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Know Your Cannabis: Eight Differences Between Indica and Sativa

Indica and sativa are two subspecies of cannabis, an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. Though both sativa and indica strains are cannabis, their chemical profiles are different and therefore, produce different results for patients. Here are the eight most significant differences between indica and sativa marijuana plants.

Place of Origin for Indica and Sativa Cannabis

Basically, indica originated in a cooler climate, whereas sativa cannabis originated in a warmer environment. Indica was originally found in the Middle East—Afghanistan, Turkey, Nepal, and Morocco—where the hash culture developed. Sativa developed in equatorial countries like Mexico, Columbia, and Thailand.

Appearance of Sativa and Indica Cannabis Plants

Sativa and indica cannabis plants look different from each other. Both have seven or nine leaves (sometimes even eleven though this is rare) but indica’s leaves are wider and they’re darker green. Sativa’s leaves are elongated, a lighter green color. Indica plants are short and densely branched. They grow to between two and four feet. Sativa is tall; the plant averages six feet, but can reach heights of up to 20 feet.

Growing Timeline and Chemical Profile of Sativas and Indicas

Indica cannabis grows more quickly than sativa, and it’s the reason why indica is found more often on store shelves. In fact, it takes six to eight weeks from propagation to harvest for indica cannabis. On the other hand, it can take anywhere from three to four months for sativa to grow. Indica plants have a higher CBD:THC ratio. Sativa plants have a higher THC:CBD ratio.

Smell and Effect of Sativa and Indica Cannabis

Indica cannabis strains tend to have a strong sweet or sour smell. However, if you choose to smoke sativa marijuana, you’ll notice a more “grassy” type of aroma. Furthermore, sativa provides an energetic “cerebral” high associated with creativity and focus. Indica marijuana provides a relaxing “body” high associated with calmness and sleep.

Best Time to Use Indica vs. Sativa Cannabis

Because of its ability to induce relaxation and sleep, indica cannabis is most often used in the evening. It’s often used to relieve pain, nausea, spasms and to induce sleep. Sativa’s best uses are to stimulate hunger, energy, focus and to reduce the effects of ADHD and other behavioral issues. That’s why it’s frequently used during the daytime.

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