Cannabis Cultivation

Cannabis Indica vs Cannabis Sativa

Illustration of the effects of Cannabis Indica versus Cannabis Sativa. Depict a relaxed person lounging for Indica and an energetic person dancing for Sativa. Use vibrant colors and dynamic poses to emphasize the differences.

Indica and Sativa are the same type of plant, however they are two different type of cannabis species.

What Seeds should you grow?

A photo showcasing a hand holding two distinct cannabis seeds, labeled 'Indica' and 'Sativa', with a blurred cannabis garden in the background.

What do you as a cannabis grower need to know about cannabis indica vs cannabis sativa? Well these are two different species of cannabis. Each has their own features that are similar and ones that are different in each species of this plant. Both species of cannabis also evolved in different areas of our planet.

Is Cannabis Indica vs Cannabis Sativa really different?

Both of these species of cannabis originated in different areas of our plant, this helped each species evolve with different traits. Cannabis Indica L. is believed to have come from the Asian subcontinent and also could be from Afghanistan. The species Cannabis Sativa L. is native to India and Persia, where it is hotter and closer to the equator.

Cannabis Indica vs Cannabis Sativa
Cannabis Sativa

What are the differences in these two species of cannabis?

Photo showcasing a Cannabis Indica plant with broad leaves on the left and a Cannabis Sativa plant with slender leaves on the right. Label them 'Indica' and 'Sativa' respectively. Include a soft gradient background for contrast.

There are a few key differences in these two species of cannabis. Sativa plants grow taller, have thinner leaves, and have larger internodal length. Their flowers are less dense and can grow longer. Indica plants have wide leaves, grow shorter and they have much shorter internodal length between branches. Indica flowers are also more dense and spaced closer together. 

General indica plants will flower and finish faster than sativa species of cannabis. They generally take about 7 to 8 weeks of flowering time to finish before harvest. Sativa strains will take between 9 to 15 weeks to finish flower before harvesting.

How can you tell Sativa vs Indica Cannabis

An illustration that provides a side-by-side comparison of Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa plants, with their respective labels.

These days because of hybrids (a cross of Indica and Sativa species of cannabis) it is becoming harder to tell them apart. Many strains today are a percentage of each strain. So a grower may have a 70% indica strain with 30% sativa. This makes it much more difficult to tell the species apart from one another. Cannabis Landraces are much easier to tell apart as they show more characteristics of each species.

Can I use both Strains for Medical Reasons?

A photo representation of a doctor holding both Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa leaves, explaining their medical benefits.

Both Cannabis species can have medical properties, and both can be used medically. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses depending on what you will be using the species for medically. Both have been used for thousands of years in folk medicine. Here are some medical issues that can be treated by each species :

Cannabis Sativa Medical Properties:

  • Increased Serotonin for Happier Mood
  • Helps with ADHD by increasing focus and creativity
  • Can treat users with chronic pain, such as back pain
  • Works in Some users as an Antidepressant
  • Can help Regulate mood disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Cannabis Indica Medical Properties:

  • Will help increase appetite with Cancer Patients
  • Will decrease nausea to help patients eat
  • Can increase muscle relaxation, and relieve stress 
  • Can help insomnia for help with sleeping issues

Note, that when using cannabis for the first time to treat medical issues it is best to speak with a doctor before starting any cannabis related treatment programs. 

An illustration of a medicine bottle with leaves from both strains emerging from it, symbolizing the therapeutic uses of each.

Is Indica an Upper or Downer?

A Cannabis Indica plant with a calming blue background and a balanced scale, symbolizing its 'downer' effect.

Some users report that sativa cannabis species give them more energy after usage while on the other hand indica cannabis species will make them feel more relaxed with less energy. This can also have much to do with when the plant was harvested by the grower. 

Harvesting cannabis early no matter which species will give the user more energy, if the grower waits to harvest the plant past its optimal growth period the plant will make the medical user more relaxed regardless of species.

How when you harvest can change medical outcomes.


How growers harvest and cure their finished cannabis can also have impacts on how the medical cannabis can treat human medical issues. Cured cannabis is always much better for the medical users as it has more medical properties.

Does indica make you lazy?

An illustration of a person relaxing, surrounded by Cannabis Indica leaves, emphasizing its soothing properties.

There is no scientific proof that any species of cannabis can make anyone lazy. Some forms of cannabis can help patients sleep more soundly, however it has never been proven to make someone more lazy. Cannabis indica species are known for helping people relax and have less stress.

Does indica make you laugh?

The happiness and laughter of someone using cannabis indica is far more dependent on the user’s overall mood rather than what species of cannabis that they are using. Cannabis indica is known to Increase Serotonin in the user brain that can help the user feel better overall.

Cannabis Indica vs Cannabis Sativa Potency

An illustration highlighting the difference in potency between Indica and Sativa strains using beakers and test tubes.

You can look at cannabis that one is not more potent as the other, you can find very potent strains of both sativa and indica. Sativa’s have a more uplifting effect on the human body as compared to indica cannabis strains. They can make people have a sharper focus and many growers like to use sativas during the day to help them get things done. 

Indica’s on the other hand growers like to use these strains for sleep, relaxing, watching a good TV show or just to relieve stress in their lives. Interestingly both species can have high THC levels so no one could really say one is more “potent” then the other when it comes to THC levels in the cannabis flowers. Both types of THC seem to have different effects on the human body. 

Another chemical that is very useful for medical cannabis users CBD can also be found in both of these species, both in high and low amounts.

What is a Hybrid Cannabis Strain?

Illustration of a DNA double helix with elements from both Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. Above, a title banner reads 'Hybrid Strain'. The overall color palette is a mix of earthy tones.

When cannabis growers first started growing cannabis they found that they could use pollen from one cannabis species and use it on the other cannabis species. What this did was to take the best of both strains and hybridize them. 

This means that they could take a short flowering indica species of cannabis and pollinate a sativa cannabis species. This would create a new hybrid strain that would have offspring that would create short flower periods while still having an uplifting highs.

For this reason you will have a hard time trying to find a pure version of either of these species of cannabis. Growers have taken them to create the best of both worlds for cannabis connoisseurs. They have created strains that you can find for any taste, smell, grow periods, look, and potency.

Can Indica and Sativa Have Different Cannabinoids?

A photo of a grower inspecting two different cannabis plants side-by-side.

There are currently 144 known different cannabinoids found in cannabis. We have already discussed the two main Cannabinoids earlier in this article, THC and CBD. These are only a couple of chemicals that will affect humans present in cannabis flowers. 

It is generally thought that indica’s species have higher CBD cannabinoids, it is thought to be a ratio of 1:1 to THC.  Any research that has been conducted in the past has never found any differences in these species of cannabis when it comes to the presence of cannabinoids.

The other Species of Cannabis Worth Noting

Photo of Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa plants intertwined, symbolizing the merging of the two strains. Beside them, a label reads 'Hybrid'. The background is a calm gradient of green hues.

There is also one lesser known species that we have not mentioned yet in this article. This cannabis species is called Cannabis Ruderalis. This species grows in cooler parts of the planet, and is thought to have originated in Russia where it is cooler. This species of cannabis is thought to be a descendant of modern day hemp plants. 

This type of cannabis is much lower in Cannabinoids like THC and CBD, and is considered by some to be a “weedy” strain of cannabis. Cannabis growers have also been using this species of cannabis for hybridization as it will flower regardless of dark period and will produce cannabis flowers regardless of any darkness at all. These strains are hybrid strains of cannabis called Autoflowers.

Final Thoughts on Cannabis Indica vs Cannabis Sativa

Illustration of a split image; one half showcasing a lush Cannabis Indica plant and the other half a tall Cannabis Sativa plant. Both sides have floating molecular structures of cannabinoids specific to each strain, with colors indicating their prominence.

If a cannabis grower is lucky enough to get their hands on some pure cannabis species, they will notice differences in the strains themselves. Many of these differences have been described in this article. If you are interested in learning more about Landrace Strains you can do so here. 

Cannabis is an amazing plant with amazing history and indica and sativa species of cannabis are no different, but with subtle differences.

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