What’s The Difference Between Sativa and Indica Strains?

Sativa is one side of the coin. The other is Indica. Then, there are hybrid strains of the plant which contain a mixture of the two. But what are the real differences between these herbal varieties?

Sometimes the world of cannabis and hemp can be a tad confusing. Especially if you’re a newbie or just looking for the first time into using the plant. With legalization becoming widespread across North America in recent years, people want to know more about cannabis, its benefits, and more about its different varieties like Sativa and Indica.

There are various delivery methods for cannabis and hemp. They include smoking hemp flowers, vaporizing, using E-liquid, or taking edibles. These methods all offer different effects for the user as smoking cannabis offers immediate effects while edibles take a couple of hours to kick in. However, the best place to start is with the two main varieties: Sativa and Indica.

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Sativa Strains

To the trained eye, Sativa and Indica look different. Sativa plants are characterized by height (reaching up to 12 feet or more) with widely spread leaves and slightly wispy flowers. Sativa buds only grow on the bottom section of the plant’s stalk and need a lot of room to grow properly. Sativa leaves are also thinner than the Indica variety, and the buds are less dense.

In terms of effects, Sativa is loved by people wanting an uplifting experience. Many people believe that Sative strains will leave you feeling creative and lively – as opposed to stoned or lethargic which is typically more associated with Indica strains. It’s worth noting that Sativa strains are harder to grow successfully indoors than Indica, and due to this often carry a premium price tag when it comes to checkout.

sativa indica
A few key difference between indica and sativa strains

Indica strains 

The plant’s height can also help you identify an Indica. While Sativa grows tall, pure Indica strains are short, but the plants often contain an abundant amount of dense buds from top to bottom. Indica strains may be shorter, but they often produce a more substantial crop than Sativa, for the reasons stated above.

When it comes to effects, pure Indica strains are said to be sedative, offering a full body high as well as a cerebral one. Many people who use cannabis or hemp flowers – both medically and recreationally – choose Indica strains for nighttime use or when it’s time to go to bed. Anecdotal evidence also states that Indica strains are frequently used to treat pain and nausea.

Cannabis Hybrids

Hybrids are a relatively new innovation, at least when it comes to the variety on offer. Over the years, as cannabis and hemp been studied more and more by modern science and in the field of medicine, it has become more clearly understood. Cultivation methods – mainly indoor and hydroponic ones – have also significantly improved, and growers have been able to cross-breed different strains to produce Hybrids.

Most strains these days are hybrids, it’s actually quite rare to find a strain that’s 100 percent pure. The effects of Hybrid strains are often a mix between creative and uplifting as well as calm and relaxed, and that’s why so many people prefer cannabis Hybrids over pure Sativa or Indica strains.

Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid?

Having learned a little about the difference between Cannabis Sativa, Indica and Hybrid strains – both in terms of appearance and effects – the burning question is, what’s the right choice for you? It all depends on your specific needs and whether you want to feel stoned and tired or high and creative.

In recent years, it’s been up for debate whether there is truly a discernible difference between Indica and Sativa strains these days. Medically speaking, there have been no official studies on the effects of each type, although seasoned users will tell you there are some very obvious differences. 

Final Thoughts

Whichever variety you decide is the right one for you, always ensure that you consume cannabis  or hemp flowers legally and responsibly. It’s also always worth checking that flowers you buy, no matter what the variety or strain, has been grown according to industry standards and is tested for safety and potency by a third-party lab.

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Steven Bridge
Having been a cannabis and CBD aficionado for many years, Steven spends much of his time opposite a shiny MacBook, researching, exploring, understanding and creating interesting reading for people interested in knowing more about CBD, Vaping, Cannabis Strains and Delivery Methods, and just about anything related to magical green herbs that help people with anything from sleepless nights to pain.


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