The Difference Between Indica and Sativa Strains

Everything You Need to Know About the Difference Between Indica and Sativa


At this point, it feels like everybody knows that marijuana isn’t just “marijuana.” That is to say, it isn’t just a “one-size-fits-all” situation. We don’t live in some comedy movie from the 1970s that was written by somebody who had never actually used marijuana, and we certainly don’t live in the world of Reefer Madness. Even if you have never partaken in cannabis yourself, you likely know that there is a wide range of offerings under the umbrella of marijuana. However, simply knowing that doesn’t mean you have the details of the differences. You may know there are different kinds of beer, for example, but does that mean you can tell your pilsners from your stouts? It is possible that you have heard about “indica” and “sativa.” These are two words commonly bandied about within the realm of marijuana. What do they mean, though? Are they in direct opposition to one another? Should you seek out one and shun the other? Can indica and sativa coexist? Relax. We’re here to tell you about the difference between indica and sativa. After this, you will be a more-informed marijuana user, and an informed customer tends to be a happier customer.

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What’s the difference between indica and sativa plants?

By asking this question, we have partially answered things already. Yes, indica and sativa are different plants. However, they are both still cannabis plants. In short, indica and sativa are two different types of cannabis plants. Not the only two types, but within the world of marijuana indica and sativa plants get the most attention. You may also hear about ruderalis plants, which are a type of cannabis that is crossbred with other cannabis plants to create auto-flowering marijuana strains. That’s a story for another day, though. In nature, there are Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. They are distinct plants, with a lot of things separating them.


What’s the difference between indica and sativa physically?

With experience, you can come to be able to identify a sativa or an indica just by looking at a plant. Sativas tend to grow tall. They are upwardly mobile, so to speak. Indicas, on the other hand, are not unlike a certain little teapot; short and stout. Indicas tend to grow densely instead of growing to larger sizes. Additionally, in nature, any purple strain of weed comes from an indica plant. Of course, nature plays less of a role in the marijuana experience than it used to, but we will get to that later. Indicas also are often sturdier, tougher plants. That makes them less temperamental in terms of, well, temperature, and they can often be easier for beginner growers as well. Here is where there is no distinct, inherent physical difference between indica and sativa, though. Both types of marijuana fluctuate in terms of THC content. THC is, of course, the psychoactive chemical compound of marijuana. Sativas are not inherently higher in THC levels than indicas, or vice versa. Within both worlds, there are high-THC strains, low-THC strains, and everything in between. Additionally, the flavor and aroma profiles of cannabis strains cross this boundary as well. Both indicas and sativas have fruity strains, peppery strains, earthy strains, skunky strains, and so on.

What’s the difference between indica and sativa in terms of how it makes you feel?

OK, so this is where the difference between indica and sativa is the most evident. There are two decidedly-different smoking experiences depending on the type of strain you are using. Sativas are energizing and uplifting. You feel them more mentally, with a “headier” high than with indicas. Want to get the ol’ brain percolating? Then a sativa is likely right for you. These strains are often associated with elevated moods and more energy. Creatively-minded smokers and “wake and bake” folks are big fans of sativas by and large. These are daytime strains. Using sativa before bed can mean a long night of struggling to sleep. Indicas are on the flip side of this. While sativas bring you up, indicas chill you out. These are relaxing stains often associated with body-heavy highs. You can really relax your muscles and your mind. Speaking of sleep, indicas are the strains you want for that. Using indica can definitely help you relax and get you a restorative night of sleep. Of course, in turn, that means you may want to avoid indica strains during the day. They tend to cut into productivity. The idea of “couch lock” associated with marijuana owes itself to indica.

What’s the difference between indica and sativa for medical use?

Both indicas and sativas are reported by some users to be helpful in alleviating certain symptoms. That makes sense, given the heady high associated with sativa. Indicas, by contrast, are relaxing, soothing, and help promote a physical feeling of sedation. In fact, some are even helpful for falling asleep.

What’s the difference between indica and sativa and hybrid strains?

Here’s the thing. These days, pure sativas and pure indicas are becoming increasingly rare. Many popular strains these days are hybrids. As the name suggests, hybrids are strains that were born from cross-breeding strains of marijuana and creating new strains. Oftentimes, that means selectively breedings indicas and sativas together to get the traits from both these types of cannabis. Now, we have indica-dominant strains, sativa-dominant strains, and balanced hybrids. You can get a strain with the relaxing properties of an indica, but with enough sativa to keep you from falling asleep. Or, an energizing sativa that then turns into a relaxing experience at the tail end, keeping you from missing out on a full night of sleep. If you want a pure sativa or a pure indica, you can still find them, and we still have seeds for them at Growers Choice. Most of the top strains these days are hybrids, though. The differences between indica and sativa are less relevant when you can get the best of both worlds. Here are some top hybrid strains you might want to try right now:

  • White Widow
  • OG Kush
  • Cherry Pie
  • Skunk #1
  • Skywalker

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