This is the Real Difference Between the Effects of Sativa and Indica and How They’re Grown

Whether it’s edibles, joints, or capsules, every time you go to buy a cannabis product, you’re likely basing your choice on whether it’s an indica, sativa, or hybrid strain.

But if you’ve been doing some research, you might have heard by now that there’s actually no difference between the two classifications, at least not scientifically. You read that right. Despite the long-held classification in the world of weed, on a molecular level there is nothing that sets apart an indica plant from a sativa. 

If you’re wondering why we’re still using a system that doesn’t have scientific credibility, the answer is simply that there just hasn’t been a more accurate system made since. The indica and sativa was first classified way back in the 18th Century by French biologist Jean Baptiste Lamark.

The biologist determined whether plants were indica or sativa due to their physical appearance. Since then, scientists have found that there is only actually one species of marijuana, “cannabis sativa L”, not two. But although there’s no molecular difference between the two plants, there’s still a difference in the effects of your high and how the two plants are grown. 

weed plant

Photo by Jeff W


Sativa plants naturally love warmer climates and thrive in places like Mexico, Columbia, and Thailand near the equator—although they can be grown all over the world. These plants use more chlorophyll than indica plants and usually take about 10 to 16 weeks to flower. They’re typically tall and light green in colour, with long and thin leaves. Sativa buds are light, airy, and long.

In terms of its effects, sativa is known for being perfect for the daytime when you want to concentrate, have more energy, and have a more cerebral head high. 


On the other side of the spectrum, when you look for an indica strain, you’re usually after something to help you relax and give you more of a sedated body stoned feeling, aka like you’re “in da couch”. For a more mellow high, people will often turn to indica, especially if it’s night time. It’s perfect for relaxing because it usually has a high CBD content, making it also a popular choice for medicinal purposes.

You can determine an indica plant by its short and dense stature. They usually flower between seven and nine weeks and flourish indoors and in cool climates with high altitude. Think places like Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Morocco. Indica plants are dark green and are short and bushy with wide leaves. Its buds are more fragrant than a sativa and it’s known to grow in clusters.

weed plant

Photo by Jeff W

Even though there might not be any molecular differences between indica and sativa, there are differences in their effects and how they’re grown. When you’re next making the decision on what’s the right product for you, think about what effect you’re going for.

Whether it’s having a mellow night with an indica, feeding your creative outlet with a sativa, or experimenting with a hybrid, knowing more about how your strains are grown and what sets them apart scientifically will help you make your decision.

Do you prefer indica or sativa? Let us know in the comments below! Click here to shop for some bud.

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