Indica & Sativa

Difference between cannabis Indica and cannabis Sativa

By Dr. Girivar Singhal


                  Indica and Sativa are the two main varieties of the cannabis plant used as medicine. Sativa and Indica are the two major types of cannabis plants which can mix together to create hybrid strains. Each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits. There are many strains that are crosses of those two varieties. Within each of those varieties and crosses there are a huge number of individual strains, each with a different cannabinoid profile and effect. According to anecdotal evidence, the Indica strains are a relaxant, effective for anxiety, pain, nausea, appetite stimulation, sleep, muscle spasms and tremors, among other symptoms. Sativa strains produce more of a euphoric high, lifting the consumer’s mood and therapeutically relieving stress. Indica strains relax muscle and work as general analgesics, also helping with sleep. A cancer patient hoping to relieve the pain from chemotherapy would benefit greatly from the effects of an Indica plant bud, whereas an individual dealing with depression would better benefit from a Sativa plant bud. The Sativa strains are more of a stimulant, effective in appetite stimulation, relieving depression, migraines, pain and nausea.

Indica dominant strains are higher in cannabidiol (CBD) Sativa dominant strain are higher in the THC cannaboid. Indica dominant strains are short dense plants, with broad leaves and often grow a darker green. Sativa dominant strains are tall, thin plants, with much narrower leaves and grow a lighter green in color. Hybrids will vary in their composition of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids, and are often referred to base upon the dominant cannabinoid ratio inherited from their lineage; indica, mostly indica /sativa, mostly sativa, or pure sativa.

Marijuana, whether Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica, produces its medical and other effects by virtue of the concentration and balance of various active ingredients, especially the cannabinoids, which are unique to marijuana, but including also a wide range of terpenoids and flavonoids. Terpenoids are cannabis constituents that provide the characteristic strong odor of marijuana and hashish. The concentration and relative proportions of these ingredients depend on the plant’s genetic structure and applied hybridization techniques. Hashish is prepared from concentrated resin of cannabis sativa and contains a THC concentration of between 8 to 12% percent by weight. “Hash oil”, a lipid soluble plant extract, may contain a THC concentration of 25% to 60%and may be added to marijuana or hashish to enhance its THC concentration. Smoking is the most common mode of marijuana or hashish use. During pyrolysis, more than 150 compounds in addition to THC are released in the smoke. Although most of these compounds do not have psychoactive properties, they do not have potential physiologic effects.

Dr. Girivar Singhal for The Marijuana Company