As cannabis continues to progress and develop its presence in the world, there is a growing interest in the various effects that different strains produce. Cannabis consumers typically base the standards for predicting effects on the two most common species of cannabis –– Indica and Sativa. Although these two types of cannabis share many similar features, they have their own specific and unique differences.
What is the Difference Between Indica and Sativa?
Formal research into the specific effects of indica versus sativa is limited, but there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that they do have different effects. Strains derived from these two families certainly seem to have different chemical profiles. Read on to learn more about the difference between indica and sativa.
Medical Indica and Sativa Effects
Indica: Cannabis indica originates in the Middle East. It is native to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and nearby regions. Indica strains are generally held to be less euphoric and more calming than sativa. It’s associated with “body highs” — a sense of physical well-being and relaxation. Indica strains are often recommended for stress, anxiety, and panic, conditions where the sufferer needs something to soothe their emotions without creating excess energy or over-stimulation.
Cannabis indica plants tend to be higher in CBD than sativa strains. This makes them very good for pain relief as well as mental and physical relaxation. They’re suitable for arthritis and conditions involving muscle spasms (like menstrual cramps).
Cannabis indica plants often contain lower relative levels of THC than sativa plants. The ratio of CBD to THC is approximately one to one, providing a less intense “high” than sativa.
Sativa: Cannabis sativa is native to warmer regions that are closer to the equator. It originates in South and Central America and Southeast Asia. Sativa strains are generally seen to have more heady effect than indica strains, producing a more intense psychoactive effect. This is due to the higher levels of THC.
Cannabis sativa is generally recommended for conditions such as depression. When a person suffers from a depressive illness, they may have a low mood and suffer from fatigue and lack of enthusiasm for everyday activities. Sativa can provide a sense of emotional elevation, lift the user’s mood, and address fatigue. Sativa strains can, in some people, produce anxiety and paranoia. For these patients, indica strains may be more appropriate.
The THC in cannabis sativa strains can also help with appetite by reducing nausea and restoring enthusiasm for food. This makes sativa a popular choice for those undergoing chemotherapy.
Hybrids: Indica and sativa plants can be bred together to create hybrid strains. These are intended to combine the qualities of both into a single strain. The result is designed to be a plant with a balance of both relaxing and euphoric effects.
It’s worth noting that these are only generalizations. The actual effects of any given strain can be very different from those described above. The active compounds’ exact levels don’t depend solely on whether the strain is derived from indica or sativa. Selective breeding, growing conditions and many other factors can change the chemical profile of a cannabis plant.
The effect of a particular strain may also vary depending on the user. What is mellow and relaxing for one person may be euphoric and stimulating for another. Growers and vendors can provide useful information about the probable effects of a particular strain, allowing you to make a more informed choice.
It’s also important to understand that a specific strain’s strength will make a difference to the effect it has on the user. A strong indica strain might create more stimulation and euphoria than a more restrained sativa strain. When it comes to choosing a strain, the ball is entirely in your court and personal preference comes above anything else.
Pick and choose a few, either way you can’t lose.