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Indica vs. Sativa: A Guide to Telling Them Apart

Indica vs. Sativa? What’s the difference? Many people have their own opinions on the two types of cannabis, but here are the facts behind telling them apart.

Keyword(s): indica vs. sativa

Indica vs. Sativa? As recreational marijuana becomes increasingly legal and medical marijuana becomes increasingly popular, cannabis connoisseurs are demanding to know what they’re ingesting.

There are as many varieties of marijuana as there are of fine wine. And because of the delicate nature of THC and CBD, different varieties can have vastly different impacts on the consumer.

For a recreational smoker, using what they don’t want may simply result in a high other than what they desired. That could mean getting a bit paranoid or “couch locked.”

But for a medical user, taking the wrong substance can be a lot more harmful. If somebody needs CBD for its seizure relieving effects or THC for its ability to ease depression, then it would obviously be a disaster to pack the wrong stuff in your vaporizer.

To help people draw this distinction, here’s our guide to Indica vs. Sativa for the cannabis layman who’s visiting a dispensary for the first time.

Indica Vs. Sativa: Effects

When it comes to the effects of Indica vs. Sativa, Indica strains are generally more CBD dominant, whereas Sativa strains are generally more THC dominant. All strains will have both compounds in them: people who want to exclusively use CBD will need to buy CBD Oil.

Each strain will have a vastly different effect for both medical and recreational users. So whether you’re taking a medical-grade edible or rolling a joint, here are the differences.

Indica vs Sativa LeaflyMedical

Sativa strains are best suited for daytime use. In this case, it is incredibly effective when it comes to relieving depression and increasing motivation.

It also is effective at generally improving your sense of comfort and motivation. Patients who use Sativa or Sativa-dominant strains tend to report feeling uplifting thoughts along with a greater sense of well-being. This is why daytime users have a strong Indica vs. Sativa preference for the latter.

On the other hand, if you are looking to relieve anxiety or insomnia, then Indica is the winner of the Indica vs. Sativa debate. Indica-dominant strains tend to be more popular for medical use because of their effect on the body.

Another trait of Indica that you will not get in Sativa-dominant strains is the ability to relieve spasms and seizures. This is one of the reasons for the increased popularity of CBD oils for cases of epilepsy.

This is also not just marketing. The Epilepsy Society has endorsed the use of CBD oils in these cases. This is why the Indica vs. Sativa discussion leans so heavily towards Indica in most medical cases.


On top of having different effects for medical users, the use of Indica or Sativa also affects recreational consumers.

When it comes to Indica vs. Sativa, most people looking to get high prefer to use a Sativa. That’s because Sativa and Sativa-dominant strains have far more THC than Indica-dominant strains.

While this is great for giving people a giggly and uplifted feeling, it also has some drawbacks. Using too much Sativa, for instance, has been known to produce feelings of anxiety in users. In addition, using a Sativa-dominant strain before bed could result in a sleepless night.

Indica-dominant strains, by contrast, tend to cause feelings of relaxation. For people looking to mellow out to some music or television, Indica is a great choice. It’s also a great choice for people who smoke before bed.


A Note On Hybrids

In spite of this being an Indica vs. Sativa article, you’ll notice that most of the article involves references to Indica or Sativa-dominant strains. That’s because the majority of strains on the market are hybrids.

Hybrids generally feature traits of both a Sativa and an Indica. The majority of marijuana on the market is the result of cross-breeding. Even “pure” Indica has some THC in it, and “pure” Sativa will have CBD. If you are looking for pure CBD, you need to try oil.

If you’re not sure if the Strain you’re looking at is Indica Vs. Sativa, you should ask the “budtender” you’re speaking with.

Notable Indica-Dominant Strains

Just because you can’t get pure Indica, that doesn’t mean you can’t look for Indica-dominant strains on the market. A number of incredibly popular strains are Indica-packed and available at most dispensaries. There’s an Indica vs. Sativa fight waging in every strain, and Indica is winning in these ones.

Here are a few that have gained legendary status.

Hindu Kush

Named after the absolutely beautiful Mountain range bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, this strain is one of the most famous in the world. In fact, it’s more or less a legendary player when it comes to Indicas.

In terms of the Indica Vs. Sativa debate, Kush strains are one of the most popular for recreational users arguing in favor of Indica. More or less a pure Indica, this strain has been known to cause both relaxation and joy.

For medical users, the strain is popular for its ability to relieve the symptoms of stress, physical pain, and insomnia. Users of Hindu Kush are recommended to have some food nearby. It has been known to make users a bit hungry.

Overall, this is a strain that everybody can benefit from.

indica and sativa

Purple Urkle

When it comes to Indica vs. Sativa, one thing that both varieties of cannabis have in common is a penchant for silly names. On the Indica side, look no further than Purple Urkle. A “purp” strain, this is known for its deep purple leaves and sweet grape flavor.

Purple Urkle smokers frequently report feeling heavily relaxed, albeit a bit tired.  Some negatives that users have experienced are feelings of couch lock as well as dry mouth, both common with indica.

Medical patients can benefit from Purple Urkle’s legendary ability to relieve pain and insomnia. And the name Urkle is fitting because after you vape a bit of it and see your body’s pains fade away, you’ll know that it did, indeed, do that.

Indica vs SativaGrape Ape

Another purp strain, Grape Ape also has a delicious grape smell, that being said, the taste is a bit less prominent than it is in Purple Urkle.

Grape Ape is a newer strain than either Hindu Kush or Purple Urkle, but it’s becoming a legendary topic of discussion when it comes to Indica vs. Sativa. That’s because it features a strong ability to give the user the sleepy relaxation they demand out of an Indica.

However, that sleepiness is balanced out by a strong emotionally uplifting impact. Being able to have these two things in the same strain makes Grape Ape a favorite of recreational users.

On top of its ability to provide users with a calm and relaxing effect, Grape Ape is also one of the best strains for relieving stress. This is also true of Indicas in general: the stress relief benefit is one of the common points in favor of Indica during the Indica vs. Sativa debate.

Notable Sativa-Dominant Strains

Just as Indica has its legendary strains, many Sativa strains have also become the stuff of legend. These strains tend to be a bit more popular with recreational users because of their ability to produce a strong “high” feeling.

As we mentioned, people prone to anxiety should try to avoid Indica dominant strains. But if you want to enjoy an Indica, here are a few that you’ll absolutely love.

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is one of the most popular Sativa strains out there. Also known as East Coast Sour Diesel, it is one of those strains that always seems to be brought up every time Indica vs. Sativa is a topic of conversation.

Sour Diesel is best known for its ability to produce a happy, uplifted, and creative mindset. It also does not have the best taste: as the name Sour Diesel would imply.

In spite of not tasting great, Sour Diesel is absolutely wonderful for certain medical marijuana patients. In spite of being a Sativa, it’s incredibly effective at stress relief. It also has been known to help with the effects of depression and fatigue, along with reducing physical pain and headaches.

Some users of Sour Diesel have reported a dry mouth and dry eyes, and some also report increased anxiety and paranoia. These are typical points against Sativa in Indica vs. Sativa conversations. Still, Sour Diesel is worth a try.

Strawberry Cough

As the name implies, this strain is definitely not meant to be smoked. Strawberry Cough has a fruity and berry-like taste, but can also have a strong harsh impact on the throat.

In spite of its impact on the throat, people who prefer Sativa in Indica vs. Sativa discussions can definitely benefit from giving Strawberry Cough a try. It features an incredibly giggly feeling to balance out its lung-expanding traits. This makes it a lot of fun for recreational and social users.

On top of that, it’s been known to cause strong sensations of uplift and euphoria.

Medically, this is one of the best Sativa-dominant strains for users looking to experience some stress relief. Like most Sativas, it’s great for depression and lack of appetite.

This is an absolutely wonderful strain for both recreational and medical users, but there are some negatives. Dry mouth and dry eyes are the most common, but the lung expanding the impact of this has also been known to cause dizziness. Make sure you take the time to drink plenty of water and breathe while using Strawberry Cough.

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid

Jack Herer

This strain’s name honors one of the great pioneers of cannabis history. Also known as The Hemperor, Jack was a political activist seen by many as the father of the legalization movement.

He was instrumental in paving the road for the legalization of both marijuana and hemp. While he never developed any strains himself, he did play a role in inspiring a generation of intellectuals to get involved in the marijuana movement.

Because of this, a legendary strain was named after him. One of the most sought-after Sativas on the market, Jack Herer is legendary in any Indica vs. Sativa conversation.

The Result

Whereas a lot of Sativa-dominant strains create a heavily giggly feeling to balance out their uplifting high, Jack Herer does quite the opposite. Instead of rolling on the floor unable to contain yourself, you will find yourself in a clear-headed and creative state of mind. This is incredibly beneficial to anybody seeking the enjoyment of an uplifting strain without the lack of clear-headedness associated.

Though it may not make you giggly, there is still euphoria and joy associated with the consumption of Jack Herer. This is perfect for those suffering from depression or lack of motivation looking to use a bit of marijuana without rendering themselves incapable of performing basic tasks.

Of course, medical users can find a variety of benefits from Jack Herer. Along with depression relief, the legendary strain has been known to help those suffering from stress, fatigue, and pain. It also has been known to cause an increase in appetite.

There are a few negatives associated with such a powerful strain. Paranoia and anxiety are relatively common, as are dry eyes and a dry mouth. Use it with caution, this one is incredibly strong.

These topics, of course, are common in the Indica vs. Sativa conversation: if you want to avoid paranoia, you should stick with Indicas.


Learn More and Get Involved

You’ve come to the right place if you’re interested in learning more about cannabis. We’re the perfect source for information about this budding new industry: information on everything from Indica vs. Sativa to legal and medical information about cannabis.

All you need to do is check out our blog for more.

Finally, we are experts in cannabis consulting. We assist those looking to get involved on the ground floor of the American cannabis industry. We understand that this is complicated, both legally and financially. That’s where we come in.

We have successful clients in over 10 countries. We help with the application process along with facility design and team building. If you’re interested in experiencing the incredibly lucrative new cannabis industry for yourself, you absolutely need to contact us today.

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Indica vs. Sativa


About Quantum9

Quantum 9, Inc. is a Chicago, IL-based cannabis consulting firm. We specialize in getting high net worth individuals and private equity cannabis business licenses to cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana. We have over 50 marijuana consultants that work for the company, and we have practiced in 12 countries. Our areas of expertise include permit acquisition, team building, employee training planning, and process planning. We help clients fully maximize the potential of any cannabis cultivation, processing, and dispensary business.


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