Difference Between Sativa And Indica

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There are two different types of cannabis plants – Indica and Sativa. Each kind of plant has different effects on both the body and mind. Frequently, especially in today’s rapidly more sophisticated and legal markets, the two plants are also interbred to create special hybrids.

The original classification of cannabis Indica was made in 1785 by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

leaves of indica and sativa


Indica plants can be identified by the fact that they are the stubbier of the two breeds – with wider leaves. This also makes them better for small indoor growing spaces, particularly as they have more chlorophyll and less of the pigment that helps protect plants from too much direct sunlight.

The high produced by Indica is more of a “body” high that induces sleep and creates deep relaxation.

Indica strains also tend to have a strong sweet or sour odour (for example Kush).

Indica strains are frequently used to treat general anxiety, body pain and sleeping disorders as well as to treat the muscle spasms created by movement disorders. They are also thought to have originated in the Hindu Kush region near Afghanistan. The thick coats of resin common to this strain of pot also protect the plant from harsh climate conditions.

hemp field

Indica plants and strains also tend to produce heavier yields than Sativa strains.

Indica plants tend to have higher THC to CBD ratios, whereas the CBD content of sativa and sativa dominant strains makes these ratios lower.


In sharp contrast to Indica, Sativa plants grow tall and slender, which makes them better suited for large industrial indoor grows or outside cultivation. Sativa strains create highs that are more energetic, “cerebrally stimulating” and uplifting. Many people smoke Sativa as they engage on artistic projects such as painting.
Sativa strains tend to have a “grassy” odour. The most popular Sativa strains include Purple Haze and Mauwie Wauwie. The plants thrive in temperate areas closer to the equator. They also tend to have a longer maturation cycle than Indica plants. Cibdol uses Sativa exclusively.

Indica-Sativa hybrids

Indica and Sativa are so closely related however, that they are frequently cross-bred, creating what are called hybrids. Users should experiment with different strains and hybrids to find the right efficacy and right high type that meets their needs or that they enjoy the most. This is not an “overnight” project, and is highly subjective, ranging from patient to patient.

One of the greatest shortcomings of the black market is the inability of users, particularly medical users, to reliably access the right strain for their condition.

New hybrid strains are constantly being created.

hemp and blue sky

The entourage effect

This is a relatively new theory that believes that the strain levels of a terpenoid called Myrcene is actually more responsible for creating the differences in psychoactive differences between Indica and Sativa than the percentages and concentrations of THC and CBD.

Terpenoids (or terpenes as they are also known) are synthesized in the secretory cells of the plant and production is increased by exposure to light. Terpenes are also mostly found in high concentrations of unfertilized female cannabis plants as they are growing. They are found in many other plants – usually present to protect the plant from pests – and as a result also emit strong scents and flavours. Some people believe that terpenoid research may be the next big “cutting edge” of research in how medical marijuana, in particular, impacts certain kinds of health conditions.

Myrcene itself has specific medicinal properties, including lowering the resistance across the blood-brain barrier, allowing itself and other chemicals to cross the barrier more quickly. It is also not just found in marijuana – in fact it is most widely consumed as part of the essential oils found in citrus fruit. Some people in fact claim that eating certain kinds of citrus, including mango, 45 minutes before consuming marijuana, will result in a faster result and greater intensity.

The term “entourage effect” was coined by Dr. Ethan Russo when he published a paper in the British Journal of Pharmacology describing the synergies of other compounds found in cannabis as well as the fact that they are typically not present in “CBD-only” products. Russo has also suggested that cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions could also produce synergies in the treatment of many chronic conditions – ranging from depression to cancer and bacterial infections.


Terpenes are present in both Indica and Sativa strains of cannabis.
That said, Indica strains tend to have a dominance of myrcene combined with other terpinoids called limonene or a-pinene. Sativa strains, in contrast appear to have more complex terpene profiles.

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