Indica and sativa are the are two most well-known types of cannabis. They differ in origin, appearance, scent, growth pattern and effects.
Indica strains usually offer deep relaxation, while sativa strains make users feel energetic and creative. Both are regarded as Cannabis sativa L. Cannabis plants have been interbred so extensively over the years that some botanists regard all plants to be part of the same polymorphic species.
Indica and sativa origins
- Most indica varieties originally came from the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia; key areas are Afghanistan, northern India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
- Sativa strains originated from equatorial countries like Jamaica, Thailand, Mexico and southern India.
The strains differ considerably in appearance.
- Indicas are squat and short, with dense, weighty buds, and short spaces (internodal gaps) between the bud-clusters.
- Sativas are usually taller, with long, narrow buds that spiral around the whole length of the branch. However, these buds are usually lighter and fluffier than indica buds when they’re dried.
- Indica plants and buds tend to be pungent and skunky.
- Sativa plants produce a less obvious smell, and their odour is often citrussy or herbal.
Duration of flowering
- Indica strains typically flower faster than sativas. They finish flowering in 45 to 60 days.
- Sativa varieties can take as long as 90 days to finish blooming.
- Indica plants gain most of their height before flowering, but rarely grow very tall.
- Sativa plants continue to grow whilst flowering. It’s usual for them to gain 200% to 300% of their vegetative height during the flowering phase.
It’s common to hear people refer to the effects of cannabis as being ‘stoned’ on indica, and ‘high’ on sativa.
- The indica ‘stone’ gives the user a feeling of deep relaxation. You might be mellowed out on the sofa for quite some time. You may feel introspective, as though you are in a meditative state.
- The effects of a sativa-dominant strain are quite different. It’s an uplifting ‘high’, which often leaves the user energised and inspired. Sativa-dominant strains also bring on the giggles, and depending on your natural tendencies, may make you feel active and creative.
CBD and THC levels
Scientists previously believed that sativa cannabis varieties had higher THC levels, and indica ones had higher quantities of CBD. This was accepted as true for many years, and was taken as the reason that sativa cannabis provided a ‘high’ and indica induced a ‘stone’.
However, new research has shown that the different effects are more likely to depend on the levels and combinations of terpenes and terpenoids. This has been dubbed the ‘entourage effect’.
For more info on the differences between indica and sativa, you can check out this blog post.