There are two main strains of cannabis: indica and sativa. Both strains can be used for medical and recreational purposes. Selecting the appropriate strain of cannabis is an important question to consider when determining how you will consume cannabis.
Sativa cannabis is known for its energizing effects that can be used to treat anxiety, reduce stress and enhance creativity and focus. Indica is known for its ability to increase relaxation and can help aid in reducing insomnia.
Strains of Cannabis
When determining the plant that will meet your needs, selecting specific strains can be more helpful than the broader indica and sativa descriptions. Strains are often distinguished by their individual cannabinoid and terpene levels, which is the plant content that determines a strain’s overall effect.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes
A cannabis plant is comprised of many naturally occurring chemical compounds called cannabinoids, that are responsible for both the positive and negative effects of cannabis use. The two main cannabinoids identified and understood by the scientific community are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the main psychoactive component in cannabis plants, from which the “high” or euphoria is derived when using cannabis. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning it does not generate the same “high” feeling as THC. Nonetheless, its physical benefits include reduced pain and nausea, seizure prevention and migraine relief. Although less commonly analyzed than Cannabinoids, levels of Terpenes in the strain of cannabis are also impactful on the overall effect of consumption.
Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds that affect the plants smell directly, as well as their overall effects. For example, a common terpene Bisabolol is known to reduce inflammation and irritation, whereas linalool can improve relaxation and boost mood levels. Both cannabinoids and terpenes should be considered when selecting the right strain for your use. Nonetheless, the broader Indica vs. Sativa levels remains very helpful as an initial starting point for understanding how to consume cannabis to effectively optimize the effects you are looking for.
Deep Dive into Sativa:
Cannabis sativa originates in primarily hot, dry climates. Sativa plants are tall and thin with finger-like leaves. The plants can grow taller than 12 feet. In general, sativa plants have lower doses of CBD and higher levels of THC. Sativa is known for is energizing and anxiety-reducing effects. Sativa strains may enhance productivity and creativity. Due to its stimulating effects, sativa is recommended to be used in the evenings.
Deep Dive into Indica:
Cannabis indica originates in the Middle East, in harsh and dry climates. Indica plants are short and stocky with bushy greenery and chunky leaves. The plant produces more buds than Sativa. Indica strains have higher levels of CBD and less THC. It is known for its relaxing effects, and ability to reduce nausea, pain, and increased appetite. As indica is known to result in deep relaxation, it is recommended to be used in the evening.
Deep Dive into Hybrids:
There are also hybrid strains, which are grown in greenhouses or farms, that have a combination of sativa and indica strains. Hybrid plants are selected by producers for their unique impacts. For example, they can be grown to increase the THC percentage. Hybrids are typically classified as either sativa-dominant, indica-dominant, or balanced.