For many medical marijuana users, the difference in strains between Indica and Sativa appears to be simple: If you smoke (or otherwise ingest) Indica it’s usually as a night cap to relax, and you will most likely fall asleep midway through whatever snack you are eating. Sativa, on the other hand, makes you feel more alert, euphoric, and creative, possibly resulting in you painting the next great masterpiece. Though you wouldn’t be wrong to describe each type of Cannabis as such, there is a lot more to the differences in the strains.
Without getting too technical with it, Sativa and Indica are two species from the same cannabis family. They have different growth characteristics, highs, and medical effects. While today many plants are the result of plant breeding that’s led to hybrids of the two, knowing the difference, above all else, helps medical users to choose the right strain for their symptoms.
Indica and Sativa have a long history. To provide a simplified version of the origins, all we must do is go to opposite ends of the planet. Long before the breeding of marijuana plants spread worldwide, Sativa first grew in locations close to the equator such as south-east Asia, Columbia, and Mexico while Indica originated in the Middle East, in countries like Turkey and Afghanistan.
The distinction between Indica and Sativa began in the 18th century when their structure and the resin were first documented. The category of hybrid was introduced later on when people started getting creative (maybe from smoking a little Sativa?).
CBD and THC levels
Usually, Sativa strains show a high THC content and low CBD content while Indica strains have a lower THC content and a somewhat higher CBD content.
Due to breeding, both Indica and Sativa strains can now be found with varying levels of THC and CBD.
Wait, so what is the difference between CBD and THC?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is non-psychoactive, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, neuroprotective and in many cases anti-tumor. It won’t make you feel ‘high’ in the traditional sense, but it makes many people feel calm.
THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), on the other hand, is a psychoactive. It is what gives the intoxicating effect that recreational users are after, providing relaxation and pain relief effects.
Leaf Shapes and Plant Height
One of the easiest ways to define which is which is just by looking at the plant itself. Indica has a broader leaf while Sativa’s leaf is skinnier in appearance.
Similarly, the Indica plant grows to a much smaller height of around 4ft in comparison to a Sativa that can reach up to 20 ft.
Indica is a relaxing full-body high the “chill out on the couch” or “go to bed” (A simple way to remember which is which is that Indica = in-da-couch).
Sativa is an energised high that is great for getting work done or maybe going on an adventurous walk!
While both strains are used to relieve symptoms such as nausea, pain relief, and loss of appetite, different strains tend to relieve symptoms more efficiently.
Due to its deeply relaxing properties, Indica is usually used for symptoms associated with insomnia or anxiety, pain, and muscle spasms. Sativa, on the other hand, is more favourable for fatigue, depression, and other mood disorders because of its uplifting and euphoric properties.
There are some crazy strain names out there. With that being said, when trying to decipher whether a strain is a Sativa or Indica one of the last conventions hanging around is in the “Haze” or “Kush”. As it turns out, those aren’t just words used to make buying marijuana cooler; they actually mean something.
Sativa = Haze
Indica = Kush
See for yourself
The Green Gallery has plenty of Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid to choose from.
Looking for some relaxation?
Our Afghani is a heavy Indica strain named after its geographic origin, where the earliest varieties of cannabis are believed to have grown. Breeders worldwide have come to treasure Afghani for its heavy resin production which is passed on genetically. With a sweet, earthy aroma, Afghani delivers a deep, sedating relaxation and euphoria. Patients most commonly turn to this potent indica to treat insomnia, pain, and stress disorders.
The Purple Nuken strain is great if you’re looking for an Indica-dominant strain of medicinal cannabis to help you combat chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety and/or stress. Grown with passionate and devoted cannabis craft on wild and beautiful Vancouver Island, OG flower selections deliver the scents and flavours of natural cannabis at its best. It has a very strong dank, sweet, and musty smell. Not recommended for work breaks, driving or anything else that demands a whole lot of mental/physical involvement. A popular medical strain, it’s perfect for insomnia sufferers and boosting appetite.
Do your medical marijuana needs call for a Sativa?
Lemon Haze has been characterised as smelling of fresh-peeled lemon slices with a similar taste. Its buds appear to be green and yellow with amber hairs on the trichomes, giving it the yellow tint. This strain’s THC has been measured at about 15-20% with a CBD of 0.38%.