How to Tell the Difference Between Indica and Sativa (👀👃👅)

"Smoke it 💨" is how you tell the difference. Yeah, over the next several minutes we'll discuss the differences between Indica and Sativa. I say "Smoke it 💨" because to me that is the best way to tell the difference. So, pack a bowl and let's have some fun and go into some detail.


The most obvious difference between Indica and Sativa cannabis is on the outside. 
SATIVA: tall plant, with elongated branches and narrow leaves as seen in the image below. 
sativa cannabis
INDICA : lower plant, conical in shape and with broad leaves.
Indica cannabis
These obvious differences between Indica and Sativa strains are easily traced back to their geographical origins. Now let's examine the main differences between Sativa and Indica.

CANNABIS SATIVA Let's get creative🔧

Cannabis strains that originate in tropical climates are known as Sativas. The well-known geographical roots of these beautiful plants are in Thailand, Cambodia, Central America, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and other tropical countries. Good places for Sativa to grow naturally are usually found in warm, humid climates. Just think of the "rain-forest". 

rain forest of the world
  • Sativas are often considered ideal during the day because they typically have energetic and uplifting effects - the complete opposite of indicas.
  • Sativas are usually associated with creativity, energy and better mental focus.
  • Think of functional, everyday scenarios like having more ideas, being more productive, or fighting fatigue either in the morning or in the afternoon.
To deal with long, hot and humid summers, Sativa plants have evolved developing a tall structure, with large spaces between internodes, vaporous buds, and tapered leaves.
In this way, the specimens can protect themselves from the high humidity levels present in these areas and dangers such as mold or parasites.
Sativa plants tend to reach considerable heights, therefore they are more suitable for outdoor cultivation. They offer optimal performance in hot and tropical climates, with long summers.
In the 1960s thru 1970s, the Haze brothers decided to create the hottest Sativa strain known to mankind. They collected landraces from Hawaii, South America, Thailand, and India.
All varieties have been selected and hybridized to generate the highest quality Sativas. As a result of these breeding efforts, the "Haze" genetics took the stage.
After the Haze seeds found their way to Amsterdam, they were mixed with other varieties from around the world. This is why the “original” Haze genetics are extremely rare.


"Indica" is a classic Greek and Latin word for "India", where western civilization first encountered indica varieties. These varieties originate in the mountainous region of the Hindu Kush and in countries with desert-like climates such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, where it is very hot and dry.
Hindu Kush
  • Indica strains are still associated with very relaxing and sedating effects. Often associated with a drowsy, relaxed feeling behind the eyes
  • Indicas are often used at night when you go to sleep shortly after consumption.
  • Indicas are widely viewed to achieve intense body effects, such as loosening of the limbs and muscles.
  • Indicas are often associated with what people perceive as "high" as your physical senses are raised as you listen to music, touch food, or touch textures.

You can be so relaxing that you can just relax and sit on the couch for a long time, hence the popular term "couch-lock" to describe the effects.

Originally, the Indica plants were born in colder, dry and mountainous areas, such as Nepal, India and other parts of the Indian subcontinent, where summers are cool and short. To adapt to these environmental conditions, Cannabis indica blooms faster and develops dense foliage and dense buds.
Thanks to their compact stature and faster flowering, indica plants are perfect for growing indoors.
They can be easily manipulated through training techniques and generally produce full-bodied and aesthetically attractive buds.
The flowering phase is shorter, therefore with the Indica specimens, it is possible to obtain multiple harvests in a limited period.


SATIVA born to be creative!

Enjoyed as a stimulant, Sativa generates a noticeable high, an energetic, inspiring state that manifests itself mainly through a mental high. Some users report psychedelic experiences on pure Sativa; However, to be as hallucinogenic, the variety must have developed a particularly high THC content.
Most people experience the effect of Sativa as creative, stimulating and happy. Unlike Cannabis Indica, cannabis Sativa is more associated with daytime consumption because it does not make you sleepy, less "overwhelmed" and even attention and focus.
Sativa promotes social competence and a general sense of relaxation and "arrival". It can alleviate depression and compensate for drive disorders through general stimulation.
The classic high of a Sativa is uplifting, energetic, focused and creative.
If you are looking for a motivating experience, Sativa-dominant strains are the right choice.
Fantastic Sativa strains on the market are Dr. Grinspoon and Desfrán.

INDICA born to be relaxing!

The effect of Indica are generally soothing and relaxing. Indica can also make you sleepy if you smoke a lot of it. Which, we all do. 
The classic Indica high has a relaxing effect and often leads to the famous couch lock. One should be prepared for a relaxing and narcotic effect.
If you need help falling asleep or want to relax on the couch with a series on Netflix, Indica strains are just the thing for you.
In addition to morphological differences, the cannabis community can distinguish between indica and Sativa strains based on the effects generated by the buds.
Herb, a cannabis-based media company, describes the effects of ganja Sativa as "invigorating as much as a cup of coffee," while those of Indica is comparable to "sleeping pills."
Almost all cannabis users agree that the Sativa strains are stimulating and energizing, while the indica varieties are deeply sedative.
But where does this opinion originate? Are the effects of ganja Indica and Sativa that different?
Some experts declare that there is no scientific basis for distinguishing the effects of cannabis using the terms Indica and Sativa.
In 2016, the magazine _Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research_ published an interview with dr. Ethan Russo, Director of Research and Development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI). In this interview, Russo says that "it is impossible to use the definitions Indica and Sativa to provide a complete idea of ​​the chemical composition of a plant and the effects it produces".
In a paper edition of the High Times, Rev. Dr. Kymron DeCesare, Head of Research at the Steep Hill Laboratory in California, expressed a similar opinion. He argues that the terms Indica and Sativa cannot provide detailed information on the plant, in addition to its external characteristics.



Many cannabis strains currently available on the market are hybrids composed of indica and Sativa genes.
The expert breeders of Royal Queen Seeds, for example, use sophisticated techniques to create varieties with unique characteristics, such as faster flowering times, specific aromas and much more.
Some studies have shown that, in addition to the structural differences, Indica and Sativa could develop different concentrations of terpenes, another factor that contributes to generating different effects.
For example, according to some sources, the sedative properties of "strong Indica" cannabis strains depend on the high concentrations of myrcene.
Myrcene is a terpene found in many plants, including hops, thyme, lemongrass, mango, cardamom and, of course, cannabis.
The molecule releases an earthy, slightly peppery aroma.
In high percentages, it can generate sedative effects typical of some varieties.



Cannabis Indica plants usually don't grow very tall, in most cases less than 200cm. The leaves are very wide and have a darker green than Cannabis Sativa. The branches are relatively short and have many thick, firm buds that usually mature around the beginning of September.
Due to the low height, the small stretch and short flowering, indica plants are perfect for indoor growing.
Cannabis sativa can grow incredibly tall. Some varieties even manage up to 7 meters. The plants reach an average height of 3-4 meters.
The leaves usually have long and very narrow “fingers” that have a lighter shade of green. The shading of the leaves can indicate the environment in which the cannabis plant grew:
Cannabis Sativa
Lighter leaves were usually exposed to too much light
Darker leaves have probably received too little light
Unlike Indica, Sativa cannabis plants have slightly fewer flowers that can be huge. The harvest of Cannabis Sativa is smaller than that of Indica, which is why growers who grow cannabis commercially mostly choose one of the countless Indica strains.

Flowering Time 🕜

Cannabis indica bloom relatively short. The flowering phase usually lasts 6 to 9 weeks. That is why Indica-heavy varieties are particularly suitable if you want to harvest quickly or are late with an outdoor grow. 
However, cannabis sativa takes a little longer to bloom. It usually takes 9 to 12 weeks for a Sativa plant to complete its flowering phase. But the growth phase is a little shorter than with the Indica plant. In the flowering phase, the Sativa gets 2 to 3 times as high (200-300% stretch).

Size 📏

As soon as a cannabis plant blooms, it does not stop growing upwards. Depending on the variety and genetics, the plant increases in size by 1 to 5 times until it is ready for harvest. This is called a stretch.
Indica plants the plant does not rise so much in the flowering phase - you can expect an increase in height of about 50 to 100 percent. Pure Indicas or Indica-dominant strains are therefore very suitable for small grow boxes.
Most grow boxes with a 40x40cm area are only 120 cm high and offer just enough space for Indica varieties. With 30x30cm grow tents you are even more restricted - there they are only 60cm high.

SATIVA in Tropical Environment 🌱

There is a lot of moisture and heat in a tropical environment. Sativa plants have adapted to these conditions. They reach a height of approximately 400cm, the distance between the internodes is large and they have more fluffy flowers.
This allows the plant to breathe and cope better with the high humidity without mold.
The ends of the leaves are relatively thin so that better holistic air circulation is possible.
The flowering period is approximately 12+ weeks. Due to their height, it is advisable to grow Sativa varieties outdoors.
If you choose to grow in colder climates or a hot and dry environment, then it is best in a grow room with enough space. .

INDICA in Mountain Regions 🗻

Indica varieties are native to dry and hot, desert-like climates and mountain regions, which is why the plants have a compact and robust structure.
The fingers of the leaves are wider, their flowers denser, and the plants reach lower heights to keep moisture and protect them from the hot days and cool nights in the desert.
Due to their small stature, it is advisable to grow Indica varieties in a growing room. As a rule, they are between 50-200cm tall.
It can be assumed that they will finish flowering in 8-10 weeks. Although the yields are somewhat lower overall, their yield per square meter is higher compared to Sativa varieties.
100% pure Indica varieties such as LA Confidential and Critical Kush are perfect examples of the appearance, smell and effect of pure-bred Indicas.


New studies show that the effect of cannabis is not solely dependent on the species, but rather is due to its profile of terpenes and cannabinoids.
For example, the terpene myrcene together with cannabinoids like THC reinforces the narcotic effects of an Indica.
Therefore, the presence of myrcene is a Sativa strain can produce a more relaxing Indica effect. Scientists are working hard to explain the interplay of hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis and humans.
Terpenes are organic, aromatic compounds found in the oils of all flowers, including cannabis. The terpenes, which are naturally produced to attract beneficial insects and repel predators, emit strong odors and aromas and change due to various growth conditions.
Various research suggests that terpenes can modify the effect of THC on the body and affect the potency of a strain.
For example, you could have two cannabis strains that have an identical 16 percent THC, but they might smell and taste different and have different effects - all because of terpenoids!
cannabis closeup
It has also been reported that terpenes can alter how much THC passes through the blood-brain barrier, and their influence reaches even far enough to regulate neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in your brain.
Therefore, it is no wonder that terpenes are of great interest to the medicinal cannabis community.
A laboratory test is currently the only way to determine the precise levels of terpenes in cannabis, and the producers licensed by medical cannabis who have access to various laboratories will benefit fully.


CANNABIS SATIVA a history of sweet love 

Let's start with a quick brief history of cannabis. Cannabis sativa is the first known cannabis plant. In contrast to the indica varieties, Sativa was not hidden in the mountains but always grew where there is a lot of suns. This is also the case in sunny parts of Europe. Incidentally, it was not only the fibers that were often used. For example, the Chinese used cannabis as a medicine long before Christ, and hashish was a well-known stimulant in the Arab world in the ninth century.
Indica - grass from the east
Indica grass was brought to the Netherlands not too long ago. The origin, the effects and also the growth and flowering are just a little different than with pure Sativa grass.
Almost all pure indica genetics can be traced back to the Himalayas and the Karakorum region in Asia. Indica cannabis plants come from the north of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan from a mountainous region, the Hindu Kush. 
 Due to the enormous size of the Himalayas, the areas from which Indica comes are very remote. The pollen from a grass plant therefore hardly came into contact with other varieties of the plant. Pure indica species were therefore fairly easy to keep clean and genetics can vary widely from species to species.


To better understand the differences between indica and sativa, the taxonomy of cannabis should be analyzed.
Cannabis was first classified around 1750 by Carlo Linneo. He believed that the genus was monotypic (that contained a single species) and appointed him Cannabis sativa. Linnaeus was a Swedish botanist, and he made this classification by working with hemp specimens, which at that time were widely cultivated throughout Europe.
Jean-Baptiste LamarckCannabis indica was first identified and described in 1785 by the French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck published the description of a new species of cannabis, different from the one discovered by Linnaeus. And noticed that it was low in fiber, but with remarkable intoxicating effects. This description was based on specimens that the scientist had collected in India. In the 1960s, the Indica strains brought along were first crossed with the already known Sativa strains. Indica genetics have been used primarily to make sativas more suitable for indoor growing, to keep the plant lower, and to reduce flowering time.
In the 20th century, the Russian botanist DE Janichevsky identified a third cannabis variety, originating in Russia, which we now know by the name of Cannabis ruderalis. In the 1970s, various taxonomists and botanists sought various ways to correctly classify the cannabis plant.
There are still many debates concerning the appropriate taxonomy of the indica, sativa and ruderalis strains. However, scientists believe that the differences between cannabis strains justify their breakdown into three distinct species.
In this article, we focused only on indica and Sativa genetics.
In 1785, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck made the first distinction between Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. He found that cannabis indica (Indian hemp) has greater resin production and has greater medical potential.
It is important to know that “cannabis Sativa” at the time was what we now call “hemp”; Cannabis with a very low THC content. What we call "Sativa" these days is another story from the same book.
Hemp friends hybridized and selected the best phenotypes to get the best properties from Indica and Sativa strains.
The process of hybridization brought out extremely awesome varieties such as White Widow, OG Kush, and Diesel.
The line between Indica and Sativa became increasingly blurred.

Like I said just smoke it 💨💨🗿

 At the end of the day you'll have to try it to see if you like it. That is probably one of the reasons why I love dispensaries. Having the ability to walk into a store and buy a range of different kinds of cannabis.
What about you? What do you like better ? What's your favorite kind? 


  • YqfpEPndVQCi


  • jQGRlAYkyEpvc




  • IETNfjLB


  • AkganNbzTopMyCl


Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.