Indica vs Sativa: What They Are, Key Differences, Benefits and Uses

indica vs sativa

Medical cannabis is growing in both popularity and its applications. Millions of people across the globe and in Canada are discovering its effectiveness at treating a variety of symptoms. But with that increased usage and popularity comes many common questions, with one of the most common ones being on the indica vs. sativa difference.

Read on for a comprehensive overview of both indica strains and sativa strains, how they differ, and which is best for you.

Overview of Indica vs. Sativa

When it comes to the indica vs. sativa differentiation, it’s important to remember that neither is only for medical use or recreational use. Both have medicinal properties but do differ in key ways.

Indica, for instance, usually induces full-body effects, which helps with relaxation and alleviating symptoms of common conditions like insomnia.

Sativa, by contrast, is more often connected to a head-centered feeling. It’s also thought to be more energizing while also reducing stress and anxiety.

In other words, a shorthand way to differentiate the two is to look at indica as being better to use when you’re looking to relax or treat symptoms that prevent relaxation, while sativa is the better option for putting your mind at ease and helping to treat symptoms associated with conditions like anxiety.

It’s worth noting that even more important than the type of cannabis is the chemical composition and growing technique. Always be sure to check the description and recommended use as well as consult a medical professional to ensure you get the right medical cannabis to treat your specific symptoms.

Classification by Type

You’ll also notice that there’s a growing movement to classify cannabis by type more so than strain.

  • Type I denotes high THC.
  • Type II denotes a more balanced THC/CBD combination.
  • Type III denotes high CBD content.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes

All cannabis plants will contain dozens of chemical compounds called cannabinoids.

These cannabinoids are naturally occurring and are actually the reason you’ll experience many of the effects caused by cannabis use.

You’ve likely heard of THC (responsible for the psychoactive “high” feeling) and CBD (often associated with many of the medical benefits without the psychoactive euphoric effect).

Others include CBN, THCA, and CBG, each with their own properties that researchers believe can help with a variety of symptoms, from pain alleviation to anxiety reduction to muscle relaxation.

Terpenes are also a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant that impact the smell of the cannabis, but also its effects (there is still research being done on terpenes). There are a variety of terpenes each with its own hypothesized effect.

Sativa Details

Where Is It Commonly Found?

Sativa is typically grown in hot, dry climates that receive lots of sun. Regions include parts of Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, and Western Asia.

How Does the Plants Look?

The plants are tall and thin with leaves that resemble outstretched fingers. They can grow as high as 12 feet and will typically take longer to mature.

Sativa Dominant Strains

Some of the most common sativa strains are:

  • Sour Diesel
  • Lemon Haze
  • Jack Herer

When Is the Best Time to Use It?

Due to its ability to stimulate and invigorate, it’s often best used during the day.

CBD to THC Ratio

Sativa is often higher in THC and lower in CBD.

Indica Details

Where Is It Commonly Found?

You’ll often find indica in Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey, among others. They are most suited to harsh, dry climates like in the Hindu Kush mountains.

How Does the Plants Look?

They are shorter and stockier compared to sativa. They also have a bushy greenery and chunky leaves that are wider and broader than sativa plants. What’s more, they grow faster and produce more buds compared to sativa.

Indica Dominant Strains

Common indica dominant strains include:

  • Northern Lights
  • Bubba Kush
  • Grandaddy Purple
  • Kosher Kush

When Is the Best Time to Use It?

Due to its ability to relax, it’s best consumed at night.

CBD to THC Ratio

Indica strains have higher levels of CBD than sativa, but that doesn’t mean that the THC content will be less. It varies from strain to strain.

Details about Hybrids

Hybrids are a combination of the two strains and with each passing year, more and more growers are experimenting with different combinations.

As a result, they can have a variety of unique applications and uses.

Popular hybrid strains include:

  • GG4
  • Blue Dram
  • Gelato
  • Wedding Cake
  • GSC

Medical Marijuana Consulting Services in Canada

If you’re ready to find out which cannabis is right for you, our team at Medical Marijuana Consulting (MMC) can help.

Our cannabis clinic helps patients from across Canada get access to medical professionals who are experts on medical marijuana. We can provide a prescription, offer help getting coverage for prescription costs (if eligible), refer you to a licensed producer, and help you apply for the ACMPR license.

At MMC, we want to make access to medical cannabis as simple as possible for as many people as possible. Join our Ambassador Program and receive $15 for every person you refer to MMC that becomes a patient.

To learn more about Medical Marijuana Consulting and how you can secure a prescription as part of your personalized medical cannabis treatment plan, book a consultation online, contact us at 844-312-5143, or email us at

Whether you’re looking to alleviate your symptoms with the help of medical marijuana in Ontario, British Columbia, or anywhere else in Canada, we can help.

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