Indica vs. Sativa
Medical marijuana users can choose what cannabis strains to buy and how to consume them based on state regulations. Whether you use marijuana medicinally or recreationally, the cannabis strain matters.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two active ingredients in cannabis that have an impact on both the mind and body. Indica and Sativa cannabis, the two main varieties used to make medical products, have been bred into powerful strains by manufacturers and botanists.
It’s important to decide which symptoms you want to manage or which feelings you want to experience before using cannabis to achieve those results. You should choose the strain that is best for your needs based on the type and severity of your symptoms.
Learn more about the differences between indica and sativa strains, their various effects, and advice on how to pick the best cannabis products to achieve your treatment goals by reading on.
What is Indica Cannabis?
The marijuana plant species C Indica is referred to as indica cannabis (or cannabis Indica). It is a small plant with large, bush-like leaves that grows quickly. The stem and bark of indica plants are firm and thin.
They grow to a height of two to four feet. Botanist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck named the plant after samples he brought back from India and was the first European to write about C. Indica in 1785.
Botanists now think that Afghanistan is the plant’s place of origin.
The plant flowers for six to eight weeks, and it contains more CBD than THC. As a result, it is mostly linked to physical effects and a “body high.”
Indica is frequently used to induce calm and relaxation. Many people use it at night or on the weekends to fall asleep or relax after an exhausting week.
Due to its higher CBD content, indica is frequently suggested as a medicine for managing muscle tension, reducing inflammation, and relieving pain. Researchers think CBD also lessens some of THC’s euphoric effects, which may help explain the physiological high that the strain induces.
What is Sativa Cannabis?
The plant C. sativa, which is indigenous to Central and Southern America, is the source of sativa cannabis, also known as cannabis sativa. In 1985, Lamarck gave Sativa its own name, naming it after the Latin word sativum, which means “cultivated.” The plant has thin, light-green leaves and is tall and lanky. Sativa typically contains more THC than CBD, which results in more mind- and mood-altering effects.
Most users of Sativa report feeling energized and uplifted after using it. It is frequently employed to improve mental clarity and concentration. Sativa has been linked by many users to improved creativity and thinking. Additionally, it can lessen anxiety.
Sativa is frequently suggested as a treatment for stress, depression, fatigue, and chronic pain. People with chronic diseases may find it easier to get active again thanks to the plant’s energizing effects.
Differences Between Indica and Sativa
Both Sativa and Indica are indigenous to different hemispheres. Indicia is a plant that grows in cooler climates and is found in the wild in Central Asia. Southern American native sativa plants flourish in humid, hot climates.
Due to its harsher climate, the Indica has broader leaves and a bushier, more robust appearance. The Sativa plant spreads out horizontally and grows up to 10 feet tall.
Sativa plants require more work to grow because they take longer to flower and yield fewer buds. Compared to the more resilient Indica plants, they produce less potent marijuana.
Sativa gives cannabis users an energizing psychological high while Indica has calming effects and a soothing body high. Pure Indica and Sativa plants, however, no longer exist. By combining the species to produce plants with different CBD and THC concentrations, botanists have now created countless varieties of hybrid cannabis plants.
Due to crossbreeding, growers are now able to produce medical marijuana that can specifically treat a variety of psychological and physical symptoms, especially those caused by long-term medical conditions.
Variables to Consider
The chemical elements in cannabis plants known as cannabinoids are what give them their psychoactive and physical effects. Although there are many different cannabinoids, Indica and Sativa have the highest concentrations of THC and CBD.
To produce effects that alter consciousness, THC binds to the human endocannabinoid system and modifies messages traveling through the nervous system. Sativa plants contain more THC. Cannabis’s physiological effects are caused by CBD, which binds to the endocannabinoid system and modifies signals sent by the immune system. Indica plants typically contain more CBD.
The substances that make up a plant’s essential oils and give them flavor and aroma are called terpenes. Terpenes support cannabinoids biochemically by assisting in the production of their effects. One of the most prevalent terpenes is myrcene. It results in serenity and relaxation.
When breeding plants, growers define an indica strain as one with a myrcene volume greater than 0.5%. Sativa plants are those with a myrcene volume under 0.5%.
What are Hybrid Strains?
Indica and Sativa strains are combined in hybrid varieties. New cannabis strains are constantly being developed by botanists to emphasize particular terpenes, favor particular traits, and produce particular physical effects in the user.
Because they contain Indica components, some hybrid strains can reduce muscle tension and pain, but they also contain enough Sativa to counteract any sedative effects.
By balancing symptom management with functional capacity, hybrids can help medical marijuana users regain normal function. On the other hand, hybrid strains can reduce the symptoms of depression due to their Sativa characteristics without causing mania or uncomfortable levels of alertness due to their Indica characteristics.
Which Type of Cannabis is Right for You?
A direct and open discussion with your medical marijuana doctor or a staff member at the dispensary is the first step in selecting the best cannabis. Give a thorough description of your symptoms and goals so that they can offer suggestions based on your goals, the type of symptoms you are experiencing, and your medical background.
Additionally, take into account your marijuana use history because tolerance affects how your body reacts. The dosages and THC content of dispensary products are prominently marked on the packaging. Always start with the lowest dose at the longest frequency possible, and then adjust as needed based on how you feel.
It’s important to keep in mind that each person has a different body chemistry. Although the effects of Indica and Sativa on the body are generally the same for most people, you might experience different ones. This is yet another reason to take it easy at first.
You should also think about your preferred cannabis consumption method. You can buy flowers, dried cannabis, edibles, drinks, topical gels, patches, vape cartridges, and tinctures in the majority of states.
In general, smoking or vaping has the fastest-acting and strongest effects. Consumables and topicals take longer to enter the bloodstream and produce a longer-lasting, less potent high.
You should also think about where you’ll smoke marijuana. Before consuming any cannabis products, be sure to check the applicable state and local laws in your area regarding cannabis use.
What gets you more high–Indica or Sativa?
Depending on how much you consume, how strong it is, and how much tolerance you have, this question is relative. Sativa typically produces a stronger head high, while indica typically produces a stronger body high.
Because Sativa has a greater mental and perceptual impact than Indica, many patients claim to feel higher after consuming it. To find the product that best suits your tolerance and the high you want, you’ll probably need to experiment with different strains and concentrations.
Is Indica an upper or a downer?
Although indica is thought to be depressing, its effects are more physical than they are emotional or mental. For example, it has higher concentrations of myrcene and CBD, which promote sleep. Indica is frequently used to facilitate relaxation and achieve tranquility in people who suffer from anxiety, insomnia, and maladies like muscle contracture.
Which strain keeps you high the longest?
Your desired high, the strength of the cannabis, and your method of consumption all factor into this answer. The body high from indica-containing edibles or drinks typically lasts the longest. Sativa-based foods and drinks will produce the longest psychological high.
Is Sativa or Indica better for anxiety?
Because of its psychoactive qualities and ability to be used during the day, sativa is typically more effective for anxiety. Since indica is frequently used to promote calmness and relaxation, it might be useful for easing the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Cannabis can cause anxiety in some people, aggravating their symptoms. Before using cannabis to treat anxiety symptoms, you should always speak with a licensed medical marijuana doctor.
John DiBella is a medical marijuana advocate, owner of The Sanctuary Wellness Institute, and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about medical marijuana, he enjoys hiking, camping and sailing.