What is the Difference Between Sativa and Indica Strains in the Hemp Flower?

Like any other consumable item, it’s good to know what’s inside your hemp flower-based product. If you’ve been shopping around for the right strain, you’ve probably encountered words such as indica-leaning or sativa-dominant. However, these concepts may be new to you. 

Indica and sativa are the two main strains of hemp flowers. As such, they can produce two very different effects. Knowing how you will react to sativa and indica can help you find the right product depending on what type of effect you are looking for. Below, we provide a quick overview of the difference between sativa and indica strains in the hemp flower.

What is Cannabis Sativa?

Sativa landrace strains grow primarily in Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Reaching up to ten feet, sativa plants feature thin-fingered leaves with wide spaces between nodes. Cannabis sativa is a species of the Cannabaceae family that includes both marijuana and hemp varieties. Sativa strains tend to thrive in warmer weather, with most strains originating in countries located near the equator, such as Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and Southeast Asia.

Cannabis sativa is harvested for its fiber, seeds, and oil, which have been historically used for industrial, nutritional, and medicinal purposes. Today, sativa cannabis strains still grow wild throughout many humid and tropical areas of the world. Sativa strains are known for being extremely pungent due to a distinct terpene profile that produces aromas that can range from fruity, citrus, and sweet to earthy, piney, and peppery.

What is Cannabis Indica?

Indica landrace strains originated mainly from the Hindu Kush mountains around modern-day Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Nepal. Indica genetics typically produce short, bushy plants with broad, dark-green leaves. Indica’s shorter stature and super-resinous buds make the plants well-suited for indoor growing and hash-making.

​​Indica strains often have higher levels of CBD, but the THC content isn’t necessarily less. It is often sought after for its intensely relaxing effects. It may also help reduce nausea and pain and increase appetite. Because of its deep relaxation effects, indica is better consumed at night. Three popular indica strains are the Hindu Kush, Afghan Kush, and Granddaddy Purple.

Can You Combine Indica and Sativa Strains?

Yes. In fact, The vast majority of the hemp flowers you see in local or online shops contain both sativa and indica strains. These strains of hemp flower are known as hybrids. There are two ways that hemp growers and developers apply that term.

  1. Crossing Plant varieties: Botanists define a hybrid as the result of crossing two distinct plant varieties. In other words, developers intentionally mix both strains by either cross-pollinating them or creating a hybrid in a lab.
  2. 50:50 Blend Strain: The second way developers apply the term hybrid is when referring to a strain that has a natural 50:50 blend of indica and sativa genetics. 

In theory, mixing the same amount of pure indica with a pure sativa should produce perfectly balanced effects. However, this is not always the case, as each person reacts to both strains differently. What may be balanced for one user may not be for another.

What Are The Differences Between Sativa and Indica?

There are some distinct differences between the sativa and indica strains.

Sativa

Indica

Plant Body Taller and Slimmer Shorter and Bushier
Leaves Long and thin Short and wide
High Head high Body high
Mood and effect Alert, euphoria, creative, increased energy Relaxed, increased appetite, sleepy, decreased pain
Best Time to Use Daytime Nightime

Which Hemp Flower Strain is Best for Me?

There is no clear-cut answer to this question, simply because there are several factors that you need to account for, including. 

  • How each strain affects your body
  • Sex
  • Your endocannabinoid system (ECS)
  • Height
  • Current medical conditions
  • Daily activity
  • Body-mass index (BMI

The amount of cannabis used also affects results. A low dose of THC may help beat anxiety, whereas a higher dose promotes it. How it is consumed matters as well. With all these factors in mind, you may need to do a little experimenting with different strains and hybrids until you find the one that produces the desired effect. 

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