The Indica vs Sativa Strain Debate: Are They All That Different?


Posted by Derek Champoux
2 years ago | August 20, 2018

Difference Sativa Indica


In the world of legal cannabis production interpeners are responsible for providing ensuring high-quality cannabis. Interpening is a compound name for interpreting terpenes and is the job of cannabis sommeliers. Even among these top experts the debate rages, are Indica and Sativa really all that different?

Indica and Sativa are subspecies of marijuana that have long been presented as polar opposites. Indica is supposed to affect the body with sedative effects. Sativa, on the other hand, affects the mind, acting more as a stimulant.

With years of advancements in breeding and growing cannabis, botanists have been able to create all sorts of different strains with varying levels of potency.

Many people will use one subspecies or the other for specific purposes. For example, Indica strains like Northern Lights for sleep and Sativa strains like Island Sweet Skunk for creativity.

However, experts deny that there is any difference between individual strains. There is no scientific basis for the claims of what one specific strain does. The different names, like Pineapple Express, are really just a form of marketing different strains. The only difference experts agree on is that breeding can determine the potency of the plant.

Some experts, like Jeffrey Raber Ph.D. denies that there is any difference between Indica and Sativa altogether:

“The data shows that Indica and Sativa is just morphology [the plants’ appearance and structure, not their highs]. It’s a misperception that Indica will put you to sleep or that Sativa is more energetic.”

Raber runs a lab-testing facility in Los Angeles and is the executive director of the Association of Commercial Cannabis Labs. In his work as a biochemist, he has not found any proof that there is a significant chemical difference between Indica and Sativa plants. The only definite difference is in appearance.


Differences Between Sativa & Indica

There are many claims as to the different effects of Sativa and Indica, but the only proven difference is their morphology. So we will look at these first. Although they are both from the cannabaceae family, these two subspecies have different origins that drastically affect their appearance.

Cannabis Indica has origins in the mountainous climates of Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinent. As a result, the plant has developed a hardy nature to contend with the elements. Cold winters, hot summers, and high winds have resulted in a short, dense plant.

Cannabis Sativa, on the other hand, has origins in the warmer climates of Central Asia and Central America. High heat and limited water resulted in a tall skinny plant. Because there is less damage from cold and wind, Sativa plants can sacrifice density in favour of consuming less water. Sativa leaves have the traditional “weed leaf” appearance usually associated with cannabis.

The other differences between the effects of these plants are still a matter of debate. However, many people still accept them as fact and use them accordingly. Although unverified, people swear by these claims – whether this is a result of a biological and chemical difference or simply a placebo effect is yet unproven.

With that disclaimer aside, here are their differences in effect:

Indica is the sedative species. It has a reputation for affecting the body and often used for managing pain or as a sleep aid due to its high levels of CBD. People use Indica strains to relax and/or relieve stress.

Sativa is the stimulant. Where Indica is a downer, Sativa is an upper. It supposedly affects the body promoting energy, creativity, and psychedelic effects. People use Sativa to enhance their mood or inspire creativity due to its high ratio of THC.

Indica Sativa Comparison


Vaporizers for Indica VS Sativa

Vaporizers are effective for both Indica and Sativa strains. With vaping the species is usually not considered important. Instead, the desired effects from the cannabis are controlled by the temperature.

Using a lower temperature setting draws more THC, creating the effects associated with Sativa plants. A high temperature pulls more CBD, creating the effects we associate with Indica.

Using a high-quality vaporizer has a greater impact on the vaping experience than the species of cannabis. Contact Greentank today to discover how your business can benefit from carrying our premium vaporizer products.