Sativa vs. Indica

Sativa vs. Indica

Anyone who has ever walked into a cannabis dispensary must have seen strains labelled as Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. If you do not know much about cannabis or the differences between Indica and Sativa, the huge variety of strains and options in front of you can be overwhelming and confusing.

Although the dispensary people are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful to make you understand the differences, if you are new, knowing the basics will help you to describe what exactly you are looking for. 

We will go through the importance of these designations in this article and how are they different from one another. 

Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica are two species of cannabis. This means they share some similar features but have distinct differences. People mostly refer to them as “Sativa” and “Indica”. They differ in size, shape, smell, and potency. 

Although these strains are different, marijuana farmers combine these two to create hybrid strains. Both the plants are used for cultivating hemp which is a durable fibre from the stalk of the cannabis plant.

Understanding Sativa in depth

Sativa is cannabis that is prominently found in regions that have hot, dry climates with long sunny days like Africa, Central America, Southeast Asia, and parts of Western Asia.

Plant description

Sativa plant is thinner and taller with the ability to grow between 5 to 18 feet or even more. They take a longer time to mature than other cannabis with a flowering time that ranges from 10 to 14 weeks. 

The branches are spaced out and the bud or flowers are less dense. You can distinguish the plant with its thin, finger-like leaves.


Sativa often smells like freshly cut grass but it may also smell like “skunky” which is similar to beer.


Sativa usually contains higher doses of THC and lower doses of CBD. The prominent terpenes include beta-caryophyllene and limonene due to which you get the exotic aroma. 


Use sativa during the daytime if you want to achieve the best results.

Popular strains

Some of the popular Sativa strains are:

Understanding Indica in depth

Indica is cannabis from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Turkey. It is more popular because of its easy and quick growth. 

The plant grows well in the harsh, dry, and turbulent climate of the Hindu Kush Mountains.

Plant description

Indica plants are short and stout with heavy green bushes and leaves that grow wide and broad. They grow faster and also yield more buds than Sativa. 

Each Indica plant produces several buds. They have a short flowering time that grows within 6 to 9 weeks.


Indica has a distinctive skunk-like aroma.


Indica strains have often higher levels of CBD than THC content.

It might also contain terpenes like limonene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene.


Indica gives desired results if consumed at night.

Popular strains

The popular Indica strains are:

  • Hindu Kush
  • Afghan Kush
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Northern Lights
  • Sensi Star
  • Blueberry
  • CBD Blueberry


Since it is difficult to cultivate Sativa which has a higher content of THC, medical cannabis cultivators prefer to combine the properties of Sativa and Indica plants. This is done to optimize cannabis farming and also to produce desired results with the correct dosage.

Farmers often grow hybrids by trying different combinations of strains. There are around 400 hybrids, of which the common ones are:

  • Blue Dream
  • OG Kush
  • White Widow
  • Girl Scout Cookies

Cannabinoids and Terpenes

Now that you know the basic differences between Indica and Sativa dominants, let us take a better look at how to choose a strain. For this, you will have to look beyond Sativa vs. Indica and take a glance at another type of organic compound or minor cannabinoids called terpenes.

While THC and CBD are the two well-known cannabinoids, there are too many cannabinoids in weed and dozens of different terpenes, which provide each strain with its unique aroma.

All of them work together to provide each strain with its unique properties and enhance its productivity. 

Just knowing the basics would be fine for you. Therefore, when you think about the strains and the results it gives, just start thinking of the THC-CBD spectrum rather than thinking in terms of Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid.

Some of the abundant terpenes that you will find in cannabis include myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene, linalool, and pinene. 


Now that you are well versed in Sativa vs. Indica, the next time you visit a dispensary, ask the helper for some terpene recommendations based on what kind of aroma and results you wish to have. Have fun exploring the various strains and their aroma. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.