What are the differences between Indica and Sativa cannabis?

indica vs sativa 1

The effects of cannabis Sativa & Indica

Are there really two main types of cannabis as consumers claim? Is this a myth as claimed by researchers? Sativa and indica are two very familiar names to all consumers and they represent two opposing physical and mental effects. Nowadays, the increase in the consumption of cannabis for medical purposes in the world makes it more than necessary to clearly distinguish between different types of cannabis of the expected medical effects. Let's start by looking at their physical appearance, effects, aroma, growth and yield.

Indica Sativa and Hybrid
Indica Sativa and Hybrid

Indica Sativa and Hybrid

One of the most exciting things about cannabis is that we learn new things about this plant every day. This information changes the way we understand plants, but it requires us to change the way we talk about it. If you haven't noticed, the cannabis industry is trying to move away from the words Indica and Sativa. There are many legitimate reasons for wanting to deviate from these terms. From a genetic point of view, they are polymorphic species: this qualifies a species which can take different forms according to the individuals or according to the organs.

However, Indica and Sativa hold a big place in cannabis cultivation and make a lot of sense. Finding a replacement for them is no easy task. So before we can honestly talk about creating replacements for these words, it's important that we spend some time on what Indica and Sativa and Hybrid have meant so far.

The effects and sensations between Indica and Sativa

Although it is sometimes botanically possible to distinguish between Indica: low broadleaf plant and Sativa: tall plant with thin leaves, there is no no proof difference in effect on sensation after smoking a flower of an indica or sativa plant. It is here that we should briefly discuss the definition of strain or “variety” in relation to the species, type or appearance. Technically, the word "Strain" is incorrect in English in the botanical context, but it is common in the cannabis world. The correct concepts to describe the differences within a particular species are phenotype, variety or subspecies. There are two main varieties of the cannabis plant and each offers a different set of benefits. It is important to understand the difference between the two to find the right strain.

Taken together, each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind, resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits. Indica strains generally provide a feeling of deep bodily relaxation. Sativa strains tend to provide a more energizing experience.

The psychotropic effects of the different strains

According to the classification accepted by cannabis producers and consumers, the differences between Indica and Sativa are the psychic or physical impact and the atmosphere that accompanies it. When so-called "Indica" varieties are known to bring a sensation of physical relaxation, in contrast the varieties of "Sativa" type bring a feeling of psychic motivation. Regarding their structure, the plant Indica and in general quite low in size but more compact however Sativa varieties are mostly high in size but quite fine.

Indica varieties provide a physical effect expressed by a pleasant sensation of physical but also psychic relaxation. On the other hand, the use of Sativa varieties is more psychic, they bring a feeling of motivation and well-being. The two species have a different medical effect, you can adjust and tailor the percentages of each type of variety to create a balance that meets specific requirements.

Geographical origins evolution and hypothesis

The words "indica" and "sativa" were introduced in the XNUMXth century to describe different species of cannabis. The term sativa, named by Carl Linneaus, described the hemp plants found in Europe and Western Eurasia, where it was cultivated for its fiber and seeds. Cannabis indica, named by naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, describes psychoactive strains discovered in India, where it was harvested for its seeds, fibers, and hashish production.

Lamarck's definition was accepted but with the start of medical research on the cannabis in the West in the 19th century, scholars have questioned it: the famous Irish physician William O'Shaughnessy used the term cannabis indica to describe psychoactive cannabis and cannabis sativa to describe cannabis. In 1843 he wrote: “There are many differing views as to whether Cannabis in Europe is different from that in Asia and India. The unusual symptoms that the latter causes in its users are the result of its increased resin secretion, practically non-existent in European cannabis. The two plants are completely identical and even identical in all physical characteristics, and I don't think they are different except for the climate in which they grew. " 

Characteristics of differences between Indica and Sativa

Indica and Sativa are the two main varieties of the cannabis plant. There are also so-called "hybrid" varieties that generally contain 50% Indica and 50% sativa, such as the Amnesia variety.

Indica varieties are better suited to indoor growing as they take up less volume. Sativa varieties are better suited to growing marijuana outdoors because of their size (they can reach a height of several meters).

The classification of sativa and indica categories according to botanical characteristics is based on morphological differences (in the structure of the plant): indica plants have a lower height, their leaves are wider, while sativa plants are taller with long thinner leaves.

It is very important to stress that recent studies in this area have not shown a correlation between these two classification methods. For example, cannabis, which by all botanical characteristics meets the definition of Indica, will not necessarily have psychoactive effects associated with Indica. Indica plants ripen faster than Sativa plants and the two species also have different odors due to different trapezoidal content.

Indica - Sativa - Hybrid: A matter of physical appearance

Believe it or not, those who have seen a lot of weed in their lifetime can identify different strains of cannabis just by their appearance. With hybrids it can be complex at times, but with pure indica and sativa strains there are really some pretty distinct differences in appearance.

Indica and sativa
differences between indica and sativa

Difference between Indica and Sativa: Flowering

Sativa plants take longer to grow and produce fewer flowers than indica strains. Since sativa is a taller plant that uses less chlorophyll, it usually takes longer to flower. Indicas flower faster, their flowering time is 45-60 days. Sativas take longer to finish flowering between ten and sixteen weeks.

The main qualities of Indica strains:

  • increased mental relaxation
  • muscle relaxation
  • reduces nausea
  • decreases acute pain
  • increase appetite
  • increases dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the reward and pleasure centers of the brain)
  • for night use
Indica Vs Sativa
know the differences between Indica and sativa

The main qualities of Sativa strains:

  • anti-anxiety
  • antidepressant
  • treats chronic pain
  • increases concentration and creativity
  • increases serotonin (a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep, anxiety and appetite)
  • for daytime use

The effects of cannabis strains depend on chemical compounds called terpenes and cannabinoids. Chemistry is the result of its genetics and the environmental factors that have contributed to its growth. These compounds play with each other to produce an effect. This experience is unique to the consumer because we all have unique endocannabinoid systems. These chemicals offer an array of effects that include, but are not limited to, sedating and uplifting. This means that when we talk about a specific effect, we are talking about a specific cocktail of terpenes and cannabinoids. Like alcohol-based cocktails, you will find that you like them more than others. The trick is to find the terpenes and cannabinoids that meet your needs.

Tags : Genetic
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Weed media broadcaster and communications manager specializing in legal cannabis. Do you know what they say? knowledge is power. Understand the science behind cannabis medicine, while staying up to date with the latest health related research, treatments and products. Stay up to date with the latest news and ideas on legalization, laws, political movements. Discover tips, tricks and how-to guides from the most seasoned growers on the planet as well as the latest research and findings from the scientific community on the medical qualities of cannabis.