Indica vs Sativa: What The Differences Between These Two Weed Strains Are

indica vs sativa

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, marijuana has over 37.6 million users in the United States alone.

However, many of these users don’t know the difference between indica vs sativa weed strains. Knowing the difference between the two can help you know what effects to expect the next time you light up.

Discover the difference between indica and sativa with our easy to use guide!

Indica vs Sativa

According to Cresco Labs, there are over 1,000 bred strains of cannabis. However, some strains are more effective at relieving pain caused by medical issues than others.

One main difference between indica and sativa is how they impact energy levels in the body. While indica strains decrease energy and cause a mental high, sativa boosts energy and causes a body high.

As a brief introduction to the two:

  • Indica is the physically sedating strain. If you’re trying to relax right before bed, indica is the better choice.
  • Sativa is the physically invigorating strain. Choose sativa if you’re working out, headed to a concert, or hanging with friends.

However, there’s little scientific evidence that points to consistently different chemical profiles between these two strains. Rather, the main distinctions of indica vs sativa are more often useful to cannabis cultivators.

Instead, the differing effects depend on cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabinoids like THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) can decide how cannabis affects our energy levels:

  • THC relieves pain symptoms while leaving us feeling high and hungry
  • CBD relieves pain, anxiety, and inflammation while leaving us feeling soothed

Check out our newbie’s guide to discover everything you need to know about cannabis.

These two types of weed also look and grow differently, which we’ll discuss in depth. I’ve broken down each strain to help you glean a well-rounded understanding of both types of weed.


When we’re discussing sativa vs indica, indica is the shorter strain of the two.

Indica also has broader leaves and shorter flowering cycles. This strain is better suited to grow in colder climates with shorter seasons.

In the past, this broad-leaf drug (BLD) was called cannabis indica ssp. afghanica.

Indica Strains

Here are a few indica strains of weed:

  • Godfather OG: this strain has a grape flavor with earthy, herbal notes; great for deep and peaceful sleep or relieving back pain
  • Nova OG: this strain smells like berries and coffee before delivering a relaxing effect and relieving inflammation
  • OG Kush: earthy and woody, this strain is ideal for people experiencing ADD or ADHD
  • Violator OG: this strain is earthy and spicy while providing a source of creativity and relaxation

If you’re looking to relax after a long, stressful day, indica is the go-to strain. Think of Shaggy from Scooby Doo and you’ll have the right idea.


While indica strains are short in stature, sativa is the taller strain. The leaves are also more narrow than sativa’s broader leaves. You can also recognize indica vs sativa by sativa’s longer flowering cycles.

Lastly, sativa grows better in warmer climates with a longer growing season.

Previously, this narrow-leaf drug (NLD) was referred to as cannabis indica ssp. indica.

Sativa Strains

Here are a few different sativa strains of weed:

  • Amnesia Haze: with citrus and vanilla flavors, this strain is energizing and great for treating insomnia
  • Orange Crush: sweet and sour, this strain is uplifting and energizing
  • Sour Diesel: named for its pungent aroma, this strain is fast-acting and great for boosting productivity and focus
  • White Window: this strain is sweet and spicy with hints of lemon for a great body high

Meanwhile, Blue Hawaiian is a hybrid strain. This strain has a fruity, blueberry aroma and is ideal for relieving anxiety, depression, headaches, and nausea.

If you’re feeling tired and need to work on your next blog post or musical composition, sativa is your go-to strain.

Choosing the Best Strain For You

If you’re trying to choose indica vs sativa, don’t overthink it.

Consider the current medical ailments you’re experiencing and your pain level. You should also consider when you plan on consuming the product.

If you’re at a high-energy social gathering, sativa is the more ideal strain. However, indica is better if you’re trying to keep a clear head while working on a project.

Knowing the different effects of sativa vs indica can also help you determine which strain is best for you.

Remember, sativa is will give you a boost of energy while indica will calm your body and mind. If you don’t plan on going anywhere, indica can keep you relaxed right before bed. Meanwhile, people who intend to keep busy or stay social lean towards sativa.

Beyond Choosing Indica vs Sativa

Instead of choosing indica vs sativa, you can select your strain based on different criteria instead. Effects often depend on the chemical profile, your biology and tolerance, how you consume the product, and the dose.

Choosing a THC-dominant strain offers potent euphoric effects. Many patients who are experiencing pain associated with a medical condition choose a THC strain.

THC-dominant strains are also beneficial for relieving insomnia, anxiety, and depression. However, this strain can also cause people to feel more anxious.

CBD-dominant strains, on the other hand, only contain small amounts of THC. These strains are best for patients who are sensitive to THC.

CBD strains are also great for offering symptom relief without clouding the mind.

You can also choose a strain that’s a balance between the two. These balanced strains create symptom relief and a mild euphoric effect.

If you’re a cannabis newbie, a balanced THC/CBD strain can be the best place to start.

Don’t Strain Yourself: An Easy Guide to Indica vs Sativa

With this guide, you can discover the difference between indica vs sativa. That way, you can determine which strain is best suited for your mind and body’s needs.

Whether you choose energy-inducing sativa or soothing indica, knowing how to recognize these different types of weed can make all the difference the next time you blaze up.

Check out this section of our website to learn more about the difference between indica and sativa.

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