You have probably heard of these terms many times, but do you really know the difference? In the vast and varied world of cannabis, knowing the difference between the species is a must when it comes to choosing one. We have developed this complete guide to help you identify each of these species as well as get to know its effects so that, when you choose your strain, you will know exactly what to expect.
It is important to mention that these two terms were first introduced for botanists and not pharmacologists for a practical reason: to help identify them easier based on the size and shape of their main leaves, as well as the amount of fiber they produced. Botanists use the terms to identify and classify the two plants based on their appearance, not on the effects they have on the human.
Since the 1750s, indica and sativa have been milestones when it comes to cannabis. A Swedish botanist named Carl Linnaeus identified as cannabis sativa those plants that were psychoactive; and some decades later, Jean-Baptiste, a French biologist identified cannabis indica while observing the physical characteristics of the plant. It’s been almost 300 hundred years and yet, to these days, discoveries regarding cannabis are still taking place.
These two main types of marijuana, indica and sativa, are generally used for many medicinal and recreational purposes. Whereas sativa variety is known for its invigorating and energizing effect, indica increases relaxation. However, there’s a lot more to know about these two species.
Getting to identify the two types of weed will help you differentiate them at first sight, which is of great importance when purchasing as sometimes people have no idea of what to choose or what they are being offered. For you to make sure you can identify them, here are some basic physical differences between indica and sativa:
Cannabis indica plants are short and bushy and they grow fast, with short flowering cycles. The leaves are wide and dark green and it grows well in cold, short-season climates.
Cannabis sativa plants are thin and they can grow higher than 12 feet. They take a bit longer to mature and have longer flowering cycles than other cannabis species. The leaves are thin, narrow and light green. It is native to tropical, temperate regions that are closer to the equator.
Use, qualities and effects
Indica marijuana produces a relaxing effect, which makes it perfect for the night or for days in which you don’t need to be super active. It is known for its sedative effects: they can bring you a huge feeling of serenity and calmness in your body and mind. Compared to sativa marijuana, this one contains a higher concentration of CBD and less THC. This strain is ideal to fight problems such as anxiety, chronic pains, insomnia and muscle spasms.
Although the effects can vary from user to user, these are some general effects of the indica strain:
- It increases body and mental relaxation
- It helps decrease nausea
- It decreases acute pain
- It stimulates appetite
- It increases the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls pleasure centers in the brain.
Sativa marijuana, on the other hand, produces an uplifting, energizing effect on the brain, which pairs perfectly with intense physical activity, creative activities and social gatherings. Opposed to indica weed, sativa weed contains a higher concentration of THC and lower doses of CBD. This strain produces an energizing effect that helps reduce anxiety and feel more productive. For this reason, this type of weed is recommended for day-time so you can take advantage of its stimulating effects. Indica weed helps to deal with migraines, nausea, depression and other problem.
These are some general effects of the sativa strain:
- It increases focus, creativity and productivity
- It increases cerebral activity
- It helps reduce anxiety and depression
- It decreases chronic pains
- It increases the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, learning, anxiety, appetite and sleep.
As we mentioned above, although these are the general characteristics and effects of each marijuana strain, they can vary from person to person.
Marijuana for medicinal use
As mentioned before, weed is widely used not only for recreational purposes but also for medicinal purposes. Every year more and more people start using it as studies reveal the amazing effects cannabis has on illnesses such as cancer or Parkinson’s. When you use weed for medicinal purposes, it’s important that you take into account the different strains.
Often patients that use weed need to adapt to their lifestyle. They maintain responsibilities such as a job or a family, which demands a particular energy level and cannot tolerate sedative effects. Likewise, some other times patients need the most potent painkiller available
When using marijuana for medicinal purposes, patients that purchase from the black market are generally not given the chance to choose from the different species or strains, which impedes to know what they consume. Patients shouldn’t consume weed without knowing exactly the strain and the process as it could be wrongly dried and cured and it could be contaminated.
After reading our guide, you have probably made a decision about what to choose. At Top Shelf BC you will be able to find these two types of weed and more. We are huge fans of heavy indica strains which you can find a wide variety of in our shop.