• Ayush Thej, MSc
  • Knowledge Base

Sativa & Indica – What’s The Difference?

Evidence Based
If you’ve ever smoked weed, you probably have come across the terms hybrid, sativa and indica. In fact, you probably come across these quite often, but if you’ve ever stopped and wondered what they actually mean, you’re in luck. This post will guide you through the differences between these strains without expecting you to be an expert cultivator of marijuana.

INTRODUCTION

It’s a good idea to know the difference and how these differences can affect you when you’re high. While some of these terms might seem complicated at first, after you completely read this post, you should know enough about the differences between the indica and sativa strains of marijuana and how these differences can impact the high that you get when you smoke these strains.

It’s All In The Leaf

I know it seems kind of anti-climactic, but if you look at the leaves of indica and sativa plants, you can see quite a difference. If you want to impress fellow stoners, let them know that although there is some difference in terms of the THC of these strains, the most basic way you can tell them apart is by looking at their leaves.

indica vs strain

What Sativa Plants Look Like

Also called “king of the jungle”, sativa marijuana plants are called this because they make you feel like a king thanks to the special high you get.

This name also refers to the height of typical sativa plants, since they can grow as high as 12 feet in outdoor settings. They also grow in an upward direction with each branch straining towards the sky. When it comes to bud concentration, very few of the buds grow in the direction of the stalk.

The usable portion of the plant is located fifty percent of the way from the plant’s stalk. It’s important to note that sativa varieties require a lot of space due to their huge size as well as the spacing of their buds and branches.

Sativa leaves are also much slimmer compared to indica leaves. They almost look scrawny. A lot of cultivators describe sativa leaves as pencil-like in thickness. Also, they tend to bunch together. They’re at the bottom of the plant, which of course, gives form to the classic cannabis leaf image.

sativa weed plant

What Indica Plants Look Like

The indica strain of cannabis is much smaller. In fact, it usually reaches a maximum height of about half the typical sativa plant. We’re talking about approximately 6 feet. Don’t let its relatively small size fool you though. While they do have a smaller overall footprint, indica plants are usually the go-to pot plant for professional weed growers all over the world.

How come? You can pack a lot more indica plants in a smaller growing space. This is a big deal because if you’re growing weed indoors, you need to maximize space while at the same time ensuring yourself a fairly high yield. The indica variety of marijuana delivers on both fronts.

This plant’s shape is quite similar to the overall shape of pine trees. The indica branches start at some point in the top and as you proceed towards the bottom of the plant, it becomes denser and denser (which is why its overall form is often compared to that of pine trees).

indica weed plant

When it comes to the usable portions of indica, they cluster at the base of its stalk and is pretty much tightly packed throughout the plant. Also, the buds of this variety are very hearty and thick. This leads to a much richer yield of flowers and colas.

If you want to quickly identify a strain of indica plants, look at its flat, wide and fat leaf shape. This is in stark contrast to sativa leaves which have the same general pattern, but with much thinner or pencil-like leaf thickness. In fact, indica leaves can be double or even triple the width of the typical sativa leaf.

indica vs sativa plant

Sativa Strain Potency

Sativa strains usually pack a high that delivers quite a bit of energy to the smoker. If you are in any kind of social gathering or you have your friends around and you’d like to carry on a conversation or actually do stuff, this is probably the right choice for you. You will get a nice high, but you can still manage to keep with conversations, you can do stuff and still be fairly productive.

Accordingly, a lot of experienced weed smokers prefer this strain if they need to smoke during the day. It is also known to give you a nice rush of cerebral energy. It doesn’t feel like you’re in another dimension. Instead, you can actually think things through while feeling a nice little, mild surge of pure energy. Some people describe this as “bliss” or a sense of joy.

When viewed in comparison to the ratio of CBD in its extract form, the sativa strain actually shows a higher proportion of THC when compared to indica. Cannabis sativa strains also have a positive mood effect on patients which leads to quite a high. Not surprisingly, patients would rather use this strain as they go about their day.

To conclude, sativa is more likely to deliver energy to a smoker. It tends to act like a stimulant. Accordingly, it’s recommended for the treatment of:

  • Nausea
  • Chronic pain
  • Migraines

Indica Strain Potency

Indica strains will provide you with big time relaxation. Let’s just get that out of the way. If you don’t have any plans for the rest of the day or if you are looking to fall asleep quickly after a long day, seriously consider smoking some cannabis indica. It’s almost guaranteed to take care of the job.

A lot of people describe this marijuana strain as “magical” especially if you use it after sundown. You get a nice little mix of serenity, inner calm, peace and deep intoxication.

Now this all depends on the strain that you’re using. Some hit you like a ton of bricks while others feel like a massage. You really can’t do much of anything because indica packs quite a bit of a punch in terms of its delivery of THC.

In its pure form, indica actually has a lot more CBD content than THC. This is the mirror opposite of what you see in the typical sativa variety.

Both indica and sativa strains have medical benefits. However, since their THC concentrations are quite different, they have different effects for people who smoke them.

If you’ve been smoking weed for quite some time, you know that indica is best used at night or right before you go to sleep. Indica strains have traditionally been viewed as more sedative in nature. Accordingly, indica is great for taking care of the following conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Insomnia

If you have tried one sleeping pill after another and nothing seems to work, you definitely might want to check out an indica strain. Right after you smoke it, not only do you feel high, but you also experience a sense of heaviness coming over which is then followed by these waves of relaxation and deep comfort.

It’s as if you are surrounded by this very, very soft mattress, and you can feel it from the top of your head to the surface of your skin. It really is something else.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of the specific type of high you’re looking for, there is going to be at least one type of marijuana strain that will take care of whatever problems you’re having. Whether you’re looking to lift your spirit, stay calm, get a nice surge of energy or simply relax, there will either be a sativa or indica strain that will take care of your needs.

It also helps to be aware of the difference between indica and sativa the next time you and your friends get together. By understanding these differences, you would understand which variety would help you continue to function socially while also having a fun time.

Similarly, if you’re looking to relax at night after struggling with sleep issues or insomnia for quite some time, you would know enough to pick a certain marijuana strain that will give you the relaxation that you’ve been craving.

Moreover, if you are big into hybrids (hybrids are essentially a combination of sativa and indica) and you’re looking for a nice little mix of effects (maybe you’re looking for the energy of sativa with the relaxation power of indica), this post should give you enough information to guide your next cannabis purchasing decision.

hybrid strain weed

Regardless of which strain you go with, it’s always a good idea to research the specific variety you’re about to smoke. You have to use your discretion. You still have to be a responsible consumer. Know exactly what you’re getting into.

If you’re going to be smoking in the middle of the day, and you have duties, responsibilities and obligations to attend to, understand that it’s not a good idea to smoke an indica-based variety. At all times, you have to be a responsible marijuana consumer. This is our goal at HerbMighty: to provide valuable and insightful information about marijuana that enables you to make educated decisions.

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