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Choosing Between Indica and Sativa Strains


Marijuana is finally being recognized for the benefits it can provide for numerous medical conditions.

With widespread acceptance though comes the question of what type of marijuana you need. Picking between indica and Sativa strains can be really hard, especially as a beginner.

Today we’re covering the major differences between indica and Sativa strains and helping you understand what conditions each may benefit.


Indica strain marijuana is notable for its shorter, bushier growing style and wide leaves. It grows at a significantly faster speed than sativa does and has a much darker green color. It’s believed to have originated in central Asia and spread to places like the Afghani Kush and the Hindu Kush

If you compare the buds of indica vs sativa you’ll notice that indica buds are much more densely packed together. They also produce a higher yield per plant than do sativa plants.

Indica has been bred for centuries and thrives in lower light environments. This makes them perfect for indoor grow conditions.

Effects of Indica

Indica is known to marijuana aficionados to produce more relaxing strains. It has higher levels of cannabidiol (CBD) than does sativa but lower levels of THC.

That causes indica strains to affect the body a lot more than they affect the mind. Indica is great for causing a general feeling of relaxation and peacefulness.

It’s been used for centuries as a natural analgesic and sedative. It can help reduce pain and feelings of nausea while also stimulating the appetite.

When people think about a classic marijuana high they’re really picturing an indica high.

Conditions That Benefit From Indica

Most people who seek out indica for treatment are looking for a way to calm their body. Common conditions include:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Pain

Because most of the indicas effects are focused on the body it’s great for people suffering from chronic conditions. It can relax the muscles, reduce the feeling of nausea, increase dopamine production and help stimulate the appetite.


Sativa grows in tall and thin plants with very narrow leaves. Their leaves are known for being quite light in color and Sativa buds are usually much more loosely packed than indica buds. They’re believed to have originated in eastern Asia and spread throughout the world from there.

One important thing to remember with indica vs Sativa plants is that sativa isn’t as fruitful. They require noticeably more light than do indica and take longer to mature.

This makes them more suited for outdoor grows on sunny days rather than indoor grow with limited lighting.

Effects of Sativa

Sativa produces a much more cerebral feeling than does indica. It’s known for having mainly mental effects and improving things like alertness and creativity.

Sativa has lower levels of CBD than does Indica but much higher THC levels. This causes it to create a high more like a stimulant.

Sativa is more likely to help get an interesting discussion going than cause everyone to take a nap. Many people also report improved focus on Sativa strains rather than indica strains.

Conditions that Benefit from Sativa

Given that Sativa strains focus mainly on mental effects it’s to be expected that they’re used mostly for conditions of the mind. Their stimulant and focus-inducing properties make them effective for conditions like:

  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Chronic Pain
  • Mood Regulation

The effects of sativa are great for improving focus on things like studying as well. They also have many of the same appetite inducing characteristics of indica strains.


Hybrid strains combine the effects of indica and Sativa strains. Depending on what kind of effect you’re looking for there’s likely a hybrid strain that can provide them.

Check and see whether the hybrid strain you’re considering is indica dominant or Sativa dominant. This will give you a good idea of what basic effects it will have. 

Don’t be Afraid to Try a Few

One of the great things about medical marijuana is how many different strains there are to help you. Don’t be afraid to try a few different ones until you find the strain that gives you the most benefits. It may be indica, sativa, or even a hybrid of the two.