With hundreds of strains of cannabis available on the market, it’s hard to believe that they can all be traced back to the same two species. Just like every wine in existence starts with nothing more than grapes, every strain of cannabis originates from either Indica or Sativa (or a hybrid of both). But it isn’t as simple as picking what tastes good to us. These two plants affect our body in extremely different ways.
(And some effects can be dangerous if used by people with certain pre-existing conditions!)
Finding a strain that suits our needs and tastes will become much easier after reading this comprehensive guide.
Before we get into the difference between Indica and Sativa, it’s important to know our cannabinoids, especially the two big players THC and CBD. If you aren’t familiar with them head over to Your Guide to Cannabis Consumption.
Want it given to you short and sweet?
CBD – produces little to no psychoactive effects and is commonly used for health reasons; to assist with stress, promote better sleep, treat nausea, and provide pain relief.
THC – creates the psychoactive effect cannabis is known for.
Although every product should have the species and cannabinoids clearly labeled on its package, it can be a tedious task to read all that tiny print. Luckily for you, there is a life hack that can make decoding marijuana easy!
When browsing hundreds of cannabis products, picking one can be tricky. You might have a favorite or a recommended strain from a friend and just stick to that. It’s a safe and sure bet you’ll enjoy yourself. But it might not be the best choice for you…
Being able to identify the species of plant will give you important clues to what your dose will do for you.
Haze and Kush are popular words used in strain names to give people a strong hint about its character. Haze is applied to Sativa dominant strains, and Kush is used for Indica dominant traits.
Not to say that Haze and Kush are the only words used. These days, some strains sound like ice cream flavors, such as “Cookies and Cream.” In that case, you better ask your budtender for a little more information.
Now, you can have confidence in what is behind the names, but we also need to know how Sativa and Indica affect our bodies. Remember, they are very different!
Instead of writing at length about each of these, and boring you, we have outlined the two species in a handy chart that you can print out and take to the dispensary!
This chart will help you to make an informed decision when choosing a product for your individual needs.
Caution: Always seek the advice of a medical professional before self-medicating with cannabis products. Your doctor should diagnose and suggest treatment for all health problems. If you have questions about a specific strain, ask your budtender or contact Medithrive.
Although Indica is great for pain, it can be bad news for people with mood disorders. The sleepy effect of this herb can lower your motivation, worsening depression symptoms. Avoiding strains that originate from Cannabis Indica is a smart precaution if you have a hard time completing daily tasks or experience emotional lows regularly. Reach for Sativa strains instead to get a mood boost.
On the flip side, if you have anxiety, steer clear of Sativa! This stimulating species can cause paranoia and panic attacks in those with GAD, social anxiety, schizophrenia, and anyone who might be considered “high strung.” (You know who you are.) In fact, many studies have found supporting evidence that Sativa has the potential to cause psychotic episodes in those at risk; However, CBD has shown promise in countering these symptoms. You guessed it! These folks need to chill with an Indica strain instead.
The more we learn about marijuana, the more we realize how versatile it is. There is a bud to suit everyone. It just takes a little research or a knowledgeable budtender to figure out which one is right for you.
Manseau, Marc W, and Donald C Goff. “Cannabinoids and Schizophrenia: Risks and Therapeutic Potential.” Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics vol. 12,4 (2015): 816-24. doi:10.1007/s13311-015-0382-6
Niesink, Raymond J M, and Margriet W van Laar. “Does Cannabidiol Protect Against Adverse Psychological Effects of THC?.” Frontiers in psychiatry vol. 4 130. 16 Oct. 2013, doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00130
“Cannabis Indica” and “Cannabis Sativa.” Plants For A Future, pfaf.org