Indica vs Sativa (10 Key Differences For Beginners)
Indica and sativa are two of the main types of cannabis, and each offers different effects and uses.
This article will break down the key differences between them so that your choice between the two is easier to make.
Indica vs. Sativa Key Differences
|Yield||Moderate to High||Moderate to Low|
|Taste||Earthy, Sweet, Pungent||Fruity, Sweet, Sharp, Citrusy|
|Flavor||Rich, sometimes Musky||Light, often Refreshing|
|Effects||Relaxing, Sedative||Energizing, Uplifting|
|Terpenes||Myrcene, Linalool, Caryophyllene||Pinene, Limonene, Caryophyllene|
|Trichomes||Dense and Sticky||Fewer, Less Resinous|
|Color||Deeper Greens, sometimes Purple||Brighter Greens|
|Smell||Skunky, Earthy, Pungent||Citrus, Pine, Sweet|
|Origins||Central Asia, Middle East||Equatorial Regions (Africa, South America, Southeast Asia)|
|Growing Difficulty||Easy to Moderate||Moderate to Difficult|
|Flowering time||Shorter (8-9 weeks)||Longer (10-12 weeks)|
|Harvesting||Earlier in Fall||Later in Fall|
|Plant Size||Shorter and Bushier||Taller and Lankier|
|Bud Structure||Dense and Compact||Looser and Fluffier|
Indica yield - Indica strains are known to produce higher yields compared to Sativa strains. This is because they are bushier and have more flowering sites.
Sativa yield - Sativa strains usually produce lower yields compared to Indica. This is becuase they grow tall and thin. However, some Sativa strains can produce large yields under the right conditions.
Indica effects - Indicastrains typically produce a relaxing and calming effect, often leading users to feel more physically sedated and sleepy. It's commonly chosen for nighttime use.
Sativa effects - Sativa strains tend to give a more energizing and uplifting feeling, sparking creativity and increased alertness. This makes them more suitable for daytime use.
TIP: Think of Indica as the "nighttime" strain and Sativa as the "daytime" strain.
Indica flowering time - Indica plants generally have a shorter flowering time beucase they originate from mountanous and cold climates with a short growing window. This means from the moment you switch them to a flowering light schedule, they'll take less time to fully mature and be ready for harvest. On average, Indicas might take around 8 to 9 weeks to finish their flowering phase.
Sativa flowering time - Sativa plants generally take longer to flower than Indica plants becuase they have origins in warmer climates where growing seasons are much longer. Sativa's can take anywhere from 10 to 12 weeks, or sometimes even longer, to complete its flowering phase.
Indica Harvesting - Indica plants are usually ready to harvest well before Sativa's. Indica buds are usually denser and more resinous, requiring careful handling to avoid knocking off the trichomes, which contain much of the plant's cannabinoids.
Indica Harvesting - Sativa plants will take longer until the trichomes are mature and they are ready to harvest. Sativa plants tend to have longer and less dense branches which makes them generally easier to cut and manipulate during harvest. Butt because they're spread out, you might feel like you're doing more snipping and collecting.
Taste / Flavor
Indica flavor - Indica strains usually have a sweet, earthy, or fruity flavor. They might remind you of berries or pine.
Sativa flavor - Sativa strains often have a more grassy, sharp, or sometimes citrusy taste. If you think of lemons or peppery spices, that's more the Sativa side.
Indica color - Indica plants have broad, dark green leaves.
Sativa color - Sativa plants typically have slender, light green leaves.
Indica smell - Indica strains typically produce a smell that can be described as sweet or fruity, and at times, might also carry earthy or skunky undertones.
Sativa smell - Sativa strains, on the other hand, have a sharper, more invigorating aroma, often with notes of citrus, pine, or even peppery spices.
TIP: Looking to grow discretely? Check out our article about the best low odor strains.
Origins / Genetics
Indica originally comes from the cold regions of countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. It has broad leaves and a short, bushy shape.
Sativa, on the other hand, comes from warm places near the equator, like Mexico, Colombia, and Thailand. It has narrow leaves and grows tall and skinny.
Genetically, these differences show because of where they grew historically; Indica evolved to handle colder climates while Sativa adapted to warmer areas.
Indica plants are like the compact cars of the cannabis world. They're shorter and bushier, often growing between 3 to 6 feet tall. Because of their smaller size, they tend to spread outwards, creating a dense, round shape. This makes them great for spaces where height might be an issue.
Sativa plants, on the other hand, are like the tall SUVs. They shoot up and can get really tall, often ranging between 6 to 12 feet, sometimes even taller when grown outdoors. They have a more stretched-out appearance, with longer spaces between the branches, making them look a bit like skinny trees. So, in simple terms: Indicas are short and stout, kind of like shrubs, while Sativas are tall and slender, more like lanky trees.
Indica buds are chunky and dense. Think of them as tight little nuggets. They often feel heavier than they look, and they're tightly packed together on the plant. If you squeezed an Indica bud between your fingers, it would feel solid and firm because of how compact it is.
Sativa buds, on the other hand, are more airy and elongated. They're kind of like fluffy popcorn. They’re not as densely packed as Indica buds and can sometimes look a bit feathery or wispy. When you pick up a Sativa bud, it might feel lighter and not as tightly packed.
Indica leaves are broad and chunky. They're like the big, wide paddles of a canoe. These leaves are thick and the "fingers" or leaflets are usually wider, giving them a stout appearance. They're sturdy and have a dark green shade.
Sativa leaves, on the other hand, are slender and long, kind of like the blades of a feather. These leaves have narrower leaflets that can sometimes be quite lengthy. They're more delicate to the touch and typically are a lighter shade of green compared to Indicas.
Inica or Sativa for different situations
Most people use an Indica or Sativa strain depending on the situation, so let's look at some of the most common ones:
For Working Out
Sativa strains are often linked with uplifting and energizing effects. Many people say they feel more alert and motivated after using Sativa, which can be beneficial for working out. It might give you that extra push to stay active and focused on your exercise routine.
Indica strains, on the other hand, tend to be more relaxing and can make you feel a bit sleepy or chilled out. While this might be great for recovery or relaxation after a workout, it's usually not the first choice for getting pumped up before hitting the gym.
Sativa or Indica for Yoga
Sativa strains tend to be energizing and can help sharpen focus.
For some yoga practices, especially the ones that are dynamic and require a lot of movement, a Sativa might be helpful. It can give you that alertness and motivation to flow through each pose.
Indica strains, on the other hand, are known for their calming and relaxing effects. For styles of yoga that are more about relaxation and deep stretching, like Yin Yoga, an Indica might be the better choice. It can help you get into a meditative state and truly relax into each stretch.
Sativa or Indica for Sex
Sativa strains are known for their uplifting and energizing effects. This can enhance sensations, make you more aware of touch, and potentially increase energy levels.
For those looking to add a bit of excitement or heightened sensitivity, a Sativa might be a good choice. Indica strains, however, are more relaxing and can help ease anxiety or nervousness.
If the goal is to unwind, feel more comfortable, and deepen the intimate connection without overthinking, then an Indica could be beneficial.
Sativa or Indica for Gaming
Sativa strains generally offer more energy and alertness. For gamers, this can translate into better focus, quicker reactions, and heightened engagement with the game. If you're playing fast-paced or competitive games where quick thinking is essential, a Sativa might give you an edge.
Indica strains, in contrast, are calming and can help you relax. This could be great for casual gaming or playing more laid-back, story-driven games. If you just want to chill out and get lost in a game world without the stress of competition, Indica could be your go-to.