Cannabis has been used by human beings for both medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years. In fact, cannabis is one of mankind's oldest known crops. There are two main species of cannabis cultivated today, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Increasingly, growers are crossbreeding these distinct plants to create hybrids that offer some interesting and unique combined benefits. The two strains are believed to have different effects and are used for different purposes as well. Understanding the differences between the two main strains helps people determine which will best suit their intended use.

Cannabis Sativa

Sativa strains are generally thought of as stimulating, energizing, and offer a heady buzz that's most suitable for daytime use. Sativa is also associated with a general sense of well-being, which makes them ideal for social situations. People who use Sativa strains claim they induce deep conversations, and an enhanced level of creativity when consumed.

The major uses of Cannabis Sativa include:

Cannabis Indica

Indica strains are generally thought of as the polar opposite of Sativa. They are known to produce a relaxing, calm feeling that gives the individual a chance to relax, unwind and release stress, pain, and other negative feelings. Most people prefer to use Indica strains at night as a nightcap because they are commonly associated with inducing a restful night's sleep.

The major uses of Indica strains include:

Why are they so different?

The two major categories of strains of cannabis are actually from different parts of the world and have a host of different plant characteristics. Indicas came from the Middle East and Near Asia, which includes Morocco, Nepal, Turkey, and Afghanistan. To most effectively capture the sunlight in these hot, dry and arid climates, Indicas tend to be short, bushy, and wide. They mature quickly, with shorter flowering periods and higher yields than Sativas.

Unlike their short and stocky counterparts, Sativas are long and thin, originating from Southeast Asia and Latin America (Mexico and Colombia). Thriving in the humidity of the equator zone, these plants the long and tall tall stature of sativa plants help them from growing mold. Sometimes reaching an astounding 20 feet tall, Sativas are said to take much longer to mature than Indicas and require a lot more light.

Do CBD / THC play a factor?

Both Indicas and Sativas contain some ratio of THC, or Tetrahydrocannabinol, as well as CBD, or Cannabidiol the ratio of these compounds is what makes a plant either Sativa or Indica.

THC, is the most unique compound found within cannabis plants for one distinct reason; it has psychoactive properties. In other words, it's the compound that makes you feel high. In most cases, it is associated with euphoria, or an intense sense of well-being and happiness.

CBD, on the other hand, has no psychoactive properties at all. It is, however, extremely useful to humans for several distinct reasons. It's been proven to help with seizures, neurological diseases, and is an effective pain reliever. Because it doesn't get you high, it's also legal, regardless of where you are.

Both CBD and THC are present in Indicas and Sativas in some ratio, not determined by the strain classification.

Hybrid Strains

It's actually quite rare to find a strain that is completely Sativa or Indica these days. Growers, and cannabis consumers realize that the best of both worlds is often the ticket, thus, hybrid strains. In some cases, two predominantly Sativa strains may be combined, or two Indicas, however, it's generally a combination of the two. A breeder may, for example, wish to create a strain that contains higher levels of CBD to help patients with extreme pain. Likewise, a strain with higher levels of THC may be bred to help those with anxiety and depression. It really just depends upon the intended use.

You might be asking yourself which strain would be best for you. The answer to that is highly personal. If you're experiencing difficulties in social situations, or you're lacking the motivation and creativity you desire perhaps a Sativa strain is your best bet. If, on the other hand, you experience intense pain, difficulty sleeping, and high-stress levels, you might want to give an Indica strain a try. The best way to figure out your ideal strain is to experiment. All that really matters is what works for you, not what the researchers say, or what anyone else experiences.


Stay informed. Stay healthy.