Cannabis, weed, pot, and a host of other names alluded to the hemp plant are rich in varieties and species. Over 700 different species of cannabis have been discovered, each one with its distinct features and characteristics. 

The words “indica” and “sativa” were coined in the 18th century to describe these different species of cannabis effectively. Those intoxicating varieties mainly found in India, where they are harvested for their seeds, fiber, and hashish production, are referred to as Cannabis indica, while Cannabis sativa described those found in Europe and western Eurasia where they’re cultivated for their fiber and seeds. 

Understanding the differences between these weed types revolves around identifying their indica or sativa properties. There are many factors that can be used to determine whether a particular hemp plant is an indica or sativa variety; some of these factors include: 

  • height and stature, 
  • internodal length, 
  • leaf size and structure, 
  • bud size and density, 
  • flowering time, 
  • odor, 
  • smoke, and 
  • effects

For Indicas:

Indica plants are those cannabis plants that are short and stocky with broad, chunky leaves and short wide blades. Their buds also tend to be wide, dense, and bulky and are less resistant to heat. The flowering period for Indica strains is typically around eight weeks, but it may take up to 12 weeks for them to finish in flower. 

Regarding aroma, Indica strains tend to emit musty, earthy, and skunky odors. Indicas tend to decrease energy and are commonly known as “nighttime” strains, used for relaxing and unwinding in the evening or at night, after the day’s work and activities.  

Indica produces large amounts of THC and low levels of CBD. Potent Indica strains provide what has been called a “body high” and may give some patients a “couchlock,” a condition in which they become so relaxed or sedated that they can barely get up from the sofa. 

Common effects for these strains include feeling relaxed, euphoric, happy, and sleepy. Examples of potent Indica strains include – Strawberry Banana, Purple Kush, Death Star, MK Ultra, Critical Kush, and many more. 

For Sativas:

Sativa plants tend to be taller and skinnier and may even be lanky in appearance, with long pointed leaves and long thin blades. They have a flowering period of 10 to 12 weeks and can reach up to 10 feet tall. Their buds also tend to be lighter, longer, thinner, and fluffier. 

The smell of Sativa strains is often fruity, sweet, or spicy. They tend to provide a cerebral “daytime” effect for feeling productive, creative and focused, and for getting chores done. Common effects for these strains include feeling happy, uplifting, euphoric, and energetic. 

Sativa often has lower doses of CBD and higher amounts of THC; they are also better at handling the heat. Examples of potent sativa strains include – Durban Poison, Sour Diesel, Ghost Train Haze, Amnesia Haze, Blue Walker, Green Crack, Super Sour Diesel, and so on.  


It is important to note that Indica doesn’t always produce a “couchlock,” and Sativa doesn’t necessarily energize all of its consumers. The effects and aromas of Indicas and Sativas depend on several different factors, but mainly on the terpenes and cannabinoids in the strain or the chemical compounds in it. 

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