What's the difference between indica and sativa 
cannabis hybrids
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What’s the difference between indica and sativa Cannabis strains?

The world of recreational and medical marijuana can be overwhelming to new consumers. Take time to learn the basics, especially differences between indica and sativa and how hybrids work. This ensures your money is spent wisely on the strains likely to offer the effects you desire.

Cannabis plants are either indica, sativa or a combination of the two resulting in a hybrid strain. Cultivators carefully breed new strains to encourage the traits they want while discouraging the ones they don’t. Below you’ll find the most common benefits and uses for both sativa and indica strains.

Your cannabis experience is unique

Keep in mind that cannabis use is a subjective experience and while strains may affect most people similarly, your actual experience depends on your unique body chemistry.

Indica strains relieve pain and help sleep


Many cultivators like to grow indica plants because they’re short, bushy plants with a heavy yield at harvest. For consumers, indica also provides:

  • Appetite Stimulation: Munchies is the hallmark of indica strains. Seniors and medical patients may find it helpful for treating loss of appetite due to treatments or conditions.
  • Nausea Relief: Indica strains can relieve the discomfort of nausea.
  • Pain Relief: Physical aches and pains respond well to indica dominant strains.
  • Relaxation: Indica’s sedative effects provide relaxing effects to the mind and body.
  • Sleep Aid: Best suited to evening use and before bed, relaxation from indica often translates into a deep, restful sleep.
Sativa Strains bring creative energy


The taller, thinner of the two plant types, the pronounced mental effects of sativa strains make them very popular with farmers and consumers alike. Sativa strains provide the following benefits:

Alertness: Popular as daytime and wake-and-bake strains, sativa provides more alertness plus physical and mental energy than indica.

Appetite Suppression: Unlike indica, sativa strains reduce the appetite instead of stimulating it. This makes sativa a good option for clients concerned about weight gain or combating appetite stimulation caused by certain medications.

Creativity: The mental stimulation sativa provides often results in profound thinking and expanded creativity. Sativa strains are excellent for energetic conversations and creative pursuits.

Euphoria: Sativa strains are generally happy strains. They deliver relief from anxiety, stress, depression and general malaise by providing an overall sense of wellbeing and happiness.

Headache Relief: Primarily delivering head-based effects, sativa strains can be an effective treatment for migraines and headaches.

Anything goes with hybrids

A Note About Hybrids: Hybrids can vary anywhere from 50/50 up to the 90th percentile in their sativa to indica ratios. Typically, the strongest effects will come from the dominant side, so it’s not enough to know that the strain you’re purchasing is a sativa hybrid. It’s much more useful to know that it’s a 60/40 sativa hybrid, meaning you have a high chance of experiencing the indica effects as well. If you’re mainly looking for mental effects, you should opt for a strain with a high sativa ratio.

As a final note, knowing the differences between indica and sativa isn’t enough to guarantee you’ll select the strain that’s right for you. Nor is THC the only consideration when it comes to potency.

If you’re serious about selecting excellent cannabis, it’s worth learning more about THC, the cannabinoid system and how it works with terpenes and other compounds in marijuana. This is especially important for medical patients who are seeking relief from specific maladies, but anyone who has spent money on disappointing cannabis can benefit.

Learn more: What are Cannabinoids and Terpenes?

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