As with any artistic subject, understanding the difference between Indica and Sativa might just depend on who you talk to. Think of it like going to a museum, a movie, or a play with a few of your friends. Each of you will walk away citing a different experience because of who you already are and what kind of expectations you had going in, also known as “art is subjective.”
And anyone arguing that Cannabis isn’t an art form, well…there goes our metaphor.
But you want answers, maybe you even want these two cannabis strains to behave as opposites, rather than ambiguous, artsy friends. Well, people do like to categorize things, so here are a few viewpoints that you can mull over:
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in an interview with Ethan Russo, MD, the difference between Indica and Sativa is that there are none. GASP!
“CCR: Some users describe the psychoactive effects of Cannabis indica and Sativa as being distinctive, even opposite. But are they really? Beyond self-reports from users, is there any hard evidence for pharmacologically different species of Cannabis?
Dr. Russo: There are biochemically distinct strains of Cannabis, but the Sativa/Indica distinction as commonly applied in the lay literature is total nonsense and an exercise in futility. One cannot in any way currently guess the biochemical content of a given Cannabis plant based on its height, branching, or leaf morphology. The degree of interbreeding/hybridization is such that only a biochemical assay tells a potential consumer or scientist what is really in the plant. It is essential that future commerce allows complete and accurate cannabinoid and terpenoid profiles to be available.”
As a side note, we like the word “morphology” and will try to use it in a sentence much more often.
Now that we have that juicy, scientific tidbit, let’s move on to what the general consensus-vibe is among the people in the know, i.e. the Cannabis experts (users, distilleries, and websites).
There are two types of Cannabis plants: Indica and Sativa. Aesthetically, Indica plants are typically short and bushy with wide leaves, while Sativa plants are tall and thin with narrow leaves. Hey, everyone is attracted to different shapes and sizes, so we don’t judge. Now what?
Mind and Body Effects, in General Terms
Indica is who you want to hang with when you’re in the mood to relax, let it all go, and maybe slow dance to Marvin Gaye, with the specific benefits as:
- Relaxing the mind
- Relaxing tired muscles
- Combating nausea
- Pain blocker
- Increase of appetite
- Increases dopamine for instant access to the brain’s pleasure centers
- Great for bedtime use
Sativa strains are who you want to align with when it’s time to perk up and arrive at the party anxiety-free and ready to socialize, with specific benefits as:
- Assists with anxiety
- Acts as an antidepressant
- Chronic pain reliever
- Assists with focus and creative endeavors
- increases serotonin for more energy and a better mood
- Great for daytime use
Medicine produced from cannabis Sativa plants are thought to be lower in CBD counts and higher in THC. Yeah, again – unless your name is Dr. Russo.
The Testimonials Say it All
Let’s face it, the proof is in the results for each individual and the testimonials for medicinal cannabis as an aid for chronic pain, depression, migraines, muscle spasms, anxiety, insomnia, and loss of appetite is undeniable evidence that whether you’re looking for relief for the mind or body, both strains of cannabis plant has its benefits.
For whatever ails you, there’s a strain of cannabis that’s going to help alleviate symptoms. Whether that’s sativa or indica largely depends on how your body reacts to it. Still, the Dispensary Technicians are usually a good source of information about the various strains and their effects, so you might as well ask what they think. Everyone else is asking.
The Budtender is also the person you want to take with you to the museum, movie, or play, too. You know, for their subjective opinion.