One of the most common questions that I get from fellow cannabis patients almost daily is, “What is the difference between Indica and Sativa strains?” The first thing that always comes to mind (aside from the fact that I personally favor Indica strains over Sativa strains) is an image of a sun, and an image of a moon—Indicas will make patients sleepy, relaxed, and they may find themselves stuck “in-da-couch” after medicating with a strong Indica, so I always tell patient’s that Indica’s are more ideal for evening/nighttime usage. When it comes to educating patients on how Sativa strains differ from Indica’s, I often cite that they uplift one’s mood as well as energize both the body and the mind, so I have always ascribed the aforementioned “sun” mental image to Sativa strains. Therefore, I also tell patients that Sativa strains are typically more appropriate for medicating with during the daytime.
While the above information is accurate and true, it clearly just barely skims the surface of the multitude of unique qualities and differences that each of the two cannabis variations possesses. These two cannabis types are often crossed together, creating what most of us know as a Hybrid strain. Each Hybrid strain varies in its percentage of Indica to percentage of Sativa properties. While the type of elevation created from ingesting an Indica strain as opposed to the type of elevation from ingesting a Sativa strain is indeed different, the ways in which the two plant varieties grow and develop are different as well. Sativa plants tend to grow significantly larger, especially taller, than their Indica counterparts. Indica plants are not only shorter, they’re also wider and generally thicker and more densely compacted.
Delineating the differences between Indica and Sativa cannabis strains becomes much easier when it is explained in terms of the medicinal relief that either type of cannabis variation provides. The most commonly experienced medicinal benefits patients glean from Indica strains are as follows: body pain relief, relaxation of one’s muscles, relief from muscle spasms and reduction of seizures, headache and migraine relief, and anxiety or stress relief. When it comes to patients ingesting Sativa strains, they most commonly reported the following medicinal benefits: feelings of being at-ease and an overall sense of well-being, cerebral and uplifting thoughts, physical and mental stimulation and energization, improved focus and sparks of creativity, and relief from depression.
Despite all of the above information, both types of cannabis have many differing nuances and effects. Newbie patients who are comfortable enough to experiment with cannabis might want to try doing blind-folded “Is it Sativa or Indica?” tests you can set up for yourself or have a friend set up for you at home. This is one of the most beneficial methods of discovering new medicines without pre-judging the effects that either an Indica-dominant hybrid or a pure Sativa will give you. In fact, even seasoned cannabis patients can benefit greatly from trying this blind-folded Indica vs. Sativa “taste-test,” since medicating with any one specific medicine for a long enough time can fill one’s brain up with so much information that we often subconsciously prejudge strains based on their lineage alone.