Sativa vs indica

Both sativa and indica variants of cannabis are ideal for recreation and medicinal use. The sativa produces energizing effects that not only invigorate but also relieve users of stress and anxiety. On the other hand, Indica provides relaxation besides helping users in coping with insomnia. As we embark on the journey to compare sativa vs. indica, always remember that the benefits you derive from cannabis do not depend on its type.

The debate on these two variants stems from early century scientists Jean Baptiste Lamarck and Charles Darwin. In his theory of evolution, Lamarck stated that as animals and plants evolved, they developed new traits. However, Darwin, in the Origin of Species, noted that it took generations for the changes in Lamarck’s theory to take place.

However, Lamarck’s marijuana theory holds water up to the present. In his view, Cannabis has two species, sativa and indica. The two plant variants grew and evolved in different locations. Their surroundings determined, among other things, the appearance, taste, and effect on users.

Effects of sativa and Indica, in Lamarck’s view

Going by Larmack’s theory, the sativa high is uplifting and mood-enhancing. Besides, the strain befits social settings. On the contrary, indica has a calming and sedating high. Also, it relieves pain and removes stress.

From this logic, one would think that the different traits are as a result of physical appearance and genetic differences. The chemical makeup is what produces the varying effects.

Indica and Sativa Plants

The sativa plant is tall and features narrow leaves. It takes longer to flower than the indica and thrives under warm climate. On its part, the indica has a short stature with broad leaves. It has short flowering cycles and grows in cold weather.

Carl Linneaus coined the term ‘sativa’ when describing hemp cultivated in Western Eurasia and Europe. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck named the ‘indica’ variant while describing similar plants grown in India.

Most of what you consume is Cannabis indica. However, users and sellers use either indica or sativa interchangeably, sometimes in error. People use the term ‘sativa’ for all narrow-leaf varieties that induce energy in user’s bodies. Despite this reference, the NLD’s (narrow-leaf drugs) were cannabis indica species from India.

Besides, when talking about ‘indica,’ both dealers and users refer to the broad-leafed cannabis that has a sedating effect. Technically, the BLDs (broad-leaf drugs) are cannabis indica species from Afghanistan.

Cannabinoids ratios

Cannabis contains numerous chemical compounds best referred to as cannabinoids. The effects you feel, whether positive or negative, stem from these chemicals. However, two of the substances stand out from the rest. These are:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): It is the main compound and is responsible for the euphoric feeling experienced by cannabis users.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD): It does not produce a high but has other benefits such as pain relief, ease from migraines, and prevention of seizures.

With that understanding, we can now compare the ratio THC and CBD content. Sativa has a low CBD but high THC content. Since it produces a stimulating effect, sativa is ideal for daytime use. Some of the popular strains include the Durban Poison, Panama Red, and Acapulco Gold.

For indica, its CBD levels are high while THC is low. Marijuana users love indica for the relaxation it brings. It also reduces pain, gets rid of nausea, and helps increase your appetite. The best time to consume indica is at night since that is the time you need to relax. Popular strains include Granddaddy Purple, Afghan Kush, and the Hindu Kush.

At this stage, we can comfortably summarize sativa vs. indica differences as follows:

Sativa Indica
·        Tall plant (may grow up to 20 feet)

·        It has skinny leaves

·        Takes long to mature (its flowering period takes 60-90 days)

·        Produces cerebral effects

·        Has a musty aroma

·        Best consumed during the day

·        Originated in equatorial regions (Thailand, Mexico, Columbia)

·        Short plant (grows up to three or four feet)

·        It has broad leaves

·        Has a shorter growth period (it takes 45-65 days before flowering)

·        Produces a sedating effect

·        Has a sweet flavor

·        Best consumed at night

·        Originated in India


A potent strain of indica will give you a couchlock. You feel incredibly relaxed such that you cannot pull yourself up from the sofa. That is why we recommend consuming it at night when you have completed all the day’s activities. Sativa is the exact opposite; it enhances productivity and creativity – the more reason you need it during the day.

Sativa and Indica – a medicinal perspective

We have already established that cannabis indica strains decrease energy while the sativa variant uplifts the mind. Besides, sativa strains take too long before they are ready for harvesting. Also, this cannabis variety has a lower medicinal value than indica. When searching for cannabis medicine, you will notice that indica strains dominate availability.

A similar scenario prevails in the black market. However, the need for profit drives this market; hence, dealers prefer the indica since they can obtain the product and get it to their buyers quickly. Nonetheless, medical cannabis cultivators have both strains to deal with user conditions, lifestyle, and preferences.

  1. Indica

Indica helps relieve pain, muscle spasms, and anxiety. The calm nature of this cannabis variety enables you to recuperate. Below are the conditions indica treats:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Nausea

However, you should never ingest indica marijuana when you need to stay alert. Indica strains can leave you feeling unmotivated and depressed.

  1. Sativa

Cannabis sativa uplifts and energizes users, hence the reason you should ingest it during the day. You become more creative with a burst of energy all day. Sativa treats medical conditions like:

  • Depression
  • ADHD

You can also use the strain for the management of HIV/AIDS, anorexia, and cancer. Sativa’s side effects include paranoia and panic.

Final thoughts

We trust that you can now differentiate sativa vs. indica. To derive most of the benefits mentioned, you need to find out what suits you best. Besides the information we have provided, you can go ahead and speak to your doctor. Retailers are also helpful, but by experimenting, you settle on your ideal strain.