Indica vs. Sativa – What Is The Difference?

Indica vs. Sativa – What Is The Difference?

The two strains are similar but very different. There are physical differences as well as biological differences which is why in this article we will try and identify what defines the sativa strain and the indica strain to help you discover which one is right for your medical use. Indica vs.Sativa, what is the difference? And which one is right for you?

The use of cannabis for medicine has been common since its birth back in China thousands of years ago. There has been an abundance of strains that have been bred over the many decades. Cannabis is a species that has three subspecies: Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis. Ruderalis strains are typically avoided by cultivators and breeders due to their small size and poor medicinal yield. Therefore, the focus within the medical cannabis industry is on indica and sativa strains.

Indica vs.Sativa BioRadiance

Indica vs. Sativa – Where Did They Originate From?

The Sativa strain comes from warmer parts of the world. It is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, Central, and South America.

Originating in the middle east, indica strains came from countries including Pakistan, Tibet, and Afghanistan.

Indica vs.Sativa – The Physical Differences

Indica plants are shorter and stockier than sativa strains, and they have a woody stalk, with leaves that are broad whereas sativa plants tend to be taller, with a lankier appearance. Sativa plants tend to have leaves that are thinner, and they grow more slowly than Indica plants.

Indica Plants

  • Shorter
  • Stockier
  • Woody stalk
  • Broad and chunky leaves
  • Grow fast

Sativa Plants

  • Taller
  • Lankier
  • Thinner pointier leaves
  • Grow slower

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Indica vs.Sativa – The Medical Differences

Despite the physical differences being a good way to tell the strains apart, the medical differences and their effects on energy levels and productivity are salient. The general perception of indica strains, is that they are an effective pain reliever. They commonly decrease energy levels and are thus better for consumption in the evenings or at night. Therefore, it is frequently recommended that if consumed, the user consumes after the day’s work and activities. Potent strains of indica may even give some patients what commonly termed “couchlock” – a condition in which the consumer becomes so relaxed they can barely move from their seat.

On the contrary, sativa strains uplift, energize, enhance creativity, and improve productivity. As stated in the physical differences above, one of the drawbacks of sativa strains is that they take longer to grow and yield less medicine than indica strains. Hence why the common strains available on the black market are the “body high” indica strains rather than the “mind high” sativa strains – because there is a focus on yield and profit.


Indica vs.Sativa – The Medical Ailments

Indica vs.Sativa? So, what are the two strains best ailments? Indica strains are often used for pain relief and inflammation. They are therefore beneficial for patients with arthritis, muscle soreness, neuropathic pain, and cancer.

On the other hand, sativa strains are more commonly used for psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

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Indica vs.Sativa – The Aroma

What do these strains smell like? How can I tell the difference?

Well, indica strains tend to have a similar smell to petrichor, but mustier and damper. Conversely, sativa’s emit light, fruity, sweet fragrances due to their difference in terpene make-up.


How to tell them apart numerically?

Indica vs.Sativa? Despite the physical and aromatic differences between the strains, they are scientifically differentiated by the level of Myrcene in the cannabis. Myrcene is the most common terpene in cannabis. It helps battle conditions like sleep deprivation and anxiety. If the specific plant has a greater volume of 0.5% of myrcene, then the strain is considered an indica. If the amount of myrcene is under that, then the strain is classified as sativa.



 As a patient, you have to remember that these strains will have different effects on different people. There is no guarantee that these two strains will make you feel a particular certain way, it depends on your body make-up and how you will react. So, this is something you need to understand and be aware of – do your research on different strains to get the best benefits and results.

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