Indica VS. Sativa

Indica VS Sativa: What are The Key Differences

Cannabis, a species of flowering herb, is classified into three subspecies: Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis. Among these subspecies, Ruderalis plants are generally small and produce limited medicinal yield. As a result, breeders and cultivators typically avoid Ruderalis strains. Within the medical cannabis community, the primary focus is on Indica and Sativa strains due to their more desirable properties and potential therapeutic benefits.


Cannabis sativa, a plant-primarily found in hot and dry climates with long sunny days, is native to regions such as Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, and parts of Western Asia.

In terms of appearance, sativa plants are characterized by their tall and slender stature, along with finger-like leaves. They have the potential to grow over 12 feet in height and generally take longer to reach maturity compared to other cannabis varieties.

When it comes to the CBD to THC ratio, sativa strains typically contain lower levels of CBD and higher levels of THC.

The effects commonly associated with sativa use are often described as a “mind high,” which tends to be energizing and can help reduce anxiety. Sativa-dominant strains promote productivity and creativity rather than inducing relaxation and lethargy.

Due to its stimulating properties, sativa is commonly used during the daytime.

Some popular sativa strains that are well-known among enthusiasts include Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, and Durban Poison.

Sativa and Indica are two primary classifications or subspecies of the Cannabis plant. They have distinct characteristics in terms of their physical appearance, effects, and typical usage. Here’s a comparison between Sativa and Indica:


Cannabis indica, which originates from regions such as Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey, has adapted to the challenging and often harsh climate of the Hindu Kush mountains, characterized by its dry and turbulent conditions.

Indica plants are known for their short and stocky stature, featuring bushy green foliage and wide, broad leaves. They have a faster growth rate compared to sativa plants and tend to produce a greater quantity of buds.

In terms of the CBD to THC ratio, Indica strains typically exhibit higher levels of CBD, although this does not necessarily mean that the THC content is lower.

The effects associated with Indica use revolve around its renowned ability to induce intense relaxation. Indica is often sought after for its potential to alleviate nausea, reduce pain, and stimulate appetite.

Due to its deeply relaxing properties, indica is typically consumed during nighttime hours to promote a more tranquil experience.


  • Origin: Ruderalis plants are adapted to extreme environments found in Eastern Europe, the Himalayan regions of India, Siberia, and Russia. These plants have a rapid growth rate, which is advantageous for the cold, low-sunlight conditions in these areas.
  • Plant description: Ruderalis plants are small and bushy, typically not exceeding a height of 12 inches. However, they exhibit fast growth, allowing them to go from seed to harvest in a relatively short period, usually a little over a month.
  • Typical CBD to THC ratio: Ruderalis strains generally contain low levels of THC and higher amounts of CBD. However, these concentrations may not be sufficient to produce noticeable effects.
  • Commonly associated effects of use: Due to its low potency, ruderalis is not commonly used for medicinal or recreational purposes. It does not typically provide significant effects or benefits.
  • Daytime or nighttime use: As ruderalis strains produce minimal effects, they can be used at any time without causing notable impairment.

Popular strains: Ruderalis strains themselves are not widely popular within the cannabis community. However, cannabis farmers may incorporate ruderalis genetics into breeding programs by crossing it with other cannabis types such as sativa or indica. The rapid growth cycle of ruderalis is considered a valuable attribute for producers, who may combine it with more potent strains to create a desirable product.

4. What’s the difference between Cannabinoids and Terpenes?

Cannabinoids and terpenes are two prominent chemical compounds found in cannabis plants that contribute to their unique aroma, flavor, and potential therapeutic effects. These compounds have gained significant attention in recent years due to the growing interest in cannabis for both recreational and medical purposes. 


Cannabis plants contain numerous chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which are responsible for their physical and psychoactive effects. The two most abundant cannabinoids found in both Indica and Sativa strains are THC and CBD.

THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) interacts with the human endocannabinoid system, affecting the transmission of messages through the nervous system and resulting in mind-altering effects. Sativa plants generally have higher THC content, contributing to their potent psychoactive properties.

CBD (cannabidiol), on the other hand, binds to the endocannabinoid system and influences signals within the body and immune system, producing various therapeutic effects. Indica plants typically contain higher levels of CBD, which contribute to their distinct bodily effects.


Terpenes are natural compounds present in essential oils of plants, including cannabis, and are responsible for their characteristic aromas and flavors. Terpenes also play a role in enhancing the effects of cannabinoids through a synergistic interaction. One well-known terpene is myrcene, which is frequently found in cannabis strains.

Myrcene is associated with promoting relaxation and a sense of calm. When breeders develop new strains, they often consider a strain to be Indica if it has a myrcene volume greater than 0.5%. Conversely, strains with a myrcene volume below 0.5% are classified as Sativa.

Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, as well as terpenes like myrcene, are crucial variables to consider when differentiating between Indica and Sativa strains of cannabis. These components contribute to the distinct effects, flavors, and aromas associated with each strain.


It’s important to note that while Sativa and Indica strains have these general characteristics, many cannabis strains available today are hybrids that combine traits from both subspecies. The effects and characteristics can vary significantly depending on the specific strain, its cannabinoid profile, and individual factors.

Frequently Asked Questions About Indica Vs. Sativa

Can the THC and CBD levels in Indica and Sativa strains differ?

Yes, besides the effects, consider factors like your personal preferences, tolerance, and the time of day you plan to consume. Consulting with a knowledgeable budtender or a medical professional can also help you make an informed decision.

Both Indica and Sativa hemp strains have medicinal applications. Indica strains may be beneficial for managing stress, or sleep-related issues. Sativa strains can be useful for promoting focus, productivity, and overall well-being.

In most regions where hemp is legal, there are no legal distinctions made between Indica and Sativa strains. The legality is typically determined based on the THC content, with hemp strains having less than 0.3% Delta 9 THC.

Table of Contents

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top