Sativa vs. Indica – What are the Differences?


indica vs. sativa has probably dictated every cannabis-related decision you have personally ever made as novice, moderate, or veteran cannabis user, It is ever the first question you ask yourself every time you want to buy weed online,  for a specific species of cannabis is whether you want the “body high” of Indica, the “cerebral rush” of Sativa, or the varied effects of a hybrid.

The real difference between today’s Indica and Sativa plants is in their observable traits during their cultivation cycle.  Indica plants grow short with thick stems and broad, deep-green leaves. They also have short flowering cycles, and grow sufficiently in cold, short-season climates. Sativa plants have longer flowering cycles, fare better in warm climates with long seasons, and usually grow taller with light-green, narrow leaves.

For the last 50 years of cannabis cultivation, crossbreeding has been the name of the game. As a result, there’s virtually no such thing as a pure Indica or Sativa anymore. Every flower you have come in contact with has most likely been a hybrid of some sort. Classifying a particular cultivar, or strain, as indica or Sativa usually means that it tilts to one side or the other of an Indica/Sativa spectrum.

Sativa vs. Indica Effects

The indica vs. sativa framework has drawn controversy, and for good reason. As you research cultivars online, you may keep coming up against the same phrases to describe sativas (cerebral, heady, uplifting”, “energizing) and indicas (relaxing, sedating, full-bodied, couchlock, Stoney). It’s still perfectly valid to describe effects as sativa-like or indica-like, as long as we remember that Sativa or Indica-like effects don’t necessarily coincide with a plant’s Sativa or Indica lineage.



Indica Like

Indica weed strains originate from the harsh, cool, mountainous regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. These harsh climates naturally forged hardy subspecies composed of stout, bushy stalks (2-4 feet tall), typically yielding high (~18%) THC-laden plants in comparison to their Sativa counterparts. The leaves of an Indica plant are robust and a darker shade of green than those of a Sativa. Their short stature and quick flowering time also make them ideal for indoor cultivation.

Indcas’ physical effects can be felt throughout the body, and many users report feeling exceptionally or even after a dose of pure Indica. This means Indica strains are best at soothing symptoms of chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and even neurological conditions (like Multiple Sclerosis, seizures, or muscle spasms).


Sativa Like

Sativa marijuana strains thrive in temperate climates, in latitudes closer to the equator; think Southeast Asia, Columbia, or Mexico.

The Sativas’ stalks are taller (up to 20 feet when grown outdoors) than the short bushels of the Indica and are further distinguished by bearing a lighter shade of green on their narrow leaves.

Sativa plants are generally lower in THC content than Indica (often falling between 12-16%), but they more than makeup for it in terpenes.

Sativas are known to be quite pungent, with the terpenes present in any particular strain allowing it to waft aromas ranging from sweet and fruity, to spicy, earthy, or even diesel-fuel. Of course, there exist high-THC Sativas and low-THC Indica strains but they are the exception and not the rule.

Energy is the hallmark of a Sativa high. Recommended for daytime consumption, you can expect an uplifting and generally mentally stimulating time with a Sativa.

Patients suffering from depression, fatigue, or AD(H)D often turn to Sativa for medicinal relief.