Indica vs. Sativa: What is the Difference Between the Two?

Indica vs Sativa is one of the top searched phrases on Google, and for a good reason. With an ever-growing acceptance of weed, we are embarking on a new world of green. Most states that do not already have legalization are on the doorsteps of doing so.

Approaching a new green world leaves many of us scratching our heads. Between all the slang terms and scientifically correct terms, it’s hard to differentiate between what is what. With a little education, you can be knowledgeable and feel confident embarking into this new world. Indica and Sativa are the most important fundamentals to know in the world of weed and in doing so, you will help better your life.

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A great place to start is understanding the basic definition of each. Once you understand the definition of both Indica and Sativa you can begin to understand how each are used.

Indica and Sativa are both a form of cannabis, which is the basic term for the marijuana plant itself.

What is Indica?

Indica is the strain of cannabis that gives you a body high and will make you feel relaxed. When trying to remember the name think Indica aka “into the couch.”

The Indica plant is short and bushy, and you can identify it by its leaves that appear short and wide. The plants themselves grow faster thus providing a higher yield, high level of CBD and high level of THC.

What is Sativa?

Sativa is the strain of cannabis that makes you laugh and gives you an active head high.

The Sativa plant is tall and slim and you can identify it by its leaves that appear long and thin. These plants are going to take a long time to grow and need more light to help aid in their growing process.


No, Cannabis was not developed by some 30 year old male adult living in his parent’s basement with the aid of a  heat lamp. Cannabis has been around for thousands of years and originated from regions all over the world.

Indica Origins:

  • Grows in countries with color regions
  • First found in the Middle East

Indica was first grown in the rocky mountains of Hindu Kush. When you see a strain name with the word “Kush” in it, you can assume it is going to be a form of Indica. Research has shows that Indica plants were discovered after the Sativa variety.

Sativa Origins:

  • Grows in countries near the equator
  • First found in Mexico, Central America, and Southeast Asia

Sativa was one of the first strains of Cannabis to be given a name and is thought to have been discovered at least 30 years before Indica.

Suggested Recreational Uses

Each type of cannabis is going to give you a different feeling and therefore you are going to want to use them at different times of the day.

Use Indica recreationally:

  • At night
  • Never before operating a vehicle
  • To help you sleep or provide calming
  • Before meditation
  • Before a bath
  • After a stressful day

Use Sativa recreationally:

  • During the day
  • To help you stay focused
  • Before going to social events
  • Before watching a movie
  • Before doing homework or work projects

Sativa is popularly used by many before embarking on activities such as hiking, writing music, or any other activity involving creativity and alertness. Musicians often use it before going into writing sessions or recording in the music studio.

Science Behind Why Both Are Used Medically

Typically people are drawn to weed because of it’s medical and healing properties. Contrary to what some people may think, the use of Indica and Sativa are scientifically proven to help people mentally and potentially heal their ailments. How is this you ask? Through the use of cannabinoid and cannabinoid receptors.

A cannabinoid is a diverse chemical compound that acts as receptors in cells. When these receptors get altered via the neurotransmitter release the brain begins the effects associated with Indica and Sativa.

Cannabinoid receptors can be broken down into two types. The first type of receptor is called CB1 which can be found in the brain. The second receptor is referred to as CB2, which can be found in the immune system or immune-derived cells. Long story short, different strains (THC-CBD) react through cell activation in cannabinoids and produce effects associated with cannabis by binding receptors in the brain.

You don’t need to scientifically understand why something works in order for your body to benefit from it. Think of it like open heart surgery; you might not be able to comprehend open heart surgery from a scientific standpoint and perform it yourself, but you will still benefit from undergoing the surgery.

Suggested Medical Uses

Now that you have opened your mind and understand how cannabis scientifically has the capability of benefiting you, we can hop into the specifics. Each strain of cannabis is going to help in different ways and it is of the utmost importance that everyone understands which strain does what, so the correct one can be purchased.

Indica Medical Uses

Because Indica has a higher level of CBD in it vs Sativa; people use it as calming and sedative medicine.

Indica can help symptoms associated with:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Hangovers
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle Spasm
  • Seizure
  • Panic Attacks

Indica helps those diagnosed with medical illnesses including:

  • PTSD
  • OCD
  • Cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s Disease

It is important to understand how Indica can potentially help with medical illnesses. Indica doesn’t cure the illnesses themselves, but rather helps keep the symptoms and side effects associated with each illness at a minimum and in some cases non-existent.

A key reason why Indica is medically approved in 33 states is due to the benefits it can provide for cancer patients. Indica doesn’t in any way cure cancer, however, it is a life changer for those who have side effects from chemo. People use Indica as  way to increase their appetite and to help them keep food down. This is extremely important for chemo patients who need all the energy they can put into their body to help fight off cancer and not let the chemo itself kill them slowly.

Knowing you have cancer is a heavy weight to live with every day and it can be all-consuming. Cancer patients use Indica to calm their nerves, eliminate anxiety and help them sleep.

Indica is used by many with muscle illnesses because of the calming effects it has on your muscles. The body high you experience from Indica helps gives those a much-needed relief from muscle spasms, twitches, and pain.

Sativa Medical Uses

Sativa has a higher level of THC so many people use it medically for its cerebral and jubilating effects.

Sativa can help symptoms associated with:

  • Moodiness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Stress
  • Physical pain
  • Writer’s block
  • Hangovers

Sativa helps those diagnosed with medical illnesses including:

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • ADD
  • Glaucoma
  • Chronic Pain
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

Just like Indica, it is important to remember Sativa doesn’t cure illnesses, it just helps with symptoms. Being able to control symptoms is just as important as curing the illness itself.

Sativa is most associated with what is referred to as the “giggle high” and is why people diagnosed with depression and Bipolar disorder are urged to use it. Put some of that Sativa in your system, pop on ‘Dumb & Dumber’ and your depression will go instantly out the window.

How to take each strain medically.

When taking either strain it is important to get it from a legal source. When you get products off the black market you don’t know what strains they are giving you and this can result in negative side effects. Legal production keeps track of not only the strains they may be mixing together but the amount. You want to take each type of Cannabis in a way that is going to help your ailments, not knock you out unconscious.

What if it isn’t legal in the state you live in?

The simple, but not simple answer would be to move. While many states are slowly on the track to legalizing it; until it is 100% legal in your state moving might be the best solution.

Contrary to popular belief, federal law trumps state law. If your doctor “suggests” cannabis to help with your illness he is doing so under the freedom of speech amendment. A doctor cannot legally write you a prescription for marijuana unless he is doing so in a state that can legally sell marijuana. You will be safe under state law if medical marijuana is legal, but at the end of the day, you will not be safe under federal law. See how that can be tricky? Patients and providers run the risk of doing some sort of jail time, or probation time if the government feels the need to enforce their federal power.

Depending on what you are medically using Sativa or Indica for, it might be the best decision for you to move. Why mess around with the federal government if you don’t have to. The below states are all fully legal marijuana states, and honestly, any of them would be pretty great to live in.

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Different Ways To Consume Indica and Sativa

There are a number of ways in which Cannabis can be introduced into your body. If you are wondering what the best form is, that is going to differ from person to person. Purchase a single dose of each and try them all out. You will quickly be able to determine which form you like and which one isn’t the best for you.

The length of your high is going to be different depending on how you choose to consume the marijuana and what dose you do at a single time. Age, weight, height, general health, and other substances in your body are going to affect your high. If you want to get a pure form of a high, do not mix consumption of marijuana with alcohol or other drugs.

Indica vs Sativa for intense high

No matter how you consume each strain, the strains characteristics are going to show the same. The Sativa high feeling will leave you with more of a head high, giggles and alertness. India high feeling will give you more of a body high, sleepiness and an overall sense of calmness.

Smoking or Vaping

A few methods of smoking Cannabis include the use of:

  • Hand Pipes
  • Hookah
  • Rolling Papers
  • Bongs

Smoking Cannabis will be an instant effect. You will feel it as soon as the smoke enters your lungs and it will last typically between 1-2 hours. Smoking is often the preferred method due to the short high time and the ability to do it before or after engagements. Even after the high has worn off, you can still benefit from the effects of each strain you put into your body.

Sativa vs Indica Edibles

Methods of Edibles include:

  • Gummies
  • Chocolates
  • Candies
  • Mints
  • Lollypops
  • Caramels

Edibles can be classified as any food or drink infused with Cannabis. Pairing Cannabis strains with butter or oils high in fat will help increase the high, and drinking a little bit of sugar water will help curb an over high feeling. When taking edibles, allow yourself at least 30 min to an hour for the high feeling to kick in. It will be like a roller coaster feeling to hit you and a nice slow ride down. Edibles give you the longest high ranging anywhere from 4-6 hours.

Each edible dose typically comes in 5mg or 10 mg. Since you can consume wherever you want, you can take any milligram amount that you wish between 0mg- 10mg. Remember, if you are taking a full 10 mg dose you will want to give it enough time let it hit you. Don’t try to eat more too soon or the ending result will give you an extremely bad high and turn you off from edibles in general.

Sativa Edibles

These are going to have the same effects that I pointed out earlier for Sativa. When you eat a Sativa edible, you will experience a head high and it will be intense halfway through your high time and then you will slowly come down.

Indica Edibles

Unlike Sativa, your high will be pretty balanced throughout. You will slowly come to your high, have a smooth ride and slowly come down.


Methods of topical cannabis include:

  • Lotions
  • Oils
  • Balms
  • Sprays

Topical methods are great for those who don’t want any feeling of being “high” in their head but still want the benefits of cannabis. Great for those treating muscle aches, body aches or surface body pain. Runners and lifters use topical methods to help in their recovery process when their body is sore and their muscles are inflamed.

Females who suffer from endometriosis have found much-needed relief through the application of topical lotion. There isn’t much else available to those who suffer from that extreme pain that is offered from the pharmaceutical world. This is just one aliment out of a long list that can be treated by Cannabis, showing you the power of advances in pain relief that big Pharma has yet to provide.

Disclaimer: When choosing to purchase items through the links on our site, such as seeds, there may be restrictions due to your state’s laws. You can check the cannabis laws in your state if you have any questions about what you can and cannot purchase legally.

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