In the last few years, over 1000 strains of Cannabis have been cultivated and sold in the market.  Therefore, it is vital for a cannabis user to understand the different types of strain available to them, and know their unique properties because some varieties of cannabis are more appropriate in treating a specific ailment than others.

indica hemp

Ruderalis, Indica, and Sativa

Cannabis is a species of a flowering plant that is split into three sub-species which include, Indica, sativa, and Ruderalis.

  • Ruderalis: Ruderalis plants are generally unappealing to Cannabis users, they are usually very small, with little or no medical value. Due to this, cultivators and breeders avoid them and focus on Indica and Sativa strains.
  • Indica: Indica strains are short and stocky plants with broad and chunky leaves, they are believed to be physically sedating and perfect for relaxing at night before bedtime. Indica Cannabis have strong sweet or sour odor and perfect for treating body pain, sleeping disorders, seizure, stress, anxiety, migraines, insomnia, and general anxiety. Indica strains are mainly used by medical marijuana patients at late night, the most popular Indica strain at present include White Widow, Kush, and  Northern Lights.
  • Sativa: Sativa plants are a bit taller, skinner and lean in appearance with leaves that are thin and pointed. They tend to provide an energetic feeling, increases focus and creativity, fights depression and uplifts cerebral. They also have a grassier odor that provides an energetic high which is best suited for daytime smoking. Smoking Sativa strains make a user creative, energetic and spark new ideas. The most popular sativa strains currently sold in the market include Mauwie Wauwie and Purple Haze.

However, sativa plants require a long time to grow and yield flowers, and this is why most strains of cannabis found in the market today are Indica because the sole focus of the cultivator or breeder is on the profit to be made and not the effect on the user.

indica cannabis leaves

Evolution of the terms Indica and Sativa

Generally, it is believed that the term Indica and Sativa were first used in the 18th century to differentiate the different species of Cannabis. Carl Linnaeus identified Sativa Cannabis as hemp plants found in Europe and western Eurasia. While Cannabis Indica was named by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, to describe the species of cannabis strain found in India.

Also, in the late 1970s, American Biologists, Loran Anderson, and Richard E. Schultes argued that there are three species of cannabis, Cannabis Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis. They characterize this distinction between the plant based on the ratio of the cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Sativa was characterized as a Cannabis plant with high THC and low CBD; Cannabis Indica was identified as one with high THC and CBD while Ruderalis was characterized as one with high CBD to THC ration.

At present, both Cannabis Indica and Sativa are cultivated and used in various parts of the globe.

weed sativa cannabis

Differences between Indica and Sativa Cannabis

In studying the differences between Indica and Sativa Cannabis, the following areas must be put into consideration.

  • Observable traits during cultivation: A significant difference between Indica and Sativa Cannabis can be found in the observable characteristics during cultivation. First, Indica plants tend to grow short, with broad, deep green leaves and a thick stem. They have short flowing cycles and grow sufficiently in cold, short-season climates. Sativa plants, on the other hand, have long flowering cycles, they are taller with narrow and light green leaves, they fair well under warm weather.
  • Medical Efficacy: Another difference can be noticed in the therapeutic effect they offer to the user and how they influence productivity. Indica is better consumed at night or after the close of work because they tend to decrease energy. Most Indica strain makes the user so relaxed that they find it difficult to get off the sofa after use. Sativa strains, on the other hand, enhance productivity and creativity, they are cerebral and uplifting.
  • Effect: The fact remains that the impact of a cannabis strain on the user depends largely on some factors such as the unique biology and tolerance level, dosage, method of consumption, cannabinoids, terpenes, and chemical profile. Each strain of the Indica and Sativa Cannabis produced a different effect on the end user, while Indica strain provides a sense of deep relaxation for the body, Sativa stains are more energizing.
  • Size: Indica strains increases in height by 50-100% during its flowering period, while Sativa increases in height rapidly once flowering begins with over 200-300% and continues to gain height throughout their blooming phase.
  • Healing properties: In terms of their healing properties, Sativa strains can be better used for treatment of psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, PTSD, pain, inflammation, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and cancer. However, because some disease has side effects like depression, patients must consult their doctors before making use of the sativa strain.
  • Aroma: In terms of aroma, Indica strains emit earthy odors, while sativa smell fruity, spicy and sweet. The difference between the aromas is due to the terpenes found within the plant which produces stunningly pungent odors.

Finally, with over 1000 strains of cannabis in the market at present, it is very important for a cannabis user to study the dramatic differences between Indica and Sativa strains, in terms of their therapeutic efficacy, aroma, healing properties, the effect on the health and observable traits during cultivation.

Also, cannabis users who want to make use of any species must consult their physicians to help choose the right strain that works well for a particular disease. Cannabis users are also encouraged to experiment with new strains in order to get greater potency and a superior cannabinoid that delivers improved relief.

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