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Indica Vs. Sativa – what’s the difference?

When walking into any dispensary nearby, you are usually faced with either an option of Indica or Sativa products. You probably aren’t aware of the numerous differences between the two types of products. We will be looking at the intricate details that make each product unique and effective for a selected function. With this information, you can be able to select a product that is tailor-made to meet your needs.

For starters, the cannabis species is divided into three subspecies;

  1. Sativa: famously known for its high THC levels, this sub-species energizes and uplifts its consumers.
  2. Indica: perfect for consuming in the evening or at night since it has calming and relaxing effects.
  3. Cannabis Ruderalis: these are small in size, and structure and their potency levels and yields are lower than the rest of the subspecies. Its inability to match up to the other two is why little focus is placed on it.

Differences between Indica and Sativa


Cannabis indica is characterized by dark green, broad, and chunky leaves. It has a short and bushy structure.

Sativa is tall and slim with thin and pointed light green leaves.

Energy levels and productivity

Indica is a depressant by nature in that they reduce the user’s energy levels and introduce a calm and relaxed mood. Highly potent Indica may cause a couch-lock effect that keeps the user glued on the couch. This is why it is advised to use it in the evening or at night.

Sativa is a stimulant thus; it boosts the moods of the user by increasing the energy levels. They promote and enhance productivity and creativity.


Managing and treating diseases like fibromyalgia, epilepsy, cancer, and arthritis is possible with cannabis Indica because it is good for treating inflammation.

Sativa works best on psychological disorders like PTSD, depression, and anxiety.


Indica can be identified by its musty, earthy, and skunky odor, whereas Sativa has a fruity, spicy, and sweet odor.


Cannabis indica originates from India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Afghanistan. It thrives best in a harsh and dry climate.

Cannabis Sativa can be easily found in hot and dry areas characterized by sunny days. The ideal areas for it to thrive include Africa, South East Asia, and some areas in the West of Asia.


The Indica subspecies are famous for their ability to grow and mature quickly, making it the most preferred plant to cultivate. It also produces higher yields.

Sativa takes around six months to fully mature. After budding, it takes a whole 10-12 weeks before it is mature enough for harvest. It is a huge plant that grows as high as 20 feet.

CBD-THC ratio

Cannabis Indica has higher CBD levels than THC levels, making it ideal for medicinal application, while Sativa contains more THC than CBD.

Best time to consume

Indica is most suited for night consumption due to its relaxing effects. It can help promote a good night’s sleep for anyone suffering from insomnia and nightmares.

The stimulating effects of Cannabis Sativa make it ideal for day-time consumption. It is an effective energy booster that promotes productivity and creativeness.


New strains of cannabis are being created constantly. Hybrids are a mixture of Indica and Sativa in varying proportions. This is because cultivators and other individuals in the Cannabis industry strive to ensure that patients and recreational users of cannabis with varying preferences get what they are looking for.

Each cannabis strain works differently on its users hence the need to find a suitable match for one’s recreational and medical needs.

What determines if a sub-species is Indica or Sativa?

THC and CBD are the most popular cannabinoids found on both cannabis strains. The over 700 strains available contain different THC-CBD ratios making it hard to know if a plant is either Indica or Sativa from its THC or CBD levels.

Most people think that cannabis is categorized as Indica or Sativa, depending on which cannabinoids are present. Well, some reports tend to differ from this assumption. According to reports, terpenes are the components that determine the status of a cannabinoid.

Terpenes are responsible for the smell produced by cannabis plants. These oils are aromatic. There are over 100 terpenes in a cannabis plant, and the presence of particular ones dictate if a plant will have a pine, citrus, or mint smell.

Myrcene is a terpene that aids in promoting sleep and suppressing anxiety and insomnia in patients. If the amount of myrcene is greater than 0.5% in a cannabis plant, that particular strain is classified as Indica, whereas if it has less than 0.5% myrcene content, it is a Sativa strain.


This article comprehensively covers the Indica vs. Sativa issue. It contains the key differences in appearance, effects, medicinal value, aroma, growth, and recreational value. From here, you can easily identify what strain correlates with your need, thus making an informed purchase.