The difference between Indica and Sativa. Do they matter?

Indica vs. Sativa

When classifying different strains of cannabis, the terms sativa and indica are commonly used to refer to a particular strain’s effects on a person. For many people, simply knowing that a strain is an “indica” or “sativa” tells them everything they need to know about what kind of experience they’re going to have.

However, many experienced cannabis users know this isn’t precisely accurate. So why do so many people still use this terminology?

This article will teach you what the terms indica and sativa describe, explain what a “hybrid” is, and show you how to decide which strain is right for you.

More THC or CBD?

If we’re going to talk about the main differences between indica vs. sativa strains of cannabis, we must first understand that pretty much every famous strain falls under one of those two labels. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that every strain labeled as “indica” or “sativa” will impact you the same way.

To understand this better, let’s look at cannabis from a chemistry perspective. Marijuana has hundreds of known compounds in it, but it’s the two main types of cannabinoids that determine a strain’s classification.

THC is short for “tetrahydrocannabinol,” and CBD stands for “cannabidiol.” Together, THC and CBD are what make up most of marijuana’s chemical makeup. As one would expect, both have a different effect on people when consumed – although many do not know that this effect can differ from person to person. For example, high levels of THC get people “high,” while high levels of CBD are known to have more calming properties.

So, when you consume a cannabis strain, the levels of THC and CBD will determine the effects that strain has on you.

The Effects of Indica vs. Sativa

Now that we know a little about the cannabinoids THC and CBD let’s look at how indica and sativa strains produce their effects.

Indica strains are bred to have higher levels of CBD. This cannabinoid is known for its psychoactive properties – it gets you “high.” Indicas are typically used to treat pain, anxiety, and insomnia.

Other common indica effects may include:

  • A feeling of deep relaxation and calm
  • A decrease in anxiety
  • An increase in appetite

On the other hand, sativa strains are bred to have higher levels of THC. This cannabinoid is known for producing a happy and mellow effect. Sativas are typically used to help with depression, nausea, and mood disorders such as stress and anxiety.

Other common sativa effects may include:

  • An uplifting euphoric state
  • A feeling of energy or excitement
  • Increased creativity or imagination
  • Improved focus and alertness

As you can see, some of the properties of indica vs. sativa strains come down to the levels of THC and CBD in the strain. However, it’s key to remember that these are not the only two cannabinoids in marijuana and that other cannabinoids and terpenes can also affect your experience.

Furthermore, not every experience with each strain will be the same. Your high can depend on several factors, including the amount you consume, how your body reacts to it, and your personal preference.


Now, what about strains that are a mix of indica and sativa?

Well, as you might have guessed, these strains will have effects that are a mix of the two. Hybrids can be bred to have higher levels of THC or CBD, or they can have balanced levels of both. Your experience will still depend on other factors, but they should be attributed to the particular strain you consumed.

One example of a hybrid is “OG Kush.” This famous strain has balanced levels of CBD and THC. OG Kush is typically used to help relax muscles, reduce stress, and ease nausea.

Another example is “Blue Dream.” This strain is a sativa-dominant hybrid that has high levels of THC. Blue Dream is known for its euphoric and creative effects.

It’s worth mentioning that not all hybrids will have the same effects. It depends on the ratios of THC to CBD and how those cannabinoids interact with each other.

How to Pick the Right Strain For You

One of the best ways to determine which sativa vs. indica strain is suitable for you is by trying them both.

Start by trying a strain labeled as either an indica or sativa. Then, if you like how one affects you, try out another strain in the same category. For example, do you want a more relaxed body high or an uplifting mental high?

You can also try out hybrids that have balanced levels of THC and CBD. You might find one that’s perfect for your needs. 

In general, sativa strains are considered better for daytime use because they carry more of an uplifting, cerebral effect. On the other hand, Indica strains are more commonly used to help with insomnia and relax before bedtime.

As mentioned before, different strains may have varying levels of THC to CBD. So even though your first experience with a sativa strain may be great, there may exist a hybrid with a higher CBD level that will have different effects on you.

If you’re not sure which strain you should try, figure out the levels of THC and CBD in the strain, then decide from there.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, it’s not as simple as saying, “indica strains are good for this, and sativa strains are good for that.” The effects of different strains will depend on the levels of cannabinoids and the other chemicals in the strain. 

As a result, it’s essential to do your research before you consume marijuana and to be aware of the different strains and their potential effects.

It’s also important to remember that there’s a wide range of cannabinoid and terpene levels in each strain. Furthermore, the same strain may affect two different people differently.

If you’re new to cannabis, it may take some time to determine which types of strains are best suited for your needs. However, with trial and error, you should be able to find the right one for you.

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