We want to start this post by pointing out that nearly all modern genetics (within past 20+ years) are hybrids and don’t really fall into a simple Sativa or Indica profile. Most consumers perpetuate cannabis and hemp brands using this language because it’s heavily requested (and brands want the sale). There is a lack of education needed to inform consumers of better questions to ask. Most consumers use Indica and Sativa as a way to distinguish between a potentially uplifting versus sedative effect with the product. The truth is there is much more to the plant impacting this than an Indica or Sativa classification.
WHAT ACTUALLY IMPACTS A STRAINS EFFECTS?
A few things actually impacting the Indica/Sedative & Sativa/Uplifting effect include your body’s endocannabinoid system and how it engages with the different compounds and which compounds are present to engage with.
Two people can smoke a “Sativa” and have very different outcomes varied by their body imbalances and how their endocannabinoid system engages with the compounds. More research is needed to fully define the variables but what is undisputed is that they exist.
Another large factor that recently has been given credit, are the terpenes and minor cannabinoids found in the plant. Most cannabis and hemp testing labs measure between 20-50 active compounds from the plant but there are thousands. This means only a fraction of the plant’s photochemistry is measured and accounted for.
To break it down let’s consider a lesser-known compound called THCp which is found in the plant and mostly not measured. THCp was found to be significantly more potent than Delta 9 (THC); up to 30x. This means it is much more psychoactive than Delta 9 (THC) and trace amounts can be significant. So you go to the dispensary or search online to find a 15% CBD pre-roll with 1% Delta 9 (THC) because you don’t want to get too high- but there is 1% THCp in there that wasn’t on the test results (because the lab didn’t test for it)- this pre-roll is going to get you extremely high.
ORIGIN OF INDICA AND SATIVA CLASSIFICATION
The words “Indica” and “Sativa” were introduced in the 18th century to describe different species of cannabis: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Sativa described hemp plants found in Europe and western Eurasia, where it was cultivated for fiber and seeds. Cannabis indica refers to intoxicating varieties found throughout India, where it was harvested for its seeds, fiber, and hashish production.
So the classification was founded on the region in which the plant was located and originated from and related to the plant’s growth traits (morphology) and photochemistry (the active compounds found in the plant).
Indica and Sativa cannabis plants were landrace strains which meant they were native to the areas in which they grew and they hadn’t been bred or genetically altered by humans. The plants produced higher and lower Delta 9 (THC) content in relation to their environment. Delta 9 (THC) is produced by the plant as a form of sunscreen and protection meaning higher solar radiation typically produces higher Delta 9 (THC) content. Since most Indicas grew in regions with high solar radiation they typically produced higher levels of Delta 9 (THC).
Sativa’s typically grew in regions with lower solar radiation and produced less Delta 9 (THC) as a result. Now it’s still possible for a Sativa plant to grow on a taller hill or area with high solar radiation causing it to have higher Delta 9 (THC) levels; so this is not cut and dry either.
HOW HEMP/ CBD FIT INTO ALL THIS
I often get asked if hemp CBD, or CBG strains are Indica or Sativa and there is more to say beyond the above distinctions (which relate more to cannabis). True hemp genetics produced tall bamboo-like plants with incredibly fibrous stalks; ideal for a variety of applications needing strong and inexpensive fiber.
The hemp and CBD plants we see and refer to now are not the same as they were. With the recent legislative changes (Farm Bill) allowing for hemp production in the states, there have been extensive breeding efforts to optimize the hemp plant’s flower production. Without going into too much detail; today’s hemp/CBD plants are actually low Delta 9 (THC) cannabis bred to be available to non-legalized states mostly seeking cannabis alternatives.
Cannabis and hemp genetics have been crossed, tested, and selected to produce the most terpene-rich, high CBD flower possible with the lowest amount of Delta 9 (THC) (to meet the legal requirement that hemp must contain less than .3% Delta 9 (THC)). The average person would not be able to distinguish between a cannabis and hemp plant looking at them side by side.
HOW TO ASK FOR AND FIND THE DESIRED EFFECT:
START WITH MODERN CLASSIFICATIONS:
Modern varieties, as noted previously are mostly hybrid and contain degree’s of both Indica and Sativa traits so a better way to find find a particular outcome is to switch to distinguishing between the levels of Delta 9 (THC) and CBD present in the strain or product. There are three main variations:
- THC-Dominant strains which are primarily chosen for a potent euphoric experience and are best to consume when you do not have to have mental acuity. These strains are commonly chosen by those seeking to treat pain, depression, insomnia, and more.
- TIP: If you get anxiety when consuming THC-dominant strains or want to avoid the other side affects associated with THC, try a CBD dominant strain.
- CBD-Dominant strains contain only small amounts of THC and are widely used by those highly sensitive to THC. They have minimal psychoactivity and are best for day use and those seeking anxiety or other symptom relief while maintaining mental acuity.
- Balanced THC/CBD (also known as 1:1) strains contain more balanced levels of THC and CBD, which offers a milder euphoria alongside symptom relief. Most consumer feedback shows this is the preferred ratio as it offers a fuller and more pleasant experience.
- Be mindful of your tolerance: Due to advancements in growing and cross-breeding, today’s strains can be extremely potent. Most popular strains available at local dispensaries are quite high in THC and if your tolerance levels aren’t accustomed to high THC levels, you may have a negative, uncomfortable experience consuming them. A strain packing 20%+ THC might not be as enjoyable to you as one tapping in at 15%, or the balanced THC/CBD variety.
- Keep track of what you like and don’t like: While trying new strains, you may discover that you tend to like strains that express similar terpene profiles. While you may not always have access to test results showing the terpene content don’t underestimate your nose. Write down the scents you find in strains you like and don’t like. Another easy method is to close your eyes and smell the strain and just focus on how you feel when smelling it. Do you like the smell or not? Nature has used scent and color to guide us for hundreds of years so tap into that innate wisdom!
POPULAR MODERN STRAINS INCLUDE:
Bubba Kush, The White CBG, Jet Fuel, Charlotte’s Web, Tropicana Cookies, Runtz, Skittlez, Harlequin, ACDC, Elektra, Sour Lifter, Lifter, Sour Space Candy, Hawaiian Haze, Cherry Pie, Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, Green Crack, Durban Poison, Strawberry Cough, Amnesia Haze, Super Lemon Haze, Super Silver Haze, Purple Punch, Granddaddy Purple, White Rhino, Northern Lights, Blueberry, Grape Ape, Blue Cheese, GG4, Blue Dream, Gelato, Wedding Cake, GSC, OG Kush, White Widow, Pineapple Express
We offer a variety of strains on our site. Visit the CBD hemp flower section of our websites shop. Looking for a cannabis alternative of your favorite strain or not sure which would be best based on the desired effect you’d like to achieve? Call us and we can help. In general, our CBD flower is going to be less psychoactive and more akin to a “Sativa-like” effect and the Delta 8 flower on our site is going to be more “Indica-like” but there still are terpene and minor cannabinoid differences between them all so make sure to read product descriptions when choosing.
SATIVA VS INDICA FAQ’S:
Although there are plenty of resources for learning the differences between cannabis and hemp genetic types, sometimes it’s helpful to have an overview of the basics. Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions about indica and sativa.
Is there a difference between indica and sativa?
There is a difference in the growth traits of indica and sativa but with effects this is not an accurate question for finding a desired effect. Please see the article above for more detailed information on how to find desired effects with a strain or product.
Does indica give you a body high?
There are indica dominant strains found to produce more of a couch lock or heavier body high but this is based on what cannabinoids and terpenes are present in highest concentration and can also be found in hybrids.
Will indica make me feel paranoid?
If you’re prone to anxiety or paranoia, indica strains may make your paranoia worse since they typically contain higher levels of THC without being balanced by the other cannabinoids and compounds which help produce a more enjoyable experience.
What is sativa used to treat?
If you are looking for therapeutic benefit, don’t ask indica or sativa; find and read research regarding what the different cannabinoids and terpenes specifically are known to help with and then look for strains either indica or sativa hybrids) that have the highest levels of those compounds present.
Is sativa or indica better for anxiety?
Promising research points to CBDa as being a more potent anti-anxiety compound than either CBD or THC (indica or sativa).
Does sativa give you energy?
While there is no scientific evidence that sativas give you energy, they are believed to be more uplifting and euphoric in comparison to indica dominant varieties. This is related to the terpenes and minors found most commonly in sativa dominant genetics.
Does sativa give you a body high?
Sativa tend to provide more of a cerebral head and body high, although more research is needed on this topic.
Does sativa or indica give you the munchies?
It depends on your body chemistry and the minor compounds found in the genetics attributed to being appetite-stimulating. THCv as an example has shown promise as an appetite suppressant and can be found in either indica or sativa genetics.
Will sativa keep you up at night?
Smoking sativa won’t likley keep you up at night like drinking a coffee would but some terpenes commonly found in sativa have been described by consumers as more stimulating.
What is indica used to treat?
If you are looking for therapeutic benefit, don’t ask indica or sativa; find and read research regarding what the different cannabinoids and terpenes specifically are known to help with and then look for strains either indica or sativa hybrids) that have the highest levels of those compounds present
Does indica make you sleepy?
In general, indicas tend to contain compounds related to being more sedative but this is not always true as there are indica strains containing higher levels of compounds known to be stimulating.
Will indica make me feel paranoid?
If you’re prone to anxiety or paranoia while sober, indica strains may make your paranoia worse because of the compounds they tend to be higher in. More balanced strains or higher CBD strains are usually the best choices if you want to avoid anxiety.
Will indica turn my eyes red?
There is no guarantee indica will or will not turn your eyes red. What causes the eyes to turn red can occur with indica, sativa and CBD genetics.