What's the difference between Indica and Sativa?

Cannabis varieties

Before you start growing weed it’s important to know that cannabis consists of two species, namely: Indica and Sativa strains. Between those, significant differences exist. Not only in effect but also in taste, smell and visual aspects. Think of growth structure, flowering time, leaf structure and buds.

Having said that, the differences between Indica and Sativa can thus be determined by consuming the weed or by looking at the plant.

So what’s the difference between Indica and Sativa plants and how to tell the difference between indica and sativa when you look at visual aspects? Check it out!

Difference between Indica and Sativa

To make life easier we have summarized the information about the difference between Indica and Sativa on this page in the table below. 

CheckIndicaSativa
Growth and leaf structureWide and shortSmall and tall
Bud structureCompact and heavy Light and airy
ClimateColdWarm
Flowering timeShortLong
CultivationIndoorsOutdoors
THCRelatively low Relatively high
CBDRelatively high Relatively low 
High or stonedStonedHigh
TasteSweetEarthy
AromaSkunkySpicy
 Buy Indica cannabis seedsBuy cannabis Sativa seeds

So, how to tell the difference between Indica and Sativa?

Above you have seen a short summary of the differences. Ready to dig deeper into the differences? Continue reading or click on one of the links below to quickly find the information you need. 

  1. Difference in origin
  2. Visual differences
  3. Flowering time
  4. Weed

Tip: check all our Indica seeds and our Sativa seeds

1. Difference in origin

Most Sativa’s originate from areas such as India, Thailand, Colombia and Mexico. They grow in warm and humid climates with a long, sunny, warm and fertile growing season. On the other hand we have the Indica species. The Indica originate from inhospitable cold, and wet regions. Think of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. As plants adapt to their climate and outdoor conditions, there are clear differences to be found in plant structure, bud-forming and leaves.

2. Visual differences: Indica vs. Sativa 

The visual differences between Indica and Sativa plants are fairly easy to determine when you know where to look at. We therefore dig deep deeper into the differences of the plant structure, growth, leafs and buds. 

Sativa strains are known for their narrow and tall growth structure. They have an open stature and easily reach heights of 2,5 meters. Under ideal circumstances some sative species even reach heights of 6 meters. 

The Indica variety grows mainly in width and less in height so compared to the Sativa they are smaller, compact and feature a bushy stature. On average, Indica species reach heights of 80 – 150 cm.

Leaves

When paying attention to the leaves of Indica and Sativa species you will notice some big differences. 

Indica leaves

The leaf of an Indica is broad, dark green in color and thick.

Sativa leaves

Sativa species develop tall, thin, slender leafs which are generally light green in color.

The difference between Indica and Sativa buds

Also when you look at the buds of both Indica and Sativa species you will notice big differences. Curious to the differences? Check it out below! 

Indica buds

Indica varieties develop buds in small groups close to the nodes. Compared to the sativa, the Indica bud is more compact and heavier. Due to their solid and dense appearance, many weed enthusiasts also believe that an Indica bud looks more attractive. This is one of the reasons why growing indica species is more popular than sativa species. 

Sativa buds

A sativa bud is long and has the shape of a sausage. Compared to Indica buds, their structure is open, less compact, longer and a bit fluffy, so when you are buying cannabis in a coffeeshop or dispensary and it looks like you’ve gotten more than you’ve paid for, then you most likely purchased Sativa weed.

3. Differences in flowering time

Not only Sativa’s have found a way to prevent themselves from mold and other plant diseases. Also Indica species have developed a way for this. Yet, instead of growth structure, Indica species protect themselves to mold by finishing their flowering stage a lot faster.

Indica species only need 6 to 8 weeks to finish their flowering cycle. Compared to Sativa species which often need 10 to 14 weeks to complete their flowering phase, that’s a lot faster.

The short flowering phase is also one of the reasons why most growers prefer to gow an Indica and why pure Sativa species are difficult to find nowadays.

4. Difference between Indica and Sativa weed

When looking at the chemical components of both Indica and Sativa species you will notice some important differences which have a direct influence on the effect of the weed. These chemical differences are determined by the cannabinoid content (CBD and THC), but also by the terpene production and the balance of the phytochemical component.

Sativa varieties are traditionally known for their high THC content (on average 21%) combined with a low CBD content (on average less than 0.2%). Indica species feature an average THC level of 16% and an average CBD level of 0.5 to 1% 

Effect

The effect is ultimately what it’s all about. Some smokers prefer an active high while others are looking for weed to relax their body.

Due to the high THC content, Sativa’s are known for their energetic, cerebral and euphoric high with an effect which is mainly focused on the head. It’s therefore why Sativa weed is usually consumed during the day. Indica weed is less noticeable in the mind but provides a relaxed body stone. 

Taste and smell

Real connoisseurs will be able to distinguish the difference between an Indica and Sativa in taste and aroma. Indica’s are generally sweet or have flavors of fruit while the scent is skunky. Think for example of the Northern Lights. Sativa’s on the other hand, often feature an earthy or sharp taste with a spicy scent that smells like flowers. A good example of this is our Power Plant.

Ready to grow your own Indica or Sativa species?

As you are aware of the differences you can make a convenient choice and start your own grow. Weedseedsexpress offers a wide range with the best Indica and Sativa seeds for your personal home grow. Wondering what we offer?

Check it out! Weedseedsexpress offers some of the worlds finest Indica seeds and Sativa seeds!