How to Tell the Difference Between Indica and Sativa

how to tell the difference between indica and sativa

Marijuana is a comprehensive, fun, and beneficial type of drug. Fun in a sense that it can present such effects that can be used for recreational. Beneficial in the sense that it carries some essential medicinal properties that can be of help in soothing various health conditions. With its complexity, marijuana has three major types, the cannabis indica, the cannabis sativa, and the cannabis ruderalis.

There are certain factors to put into consideration in order to distinguish which is an indica and which is sativa. In this article, we will be discussing how to tell the difference between indica and sativa.

But before we go further, let us have an overview of their key differences.

What are the factors?

In understanding the difference between the sativa and indica strain, it will help you broaden your knowledge in growing and consumption. You are able to identify which one can grow well in your room or which one to consider for your effects preference.

How to tell the difference between indica and sativa?

  • Name
  • Origin
  • Structural Growth and Appearance
  • High and Medicinal Effects

The Name and Origin

How to tell the difference between indica and sativa. Indica and Sativa came from two Latin words. Indica means India and Sativa means cultivated. Back in the year 1785, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French naturalist, and biologist have proposed two species of cannabis, which were Indica and Sativa. Indica is a wild cannabis species that is growing in India and other neighboring countries, while sativa is a well-known species that has been widely cultivated in the Western continent.

Structural Growth and Appearance

Cannabis indica usually requires 6 to 8 weeks of flowering time until it is ripe enough for harvest. It thrives well in a cooler environment. With its short flowering time, its structure is compact and smaller compared to sativa plants. One that can flourish in an indoor setting, indica species grows bigger with a short height that can range from 4 to 6 feet. On the other hand, cannabis sativa takes a longer time to finish its flowering phase compared to indica varieties. It usually requires 9 to 12 weeks to complete its flowering period. Unlike indica species, sativa grows well in a warmer environment. With its towering height, sativa is best grown outdoors. Its height can reach up to 25 feet. Talking about their fan blades, the leaves are both green. The only difference is that indica leaves are much darker compared to sativa leaves. Commonly known, indica leaves are fuller and broader, while sativa leaves are thinner and slender. Talking about their buds, indica buds look denser and heavier. While sativa buds are also dense, you will see the difference when you take a close look as the indica buds are more solidly dense that sativa buds. Lastly, due to the indicas’ high-density profile, it is more likely to have greater THC content that the sativa species.

High and Medicinal Effects


Cannabis indica can offer a more sluggish and lethargic feeling. One perfect for night time use, it can produce a heavier body feeling affecting immobility yet more soothing and relaxing. With its sedative properties, using it requires caution, especially during day time or when you are planning to do an activity or finish a required task. With its highly stone effect, it is more bodily instead of cerebral. It can enhance the senses, such as hearing, smell, and touch. Not only that, it can provide a very relaxing feeling, but cannabis indica can also make someone sleepy.

When it comes to its medicinal advantages, cannabis indica is more on relief. It can alleviate stress, depression, body-related pain, spasms, and even headaches. And be also of help to seizures. One that can aid nausea, cannabis indica is a very sedating and relaxing one perfect for night time use.


If cannabis indica can present a very relaxing feeling, cannabis sativa, on the other hand, can produce a very energetic sense, which is therefore ideal for day time use. The high it can influence is much lighter counteracting immobility. With that being said, moving and doing some activities with enhanced creativity is easier and not that difficult. It also affects focus and being alert. With its all-encompassing effects, sativa strains are more for social events and gatherings.

As it showcases creative thoughts and newer ideas, one can interact freely without even thinking of the topic or an answer to the question.

Talking about its medicinal benefits, sativa is more into psychological. Compared to indica that is more bodily, with the energy that sativa strains can produce, one can be uplifted mentally with a touch of euphoric effects and happiness. It can also be of aid for those suffering from appetite loss and social introversion. With boosted creativity and imagination, it can be perfect for day time use as it can give excitement to finish the everyday task.


Though indica and sativa came from the same family, its diverse characteristics set them off apart. In understanding the difference and knowing more about what they offer, you are very much near to being an aficionado. You can be able to identify which type of cannabis you would need.

Cannabis is truly a comprehensive thing to understand. While indica and sativa vary from their name and origin, it also differs from what it looks like, its effects, and medicinal benefits. Summarizing it, cannabis can surely offer a very complex impression, may it be a relaxing feeling or a boosting effect.

Knowing the difference is not only helpful in choosing what to use on your smoking session but understanding the difference between sativa and indica can also help those aspiring cannabis growers to identify what type of plant they are attempting to grow and what to expect.

With the question of how to tell the difference between indica and sativa, hopefully, this article made you fully grasp its entirety. So for the next time a friend asks you about the difference, be like a pro and tell them what you have learned.

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One Response

  1. Hello ,
    I am looking for recommendations for both Sativa and Indica strains offing properties such as indoor growing (height) , moderate growing experience, and of course yield that u offer !

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