What Is The Difference Between Indica And Sativa?

Two of the most recognized varieties of cannabis plants are Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Between both of those varieties there are an immense number of individual strains all with different cannabinoid profiles and different medicinal effects. The two main varieties of cannabis plants do have differences ranging from physical appearances to psychological effects.

From a scientific and legal perspective, there is no difference between the cannabis plants Indica and Sativa. However, there are an abundance of different qualities and effects within the spectrum range of cannabis, mostly due to the fact that cannabis has the exceptional ability to adapt to a multitude of different environments, whether natural or artificial.

What Is The Difference Between Indica And Sativa?

Indica strains have a higher concentration of cannabinoids which provides an overall sense of calm and relaxation. They are compact and stocky, with heavy, dense, and fragrant buds that tend to produce an earthy, skunky odour to sweet and fruity. Sativa strains generally provide a more energizing and uplifting experience. Sativa buds are usually larger and have a lower density then Indica strains. Sativa buds tend to produce a more floral and delicate aroma.

The Difference In Name and Origins Of Sativa And Indica

Sativa is a classical Latin adjective which means “cultivated” Indica is also classical Latin for “of India”.

Indica varieties mostly come from the Indian subcontinent and central Asia from places like Northern India, Nepal, Tibet, Afghanistan, Pakistan and surrounding regions.

Sativa, on the other hand generally originate in the warmer equatorial regions from places like Jamaica, Mexico, Southern India, Thailand and similar regions.

The Difference In Size And Appearance Between Sativa And Indica

When looking at these two cannabis plants they both have green leaves, produce nodes at regular intervals along their stems. At these nodes the branches, leaves, flowers and bud all form. Sativa leaves are slightly lighter in color than Indica. Also Sativa leaves are thinner than Indica, which have fuller and wider leaves.

Sativa plants can grow up to heights of 20 feet or more. They tend to be tall and skinny with their branches spread apart from each other. Sativa buds typically grow along the length of the branch and are larger than Indica. They may be larger buds but due to their lower density they usually weigh less then Indica when dry.

Indica plants grow to heights of 2-4 feet, much shorter, wider and more dense than Sativa. The branches and nodes are much closer apart resulting in the dense clusters that form around the nodes of the stem. These dense clusters produce heavy, thick and very fragrant buds compared to Sativa.

Growth Difference Between Indica Vs Sativa

Indica have a much shorter flowering cycle than Sativa. They have a flowering cycle of 45 to 60 days, while Sativa flowering cycle can take up to 60 to 90 days.

During Indicas flowering cycle they may be expected to grow by a 50-100% growth factor. Increasing it’s overall vegetative height. Indica optimally grow in cooler climates and are best suited for indoor environments.

Sativa on the other hand during their flowering cycle may gain up to 200-300% and very quickly increase it’s vegetative height and will continue to grow through out it’s blooming phase. Sativa optimally grow in tropical regions where the climate is warm and is usually grown outdoors.

The Difference In Effect Between Indica Vs Sativa

Indica produces a more heavy relaxing sensation on the body, causing it’s users to want to relax and sit down. For optimal results it should be consumed at night. Indica users will feel sedated when consumed in low or high doses. Users will have a decreased attention span, but can still enjoy an increase in creativity.

Indica typically enhances the body’s senses such as sound, smell, touch, and leaves the user very relaxed and even drowsy. Indica effect is commonly referred to as being “stoned” or the feeling of a “body high”. Which is referring to the effect that is felt throught the body rather than in the mind. Since Indica leaves users drowsy and relaxes the entire body it is often used as a sleep aid.

Sativa typically gives users a more energetic cerebral high. It is best to be consumed during the day. It enhances the user’s creativity while giving the sensation of feeling “high” more alert and lighter.

Even in small doses, users can feel sedated, but tend to be in an energetic state with increased energy levels. Also uplifting thoughts that may stimulate happiness, creativity, increases focus and boosts imagination.


These are the differences in effect that are commonly expressed. They have different effects depending on each person and each individual tolerance.

Knowing the difference between Indica and Sativa you can now decide for yourself which strain best serves your needs and purpose for your particular situation.

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