Sativa or Indica – What Do They Mean?

If you’re new to the world of medical marijuana, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed. There is a vast array of strains out there, and there’s a whole set of brand new terms you might not have heard of before. If you’ve used medical marijuana, you’ve likely come across the terms “Sativa,” “Indica,” or “hybrid.”

These terms are descriptions, and many dispensaries use them to categorize their selection of strains. Here, we’ll explain the difference between Sativa and Indica to help you make more informed purchasing decisions. 


The Differences Between Sativa and Indica

Seeing different strains listed as “Sativa” or “Indica” can be very confusing, especially if you’re unfamiliar with those terms. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.


Perceived Psychological and Physiological Differences

Dispensaries often use the terms Sativa and Indica to describe the effects a strain provides. Many say that Indicas promote relaxation, sleep, pain relief, and a full-body high. Sativas, on the other hand, increase energy, alertness, and creativity. They offer more of a mental high that’s ideal for daytime use. 

The differences in effects, however, are only perceived. The theory was originally introduced by Jean Baptiste Lamark in the late 1700s. He stated that cannabis was broken up into two species: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. According to Lamark, the two species produce the effects noted above, and the theory has stuck to this day. 

Physical Differences

One of the most notable differences between Sativa and Indica strains is that they take on different shapes as they grow. Sativa plants are tall and thin. The leaves are also longer and slimmer. Indica plants are short and bushy. Indica leaves are wider than Sativa leaves and have wider points. 

Their Chemical Composition

There are more than 700 strains of cannabis. Regardless of whether a strain is considered Indica or Sativa, they all have different chemical compositions. Each strain has differing levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, as well as varying levels of terpenes and flavonoids. We’ll dive into those compounds later. 

While there is no exact chemical composition difference between Sativas and Indicas, there are some generalizations. Typically, Sativas have higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD, while Indicas often have higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC. 


How Understanding the Difference Can Help You Get Started

While noting whether a strain is Sativa or Indica won’t tell you everything you need to know about what to expect with it, this doesn’t mean those labels have no meaning. They can provide you with a good starting point that helps you narrow down your options if you’re not sure which strain to choose.

In some cases, Sativa strains can energize you, improve your mental clarity, and increase your creativity. For instance, VidaCann dispensary’s Strawberry Cough provides a cerebral high that uplifts. Our Alaska tincture, which is also a Sativa, is uplifting and invigorating, making it ideal for daytime use. Indicas typically relax you and help you to fall asleep more easily. King Dosi can help to alleviate insomnia and chronic pain, while Pakistani Chitral Kush alleviates pain and lulls you into a comforting full-body high. 

While the label of Sativa or Indica may give you a general idea of what you can expect, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, Indicas may uplift and induce creativity while Sativas might relieve pain and relax. As such, these categories can help you narrow down your options, but you’ll need to take a bit of a closer look to find something that fits your unique needs. 


Other Factors That Determine the Best Strain for Your Needs

There are a few factors that go into determining what strains will work best for you. Some of the most important things to look at are the cannabinoid content and terpene profile. Different strains have different ratios of CBD to THC. High THC, low CBD strains are more likely to produce the strong high many people associate with cannabis. High CBD, low THC strains, on the other hand, are more likely to produce minimal to no high. A balanced ratio often produces mild psychoactive effects. 

Every strain of cannabis has a unique terpene profile. Terpenes are the compounds of the plant that produces its flavor and aroma. They also have an impact on the effects you feel. For instance, limonene produces a citrusy scent that can help uplift and energize. Linalool smells like lavender and promotes stress relief and relaxation.

So, how do you choose? After narrowing down your selection between Sativa or Indica, take a look at the THC and CBD content as well as the terpene profile. Understanding what the ratios mean and what the various terpenes contribute, and comparing that to what you want out of a specific strain, will help you to figure out which strains are the best contenders to help you achieve your goals. 


What About Hybrid Strains?

If you’ve taken a look at a Florida medical dispensary menu, you may have noticed that there’s a third category: hybrid. As the label suggests, these are blended strains that take characteristics from Sativa and Indica strains. You may find as you read the descriptions that a hybrid strain is described as Indica-dominant or Sativa-dominant. These descriptors refer to specific traits of the plant. 

For example, an Indica-dominant strain might look similar to a pure Indica, but it may also have some Sativa traits or Sativa-like effects. For instance, Kush Cake is an Indica-dominant hybrid that uplifts your mood and provides a spark of creativity. Ghost Toast is another Indica-dominant strain that starts out with an uplifting, energetic high that eventually turns into full-body relaxation. Mandarin Cookies, on the other hand, is a Sativa-dominant hybrid that has sedating, relaxing properties more closely associated with Indica strains. 


Find Your Ideal Strain

While Sativa and Indica can provide you with a starting point, there are many other factors that go into determining the best strain to suit your needs. No matter what you’re looking for, VidaCann’s Florida online dispensary has something for you. We have locations across the state and a wide range of medical cannabis products. Visit our online dispensary to view what we have to offer today.

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