Sativa vs Indica: What is the difference?

There are 4 specific terms that most people will encounter when purchasing Cannabis today. Understanding what these common terms mean can help guide you in finding the best solution for your needs. Personally, the modern Cannabis industry can seem overwhelming with all of the various choices available, so let’s breakdown these common terms you might come across to help you best find a perfect solution for your needs.

Sativa and Indica – a brief overview

The terms Sativa and Indica you hear often associated with Cannabis are the names of the two most common strains of the Cannabis plant; you may also see Hybrid – which is a blend of the two that contains properties of both. The easiest way I would describe the basic differences between the two is on a spectrum of intensity. Cannabis Sativa is usually weaker in intensity than Cannabis Indica; which are usually much stronger and more intense. The reason for the difference in intensity and effects is due to the next terms you probably have heard of… THC and CBD.

THC and CBD – a brief overview

Sativa Marijuana and Vaporizer

Sativa Marijuana and Vaporizer

THC and CBD are the primary active ingredients in Cannabis that gives it its effects. Even though, there are more than 85 cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant. Arguably, the best known is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – The principal psychoactive compound of the plant that actually gives you that ‘stoned’ feeling. CBD is also common these days, since it’s non-psychoactive and won’t get you traditionally ‘stoned’. But it still contains many of the medicinal and therapeutic properties linked to Cannabis. So, if you want medicinal and therapeutic benefits without actually getting too ‘stoned’, a higher CBD and lower THC product are best. Indica strains often contain higher levels of THC to CBD and thus will get you more ‘stoned’ than the Sativa strains, which usually have more CBD to THC – and will thus have a much milder ‘stone’.


Sativa is commonly associated with the term ‘High’; its effects are more on the mind and it is more likely to stimulate and energize you. I often smoke Sativa if I am going to be socializing or when I want to be creative. Sativa is generally considered better for daytime activities and being social as it usually has less THC than the Indica strains.

Is Sativa ideal for daytime? – Yes, and it is ideal for…

  • Euphoria
  • Creativity
  • Sociability
  • Energy
  • Happiness

What are Sativa’s Therapeutic Effects? Its eases…

  • Chronic Pain
  • Depression
  • Glaucoma/Intro-ocular disorders
  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Low/No appetite
  • Nausea


Indica is more commonly associated with the term ‘stoned’; its effects are more physical, think of a ‘body-high’; making you relaxed and calm, usually producing a high that makes you sleepy and sluggish. Indica is great for evenings when you want to unwind after a long day of work, to relax and watch a film, read a book, or when you’re just trying to fall asleep. I personally associate Indica with nighttime activities, as the high has much more of a sedative effect due to the higher THC content.

Is Indica ideal for nighttime? – Yes, and it’s ideal for…

  • Relaxing
  • Calming
  • Sleeping
  • Mellowness

What are Indica’s Therapeutic Effects? It eases…

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Cancer (palliative care to treat chemo-associated pain and nausea)
  • Fibromyalgia Indica Marijuana Joint and Buds
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lupus
  • Muscle spasms
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea
  • PTSD
  • Sleep apnea

Conclusion on Sativa vs. Indica

Indica Marijuana Joint and Buds

Indica Marijuana Joint and Buds

Sativa strains are usually a lighter high with less THC than Indica’s, which are usually stronger with more THC… and the more THC in the strains the stronger it will be, is basically a very simple way of looking at it. The CBD content in products will not get you traditionally ‘stoned’, but will still aid with medicinal and therapeutic benefits. So products such as Low-THC with High-CBD content Cannabis strains, edibles, and oils are available to people who want some of the medicinal and therapeutic benefits without actually getting ‘stoned’. Understanding the basics of what these common Cannabis terms are can help guide you in choosing the best strain for your needs. Remember, it will probably take a bit of trial-and-error before you find the ideal strain. But that’s part of the fun! Keep trying different strains and cannabis products until you find the best one for you!

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