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Sativa vs Indica | Complete Guide

The primary difference between indica and sativa cannabis strains is that indica plants promote deep relaxation while sativa plants produce more energizing effects when ingested. Cannabis plants that combine sativas and indicas are known as hybrids.

The Indian hemp varieties were given the name Cannabis indica by the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, and the Swedish botanist Carl Linneaus gave the name Cannabis sativa to the hemp varieties he discovered. In actuality, the chemical expression of cannabinoids and terpenes in sativa and indica generally does not differ noticeably.

But the distinctions between indica and sativa are subtle. For instance, sativa plants look more slender and sparse while indica plants have a fuller, bushier appearance. In our comprehensive guide to indica and sativa weed, you can learn how to tell these two types of cannabis plants apart.

The best way to learn about the two types is to try them! Find a shop with the best selection of both types in a variety of formats – including vapes, disposables and more, at the new Disposable Shop in Dubai.

Sativa: What Is It?

Cannabis from Eastern Europe, Russia, or Central Asia is known as sativa. Cannabis sativa could be used to describe hemp varieties, which are frequently grown for their stalk and fiber rather than their flowers. This variety of cannabis plant grows taller and takes 10 to 14 weeks to flower. The buds/flowers are less dense, and the branches are widely spaced.


Beta-caryophyllene and limonene are two prominent terpenes found in sativas, which typically have higher THC concentrations than CBD. Tetrahydrocannabivarin levels in some sativas from equatorial regions are high (THCV).


Sativa can give you a high that makes you feel like you can take on any challenge and be on top of the world. Sativas may make you feel creatively inspired or as though you could run a marathon.

Although it isn’t always the case, this is how most people perceive sativas to work. Looking at the cultivar, the area, and the cannabinoid & terpene content may be a more accurate way to determine whether a sativa has a more uplifting effect.

More energizing effects might be experienced from THCV-containing strains that also contain cannabigerol (CBG), limonene, pinene, and beta-caryophyllene. Varieties from equatorial areas, such as Durban or Mozambique Poison, frequently contain this type of content.

Five of the most well-liked sativa strains are listed below:


Cough Strawberry

Sky Dream

Durban Toxin

Silver Haze Super

Describe Indica.

Indica cannabis originates in Afghanistan and India. Cannabis indica tends to be shorter and stouter in size and can grow well in more temperate climates because of the difficult, mountainous environments it grows in. The flowering period for indica plants is also shorter, lasting six to nine weeks.


Typically, indicas have high THC content (similar to the amounts found in Cannabis Sativa). However, some indica strains also contain significant levels of CBD. It may be more likely to find terpenes like limonene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene.


The “couchlock” effect, in which you feel stuck to your seat and unable to move, is a hallmark of indica strains. Due to the higher CBD content, indica effects may be more tolerable for some users, leaving them feeling blissfully relaxed from head to toe.

But once more, these are merely arbitrary distinctions that not always apply. Many CBD-rich cannabis strains are sativas, which means that a cannabis plant’s genetic makeup predisposes it to express a range of cannabinoids.

Which cannabinoids are ultimately expressed in a plant depends on the environment it is grown in (temperature, humidity, altitude, etc.), when it was harvested in its flowering cycle, and the amount of light it receives.

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When to Apply

As a natural sleep aid, some people use indica strains at night. While indica strains might or might not induce sleep, they work best when you have some downtime and are able to unwind.

Here are five of the most well-liked indica varieties:

Indian Kush

OG Purple Kush

Arctic Lights

Star Sensi

CBD and blueberries Blueberry

Other Cannabis Species

More varieties of cannabis exist than just indica and sativa. Two additional cannabis species that yield strains with unique qualities are ruderalis and hybrids.



Since Cannabis ruderalis contains little THC, it rarely makes users feel high. The majority of ruderalis strains have high CBD content and less than 3% THC. Native to Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Russia, is cannabis ruderalis. Age rather than light is what causes Cannabis ruderalis growth and flowering in these environments because of the short growing seasons. This process is known as “auto-flowering,” and it has numerous advantages for cannabis growers.

Although there is much disagreement over whether ruderalis is a subspecies of Cannabis Sativa, the plants can interbreed. For guerilla growers and those growing in more temperate climates, this can sometimes lower THC content while also increasing disease resistance and reducing plant height.


Ruderalis strains make it simple for beginners to start a small garden because they are simple to grow. Some well-known ruderalis strains include Amnesia Haze Automatic, Royal Haze Automatic, and Haze Berry Automatic.



Cannabis strains’ wild cards are hybrids. They could have a very high sativa content and a very low indica content, or the opposite (and everything in between). There is no other way to predict your experience with cannabis than through cannabinoid and terpene testing unless you are aware of the sativa-indica concentrations (as well as your response to cannabis).


The indica-sativa divide is arbitrary in part because the majority of varieties sold today are hybrids. Sativa and indica both have their share of indica-dominant and sativa-dominant varieties, respectively. As a result, even if you are cultivating a sativa-dominant variety, occasionally you might get one that grows more like an indica. They are referred to as “phenotypes.” Breeders may occasionally consider a rare or unusual phenotype to be a prized possession.


OG Kush, White Widow, and Girl Scout Cookies are some of the most well-liked hybrid varieties.



Cannabis sativa, specifically the hemp variety, is grown more for its stalk and fiber content than for its cannabinoid content. This indicates that while hemp does produce cannabinoids, its production is much less than that of sativas or indicas. Hemp may have higher CBD concentrations than THC, and it may also have higher CBD concentrations than THC-heavy cannabis strains.


Although sativa and indica are related to hemp, they are not completely the same because they have different uses and chemical makes-ups. The other difference is that hemp in the United States must have a THC content of less than 0.3%. If not, it qualifies as “cannabis” or “marijuana” (the illegal kinds).


Cannabis strains from the past

Cannabis that has only ever been grown in one particular area and has not been crossed or hybridized with any other cannabis strains is known as a “landrace” strain or varietal. This is one area where a sativa/indica distinction may be more obvious because landrace varieties are where you may find distinctive chemical compositions and growth patterns in the cannabis plant.

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Landrace cannabis can be challenging to grow outside of its native environment, and many eventually undergo hybridization to increase their vigor and climate adaptability. To preserve their distinctive profiles in the cannabis gene pool, breeders frequently make an effort to preserve the original traits of the landrace variety.


This means that while hybridizing can cause problems, done properly, it can also preserve rare genetics!


Cannabis, weed, marijuana, genotypes, cultivars, and species include ruderalis, sativa, and indica.

The three primary cannabis cultivars, as per the traditional definition. Source: MOCA Cannabis, the author

How to Choose the Best Cannabis for You

The things that work for you may depend on a variety of things. No matter how you categorize them, plants like cannabis, indica, sativa, hemp, and ruderalis may all have health benefits for you. When you’re out and about, you might even prefer something with a higher CBD content during the day to help with pain and anxiety, and something with a slightly higher THC and cannabinol (CBN) content at night when you need to go to sleep.


In the end, testing a few different strains and products for yourself is the best way to find out if a strain or product is right for you. Do not rely on the indica/sativa distinction as it is largely meaningless at this point (there are still some differences in the terpenes expressed).


Another thing to think about is the possibility of drastically different chemical compositions among different “strains” of cannabis (such as OG Kush). This might be because of incorrect labeling or a breeder trying to sell various seeds under a well-known name, but it might also be because of various environments.


Dosing: Why It Matters

A doctor’s prescription is recommended because getting the right dose is one of the trickiest yet most important aspects of using cannabis. Regardless of whether you’re using indica, sativa, ruderalis, or hybrid strains, here are some general dosage recommendations.


Linalool, myrcene, and humulene combined with high levels of THC, CBN, and CBD are more likely to make you feel sleepier.

Low to moderate doses of CBD may be more energizing than high doses, which have been reported to have more sedative effects.

When CBD and THC are used in equal amounts, the psychoactive effects of THC are significantly reduced (i.e., 1:1). When the ratio of CBD to THC is higher, the psychoactive effects are minimal.

The psychoactive effects of THC and high doses of THCV, limonene, beta-caryophyllene, and pinene are also common. Lower doses may be helpful as a mood booster, but higher doses may be overwhelming.

The duration of THC’s effects can be shortened with low doses of THCV. This is because THCV, when used in low doses, can have anti-psychoactive and appetite-suppressing effects because it is a CB1 receptor antagonist.

High doses of THCV can increase the psychoactivity of THC and have its own psychoactive effects.

Pinene, limonene, beta-caryophyllene, low doses of THCV, CBD, and CBG may all work together to produce more stimulating effects.

Terpenes may influence the behavior of cannabinoids and other terpenes. A terpene with a fruity scent called terpinolene has sedative properties on its own. It is combined with THC and terpenes like myrcene and linalool (as can limonene and pinene). However, when combined with limonene, pinene, and beta-caryophyllene, it is more stimulating. There is a true entourage effect.

When combined with terpenes and cannabinoids, CBD also exhibits this behavior and produces different effects. When CBD is combined with myrcene, it may be more calming; when combined with limonene and pinene, it may be more awakening. Depending on the other cannabinoids it interacts with, beta-caryophyllene can have either a sedative or an awakening effect.

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What do you hope to accomplish with cannabis? Make a dosing strategy to get there.

If you are taking any opioids or opioid-based medications, benzodiazepines (such as anti-epileptic and some types of anti-anxiety medications), or sedatives, you will probably need to taper your dosage.

The traditional distinction between sativa and indica is incorrect and is not the best indicator of a product’s effects. Pay closer attention to test results; if these don’t exist, the genetic heritage and the type of environment the cannabis was grown in can provide some hints.

The expense and potential health risks of using illicit vape pens and the like are not worth it.

For the best dosing outcomes, obtain a medical marijuana card and a doctor’s recommendation.

Cannabis in pill form; marijuana in pill form; cannabis nugs in pill form; cannabis dose set box.


Indica vs. Sativa: The Final Word

It is no secret that many of today’s strains are descended from a small number of genetics that were first made public many years ago. As a result, barring rare exceptions, many strains are likely to be more similar than different without deliberate breeding for specific chemical makeup traits.


Examining each strain more closely and taking into account any variations in the cannabinoids and terpenes contributing to the entourage effect may be the best way to get to the heart of the issue.


There might be variations that we are not noticing, and perhaps there are particular cannabis strains that are unique to certain nations. However, it is preferable to focus on the compounds that the cannabis contains rather than how it appears to be grown and arbitrarily labeled by the grower, dispensary, or anyone else who may have bias.


Then, we can correctly recognize patterns and identify genetic similarity between strains. The traditional classification method may need to be completely abandoned until then, according to all available evidence.


Questions and Answers

How can you distinguish between Sativa and Indica?

Indicas have more of a couchlock, “body” effect with indicas having more of an energizing “head” high, according to our outdated understanding.


These distinctions are meaningless and unrelated to reality. The plant is either tall like a sativa or short and bushy like an indica, and the only way to tell the difference is to grow them.


Sativa: an uplifter or a depressant?

According to the traditional distinctions, sativas produce effects that are more uplifting while indicas are more depressing. Depending on the sativa-indica ratios, hybrids can have either an elevating or depressing effect.


Again, these are false labels, so we should be skeptical of them.


What distinguishes sativa highs from indica highs?

Yes, in line with earlier schools of thought within the cannabis community. Sativa highs are more “cerebral” and can give the user a burst of vigor and inspiration. The high from indica strains tends to be more relaxed and promotes mental clarity.


But once more, the majority of these distinctions are incorrect. The chemical makeup of the plant, not how it grows, determines how the effects vary. No matter whether sativa or indica strains predominate, each person’s cannabis use will be different.

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