Indica vs Sativa – What’s the difference?

Indica vs. Sativa: What’s the difference?

When looking through cannabis strains or buying cannabis at a dispensary, you might discover that strains are broken down into three unique groups: namely Sativa, Indica, and hybrid. While there are three different strains, the aim of this article is to focus on two and how different they are, hence the Indica vs Sativa title of the article.

Most people tend to believe that Indica strains are physically sedating and that makes them a perfect relaxation tool or something to have before going to sleep. They are typically associated with full-body effects that help reduce insomnia and increase deep relaxation.

Sativas, on the other hand, are known to offer uplifting, invigorating cerebral effects that are great with social gatherings, creative projects, and physical activity. What this means is that Sativas are known for offering a head high which has an energising effect and reduces stress, anxiety while increasing focus and creativity.

What’s actually in them?

Cannabis plants contain numerous chemicals known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring elements that are responsible for a host of effects associated with cannabis use. The two widely known ones found in cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), but that does not mean there aren’t other less popular compounds


THC is the main psychoactive component in cannabis plants. It is responsible for the state of euphoria or high associated with using cannabis. This means that both Indica and Sativa have THC on them. Depending on the strain in this Indica v Sativa battle, one strain might have more THC content than the other.  


CBD is the second famous compound. It differs from THC in the sense that it is not psychoactive, it does not give off a high. That being said, it can offer up numerous physical benefits like pain reduction, preventing seizures, easing migraine, and reducing nausea.


CBN or Cannabinol is typically used to help ease the side effects and symptoms of neurological conditions like seizures, uncontrollable muscle stiffness, and epilepsy.


Indica vs Sativa leaf

While this section of the Indica vs Sativa article might not be that useful when you walk into a dispensary to buy your bud, it can be quite useful to know the attributes of each strain. This will help make it easier to define. Think of it as an Indica vs Sativa looks section. Experienced growers are able to pick a side in the Indica vs Sativa leaf battle as they can seamlessly tell if a plant is a Sativa or an Indica by generally glancing at it.

For Sativas, which typically originate from regions such as Colombia, Southeast Asia, and Mexico, they deal with equatorial climates. Since these regions are extremely humid, the plants have had to adapt to the environment and that is why they have slender leaves. They tend to grow tall in order to avoid the occurrence of mould. In the correct growing conditions, these plants are able to grow a maximum of 6 metres.

Indicas generally originated in the Middle East. Given that this region is dry, the plants are shorter compared to Sativas, however, they are bushier and wider. Their leaves are much thicker and broader enabling sunlight to be caught much easier. They come with a shorter flowering period so the growth mould can be avoided. Because of the way they are designed, Indica plants are unable to handle the humidity efficiently. 


Given that the majority of strains available are hybrids, it can be quite difficult to tell which dried herb is Indica vs Sativa. That being said, there are a few guidelines which can help you ascertain which is which. When you look at a bag and you discover that it looks like you have more than you should, then it is likely that you have a Sativa with you. The way an Indica vs Sativa looks is that a Sativa has less dense and wispier buds which appear taller. They are different from round looking ones as they look fluffy, thin, and rectangular.

In the Indica section of this Indica vs Sativa looks, the buds are much heavier and that means they are denser than Sativas. It is this look that consumers prefer. They look like this because they grow in denser clusters close to the node and that is why they appear crunchy. It does not matter which you prefer to get you high when it comes to looks as Indica buds are preferred given that they are more aesthetically pleasing. It is for this reason that pure Sativa plants are harder to find. This does not mean Sativas are inferior or indicas are better, it just means when it comes to the Indica vs Sativa looks battle, indicas are preferred.

Taste and aroma

If you have had the chance to look at both the Sativa and Indica, you will discover that there are other factors that help distinguish between them. The next differentiating category in this Indica vs Sativa war is the taste. Indicas are known to have sweeter flavours such as Sweet Skunk or Honey Cream. While Sativas tend to have more pungent and earthy tastes like Sour Diesel.

When it comes to the way they smell, Sativas come with a much more delicate and flora aroma. This is actually at odds with the way they taste. Indicas, on the other hand, emit a more skunky and pungent profile. An Indica is more likely to let those around you know that you have weed in or around you.


In this Indica and Sativa comparison article, you can see that both strains come with their own merits, smells, and tastes. The strain you pick is more about personal preference than anything else really. To recap, Indica vs Sativa compares Indica native to Afghanistan, turkey, Pakistan, and India to Sativa found in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Central America. The Indica vs Sativa leaf compares the Indica which has relatively lower doses of THC and marginally higher doses of CBD to the Sativa that has higher doses of THC and lower doses of CBD.

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