What is the Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

When consuming marijuana for medical purposes, it is best to know the differences between the plants. Sativa and Indica are the two major types of cannabis plants. When they are bred together they create a hybrid strain. Each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits. Marijuana strains range from pure Sativa to pure Indica and Hybrid strains consisting of both Indica and Sativa. Because Sativa and Indica buds have very different medicinal benefits and effects, certain strains can be targeted to better treat specific illnesses.
Patient knowledge and expectations can play a significant role the experience and effects of Indica or Sativa, but this varies by Patient. Two other types of cannabis compounds, Tetrahydrocannabinol THCCannabinoids and Terpenes, have the most impact when it comes to smell, taste, effect and benefit. Cannabinoids are molecular structures with unique properties and medicinal benefits. Terpenes are the main building block of any plant resin or “essential oils” and contribute to the scent, flavor, and colors. These too have their own set of effects. If you’ve ever consumed medical marijuana in the 10% THC range and felt a stronger effect than expected, it was because of the Terpenes, and not the Cannabinoids. In this way, cannabis strains are the sum of smaller parts that may be passed on genetically. This information helps explain the consistency with certain strain types, but since these are living plants they will evolve over generations.

Indica Cannabis

Indica plants typically grow short and wide. Its leaves have short, wide fingers and are deep green, often tinged with purple. It has short branches laden with thick, dense marijuana buds, which mature early. Indica Marijuana LeafThe marijuana buds vary in color from dark green to purple, just like their leaves. Under cooler conditions, the coloration becomes more intense. The marijuana buds have little trouble maturing under the cool conditions of our northern climate. The best Indica have a relaxing social high, which allows the person to sense and feel the environment, but does not lead to thinking or analyzing the experience.
The high produced from smoking or consuming a Indica is often described as a pleasant body buzz or strong physical body high that tend make patients sleepy. Indica dominant medical marijuana strains tend to have a strong sweet or sour odor to the buds providing a very relaxing and strong body high that is helpful in treating general anxiety, body pain, and sleeping disorders. Indica are typically consumed in the late evening or even right before bed due to how sleepy and tired you become from the high. That is why Indicas are great for relaxation, stress relief, and for an overall sense of calm and serenity. Marijuana Indica are also very effective for overall body pain relief, and often used in the treatment of insomnia. A few pure Indica strains are very potent in THC, and will cause the “couchlock” effect especially when eating Indica edibles, enabling the smoker to simply sit still and enjoy the effect.

Benefits of Indica:

1. Relieves body pain
2. Relaxes muscles
3. Relieves spasms, reduces seizures
4. Relieves headaches and migraines
5. Relieves anxiety or stress

Sativa Cannabis

Sativa plants can grow remarkably tall, some even reaching a soaring height of up to twenty feet. Sativa are known to give off a far more pungent aroma than that of an Indica, but yields significantly less flowers per plant. Sativa Marijuana LeafThe marijuana buds are long and thin, far less densely populated than the Indica, although much longer in length. When medicating with a sativa, the high is very cerebral. You get a rush of energy and a buzz in the body, a great way of getting work done without being sucked into your couch. The sativa high is thought of as being uplifting and optimistic. It is also said that since Sativa contain a very high THC content, they are best for dealing with certain pain symptoms.
Sativa dominant marijuana strains tend to have a more grassy type odor to the buds providing an uplifting, energetic and “cerebral” high that is
best suited for daytime smoking. A sativa high is one filled with creativity and energy as being high on sativa can spark new ideas and creations. Many artists take advantage of the creative powers of cannabis sativa to help boost creativity. The sativa high is often characterized as uplifting and energetic. The effects of a sativa marijuana are mostly cerebral. They give a feeling of optimism and well being, as well as providing a good measure of pain relief for certain symptoms. A few pure Sativa are also very high in THC content. They are known to have a quite spacey, or hallucinogenic, effect. Sativa are a good choice for daytime smoking.

Benefits of Sativa:

1. Feelings of well-being and at-ease
2. Up-lifting and cerebral thoughts
3. Stimulates and energizes
4. Increases focus and creativity
5. Fights depression


Hybrid cannabis strains provide the best of both worlds. Expert breeders select the top sativa and Indica strains and combine them into super strains that maintain the best aspects from both parents. Hybrids can be broken down into three basic categories, Sativa-dominant Hybrids, Even Hybrids, and Indica-dominant Hybrids. Sativa-dominant Hybrids give a cerebral high with a relaxing body effect that provides physical and mental relief. Even Hybrids (50/50) are ideal strains for people seeking a perfect balance of head and body. Finally, Indica-dominant Hybrids. These strains provide a full-body pain relief, with a relaxing head high. Recommended for nighttime use to go to sleep, or daytime relief from minor pain, hybrid strains are perfect for patients who suffer from all types of conditions marijuana can treat.