Indica vs. Sativa – Know Your Strains

August 15, 2018 By Cody Marchant

There are a million different strains of cannabis but all of these strains originate from two different types, Indicas and Sativas.

Everybody has their own personal preference so we are not here to tell you which strain is better and how you should experience marijuana. We are simply here to provide you with the best information to get the most out of your cannabis experience.

The Different Types of Cannabis

Generally, there are three types of cannabis you will come across at a hemp shop or from your “friend”, Indicas, Sativas, or Hybrids.


Cannabis Indica came across its name based on where it was first harvested. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was the first to stumble upon this medicinal plant in India, hence the name “Indica”.

Cannabis Indica plants typically are short and stout (under 6 feet) with broader leaves. This stature allows them to be more suitable for colder climates with shorter seasons.

Since these plants are short and bushy they are easier to grow inside because you will not need a high ceiling. Indicas are not only better for growing inside, they also mature faster than Sativas getting you a finished product quicker.

This type of cannabis is more commonly grown than Sativas as a result. So if you are not getting it from a grower or hemp shop and know the chemical makeup then it is probably an Indica.

Indicas are notoriously known for the saying “in da couch” because of its high CBD levels that can give you couch lock. Indicas provide a very relaxing body high which a lot of people use before they go to bed to get to sleep easier.

If you are someone who enjoys watching movies, playing video games, or just hanging out listening to music than this strain is for you!

Popular Indica Strains

  • Afghan Kush
  • Northern Lights
  • Grandaddy Purp
  • Obama Kush
  • Grape Ape


Cannabis sativa got its name from Carl Linnaeus once he found the hemp plants in Europe and western Eurasia.

These types of cannabis plants are tall in stature with narrow leaves and are better suited for warm climates with a long summer season. Sativa plants take a longer time to mature due to their long flowering cycle but the bud they produce has higher levels of THC than Indica strains do.

The higher THC levels of Sativas provide users with a more uplifting experience. This can give said user more energy which can pair well with outdoor activity, sports, or social gatherings.  

Sativas are less common to find but can be a great strain to look for in a hemp shop if you have the opportunity. If you are someone who wants to enjoy their cannabis experience while incorporating other activities then Sativas are for you!

Popular Sativa Strains

  • Sour Diesel
  • Lemon Haze
  • Maui Wowie
  • Purple Haze
  • Alaskan Thunder Fuck


Hybrids are a mix of Indicas and Sativas. The percentage of Sativa and Indica varies based on the strain you purchase

These are becoming more and more common now that legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use is becoming more popular, because they are usually grown indoors, and made with complex chemical processes. It is actually pretty difficult to stumble across a strain that is 100% Indica dominant or Sativa dominant.

Growers initially started to combine these two types of cannabis once they realized that Indicas grew faster than Sativas. They combined the seeds of an Indica plant to a Sativa plant in order to speed up its growing time. This sped up the growing process but also produced a brand new strain which was a happy medium of both Indica and Sativa.

Hybrid plants are taller than a regular Indica plant with leaves that are bushier than a Sativa plant, making not only a faster-growing plant but one that yields more marijuana once it is mature. 

If you do not buy from a dispensary and are purchasing from a friend than you most likely will get a hybrid of two different strains which is great because you get the best of both worlds!

Popular Hybrid Strains

  • Blue Dream
  • Pineapple Express
  • Animal Cookies
  • Trainwreck
  • Bruce Banner

Which is Better: Indica or Sativa?

The answer depends on the type of experience you enjoy. If you are just going to smoke before bed and watch a movie than we recommend an Indica strain. If you are going to climb a mountain or bomb down one on a snowboard, then a Sativa is right for you.

It all comes down to your personal preference for a good time.

Although these three types of cannabis may make you feel differently, the type of strain you get does not necessarily cause that directly. It has yet to be proven that each Cannabis Sativa will be uplifting and each Indica will be relaxing. Everyone’s brain chemistry is different in many ways, as is their genetic makeup, and therefore the same can be said about the way marijuana affects them.

The same goes for cannabis, every strain is different, and even every grow can be different as plants mature. 

Honestly speaking, Sativa and Indica are both great.  But there is no way to know which you prefer without first trying them.

How Each Strain Affects You – The Chemical Breakdown

The main cause of your high and how each strain will affect you comes from the chemical makeup of the plant. Out of the hundreds of chemical compounds that make up each cannabis strain there are two main chemicals that affect your high the most. These chemicals are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Finally, you will know the answer to the most frequently asked question by any high person.

“Why am I so hungry?”

The reason you get the munchies once you are high is because of the THC level. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and it is what makes you feel high. It also has medicinal effects of relieving symptoms of pain or nausea. This is why a good wake n’ bake can cure most hangovers.

People who want a more euphoric experience should look for strains with higher THC levels. Generally, you find higher THC levels in Sativas which is why people correlate Sativas to this effect but it is not the actual plant that is causing it, it’s the chemical.

If you are seeking marijuana for medicinal purposes a higher THC level can help treat pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

One major side effect among common pot smokers can be developing anxiety while you are high. If this is the case for you, try a strain will a lower THC level and a higher CBD.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol is a non-intoxicating compound known to alleviate anxiety, pain, inflammation, and many other medical ailments.

Strains with a high CBD level are more commonly used for medicinal purposes.

CBD is much higher in Indica strains than in Sativa strains this is why you feel the “body high” after you have smoked.

A strain with a higher CBD level can be a great way for a new smoker to test the waters. This will not be an overwhelming head high but a more relaxing first encounter with marijuana.

Although you can do your best to manage what type of high you are going to feel, there is no guarantee. Internal factors play a part in every marijuana experience.

Tolerance is a huge factor of how you will feel after smoking. If you are a stoner you will most likely be fine smoking a strain with a potent THC level. However, if you have never smoked before smoking a blunt of Alaskan Thunder Fuck might not be in your best interest.

Ease your way into it. You may not be able to guarantee how weed will affect you but you can put the odds in your favor by understanding the chemical breakdown.

What Strain We Recommend

Now that you fully understand how each strain varies and what chemicals actually affect your high. We believe that you should not look at the label of the strain but more about the chemical makeup.

The THC and CBD levels are the characteristics that actually affect your high so tailor these to your benefit.

Define what type of stoner you are or what type of high you are looking for and get the strain that would be the ideal experience for you.

You should no longer be asking for Indicas or Sativas if you are fortunate enough to purchase weed from a hemp shop. You should be asking for a strain with a certain THC level or CBD level because you now know the difference.


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