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Indica & Sativa: How to Choose the Right Strains

What to Print on California Label Cannabis?

The cannabis industry is no longer a niche market. More and more places legalize the growing and consumption of marijuana either for personal or medical purposes, and as a consequence, the awareness and interest in these products are also increasing.

Whether you are a beginning user or are considering taking advantage of the growing business opportunities, you should first make sure to educate yourself a bit. For example, you need to realize the importance of the source – e.g., see this ILGM (I Love Growing Marijuana) review to see what to expect from a seed provider. Apart from that, you will have to learn what quality certifications can be awarded to cannabis-related companies or where it is best to buy or sell the products.

One of the vital things you need to comprehend, though, is the difference between strains – indica and sativa. And we are here to help you. Below, we dive deep into the intricacies of these both marijuana strains. Read on to find out how to choose the one most suitable for you.

What Is Sativa?

The sativa strain plant prefers a warmer climate and isn’t bothered by high humidity. Wildly, it grows mainly in tropical areas. It is indigenous to Southeast Asia, where it has been harvested roughly since 12 000 years ago, can also be found in Central and South America, Africa, and some parts of Western Asia. However, due to industrialization and commercialization, it can now be found virtually anywhere where growing cannabis is legal (or not). The sativa plant is tall (sometimes taller than 12 feet) and skinny, usually with light green, thin leaves and a sweet, fruity aroma. Generally speaking, it is considered to be the more energizing, uplifting strain.

The most popular sativa strains include Panama Red, Acapulco Gold, and Durban Poison.

What Is Indica?

The indica strain, on the other hand, is recommended for users who are looking for calming, relaxing effects. Indica plants are shorter than the sativa, with darker and broader leaves and a musty aroma. They also like a different environment, as they commonly grow mainly in the dry, harsher climate of the Middle East. However, similarly to the sativa, the indica is also grown in all parts of the globe, wherever people are willing to provide it with the right conditions. It’s worth adding that this strain has a shorter growing cycle than the sativa.

Among the most popular indica strains are Afghan Kush, Granddaddy Purple, and Hindu Kush.

Sativa vs. Indica – The Different Benefits

Some people choose their preferable strain according to whether they want a calming or energizing effect. The main difference lies in the amount of cannabinoids present. While there are various cannabinoids in each strain, the determining ones can be narrowed down to cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The former provides a feeling of relief, the latter – the psychoactive effect.

While there are many factors influencing the effects of each marijuana strain (such as the growing method and individual chemical composition of a plant), it’s easier to start your journey into the cannabis world with this simplified distinction. Now, let’s get into details about the benefits of both strains.

The Benefits of the Sativa Strain

The sativa strain is higher in THC and lower in CBD, which is why it makes you feel invigorated – THC is the component that provides the high effect. This is also why the sativa might help if you struggle with a lack of appetite. Additionally, it has been known for helping with headaches, nausea, the symptoms of depression, and other mood disorders, as well as Attention Deficit Disorder. The effect is called the head high because it sharpens your mind, improves focus, and increases alertness, creativity, and productivity. That’s also the reason to choose it for daytime use, especially if you have some intense activity planned, such as a bike ride, house-cleaning, or a long hike.

The Benefits of the Indica Strain

As the indica provides the body high and decreases the energy levels, it helps you calm and relax, so it’s recommended for nighttime use and mellow activities, e.g., a movie night, meditation, or relaxation time. This strain is much higher in CBD than the sativa plant but has almost the same amount of THC. That’s why it’s commonly used to relieve pain, ease insomnia and nausea, and reduce anxiety symptoms. Some psychiatrists prescribe it to treat such conditions as PTSD and depression. In general, the indica strain is much more popular in the medical field.

What Are the Hybrid Strains?

Considering the level of human interference in nature, it was only a matter of time for marijuana breeders to start crossing different strains – that’s how we got the hybrids. While there are many alternatives grown in greenhouses and on farms, we will focus on the ones merging the sativa and the indica.

The combination might be almost even or with one strain as dominant, depending on the desired effect. Some can balance each other, providing mild impacts of both types, while others can be even more potent than a typical plant. However, CBD has been known to weaken the psychoactive properties of THC.

Trainwreck, Blue Dream, and Pineapple Express are some of the most popular hybrid strains.

How to Choose the Right Strain?

Most people would go for both and use a suitable one whenever they look for a specific effect – the indica to relax, for a good nighttime sleep, the sativa when you want more energy, better focus, and a hybrid for something in-between. If you’re buying cannabis at a dispensary, simply tell the budtender what you expect from the use, and you will be offered a suitable product.

However, if you are a newcomer to the cannabis world, it is vital for you to stay cautious while trying different strains, as there are some exceptions to the general rules. In addition, there are more and less potent products, so if you haven’t used much, go for a milder, entry-level product.

Moreover, you should also bear in mind your health condition. Make sure there aren’t any contraindications or potential risks related to the meds you’re taking or any health issue you may struggle with. It’s best to consult with your doctor before you decide to buy any strain.

Are There Any Side Effects?

While most of the side effects associated with marijuana use are caused by higher levels of THC rather than CBD, you can experience some of those by using any cannabis product:

  • anxiety and paranoia,
  • lethargy,
  • dry mouth and/or eyes,
  • dizziness and increased heart rate.

Additionally, you need to consider the method of use of your choice. For example, vaping or smoking might irritate your lungs, and ingesting cannabis will provide a more potent, long-lasting effect.


Sativa vs. indica are the two most commonly used marijuana strains, and it is crucial to know their differences and the properties of hybrid combinations of the two. Considering the various benefits of each strain, you can make a better-informed choice of which one you want to explore. For example, if you are an evening user, you should go with the indica, while if you want to experience the daytime high, go with the sativa.

You’re much better equipped for making the right choice, so go ahead and try one!

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