Indica vs. Sativa: Everything You Need to Know About Cannabis Strains
Estimated 4-minute read
Remember that episode from The Office where Dwight finds a joint in the parking lot? He puts on his sheriff outfit and proceeds to carry out an investigation, where he interviews each of his coworkers with a printed image of cannabis buds and asks them if they know what’s in the picture. Dwight eventually questions Creed and he answers “that is Northern Lights Cannabis Indica”, and Dwight just sighs and says in the most disappointing tone: “no… it’s marijuana.”
Back then when I first saw that marvelous episode the joke made me laugh even though I didn’t fully understand what “Northern Lights” and “Indica” meant, but after a few years I actually, fully understood the joke, and to this day I just think it is hilarious.
So what is Northern Lights Cannabis Indica, anyway? Well, marijuana has two subspecies of the cannabis plants, which then develop into strains. To understand the large variety of them, which one works best for you, and what other strain options you can explore depending on the psychoactive reaction you’re looking for, you need to start somewhere, don’t you? Luckily, it all narrows down to the main two varieties or subspecies: cannabis indica and cannabis sativa.
Let’s begin by comparing the characteristics between the two strains, shall we?
Indica vs. Sativa
In an article, Pure Oasis mentions that each variety has its very own realm of effects on the body and the mind, which result in a wide range of medicinal benefits for each person. While indica strains are mostly known for providing a sense of relaxation, sativa strains supply an energizing reaction. The former is true, since their levels of CBD and THC are different from one another.
As you may know, the two main compounds that are present in cannabis are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and they both have different psychoactive effects. CBD does not have a psychoactive effect, which is why it is often used to medically treat seizures, body pain, and even mental disorders. THC is the psychoactive compound of cannabis, the one that will make you feel “high”; additionally, it helps with pain, insomnia, and low appetite.
Overall, strains of Cannabis Indica will often have higher CBD and lower THC, while Cannabis Sativa is quite the opposite.
Here’s a fun fact brought to you by Pure Oasis: Indica plants typically grow faster and have a higher yield than the sativa variety.
Native to places with harsh, dry climate, cannabis indica was originally found in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. This plant tends to require less light than sativa plants, which makes them produce more buds.
On a more non-scientific or historical note, cannabis indica is known for what people call a “body high” more than a “head high”. As previously mentioned, indica variety will produce a sense of relaxation all throughout the body thanks to the higher CBD compound found in the strain.
Another effect that indica will most likely supply is appetite stimulation, pain relief and sleep, which is one of the reasons why this strain is recommended to consume during the nighttime.
Other cannabis indica benefits include:
- Decreased nausea
- Decreased pain
- Increased appetite
- Increased dopamine
- Mental relaxation
- Muscle relaxation
Pure Oasis ranked the most popular indica strains:
- Afgani, which contains THC 17.8%
- Black Jack, with THC 19.39%
- Dominion Skunk, which only contains THC 15.7%
According to Live Science, cannabis sativa was originally found in Eastern Asia in the regions that are now Mongolia and South Siberia. It is known that this strain was widely used in China back in 4000 B.C., where medics even used them as an anesthetic during surgery.
Cannabis sativa is usually known for producing more “head high” than “body high”, and people have associated this strain with elevated alertness, uplifting feelings, heightened creativity and increased energy. As it was mentioned earlier, sativa has higher THC than CBD counts, which is why it’s recommended to use during daytime.
Other cannabis sativa benefits include:
- Increased focus
- Increased serotonin
- Treating chronic pain
Pure Oasis ranked the most popular Sativa strains:
- Lemon Ice, THC 18%
- T. Sage, with a total of THC 14.3%
According to Leafy, hybrids are a marijuana strain type that contain both indica and sativa genetics, which is the result of breeding indica plants with sativa plants, allowing the cannabis strains to produce both types of effects.
People who consume hybrid strains usually enjoy energizing and relaxing psychoactive effects, but everything depends on specific strain lineage. The most common types of hybrid strains are classified as being indica-dominant hybrid or sativa-dominant hybrid.
Leafy’s examples of popular hybrid strains:
- Blue Dream, THC 18%
- GG4, THC 20%
- Wedding Cake, THC 24%
- Runtz, THC 20%
With this information you can be the best judge to your cannabis consuming experience. As marijuana starts being more tolerated around the world and so much information expands through the magical online realm that we call the internet, websites such as Dutchie, Leafy and Pure Oasis will provide you with countless information about every single strain available.
So this is me inviting you to carry out your own research, reach out to your local cannabis dispensary, or ask your dealer! Start your own quest to find the perfect strain for you, your needs, your state of mind and what you want to get out of your cannabis experience.
Author: Mary Jane
Blaszczak-Boxe, A. (2014). Marijuana's History: How One Plant Spread Through the World. Live Science. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/48337-marijuana-history-how-cannabis-travelled-world.html
Leafy. Hybrid Marijuana Strains. Retrieved from https://www.leafly.com/strains/lists/category/hybrid
Pure Oasis (2020). Indica vs. Sativa. Retrieved from https://www.mypureoasis.com/indica-vs-sativa/