For beginner stoners, wading into the world of medical marijuana and shopping at an online cannabis dispensary can be intimidating. There is a lot of information to sift through and it can be hard to know where to begin. That is where we come in.
One of the first, and most important, things to know are the different categories that marijuana strains fall under Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. Each strain is either pure Indica, pure Sativa, or a hybrid – meaning they are a mix of both types. In this case, the hybrid is either Indica-dominant or Sativa-dominant. This is the basic breakdown of these different miracle plants and can be a good way to determine the cannabis strains that work best for you.
Characteristics of Indica Vs. Sativa Plants
The first thing to note about Indica and Sativa plants is that they each have their own unique physical characteristics.
Indica is typically characterized by broad leaves that overlap. The growth pattern of Indica-dominant plants makes them ideal for indoor growing. Plants of this strain are generally shorter and bushier standing between 3 and 6 feet tall. The branches on these plants are closer together and tend to have a deeper green color. As they mature, the leaves become more purple. This is a particularly strong smelling plant.
Indica strains typically produce 1.5 to 2.5 ounces of bud per plant. While breeding has opened up an array of flavors, Indica bud is typically sweeter and can have fruity flavors such as blueberry and strawberry.
Sativa plants are characterized by an opposite grow pattern from Indica. These strains have more narrow leaves, that end to be farther apart and more branched out. Sativa plants are generally taller and thinner, growing between 8 and 12 feet high – some strains can even reach over 20 feet! This makes them ideal for outdoor gardens. These plants tend to produce fewer flowers but a larger yield of approximately 3 ounces to 1 pound per plant.
These leaves have a lighter green color and, as they mature, the leaves turn red or sometimes purple if the environment is cooler. The buds typically have a more earthy flavor, such as pine.
Effects of Indica Vs. Sativa Plants
As with the unique physical characteristics of the plants and the bud themselves, Indica and Sativa strains have different effects. As such, Indica and Sativa-dominant strains are recommended for different ailments and even times of the day.
Indica has been regularly regarded as an “evening” strain and usually has a higher THC to CBD ratio. This bud tends to produce a strong and predominantly physical high that is designed to produce a deeply relaxing feeling and will make you “couch locked” or sleepy. As such, this strain is mainly used to relieve symptoms of general anxiety disorder, body pain, and sleeping disorders like insomnia.
Some additional benefits of Indica include:
● Relief for chronic pain or body aches
● Relaxes muscles and relieves muscle spasms
● Relief for headaches and migraines
● Reduction in anxiety or stress
● Stimulates hunger
Indica is also used for treating nausea, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia. One side effect of these strains is that they can have depressive qualities, which make you feel unmotivated and are not ideal for individuals who suffer from low mood or depression.
Sativa has been regularly regarded as a “daytime” strain and usually has a higher CBD to THC ratio. These strains are considered to be a more energetic and uplifting alternative to Indica. The high from this bud results in creativity and focus; it is great for productivity, sparking new ideas and motivation. These strains are a great choice if you suffer from depression, mood disorders, ADD, or fatigue.
Some additional benefits of Sativa include:
● Producing feelings of well-being
● Uplifting and creative thinking
● Energizing and stimulating
● Increases focus and creativity
● Fights depression
Depending on the strain, they can have similar effects to a strong cup of coffee. In addition, Sativa also stimulates hunger. This can be very useful if you have been diagnosed with certain forms of cancer, anorexia, or HIV/AIDS. Although Sativas are great for fighting various symptoms and ailments, some users do experience panic attacks, paranoia, and anxiety so if you are prone to these symptoms, Sativa is not right for you.
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Cannabis strains range from being pure Indica to pure Sativa and include a range of hybrid options that have both Indica and Sativa qualities. These hybrids can be 30% Indica – 70% Sativa, 50% – 50% combinations, 80% Indica – 20% Sativa mixes.
With so many options, it is important to know what you are mainly looking for in your cannabis before trying to pick the right strain. If you are looking for nighttime, sleepy effects, or daytime motivation, you should go with a majority Indica or Sativa strain. However, if you aren’t quite sure, 50% mixes are good ones to try. You can always ask your local budtender or visit an online cannabis dispensary to see what they have to offer you.