When you browse cannabis strains or buy cannabis in a shop, you can see that the strains are commonly divided into two distinct groups: indica and sativa seeds. Most consumers have used these two types of cannabis as a touchstone for predicting the effects:
- Indica cannabis strains are believed to be physically sedative, perfect for relaxing with a movie or as a midnight snack before going to bed.
- Cannabis sativa tend to provide more invigorating and uplifting brain effects that combine well with physical activity, social gatherings and creative projects.
This belief that cannabis indica Sativa produces distinct effects is so deeply rooted in traditional cannabis culture that budtenders generally begin their recommendations by asking you which of these three types you prefer.
Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa: origin and evolution of the terms
The words “indica” and “sativa” were introduced in 18th century to describe several species of cannabis: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. The term sativa, named by Carl Linnaeus, describes the hemp plants found in Europe and western Eurasia, where it was grown for its fibers and seeds. Cannabis indica, called by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, describes the psychoactive varieties discovered in India, where it was harvested for the production of seeds, fibers and hashish.
Although the cannabis strains we consume largely derive from Indica cannabis, both terms are used – albeit incorrectly – to organize the thousands of strains circulating on the market today.
Here is how the terms from the first botanical definitions moved:
- Today, “sativa” refers to tall, narrow-leaved cannabis varieties, thought to induce energizing effects. However, these varieties of narrow leaf drugs (NLD) were originally Cannabis indica ssp. Indica.
- “Indica” came to describe robust, broad-leaved plants thought to provide sedative effects. These varieties of broad-leaved drugs (BLD) are technicallyCannabis indica ssp. afghanica.
- What we call “hemp” refers to industrial, non-intoxicating varieties harvested primarily for fiber, seeds and CBD. However, this was originally calledCannabis sativa.
Confused? Understandably so. As you can see, with the mass marketing of cannabis, the taxonomic distinctions between cannabis species and subspecies have turned upside down and calcified. It seems that the contemporary use of indica and sativa descriptors is here to stay, but as an informed consumer, it is important understand the practical value of these categories, which leads us to research.
Effects Indica vs. Sativa: what does the research say?
This three-type system that we use to predict the effects of cannabis is undoubtedly convenient, especially when entering the vast and overwhelming world of cannabis for the first time. With so many varieties and products to choose from, where should we start?
The answer is cannabinoids and terpenes, two words that you should put in your back pocket if you have not already done so. We will briefly know these terms.
“The way Sativa and Index labels are used commercially doesn’t make sense,” Russo told Leafly. “The clinical effects of cannabis chemovar have nothing to do with whether the plant is tall and sparse compared to the short and bushy one, or if the leaflets are narrow or wide.”
Raber agreed, and when asked if budgenders should guide consumers with terms such as “indica” and “sativa”, he replied, “There is no factual or scientific basis for making these broad recommendations, and he has to stop today. we have to try to better understand which standardized cannabis composition is causing which effects, when dispensed in which fashions, at what specific dosages, at what types of [consumatori]. “
This means that not allsativas will turn you on, and not all indica will seduce you. You may notice a tendency for these so-called sativas to be edifying or because these clues are relaxing, especially when we expectto feel one way or another.Just note that there is no rigid rule and no determining chemical data that supports a perfect predictive model. .
If Indica vs. Sativa is not predictive of effects, what is it?
The effects of each cannabis strain depend on several factors, including the chemical profile of the product, biology and tolerance, the unique dose and method of consumption. Understand how these factors change the experience and you will have the best chance of finding that perfect strain for you.
The cannabis plant is made up of hundreds of chemical compounds that create a unique harmony of effects, which is primarily driven by cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD (the two most common) are the main drivers of the therapeutic and recreational effects of cannabis:
- THC (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) makes us feel hungry and high and relieves symptoms such as pain and nausea.
- CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating compound known to relieve anxiety, pain, inflammation and many other medical conditions.
Cannabis contains over a hundred different types of these cannabinoids, but begins to familiarize yourself with these two primes. Instead of choosing a variety based on its indica or sativa classification, consider basing your selection on these three buckets instead:
- THC-dominant strains are primarily chosen by consumers seeking a powerful euphoric experience. These strains are also selected by patients who treat pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia and more. If you tend to feel anxious with THC-dominant strains or don’t like the other side effects associated with THC, try a strain with higher CBD levels.
- The strains that dominate CBD contain only small amounts of THC and are widely used by those who are extremely sensitive to THC or patients who need relief from free head symptoms.
- Balanced THC / CBD strains contain balanced THC levels, offering mild euphoria and relief from symptoms. These tend to be a good choice for novice consumers looking for an introduction to the signature of cannabis.
It is worth noting that both the indica and sativa strains exhibit these different cannabinoid profiles. “Initially most people thought that higher CBD levels caused sedation and that CBD was more prevalent in indica cultivars, which we now know to be mostly untrue,” Raber told Leafly. “We are more inclined to see some CBD in sativa-like cultivars, but there is no rule or systematic relationship in this regard.”
If you’ve ever used aromatherapy to relax or invigorate your mind and body, understand the basics of terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic compounds commonly produced by plants and fruits. They can be found in lavender flowers, oranges, hops, pepper and, of course, cannabis. Secrets from the same glands that exude THC and CBD, terpenes are what smells like cannabis like berries, citrus, pine, fuel, etc.
Like essential oils vaporized in a diffuser, cannabis terpenes can make us feel stimulated or sedated, depending on what is produced. Pinene, for example, is an alarming terpene while linalool has relaxing properties. There are many types of terpenes in cannabis, and it’s worth getting acquainted with at least the most common.
“Terpenes appear to be the main players in driving the sedative or energizing effects,” said Raber. “Which terpenes cause which effects is apparently much more complicated than all of us would like, as it seems [variare in base a specifici] and their relative relationship between them and the cannabinoids.”
According to Raber, the indica or sativa morphology of a strain does not specifically determine these aromas and effects. However, you may find consistency between individual strains. The Tangie strain, for example, offers a characteristic citrus aroma, while DJ Short’s Blueberry should never fail to offer the characteristic scent of ripe berries.
If you can, smell the strains you are considering for purchase. Find the aromas that distinguish you and try them. Over time, your intuition and knowledge of cannabinoids and terpenes will guide you through your favorite strains and products.
Biology method, dosage and consumption
Finally, consider the following questions when choosing the right strain or product for you.
- How much experience do you have with cannabis? If your tolerance is low, consider a low-THC low-dose strain.
- Are you susceptible to anxiety or other side effects of THC? If so, try a high voltage in the CBD.
- Do you want the effects to last long? If you do, consider edible foods (starting with a low dose). Conversely, if you are looking for a short-term experience, use inhalation methods or a tincture.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a strain, but if you really find that the Indica strains consistently provide a positive experience, then by all means, keep bringing them in. However, if you are still looking for that ideal strain, these are important details to keep in mind.