Sativa Strains vs. Indica Strains: What’s the Difference?

Marijuana leaves, cannabisToday’s medical marijuana patients have access to thousands of cannabis strains, which fall under the terms Sativa, Indica, hybrid and CBD dominant. Whether purchasing edibles, tinctures or other marijuana products for therapeutic use, it’s important to have a grasp on their predictive effects.

Marijuana plants originating from Mexico, Columbia, Thailand and other warm-weather countries are classified as Cannabis sativa, while those native to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Morocco are labeled Cannabis indica.

Sativa versus Indica – plant characteristics

What are the differences between Sativa and Indica strains? In terms of plant characteristics, the two varieties are easy to distinguish.

Sativa plants thrive in tropical climates, where they have adapted to specific weather patterns. They are taller (normally 8-12 feet), almost Christmas-tree shaped, with long thin leaves and airy buds that can ward off mold and fungus.

Indica plants, by contrast, fair better in colder climates common in the Middle East. It maxes out at about 4-feet tall and is noted for its dense branches and wide, dark green leaves. Unlike the fluffy, wispy buds of Sativa strains, the Indica has dense and tightly packed buds that are firm to the touch.

Different medicinal effects

In the context of medical benefits and therapeutic effects, there are general conceptions about Sativa vs Indica.

Medicinal cannabis products using sativa strains generally have lower CBD and higher THC levels, which creates an energizing effect. For this reason, they tend to be more popular for daytime use. Sativa is said to promote creativity, enhance focus, stimulate the senses, and boost creativity.

Cannabis sativa products are often used to treat:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches
  • Mood disorders
  • ADD and ADHD

The Indica strain is known for its physically sedating and relaxing effect. It has higher levels of cannabidiol, making it ideal for people suffering from pain-related insomnia. Medical marijuana from Indica strains are commonly used to help ease:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle spasms
  • Sleep disorders
  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Nausea
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Inflammation caused by lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

These broad generalizations on the predictive effects of Indica and Sativa are just that – generalizations. Not all sativa strains are uplifting, and some indica strains may not give you the deep, sedated feeling you need. Different cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles are what actually determines a product’s psychoactive or medicinal effects. Studies have even demonstrated that terpenes can alter the effect of THC on the brain and body.

Importance of medical marijuana testing

Instead of choosing a cannabis product based on a Sativa or Indica classification, it’s important to understand the chemical compounds at play. For accurate terpene and cannabinoid profile testing, you can rely on Modern Canna Science – Florida’s premier cannabis testing laboratory.

Contact our Florida offices to learn more about our broad range of services.

Additional Resources on Indica Strain vs Sativa Strain:

  1. Terra Vida, SATIVA VS. INDICA VS. HYBRID: UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE https://www.terravidahc.com/blog-1/2018/6/19/sativa-vs-indica-vs-hybrid-understanding-the-difference
  2. Grobo, Indica vs Sativa: Everything You Need to Know https://www.grobo.io/blogs/grobo/indica-vs-sativa
  3. Leafly, Indica vs. Sativa: What’s the Difference Between Cannabis Types? https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/sativa-indica-and-hybrid-differences-between-cannabis-types

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