Indica vs Sativa: 8 Ways They’re Different

But weed is weed, right?

Cannabis is one of the most popular psychoactive substances out there, and most often it’s just referred to by its slang names: weed, pot, dope, “dank Kush,” etc. What you might not realize, particularly if you’re a newbie to the haven of flying high with the Purple Haze, is the ways that Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are different. Indica vs Sativa are both weed, but different!

After all, you may have heard of certain strains being referred to as hybrids, and many are. But let’s get to the root of the differences:

1. Where it Grows

Although both Indica vs Sativa are part of the Cannabis family, they’re technically different species from different regions of the world. Cannabis sativa is often found in its usual equatorial locales of Mexico, Colombia, Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia. Indica, on the other hand, has been primarily found in the Hindu Kush region of the Middle East: Turkey, Morocco and Afghanistan—which would be why you might have heard of hashish spoken of in the Arabian epic “1001 Nights.”

2. Size and Shape

Apart from their somewhat different geographical locations, there’s an even bigger physical difference between sativa and indica. Like any human ectomorphs you might know of (think Gwyneth Paltrow., sativa’s leaves are long, narrow and slender. By contrast, indica’s leaves might make you think of your favorite shorter, mesomorphic peeps, as the leaves are broader.

3. Sativas Are Tall

The original cannabis species, sativa, is not just known for its leaves so slender you want to tell them to give themselves their own munchies, but the plant itself gets insanely tall. In fact, you could call this species the “Ent” of the cannabis realm, as they can grow to a massive twenty feet tall. That’s still way taller than Ian McKellen, and he’s 6 feet-plus.

By yet another contrast, indicas are plant-family “hobbits”–they only grow to three or four feet tall, and no feeding them “second breakfasts” of fertilizer will make them grow any taller, unless you breed them with a sativa plant, that is. Then it’s a whole other cannabis fantasy tale waiting to be written with the possibilities of hybrids.

4. Growing

By now, you should be seeing a pattern emerge. But here’s yet another piece of the pattern that might seem obvious. Sativa plants have long, slender leaves and, height-wise, they are the Ents of the cannabis family. So it stands to reason that the time it takes for buds to form on the plant is considerably longer than its hobbit-ish relative. Sativa’s buds appear after about ten to sixteen weeks. Indica, on the other hand, only takes about two to three months. Of course, if you have a hybrid plant, the flowering time might vary, but these numbers are for a non-hybrid plant. Once the flowering period is done, it’s harvest and cure time.

5. Weed Haul

So far, sativa is racking up the points for the “Everything Big” category, and bud yield is no different. With a harvest that yields between three ounces to one full pound of weed per plant, sativa clearly outshines its diminutive indica relative. Indica only yields about 1.5 to 2.5 ounces per plant. Granted, these numbers are for pure Indica vs Sativa. But ultimately, sativa should be forever crowned Queen Buds-a-Lot.

6. Weed Effects

Do you want “Netflix & chill” or do you want “get up and shake your money-maker?” it depends on which bud you smoke. Indica-based weed will have you hunkering down on the sofa with the remote in hand or you just literally navel-gazing, or perhaps actually catnapping with your precious feline friend. Sativa, on the other hand, will have you up and bopping around the house, either dancing like a maniac to your favorite tunes, or doing chores, or packing up and heading out for a big fun thing, especially if it’s a night on the town or a cross-country drive that’ll have you singing songs from “Hair” at the top of your lungs.

7. Medical Benefits

Pain relief, nausea and no appetite are symptoms that both sativa and indica can help with fairly equally. That said, Indica vs Sativa have their individual specialties. If you’re prone to night-time anxieties and sleeplessness (whether due to the anxieties or not., zoning out to Z-land with charming, soothing indica is your best bet. Sativa, on the other hand, is your go-to ganja for helping wake you up, cheer you up and easing other mood-based disorders.

8. Smell

You might not think that you could become a weed connoisseur just with the flavors alone, but indica and sativa will sure help you take a crack at it. Indica is known best for its fruity, sweet base flavor, and sativa is all about feelin’ the earthy pine vibe on your tongue. Of course, hybridization opens up the door for flavor mixing, but this is about “the base notes” as it were.

Indica vs Sativa: Conclusion

Magical differences between Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica. Obviously, there are clear patterns to their growth, flowering, leaves, and even their mood-helper qualities, and those who are into the old Nicholas Culpeper’s “Doctrine of Signatures” concept might recognize certain aspects of the sativa and indica growth and “healing indicator” patterns that others might not. But even if that’s not your thing, knowing the differences between indica and sativa can helpfully take your next bud-buying experience to a whole new level…

Indica vs Sativa


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