If you have been smoking pot for a while, you may have heard of the two types of cannabis plants: Indica and Sativa. Despite some overlap, these two varieties actually have distinct physical and psychoactive properties. In fact, they have enough differences that may make you prefer one over the other, at least for specific applications.
New research has shown that most marijuana plants actually fall somewhere between both varieties of cannabis, with pure Sativas on one end and pure Indicas on the other. This means that most strains of marijuana exhibit characteristics of both types, but in varying degrees. A particular plant may be 30% Indica and 70% Sativa, for instance, while another may be 80% Indica and 20% Sativa, and so on.
Both Sativa and Indica varieties have a unique physical characteristics as well as their own distinct range of medicinal effects. Indicas are characterized by a short and wide appearance, while Sativas tend to be taller and thinner. The short stature of Indica plants make them more suitable for growing indoors, while Sativas generally fare better outdoors.
Perhaps the most significant differences between the two are how they affect users. Indicas are known for providing a pronounced physical effect, which tends to make the user sedate, sleepy, or lethargic. Sativas, on the other hand, provide a more ‘cerebral’ high that makes most users active and full of energy. Indicas are generally better suited for those who wish to relax, while Sativas are the better option for those who would prefer to medicate and yet still continue to function.
Indica and Sativas also tend to differ in flavor. Indicas such as Kush and OG Kush are known for their potent sweet and sometimes sour flavor, while Sativas tend to have a more herbal flavor.
Because of the distinct physical and psychoactive effects of both types, each is used for specific medicinal purposes. The more relaxing and pronounced physical effects of Indicas make them more suited for those who wish to reduce anxiety, to ease pain, or to encourage sleep. They may also be used to relieve spasms and to relax muscles.
Sativas for their part are more appropriate for those who wish to experience the effects of cannabis but do not necessary want the slow, sluggish feeling that results from smoking Indicas. Many users of Sativas appreciate the ability to continue working in creative pursuits even after medicating, without experiencing the ‘couch lock’ characteristic of smoking an Indica variety. Sativas are also better suited for those who take cannabis to ease depression and to enhance focus and alertness. Some of the more popular strains of Sativa are Purple Haze and Mauwie Wauwie.
Some patients opt to take Sativas during the day when they need to maintain alertness, and switch over to an Indica variety later on in the day or at night when they wish to sleep. Even if Sativas help keep you more alert and focused, however, it is not advisable to use it – or any other type of marijuana for that matter – when driving, operating heavy machinery, or engaging in any other dangerous task wherein full concentration is required.