The Difference Between Indica and Sativa

Cannabis plant with other plants surrounding it

Whenever you’re strolling through the cannabis strains at a local dispensary, or browsing through various products online, you’ll notice that many strains are broken up into two distinct categories: indica and sativa. Most cannabis users have dabbled in both groups but if you’re new here, we can go over it.

  • Indica strains are believed to be physically sedating, perfect for relaxing while at home or before going to bed, to help with getting that deep REM slumber.
  • Sativa strains tend to provide a more invigorating and uplifting cerebral effect, which can pair well with activities like social gatherings, physical activity, and creative projects.

Now, the interesting thing is that researchers have seen that the difference between both strains of cannabis may not be as cut and clear as we once thought. There has been little evidence to suggest that one is more sedating than the other, or that one is more uplifting than its counterpart.

The words “indica” and “sativa” were introduced in the 18th century to describe different species of cannabis: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The term sativa was named by Carl Linneaus when he was describing hemp plants that were found in Europe and western Eurasia, where it was being cultivated for its fiber and seeds. Cannabis Indica, was named by Jean-Baptiste Lamark, where he was describing the psychoactive varieties that were discovered in India. India was harvesting it for its seeds and fiber as well.

When looking at the terms today, sativa refers to the tall, narrow leaf varieties of cannabis, thought to induce energizing effects, as we said earlier. However, these narrow leaf drug varieties were originally called Cannabis indica ssp.indica.

Indica has now come to describe stout, broad-leaf plants, thought to deliver sedating effects. These brad-leaf drug varieties are technically called Cannabis indica ssp.afghanica.

There’s also what we call hemp, which refers to the industrial, intoxicating varieties harvested primarily for fiber, seeds, and CBD.

So with all that information, it can be a bit confusing. Medically speaking, indica strains have been commonly used to increase mental relaxation, muscle relaxation, decrease nausea, decrease acute pain, and increase appetite. While sativa medical strains are commonly used for anti-anxiety, antidepressants, chronic pain, increase for focus and creativity, and an increase in serotonin. There are also hybrid strains, which are a combination of sativa and indica. Of course, remember that there has been no scientific research that proves that cannabis can cure any type of medical issue, so consult with a doctor before you start your cannabis use.

No matter what type of strain that you’re wanting to use, at Empire Health and Wellness, we have everything from sativa, indica, and hybrid cannabis products all ranging from flowers, edibles, pre-rolls, clones, and more. Located in Modesto, California, our dispensary also offers delivery! If you have any questions regarding any type of cannabis use or strain, contact us at 209-589-6475 or visit our store and one of our experienced budtenders will help you point you in the right direction!