What Are the Differences between Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa?

What Are the Differences between Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa

Sativa and Indica are the two most popular names you will come across when researching cannabis strains. Hybrid cannabis is another common type that falls somewhere between the two (Sativa and indica) and most budtenders use these names to gauge what a customer wants. Consensually, Sativa is recommendable to those seeking the invigorating energizing effects of cannabis. Indica, on the other hand, provides a more soothing high and therapy ideal for those who want to wind down. However, research on these claims is still scarce.

According to experts, the distinctions between cannabis products stem from the chemical composition, rather than the type of strain. But do these strains have different compositions that suggest their unique therapeutic effects? Here is a brief look at the main differences between cannabis Sativa and indica.

Cannabis Sativa Origin & Description

Sativa makes a majority of cannabis strains available in retails and dispensaries. This strain primarily grows in hot climates that feature long sunny days. They are prevalent in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America and parts of Western Asia. Cannabis Sativa plants also tend to grow up to 12 feet and characterize thin finger-like leaves. As such, they take longer to reach maturity. For a long time, farmers and retailers used Sativa to refer to the hemp cannabis varieties grown for fiber and seeds.

Cannabis Indica Origin & Description

Indica is another famous cannabis strain that is native to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Turkey. Unlike their Sativa relatives, indica varieties grow into short, bushy plants with chunky broad green leaves. They also mature faster than Sativa and produce more buds. When Sativa strains are mostly for seeds and fiber (hemp), indica is more suitable for extracting cannabinoids for the psychoactive and therapeutic effects of the plant. The term indica became popular in the 18th century to describe potent psychoactive varieties discovered in India.

Cannabinoid Ratios

Cannabinoid Ratios

While there are many misconceptions about what indica and Sativa strains can offer, it boils down to the chemical composition, particularly the proportions of active cannabinoids. There are more than 100 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) are the most prevalent. Other cannabinoids include CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol) and THCA (tetrahydrocannabinol acid).

THC is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana, responsible for the trademark high you get from inhaling or ingesting THC-rich products. CBD, on the other hand, provides most of the medicinal therapeutic benefits of the plant. CBD is not psychoactive, but you can find traces of THC in most CBD products. In the US, CBD products are legal as long as they are derived from hemp plants and contain no more than 0.3% THC. Cannabis plants have varying ratios of cannabinoids, so it is essential to examine these amounts before purchasing any cannabis product. Some common distinctions you should make include:

  • THC dominant cannabis

Like the name suggests, these cannabis products contain more THC than other cannabinoids. Both Cannabis Sativa and indica can be THC dominant. They are ideal for those seeking the potent euphoric effects of cannabis. THC also has its unique medicinal value and can aid the treatment of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

  • CBD dominant cannabis

CBD dominant cannabis contains more CBD and negligible traces of THC. They suit patients sensitive to THC or those who require regular drug tests. CBD is a medicinal compound manufactures use in drugs such as Epidiolex and Sativex. Therefore, it is recommendable for treating specific symptoms or illnesses such as chronic pain, seizures, PMS (post-menopausal syndrome) and post-chemo symptoms, among others.

  • Balanced THC and CBD

These options contain similar amounts of THC and CBD. As such, they offer both mild euphoric effects of THC and the therapeutic symptom relief of CBD. Balanced THC and CBD cannabis products are perfect for anyone seeking the signature “high” of marijuana, without taking too much.

Uses and effects

Uses and effects

Cannabis sativa is the most prevalent option available on the market. This is because the term initially referred to industrial hemp, which is the recommendable source for legal cannabis products such as CBD. Sativa is also thought to provide a more refreshing and energizing effect. Since marijuana is still illegal in some places, indica isn’t as popular as Sativa. However, they are always readily available in both online and land-based dispensaries.

Indica is thought to provide a relaxing calming effect. Because of this, it suits night and late evening use. It can also help you wind down and slumber into sleep. Sativa’s stimulating effects make it suitable for daytime use and around your workout. Nonetheless, you should pay more attention to the THC/CBD concentrations when picking cannabis products, as these cannabinoids dictate the experience you get.

There are several ways of taking cannabis products, but they fall into four major categories; inhalation, ingestion, sublingual and topical application. If you are considering cannabis use for medical reasons, it is recommendable to consult your physician for the right mode of delivery. You can find different Sativa and indica strains with potency in providing distinct therapeutic benefits.


Medical and recreational cannabis is legal in many places, including several states in the US, Canada, and the UK. CBD is virtually legal in most areas, but some rules regulate its source to prevent THC-laced products from reaching markets where marijuana is still illegal. Both Sativa and indica strains contain THC and CBD as well as terpenes, flavonoids and several other plant phytochemicals. It is essential to check the laws in your state before purchasing cannabis products regardless of the strain.


Cannabis sativa and indica strains have a few distinctions, specifically concerning how the plants look. Other than that, their chemical compositions are relatively similar. Various growth and processing factors also influence the final product you get. It is advisable to carefully read through the label to know the exact amounts or concentrations of cannabinoids and other active compounds in your product. Purchasing from credible licensed dispensaries can provide accountability and guarantees. You can also look up for reviews and expert ratings to find reputable retailers that can offer high-quality, safe cannabis products: seeds, seedlings, flowers, buds and finished vaping and edibles.

The Hemp Oil Benefits

As a passionate writer and researcher, the cannabis expert is an important cornerstone of The Hemp Oil Benefits. He has been writing for large but also smaller websites in the industry for many years. His experience and expertise is a welcome addition to our team. Learn more about us.

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