What is the difference between Sativa and Indica cannabis plants?

The two main types of cannabis (marijuana) plants cultivated for medicinal and recreational use are Sativa and Indica. The main taxonomic difference is that Cannabis Indica has higher levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) than Cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis Sativa has higher levels of CBD than THC. However, there are huge variations within either species.


sativa and indica

Recreational Cannabis

Most recreational users will tend to use either or both, depending on a local supply chain. They will experience a range of feelings, sensations and personal benefits, including a general feeling of wellbeing, hightened awareness, uplifting and cerebral thoughts. Recreational cannabis is therefore unsurprisingly referred to as a “mind expanding drug”.

For some people, marijuana is an occupational drug. Many people working in the creative arts cite recreational cannabis use as an aid to their craft. Writers and artists especially take advantage of the creative effects of the drug.

There are physical differences between the two main types of plant but most cannabis grown for recreational use are hybrids of Sativa and Indica. Indica plants are typically short and wide, and Sativa plants tall and thin. Indica plants are better suited for indoor growing. Sativa plants are best grown outdoors because some strains can reach over 25 feet in height.

The main Indica effects are a strong physical body high that will make the user feel sleepy or ‘chilled’ and provides a deep relaxation feeling. Sativa effects tend to be a high which is more energetic and uplifting.

Medical Cannabis

Where the compostion is regulated for medical use, Sativa and Indica are combined in varying ratios to achieve prescribed effects. Each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits. Still though, it is the main Sativa effects (the cerebral high) and Indica effects (physical sedative) which are used to deliver the most effective medicinal benefit. Because Sativa and Indica buds have very different medicinal benefits and effects. Certain strains can be targeted to better treat specific medical conditions.

Indica dominant marijuana strains provide a very relaxing and strong body high that is helpful in treating general anxiety, body pain and sleeping disorders. Indica is most commonly smoked by medical marijuana patients in the late evening or even just before bed. Sativa dominant marijuana strains provide an uplifting, energetic and cerebral high that is best suited for daytime smoking.

In summary, Indica effects and benefits are relief from body pain, headaches and migraines; muscle relaxation, relieving spasms and reducing seizures; and relief from anxiety and stress.

Sativa effects and benefits include feelings of well-being and of being at-ease; uplifting and cerebral thoughts; stimulation and increased energy; increased focus and creativity; and relief from depression.

Cannabis (marijuana) has many beneficial effects for the casual and medicinal user. Sativa and Indica effects are different and can be combined for the most effective tailored benefits.

sativa and indica

Click here for more information about the cannabis plant species, including the Ruderalis species we all know as autoflowering plants.  Let us know in the comments whether Sativa or Indica is your favourite and what you like to use it for…