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What’s the Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

difference between indica and sativa

With so many different cannabis strains producing a bevy of effects, properly categorizing them is crucial to ensuring that patients know what to expect from their cannabis. The simplest way to categorize these strains is by breaking them up into three simple groups: indica, sativa, and hybrids. 

What’s the Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

Indica and sativa strains produce very different effects.

Indica strains are known for their strong physical buzz and sedating effects. Indica weed will calm you and relax you both physically and mentally. Indica strains are known for their ability to produce a full-body buzz that is sedating, relaxing, sleep-inducing, and appetite-stimulating. Additionally, indica weed produces a spacey and stoney head high that is much more toned down than that produced by sativas. Because of their sedating effects, indica strains are best used at nighttime and are preferred by those seeking relief from pain, insomnia, and eating disorders. 

What’s the difference between indica and sativa? Sativa strains are known for their uplifting cerebral stimulation and their strong cerebral euphoria. These strains are prized for their head buzz and typically feature only a mild body high. They have also been known to boost creativity, improve focus, energize, and instill a sense of happiness. Because of their uplifting effects, these strains are perfect for daytime use and can be useful to those who seek relief from anxiety, stress, and depression. 

difference between indica and sativa

There are also differences between the plants that produce these buds. Indica plants tend to grow shorter and bushier, while sativa plants tend to grow tall and lanky with thinner leaves. Additionally, physical differences can also sometimes occur in the buds themselves. Indica buds can sometimes be wispier and looser while sativa buds tend to be a little more solid. 

Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid

Not all strains fall into either category. Some strains contain a combination of genetics from both types of plants. These strains are called hybrids. 

Depending on how much of its genetics are influenced by each side, hybrid strains can be either indica-dominant or sativa-dominant. These strains will produce a mix of physical and cerebral effects depending on their genetics. Some strains are a perfect 50/50 mix of both categories. These strains produce both a significant head buzz and a significant body buzz. When it comes to indica vs. sativa vs. hybrid, patients seeking both physical and mental relief are usually better off with a hybrid strain. 

Where Do the Terms Come From?

Originally, the difference between indica and sativa had nothing to do with effects. The two terms originated in the 18th century as a way to describe two species of cannabis: Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Sativa referred to the hemp plants that originated from Europe and Eurasia, while Indica was used to refer to the mind-altering and intoxicating variety of cannabis that originated from the Hindu Kush mountain range in India and Pakistan.

Today, these terms have been repurposed to refer only to the effects produced by strains. In reality, all cannabis strains that produce any kind of intoxicating or mind-altering effects are of the cannabis indica variety. 
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