If you're familiar with the modern cannabis strain classification system, you know that weed is traditionally divided into indica, sativa and hybrid strains. Indica strains are thought to be sedative and relaxing (more bearish), while Sativa strains are known for their energizing (superior) effects. Sativa tends to have a more energetic and stimulating high. Indica strains tend to have a higher body high.
The general perception is that Sativa strains produce mainly a cerebral high, while Indica strains provide mainly a body high. The literal difference between the two is in terms of classification: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are two of the subspecies of the genus Cannabis. Sativas, on the other hand, are stimulating and cerebral, and improve creativity and productivity. Indicas provide what has been called a “body high”, while sativas provide more of a “mental high”.
Unfortunately, Sativa plants need more time to grow and produce less medicine (flowers) than indica varieties. This is why Indica strains have traditionally dominated those available on the black market, where there is no concern for patient needs and the only objective is benefit. Sativa-dominant strains often produce an energizing effect that can help with a multitude of problems. Sativa is ideal for people who want to feel focused, but still relieve anxiety and reduce stress.
Sativa strains are also very impactful for those who want to increase creativity. As paradoxical as it may seem, this height of the head can even make some people feel more lucid. Also known as “on the couch”, this cannabis strain gives you more body high (rather than a “heady” high) and leaves you more relaxed. Oddly enough, indica strains tend to have a lighter THC concentration than sativas, even though they produce a more “high” sensation.
Indica plants tend to have shorter flowering periods (45 to 60 days) than sativa plants (60 to 90 days). In fact, native varieties tend to be 100 percent indica or sativa, the result of tens of thousands of years of inbreeding in a particular climate and geography. In the end, each patient will prefer multiple strains that are likely to fall into the Sativa, Hybrid, and Indica categories. While Indica's reputation is that of a sedative that produces a body high, Sativa is said to cause more brain effects, perfect for the day.
Many popular cannabis strains are hybrids of Indica and Sativa; even those considered Indica or Sativa are likely to be hybrids of some kind. Other times, a strain will indicate only a percentage, such as “70 percent indica” or “80 percent sativa”. Cannabis sativa is native to warmer climates closer to the equator in areas such as East Asia, while Cannabis indica is more native to areas with colder climates. When it comes to aroma, Indica strains tend to give off musty, earthy, and skunk odors, while Sativas smell sweet, fruity, or spicy.
But again, the effects that these terpenes can provide, while consistent with the assumptions of what an indica or a sativa does, that effect is no guarantee of one or the other. Sativa plants are much more native to warmer climates with longer summers, and take longer to fully bloom than an indica. Because of this, breeders and growers tend to avoid ruderalis strains; the medical cannabis community focuses on indica and sativa strains. Silver Therapeutics staff often recommend indicas instead of sativas for clients seeking pain relief support.
The hybrid category is basically a wildcard for any strain that cannot be accurately described as a complete indica or sativa strain. .