC or CBD, but breeders like it since it can blossom on its own without the help of a grower. This is why ruderalis is usually used to make hybrids with sativa or indica.

Information About Strains and Their Effects

The table below details various typical marijuana strains, as well as the levels of THC they contain. These figures came from a study that showed no indication that indica & sativa are significantly different.

THC levels - Weed Strains' table

The table demonstrates a wide range of variance among strains and within individual strains. Sour Diesel, for example, can have a THC level as low as 7.7 percent to as high as 22 percent.

According to the study, individuals should not use the phrases “indica” or “sativa” to describe the effects of cannabis. “A new categorization system is needed to enhance the medicinal value of cannabis products for patients to enable them to interact effectively with physicians and healthcare professionals,” the authors write.

Selecting a Strain

Traditionally, answering the following questions has helped many people identify the right strain of marijuana for them:

  • What piques their interest in marijuana?
  • Is it for medical reasons, and if so, what illnesses are being treated?
  • Is it for fun, and if so, what type of experience are they looking for?
  • How much marijuana experience do they have?
  • How long do they intend to keep the experience?

However, far more research into the classification of various strains and their consequences is now required.

Dr. Ethan Russo, a psychopharmacology researcher and neurologist, makes a solid argument against what most people assume about the indica vs. sativa dispute in an interview published in the journal Cannabis & Cannabinoid Research.

He claims that scientists cannot and should not classify cannabis based on its “effects” and biochemical composition, because the terms “indica” and “sativa” only relate to the plant’s height, branching, and leaf shape.

“Because taxonomists cannot agree, I would highly urge the scientific community, the press, and the general public to abandon the sativa/indica nomenclature and instead insist on precise biochemical assays on cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles for marijuana in both the medical and recreational markets.” Scientific accuracy and public health require nothing less.”

– Ethan Russo, M.D.


We learned that botanical qualities of Cannabis sativa & Cannabis indica are different.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that sativa is more stimulating than indica, but the scientific truth is significantly more convoluted. Indeed, several chemical components are implicated in the medicinal and recreational effects of cannabis.

Although the distinctions between the two plants may be true, it is critical for a person to consider the biochemical composition of the various strains in order to select the strain most suited to their requirements.

Even within specific strains, research has shown that THC levels may vary greatly, implying that the same is true for many other cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids Garden