The Differences Between Sativa vs Indica

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The Differences Between Sativa vs Indica

Nov 30, 2020 | Tips & Tricks

Have you ever smoked sativa before? How about indica?

If you said “no” to both (and have smoked weed before), there’s some marijuana education you might be missing. Sativa and indica aren’t names of specialty strains. These names refer to the species of cannabis plant the strain comes from.

There is another species out there called ruderalis, but it isn’t as widespread. Today, the biggest comparison out there is sativa vs. indica, as well as the hybrids that contain a mix of both.

So what’s the big deal—why take the time to find out what type of marijuana plant you’re into? Well, sativa and indica are known for different effects on the body. Just like knowing your favorite type of coffee can help you enjoy your daily brew more, having a favorite marijuana type can help you get the kind of high you want.

We’ll walk you through the different effects of cannabis sativa vs. indica and why they are the way they are.

The Plant Itself

What is sativa, anyway? And what is indica?

Well, sativa and indica are different species of the marijuana plant. Sativa’s psychoactive properties were discovered first, and they were researchers’ only knowledge of cannabis for a while. When indica’s effects were later discovered, researchers realized that marijuana grew in different species.

Another species, ruderalis, was discovered after indica. It’s growing in popularity, but sativa and indica are still the two most well-known and popular species of the plant.

Sativa is known for its narrow leaves and tall height. It’s used to growing in sunny environments, where it gets enough nourishment to grow strong and tall but doesn’t need to maximize surface area on its leaves.

In contrast, indica is known for broader leaves and a shorter stature. This species comes from less sunny environments, so its wide leaves help soak up sunlight when it’s available.

Head High vs. Body High

You might not have known in the past whether you were using a sativa or indica strain of weed. But one way to tell the difference is the type of high you get. Sativa is known for something called a “head high,” while indica is often associated with a “body high.”

Terpene Levels

Part of the reason sativa and indica give you different kinds of highs is the terpene profile of the plant. These aromatic compounds come with different scents, and they cause the body to react in different ways.

“Energetic” terpenes like limonene can contribute to a head high in sativa, while sedating terpenes like myrcene can lead to more of a body high in indica strains.

If you visit a marijuana dispensary anytime soon, you might be able to guess what kinds of terpenes are prominent in a weed strain based on its aroma. The terpene scent profile can range from citrus scents to “hoppy” beer-like scents.

How It Feels

People who enjoy head highs say they like the cerebral, expansive feeling they get from the high. It might help them think in new and innovative ways. Some people say it’s also an energetic high, which means it can work in conjunction with other tasks and hobbies.

A body high, on the other hand, might wipe someone out—in a surprisingly nice way. If you’ve ever seen someone just chilling on the couch and spacing out while high, chances are they’re going through a body high. Body highs are known for their calming and relaxing effects.

THC and CBD Levels

Many weed strains out there right now are hybrids of sativa and indica. Growers have taken the best qualities of each plant type to create something new. Still, you might be able to tell a sativa-heavy hybrid apart from an indica-heavy one based on its THC and CBD levels.

THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive component of cannabis. It can make people think and act in ways they never thought they would.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is another component with a unique effect. CBD is known for its calming properties, and many people use it as an anti-anxiety supplement.

Sativa is high in THC and low in CBD. And indica has higher CBD levels and lower THC levels than sativa. As a result, sativa might pack a bigger punch psychoactively, but indica can provide some much-needed grounding to the high.

Sativa vs Indica Uses

Because sativa can lead to a more intense high, it’s typically set aside for recreational use. The high levels of CBD in indica make it more suitable for medicinal purposes or to help with everyday struggles like stress.

Some people like to take sativa and indica at different times of day. Because indica can slow life down and make people chill out, it might be better for the nighttime. During the day, when you still have things to do, sativa could a way to get high and still be active.

Both sativa and indica come in other forms besides just a joint or blunt. For example, you can get CBD products that extract just the CBD (and low or no THC) from either sativa or indica.

What to Watch Out For

If you’re uncomfortable with getting “too high,” you might want to be more careful with sativa than indica. The high THC and low CBD in sativa can produce an intense effect that can be too much at times.

For those who want the chilled-out effects of CBD, you might be better off with indica or a hybrid high in CBD.

Get to That Perfect High!

Want to dream up some interesting song lyrics? Or just want to wind down from a stressful day? If you know the differences between sativa vs. indica, you’ll be able to select the type of weed that’s right for the occasion.

There’s still some decision-making to do after you choose the species of cannabis plant—for example, what strain you want and how to take it—but knowing about terpenes, THC, and CBD can help you know what you’re looking for.

So get out there and find the weed you need! And if you want some help, contact us to hear about how we can connect you with marijuana dispensaries near you.