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Marijuana: All the Differences Between Indica & Sativa Strains

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With the seed season approaching fast, we tried to make our choice in the huge diversity of cannabis seeds by making it somewhat easier, explaining the great differences between these plants. The two most important cannabis genes are Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. They have their own characteristics, differences in origins, composition, way of blooming, appearance and effects. Virtually all the seeds found on sale are hybrids, combining the characteristic features of indicas and sativas until reaching the perfect combination. Understanding these differences may be paramount for medical consumers when choosing a variety. To help you choose between a dominant indica or sativa we have prepared the points below.

The geographical origins of indica and sativa are diverse

Cannabis sativa varieties originally grow around the equator and can be found in Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and several African countries.

Indica cannabis varieties grow high, mainly in countries known for their hashish cultivation such as Morocco, Afghanistan, Nepal and Turkey. This plant has a long history in the Hindu Kush region, spreading from Afghanistan to Pakistan. If you find Kush’ in the name of an herb or seed, then you will most certainly have an indica-dominant plant to enter the hands.

Indica and sativa come in a large variety

The AK-OG Kush strain from Amsterdam Genetics is an 80% indica, 20% sativa. This will have the usual kush coffee aroma. This variety keeps the earthy but also spicy aromas and a taste of wood when exhaling.

The Peyote Cookies from Barney’s Farm is a 95% indica. Peyote Cookies has a very intense guava and earthy flavour, with impressions of vanilla and coffee with a powerful, relaxing and long lasting effect.

The Dutch Passion CBD Auto White Widow is another typical indica.

Devil’s Harvest’s Golden Haze and Nirvana’s Sativa’s Sour Diesel are good examples of sativa-dominated seeds. The Golden Haze is a cross between the Super Silver Haze and the Amnesia Haze of the legendary Soma. Taste is the classic of Haze.

The Sativa’s Sour Diesel holds the ancestral genes of the Sour Diesel with a wonderfully strong aroma of diesel and touches of red grapes. 

The White Choco Haze of Amsterdam Genetics is an 80% dominant sativa seed. The combination of melon flavors and chocolate taste make this variety a real delight.

Differentiate indica and sativa by their appearance and size

In the jungle of plants they must fight for light. This explains why sativas grow like trees, sometimes reaching the size of 2 or 3 meters, or even up to 5 meters under ideal conditions. It is thus more suitable for outdoor use. It is also recognizable by its long and thin leaves, able to catch the rays of the sun. The sativa plants will always be larger than their indica sisters. This difference is due in large part to the geographical origins of each of the two subspecies. The heads of sativa are often longer and less dense. They grow on the branches of the plant rather than at the base of each node. The leaves of sativa are generally long and thin.

The sativa have evolved according to the particular climate around the equator (short and regular periods of sun), while the indica have not had to struggle to capture the sun, giving them a bushy appearance. The sativa flowers usually grow between the nodes of each branch, which tends to give them a form of clusters and a certain density. The leaves of indica plants are shorter and broader than those of sativa.


The effects that indica and sativa have on a consumer

In terms of therapeutic cannabis, indica varieties have the best analgesic effects, while sativa possess a higher ratio of THC / cannabidiol levels. The anesthetic effect of indica helps in mental relaxation, decreases anxiety and stress. At the same time it strengthens the senses. The effect it can give by a certain slowing down and the stoned” effect that we can speak about can help with greater dosages for falling asleep. The effect of the indica is more appreciable in this configuration: by putting music, and falling asleep like a baby.

Sativa promotes brain activity, while indica produces more of a relaxing effect, calming stress and mood. It acts primarily on the mind and can be slightly psychedelic. It tends to be energizing and stimulating creativity. The feeling of bliss can sometimes help with socialization. It is said to give a high social”.

For recreational consumers, the difference between indica and sativa will affect the type of sensation. Sativa often provides a high cerebral and stimulating and energizing effect, while indica produce a body stone and a feeling of relaxation. The sativa are best suited for daytime or festive evenings, while indica go well with a quiet evening, alone, between friends or between lovers.

Differences in flavor are great between indica and sativa

Sativas have a sweet taste and more aromas than indica. The sativas cover a wide range of aromas, from fruity to ammonia flavors. These varieties are more floral and tropical. During the cultivation and drying process it will feel less than an indica.
The indicas are very often fruity, as in the different strains of Kush, but may have a more woody smell like the different varieties of Skunk and hybrid indicas.

The flowering time of indica and sativa differ

Sativa usually take longer to flower than indica. Although the sativa varieties marketed today have been breeded to flower at around 10 weeks, some landraces still take their time, at over 18 weeks, and much more for sativa varieties of cannabis.

The indica bloom after 8 to 10 weeks, while sativa can flower in twice as much time, even though both species specific inputs can accelerate flowering.

Difference in yield noted between indica and sativa

In general, indica plants produce more than sativa. In practice, some varieties of indica such as OG Kush produce significantly less than its sisters. Indica have historically been used to make the best known hash: manala cream or charas.

The majority of varieties are hybrids

However these days, the majority of varieties are both indica and sativa hybrids. As a result, certain characteristics are associated, such as the advantageous size of the indica, with the powerful high of the sativa. It is a caricatured image; the effects vary from one person to another and from a moment to the other.

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