Indica Vs Sativa Cannabis Effects

Indica Vs Sativa Cannabis Effects

The terms indica and sativa were first used in the 18th century by botanists to describe cannabis from different parts of the world. The long tall hemp plants grown mostly in Europe for their fiber were dubbed sativa. In India, and other parts of central Asia, cannabis plants grown for their psychoactive properties were dubbed indica. However, sativas tend to grow nearer to the equator and indicas tend to grow further away from it. 

Over hundreds of years, these plant’s genetics have been bred together so many times that pure indica and pure sativa seem to have vanished altogether. But being that the distinction between the two was based on looks alone, they are both cannabis, and that sativa vs indica cannabis effects are subjective, it's not really a loss.

indica vs sativa

Indica Effects

Most cannabis users agree that cannabis indica and cannabis sativa have very different effects, however there is very little scientific evidence to prove this. One thing that is certain is sativa and indica have very different appearances. Cannabis Indica is a short and squat plant with dense, thick flowers. When consumed, people believe that it produces a deep “stoned” relaxation. An on the body effect that is great for pain relief and insomnia. 

Some famous indica strains are: 

  • Afghani
  • Grandaddy Purple
  • Northern Lights
  • Dosidos
  • OG Kush

Sativa Effects

Cannabis Sativa is a long and tall plant with flowers that are not as dense as Indica strains. Sativa is known for producing a “head high” that is very energizing. Sativa is favored for daytime use by people who are looking to be productive and still get the benefits of cannabis consumption. The favorite of people who are always on the go are always sativa dominant. Look at NYC and its long time favorite, the sativa dominant Sour Diesel.

Well known sativa heavy strains are:

  • Sour Diesel 
  • Jack Herer
  • Green Crack
  • Durban Poison
  • Strawberry Cough

Hybrid Cannabis Effects

In ancient times, there were sativa only genetics, and indica only genetics. However, most commercial cannabis grown today is a hybrid and different balances have different effects. Indica provides the tight, dense buds that everyone has come to expect from commercial growers. Sativa provides the energy boost to a hybrid strain of cannabis. Every combination under the sun has been explored by growers and more options are hitting the market everyday. Taking indica genetics from India and combining them with sativa genetics from Africa. Combining sativa genetics from North America with those from South America to create something like the common ancestor that they evolved from. 

When choosing a cannabis strain, take note of how much sativa vs indica is in the hybrid strain that you choose, and note its effects. Everyone is different. You may want an indica heavy strain for the pain relieving effects. You may want a pure sativa for the energy and creative boost that it provides. Most people choose hybrid cannabis’s effects to take advantage of the best of both worlds. 

Edible VS Inhaled THC

edible vs inhaled thc

The different effects of Indica VS Sativa are a very small part of the picture when calculating the varied effects of different types of cannabis. There is a lot of nuance to each cannabis variety that produces a spectrum of effects, and they affect each individual differently. The amount of cannabis consumed greatly changes the effect. 

The method of consumption also produces different effects for different people. Edibles tend to affect the body more than the brain, producing deep relaxation as cannabinoids attach to receptors throughout the body. Vapes or smokeables such as our Vape Pen produce more of a “head high”. 

There is evidence to back up the difference in effects because when THC is consumed in edible forms, the liver metabolizes the THC into 11-OH-THC (11-Hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol), a very different compound with very different effects. There is some 11-OH-THC found in the system after smoking, but in a much lighter concentration than consuming edibles. 

Click here to learn more about how long edibles take to start working and how long they last. 

CBD to THC Ratio

The cannabis industry has moved away from categorizing different varieties as “strains” in favor of using the term “chemovars”. This is a much more accurate and robust way to categorize varieties of cannabis plants. Outside of Indica Vs Sativa, the ratio of CBD to THC greatly changes the effects of cannabis. The 3 chemovars are 

  1. High THC
  2. A combination of THC and CBD
  3. High CBD (Hemp)

Medical and recreational cannabis varieties contain a very high THC content. Hemp contains a very high CBD content. There has been increased demand for a more balanced THC/CBD content in recent years. This is because high THC content with low amounts of CBD is believed to produce paranoid effects in occasional cannabis consumers. To accommodate the occasional consumer, growers are getting back to a more balanced cannabinoid profile instead of incredibly high levels of THC with few other cannabinoids. 


In addition, terpene content also plays a huge role on how each plant affects people differently. These aromatic compounds vary greatly from plant to plant and interact with cannabinoids to produce varied effects. Some examples of terpenes and their perceived effects are:

  • Beta-Carophyllene - this terpene has the ability to bind directly to the CB-2 cannabinoid receptor. The amount of beta-carophyllene in cannabis greatly changes its effects because of this. It is gastroprotective and antiseptic.
  • Limonene - its all in the name. This terpene tastes and smells very citrus-like. It is found to have uplifting, energizing effects and is found in high concentrations is all cannabis varieties containing “sour” and “lemon” in their names. 
  • Phytol - Phytol gives jasmine flowers there subtle sweet smell. It has anticonvulsant and anti properties. It acts as a sedative and assists with sleep.
  • There are believed to be around 100 different terpenes found in cannabis. The ratios of these terpenes and their effects vary widely.

    The Takeaway

    Although most cannabis users agree that sativa dominant strains produce an energetic effect, and indica dominant strains produce a more sedative effect, the only evidence is anecdotal. However, these differing effects may be attributed to CBD:THC ratio, and Terpene composition. In addition, the method of consumption and amount consumed produce differing effects. 

    At Nuleev our THC products are produced from a hybrid of indica and sativa strains for a holistic cannabis experience.

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