Indica vs Sativa | Different Use, Side Effects

What is the difference between Sativa and Indica? If you are a weed enthusiast, you may have heard the words sativa and indica thrown around many times. Sativa and indica are the main cannabis strains, but there is also a cross between the two, which is also as popular.

Indica vs Sativa

The cross between a sativa and indica strain is the hybrid. Both sativa and indica come with varying properties that make them different. You may not know what the differences are by just looking at the plants unless you know more about the strains. In this article, we look at the differences that will help you to tell sativa from indica.

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Understanding The Species of Cannabis

Species of Cannabis

Though sativa and indica are the most popular strains, cannabis comes in many other different species. The actual number remains debatable, but besides the popular two species, the other popular strains include hybrid, Cannabis Afghani, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Many of the strains though, fall under either sativa or indica, with the rest being subspecies of the two.

One of the significant differences between the two strains is the content level of THC and CBD. Before we look at the differences, let us look at the individual properties of the two strains.

What is Sativa?

What is Sativa

To understand the difference between sativa and indica, you need to know all the factors that make each strain, which include the appearance, levels of THC and CBD, taste and fragrance, effects and benefits, and the history.


Sativa originated from the tropical and subtropical regions of south and Central America. The weather in these places favors the growth of sativa that thrives better in a high humidity climate. The areas also receive an even spread of light, which helps to speed up the flowering period of the plants.


One of the most distinctive ways of recognizing a Sativa strain is by looking at the size of the plants. Sativa plants grow to large sizes, sometimes even up to twenty feet, especially if they are growing outdoors. Sativa plants also have thin, elongated leaves that grow apart. In addition, compared to the indica plants, sativa takes three to four months to mature.

Taste and fragrance

Many Sativa strains have a pungent taste with fruity, earthy, sweet, and grassy tones. The fruity flavor of the strains works well in edibles such as gummies, and cakes, among others.

THC and CBD levels

Sativa has a larger ratio of THC compared to its CBD content. The high THC levels are the reasons the strain has more energizing and uplifting effects.

Effects and benefits

Sativa provides users with an energizing and uplifting high. It is especially popular with creative people because it helps to inspire them to be more imaginative. Though sativa has more THC levels that are best for recreation, it also comes with some medical benefits.

It helps to relieve migraine headaches, nausea, chronic pains, anxiety, and depression.  Some of the most common side effects of sativa are dry mouth and dry eyes. Other minor ones include headaches, nausea, tiredness, couch-lock effects, insomnia, and dizziness, among others.

Most popular sativa strains

Some of the best Sativa strains are Durban Poison, Acapulco,  Super Silver Haze , Panama Red, Sour DieselCandyland , Lemon Haze,Purple Haze, And Maui Wowie, among others.

What is Indica?


It is now time to cover the Indica strain to learn more about the differences between the two strains,


Indica originated from the Hindu Kush mountain range of northern Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Afghanistan. The strain got its name from the geographical area that it grew during the 70s. The person that discovered and named the strain was a French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Lamarck found the strain around India and, together with other naturalists, spread the plant across southern and western Asia where it flourished with ease.


Compared to the sativa strain, indica is much smaller. The strain does not grow higher than six feet when growing outdoors compared to sativa, which can grow up to twenty feet. The structure of the strain during their growth period is dense, and it produces much higher yields than the sativa strain. The leaves are flat and wide. The indica strain also experiences fewer health problems during the various stages of growth than its sativa counterpart.

Taste and fragrance

Indica has a more pungent flavor than that of a sativa. It also features aromatic, piney, and earthy smells. The taste of the strain is the same as the smell, which means that if the fragrance is aromatic, so will the taste be. Smokers say that the taste of the indica strain is better than that of sativa especially when they are smoking it.

Just like sativa, indica also makes great-tasting edibles, and you can use them on any weed recipe with ease. The effects of the indica strain are strong, and if taken in excess, they can make you feel drowsy, which is why they are best for nighttime as compared to sativa, which is ideal for the daytime.

THC and CBD levels

Unlike sativa, indica contains more CBD levels than it does THC. The high CBD levels make it one of the best strains for medical use and night relaxation and calming effects.

Effects and benefits

Indica comes with ore relaxing and calming effects than the sativa. It also comes with immense medical benefits that include relief for sleep-related conditions such as insomnia, relief for chronic pains, anxiety, depression, muscle spasms, PTSD, migraine headaches, stress, and any more. Some of the most notable side effects of indica are drowsiness, sleepiness, fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, and dry eyes.

Most popular indica strains

Some of the most popular indica strains include Platinum Kush, Orange Kush, Super Skunk, Afghan Kush, Death Star, White Rhino, Purple Kush, Blueberry Kush, Master Kush, Hindu Kush, Northern Lights, and many more.

Hybrids – Across Between Sativa And Indica

The comparison of the two strains would not be complete without mentioning hybrid, which is a cross between the two. A hybrid strain consists of a certain percentage of both strains, where one of the strains is more dominant than the other does. When one of the strains is more dominant, then the hybrid is either sativa or indica dominant hybrid.

In some strains, the ratio is 50:50, which makes them the perfect hybrids. Some of the most popular hybrid strains are White Widow, Blue Dream, Trainwreck, Mango Kush, OG Kush, Pineapple Express, Sour OG, Bubble Gum, Golden Goat, and many others.

Wrapping it up

What is the difference between sativa and indica? From reading the above description, you can now tell the differences between the two strains. The differences lie in the structures of the plants with sativa having taller plants that the indica, and indica growing into denser plants than the sativa.

Other variations include the taste and fragrance, and the origin. The two strains share many similar benefits besides the best time to take the two. Sativa favors daytime users while indica leans more on supporting nighttime users because of the effects that may sometimes lead to drowsiness and sleep. They all provide relaxation effects and relief for various health issues. Some of the most popular hybrid strains are also a cross between the two strains.

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Bowden draws from over a decade of home growing experience as well as consulting for small-scale and hobbyist-level growers. He has written hundreds of articles, thought pieces, and tutorials about growing cannabis at home

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