First off, cannabis strains come in two main varieties, Sativa and Indica. Some cannabis strains are 100% sativa, others are 100% indica, but most are what we call “hybrids”. In other words, a mix of two or more types of weed. Normally, Sativa and Indica, but Ruderalis is now becoming more common among auto flowering strains.
Sativa and Indica cannabis plants differ in many ways. In this guide, we’ll try to explain the difference between Indica and Sativa. How sativa cannabis plants grow compared to Indica, and what type of cannabis to use to treat medical problems.
But first, we should break down the main differences between Indica and Sativa.
What does Sativa and Indica Mean?
Sativa and Indica are two different types of cannabis plants that come in many different varieties:
Sativa typically refers to tall, narrow-leaf varieties with spaced out buds, which grow naturally, outdoors, in East Asia, and is often found to be dominant in “haze” strains.
Indica grows naturally in India, they’re short and bushy cannabis plants, with wider leaves than Sativa cannabis plants. Indica is dominant in strains like Northern Lights and White Widow.
Ruderalis is typically grown in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia. The Ruderalis cannabis plant is very small, produces little cannabinoids, but has the “autoflowering gene”, which is found in almost all autoflowering cannabis strains.
Hemp, is officially classed as cannabis sativa, but it produces very little THC. Some countries have different ideas about what makes a plant “hemp” or “cannabis”. But usually, a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC, is classified as hemp.
What’s the Difference between Sativa and Indica?
Sativa and Indica cannabis plants look different from each other. But there’s more to it than their appearance. Both sativa and indica give you around the same amount of cannabinoids. With strains ranging from 0% THC to 25+% THC.
Though their cannabinoid profiles are similar, most cannabis users are fully aware that there’s a different kind of high from smoking sativa or indica.
Sativa cannabis plants give you a more euphoric high, making you feel more creative, and giving a stimulating kind of psychoactive effect.
Indica cannabis plants are said to give more of a heavy stone. Something more like “couch lock”, making you feel sleepy, sometimes giving you a good dose of the “giggles”.
The difference between sativa and indica cannabis plants, is not just down to the cannabinoids, the terpene profile also has a huge part to play.
Sativa and indica may have the same cannabinoids, but they have completely different terpene profiles. This is why they express different psychoactive effects.
Sativa Cannabis Plants
Sativa cannabis plants have a longer flowering period compared to Indica. They will usually flower for anything from 12 – 20 weeks. Because of this, many growers will grow indica dominant plants, as they have a shorter flowering cycle.
A sativa cannabis plant can grow 2m tall easily, which again, isn’t ideal for indoor growing. If you are to grow sativa plants indoors, it is recommended you top them early, train them, and if possible grow them in a screen of green (SCROG) to control height.
As a general rule. growing sativa cannabis plants is not recommended for new growers. It can be difficult to grow indoors and has a long flowering cycle. But if you have the time, and the space, growing sativa will bring you some of the most famous strains of all time.
Indica cannabis plants grow bushy, and reasonably short compared to sativa strains. Though if left unattended, indicas can reach a height of up to 2m. Remember, when growing indica strains indoors, try to op them and train them so they don’t get too tall.
As a general rule, the flowering period is shorter for indica cannabis plants – the shortest you can expect is 6 weeks and for a very slow flowering indica, anything, up to 14 weeks.
With the high amount of cannabinoids produced by indicas, with the particular terpene profile, indica is usually a hard hitter. It is very easy to grow, and is reasonably fast too.
Many cannabis growers love growing indica plants and refuse to grow anything else.
When it comes to cannabis, there’s no answer for what is better. It all depends on personal preferences when using cannabis. Different strains have different cannabinoid and terpene profiles that react with your endocannabinoid system in different ways.
For growers, it’s easier to grow indica cannabis plants than sativa strains, especially if you’re growing indoors. But for experienced growers, there’s no reason why you cannot grow sativa cannabis plants with great results.
To know for sure, if sativa or indica is better, you have to try them, and find out what is best for you. You will probably find that it is not down to a sativa or indica strain, but a mix between the 2 of those, which is called a hybrid.
What is Hybrid Cannabis?
Hybrid cannabis is when different types of cannabis (indica/sativa) are bred together to make a new strain. Most cannabis strains now are hybrids.
By combining sativa and indica, a plant will display genetic properties of both of them. This has given us off shoots of thousands of strains. There is a huge variety of cannabis strains available for growers and cannabis users.
There are so many hybrid cannabis strains we can not list them all! But there are few that have stood the test of time, and are seen as old school cannabis strains.
It doesn’t really matter what types of cannabis you use for edibles. You have to find a strain that has the right terpene and cannabinoid profile that suits you.
Once you have found a strain you like, you can use that to make edibles, but you have to do it properly.
When using cannabis to make edibles, you must “decarboxylate” the cannabis first. When cannabis is heated, the cannabinoids (THCA/ CBDA) are decarboxylated. This means they become less acidic and lose the “A” in their name, making them THC or CBD.
If you are smoking cannabis, the cannabinoids are decarbed as they are burned, and this makes you high. When you make edibles, the cannabis is not heated, so it will not decarb, and will not be psychoactive.
Sativa and Indica can be great edibles, you just have to make sure the cannabis is decarboxylated to get the desired effect.