The difference between indica and sativa is a common question, even for people who have been smoking for longer than they haven’t. With the boom in meds in recent years, these terms are passed around like a joint full of a 70/30 hybrid, but what do they actually mean? How will you decide which one is right for you? Keep reading to learn everything you can about the difference between indica and sativa.

Indica and sativa are two different varieties of the cannabis plant we all know and love. Their differences are apparent in three ways: how the plant grows and looks, how it makes the user feel, and its medical applications. Below we’ll break down the difference between indica and sativa through those categories.

A Note on Chemical Composition:

A major difference between indica and sativa is in the composition of cannabinoids, the chemicals responsible for the effects of marijuana. There are many cannabinoids, but the main ones found in medical marijuana are:

THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol, the most famous of the three, known for its psychoactive effects

CBD: Cannabidiol, a major cannabinoid with the highest potential for medical uses

CBN: Cannabinol, usually found only in trace amounts in both sativas and indicas, but which has been shown to have analgesic properties

The chemical difference between indica and sativa is that the sativa profile usually contains high THC with little or no CBD, while the indica profile often has a more balanced representation, with moderate amounts of THC and higher amounts of CBD.

sour diesel

Sativa

How It Grows, Looks, Smells:

Better for outdoor growing

Grows taller (at least 6 feet, can reach heights of 20)

Long, narrow leaves

Native to warm climates

Fruity or floral odors

Longer flowering time, typically 12-14 weeks

How It Makes You Feel:

Energetic, uplifting

Creative buzz

Cerebral, spacey

Stimulating on the level of a cup of coffee

Enhanced audio and visual senses

Increased focus

Great for daytime use

Medical Applications:

Fights depression

Can increase focus and creativity

Sativas at Medithrive:

Check out some of our favorite sativas, including Super Lemon Haze, Super Lemon Jack, Sour Tangie, Red Congolese, Durban Poison, Sour Diesel, Blue Wonder, Strawberry Fields, Super Trainwreck.

purple trainwreck

Indica

How It Grows, Looks, Smells:

Better for indoor growing

Grows short and wide, between 3-6 feet tall

Fatter leaves

Withstands harsher growing environments

Produces great resin

Tends to have higher yield

Earthy odor

Shorter flowering time, usually 8-9 weeks

How It Makes You Feel:

Strong, physical body high

“Couch lock” sensation

Sedated

Less psychoactive effects

Medical Applications:

Sleep promotion

Anxiety relief

Appetite increase

Relief of chemo symptoms

General pain relief

Strongest analgesic effect

Indicas at Medithrive:

Check out some of our favorite indicas, including GG#4, Blueberry Muffins, Woody Kush, Purple Trainwreck, Granddaddy Purple, Tree of Life, Afgoo, Sweet Cooks, 90s Glue, Titan OG, and Gelato 25.

gelato

Hybrids

A hybrid is exactly what it sounds like: a mix between a sativa and an indica. Crossbreeding strains has resulted in a number of flower varieties with unique characteristics and capabilities. To find out more about the particular effects of each strain, browse them online or ask your budtender.

Hybrids at Medithrive:

Check out some of our favorite hybrids, including E.T. OG, Elmer’s Glue, Space Oddity, Mendo Wreck, Pink Fig, Key Lime, Star Trek Super Kush, Trident, Khalifa Kush, Dutch Leopard, and Guyaba Chem.

With the many medicinal benefits of marijuana finally getting the attention they deserve, it’s more important than ever to know the difference between indica and sativa. Whichever is best for you, browse our flowers (and more) here and answer all your burning medical marijuana questions in the M-Source!