Sativa VS Indica
Thousands of new cannabis strains have been developed in the past few decades, and more are added nearly every day. With the number of options, it's critical for consumers and patients to understand the varying effects of different strains.
The many different strains available today have been bred to enhance specific effects, making them more suitable for the treatment of certain ailments and medical conditions. Having a basic understanding of these differences in efficacy is critical to ensuring that patients choose the best treatment for their symptoms.
Cannabis plants can be divided into three subspecies: indica, sativa, and ruderalis. Cannabis ruderalis is a strain native to Russia, Central Europe, and central Asia that is well adapted to harsh environments. Ruderalis is often found growing wild in ditches and other areas disturbed by humans. The plants are typically small and produce relatively small quantities of cannabinoids.
While the focus of the medical cannabis community is primarily on indica and sativa strains, ruderalis has some unique characteristics that have been used to influence new hybrid varieties. Like most flowering plants, Cannabis sativa and indica are induced to flower by seasonal changes, most notably the number of daylight hours the plant receives. However, ruderalis begins to flower based on the plant's age, typically between five and seven weeks of growth. This ability to flower automatically is what interests breeders about the subspecies.
Cannabis sativa was first identified as a species in 1753 to describe the common hemp plant widely cultivated across Europe and Western Eurasia for millennia. The plant was known for its strong fiber and nutritious seeds and spread throughout the New World during European colonization. Cannabis sativa produces small amounts of THC and a full spectrum of other cannabinoids, making it helpful in treating some medical conditions.
In 1785, a second species, Cannabis indica, was identified after reaching European shores from India. Cannabis indica was grown widely across Asia, much like sativa in Europe, for its fiber and seed. However, Indica differs from the sativa plant in that it has the genetic potential to produce relatively large amounts of THC. Thus, the psychoactive properties of Cannabis indica were recognized across Asia, where the flower was used for medical treatments and relaxation purposes, as well as the production of potent hashish.
Cannabis indica and sativa differ in appearance, with indica tending to be short and stocky, while sativa plants are generally taller and thinner. Indica and sativa plants vary not only in their origins and appearance but also in their physiological effects.
Effects of Indica and Sativa
The most significant difference between Cannabis indica and sativa is their medical effects and their effect on energy levels and productivity.
Indicas are known for their powerful sedative effects and are generally best consumed in the evening or at night. Often, an indica dominant strain will make it difficult to leave the couch where you can relax and let the worries of the day drift away. Indicas are commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety, promote good sleep, and produce a feeling of calmness and tranquility. Some of the common indica dominant strains include Zkittlez, Purple Punch, Wedding Cake, and Blueberry OG.
Sativa-dominant strains typically produce an uplifting, clear-headed, and focused effect that makes them ideal for daytime use. Unlike indicas which tend to cause "couchlock," sativas increase energy levels, enhancing creativity and productivity. Patients commonly use Sativas to help with depression, headaches, nausea, and appetite loss. A few of the common sativa dominant strains include Strawberry Cough, Sour Diesel, Gelato, and Cherry Pie.
Indica and Sativa strains also differ in aroma and taste due to the different terpenes produced in each subspecies. Indicas tend to have a musty, earthy, or skunky scent, while sativas typically have a sweet, fruity, or spicy aroma. While the terpenes play a role in taste and aroma, they also impact the efficacy of the plant's various cannabinoid compounds.
Modern breeders of medical cannabis intentionally breed and grow a wide range of indica and sativa strains to provide the best possible medicine for an individual's unique combination of disease, preference, and lifestyle.
Many patients with jobs or family responsibilities that require a high level of energy aren't able to function well under the sedative effects of many potent indica-dominant strains. Other patients need the most potent non-opiate painkiller available. When faced with the choice to treat their chronic pain with powerful synthetic opioids that are known to be addictive or the mellowing effects of a potent indica-dominant strain, the choice is easy.
Because breeders and dispensaries understand the critical nature of the efficacy of particular strains for the treatment of various ailments, they try to grow and make available as many strains as possible to provide patients with strains that target their specific symptoms.
Much of the focus of cultivating new strains has revolved around diseases such as HIV/AIDS, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, cancer, Parkinson's, epilepsy, and all types of arthritis. However, when it comes to the treatment of specific conditions, sativa strains are generally better for psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. In contrast, indicas are effective at treating pain and inflammation and are thus more beneficial for patients with arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, and chronic pain.
It's also important to remember that many diseases have secondary symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or insomnia. Having a wide range of both indica and Sativa-dominant strains enables the patient to find a strain that treats their core ailment along with the daily symptoms it produces.
Contact the Experts at Mellow Fellow
Typically, every patient will favor certain strains that will fall within the categories of indica, sativa, or hybrid. Choosing the best option depends mainly on the effects that you desire.
At Mellow Fellow, we offer a wide variety of indica and sativa dominant delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, and THC-O vapes to meet the needs of nearly every consumer and patient. Our team of experts can help you find a safe, pure, and effective solution. Contact us today to learn more about the differences between indica and sativa or the indica and sativa bundles we offer.