In the world of cannabis two strains reign supreme, Indica and Sativa. Each is recognized for its own unique qualities, while both are celebrated for their ability to improve the quality of life. So what’s the difference between Indica and Sativa? 

Let’s Get Physical

One of the main differences between Indica and Sativa is their physical appearance. The indica plant is short and bushy in stature with broad leaves, dark green in color. In contrast, Sativa is a tall lanky plant with narrow leaves, light green in color. 

In addition to physical variations, the two strains differ in other ways. Indica likes to grow in colder climates and has a short flowering cycle. While Sativa loves the warmer climates with a longer flowering cycle.

The two strains have been tied to effect. However, the purpose of differentiating them was purely to identify their physical makeup. In addition, Sativa and Indica have been cross-bred for so long that modern-day cannabis is not one or the other, it’s a hybrid of the two. This makes it nearly impossible to attribute felt effects to one strain or the other in its pure form.

Besides Appearance, What’s the Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

Growers use the terms Indica and Sativa to understand growth cycles and the chemical compounds of the cannabis plant. The cannabinoid and terpene profiles of each strain determine the degree of psychoactivity and other commonly reported effects. Whereas an Indica dominant strain with high levels of THC may induce heavy relaxation. The limonene terpene in a Sativa can perk you up. Indica and Sativa are terms meant for botanical identification. However, they are still somewhat useful for describing cannabis experiences.

What originated as Sativa in Central Asia eventually migrated into the Western and Southern parts of Asia. With human help, cannabis was cultivated for its attributes of an industrial nature as well as its psychoactive properties. Early civilizations understood how to select the plants for their desired qualities. In addition to human intervention, geography has played a part in the development of the two distinctly different strains by isolating them from one another. 

What Has Changed

Fast forward to present day, Indica and Sativa have become synonymous with terms like “couchlock”, “whole-body high” or “uplifting” and “creative”. Those terms are better associated with the compounds inside of the Indica or Sativa and how each unique human body reacts to them. This realization is becoming the new normal when discussing cannabis. Most cannabis experts prefer to attribute effects of the strain to the actual cannabinoid and terpene profile rather than a blanket statement about Indica or Sativa. 

At Haven we have a wide selection of top-quality Indica, Sativa, and hybrid cannabis products featuring cannabinoid and terpene profiles for recreational and medicinal use. Stop by our dispensary today and discuss your needs with one of our knowledgeable cannabis experts. 

Leafly Staff (2016, February). The Cannabis Taxonomy Debate: Where Do Indica and Sativa Classifications Come From? Retrieved from

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