Indica vs Sativa

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is a sun-loving plant that flourishes under various conditions, depending on the cultivar. It produces over 100 distinct cannabinoids that emulate compounds produced in the human body. It can be smoked, vaped, and eaten. Cannabis products would have a sweet, musky smell.
And depending on its type, cannabis would appear like furry green leaves and hard brown lumps or soft black resin.

Marijuana Types

It is widely known that there are two types of major weed strains – Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. These two main strains of weed are determined by the species of cannabis plants they were
extracted from as well as the effects and the type of high they give to the individual.

And then recently, hybrid strains have been out in the market. Hybrid weed is a product of the
Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa genetics. The hybrid cannabis strain takes on the characteristics of Indica and Sativa.

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrids: How Different is the High?

Before getting into the details of the cannabis’ different strains, it’s good to understand the two major compounds that are present in all weed: cannabinoids and terpenes. These two drive the overall effects of any strain of weed.

First, Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are compounds that occur naturally in all cannabis plants. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. There are other lesser-known compounds of course such as CBG, THCA, and CBN.


Terpenes may be a lesser-known compound in the cannabis plant, but its effects are just as impactful. Terpenes’ influence is not only limited to influencing the effects of the different strains, but it also determines its aroma.

There are a variety of terpenes. The most common ones: Eucalyptol, Limonene, Bisabolol, Humulene, Linalool, Pinene, Myrcene.

Every cannabis strain – whether Indica, Sativa or any hybrid in between – is unique with different types of cannabinoids and terpenes present in each.

So, –
Let’s learn more about how indica, sativa and hybrid cannabis plants react to each other, so you can make an educated decision about which one is best for you. Let’s continue the indica vs sativa discussion.


Indica Strains


Cannabis indica is said to have originated from Afghanistan or in India.
Although there is really no scientific basis for this.


The indica cannabis is known for their short, squat form. They can thrive in harsh, mountain climates.


After imbibing indica strain, many of its consumers experience a heavy feeling, couched lock, unwilling to move, and extremely chilled. This strain also has a
tendency to stimulate the appetite.

Best Indica

Northern Lights, Hindu Kush, Girl Scout Cookies


Sativa Strains


It is believed that sativa marijuana strains come from equatorial regions, where the exposure to daylight is abundant and does not change very much throughout the year.


Sativa varieties grow tall and thin, scaling 12 feet or even higher. Its leaves are
likewise long and serrated.


Sativa is more hallucinogenic in effect compared to indica. This means that its
stimulating qualities do not cause that heavy, sluggish high. So if it’s a burst of
creativity or productivity you’re looking for, sativa’s the choice.

Best Indica

Sour Diesel, Durban Poison, Green Crack


Hybrid Strains


Hybrids of both indica and sativa strains are bred manually. Although most of the cannabis strains are considered hybrids, they may be indica or sativa dominant.


The aesthetics largely depend on the characteristics of its parents.


Since hybrid strains combine sativas and indicas, the outcomes depend on which strains were selected to be developed. Some hybrid strains may be extremely high in THC while others may have lower THC levels and higher CBD concentrations.

Best Indica

Indica Strains

You’d be lying if you told us that when you were new to the whole cannabis scene, you automatically knew what “sativa”, “indica”, or “hybrid” meant. With the industry taking off, more and more terminologies have cropped up and with the almost weekly addition of words into the cannabis vocab, it understandably gets a bit confusing. Even long-time weed-lovers still find it tricky to order online or from dispensaries

History of Indica Weed

The history of indica is colorful as its reach is
widespread, areas that bore witness to indica’s
interesting history stretch from India, Tibet, Nepal to
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and even China. The human
intervention caused the widespread cultivation of the indica strain. Travelers, particularly sailors, would bring seeds back to their home country and breed the strain for various purposes.

There are now over 560 licensed cannabis stores across Canada where you can buy cannabis and over half are in Alberta, the fourth largest province. More and more users as well as cannabis experts are continuing to explore the ever-growing legal bud options and telling their stories in an effort to help guide consumers as well as dissipating popular misconceptions about what’s exactly on the legal market.

So, what is the verdict on Canadian cannabis – Is it bust or gold? Here are a few reasons why Canada cannabis is coveted:

The dried and cured flowers of the female cannabis plants are the most common form of prepared cannabis. The plant’s flowering parts contain the highest amounts of terpenes and cannabinoids – the most sought-after compounds of the plant for both medical and recreational use. There are so many ways to get cannabis ready for use. From the basic drying and curing method of marijuana flowers to the sophisticated synthesis of manufacturing cannabis concentrate.

Appearance of Indica Plants and Flowers:

Plant characteristics

The indica strain’s dominion of the market is largely
attributed to its budding characteristics. This plant has evolved to grow accustomed to flourish in a dry climate with lesser rainfall and low humidity. It can hold more water than sativa, making it easier to cultivate


Another interesting tidbit about the indica strain is that when exposed to colder climates, the flower or bud
acquires a purplish hue. If you purchase buds peppered with a tantalizing shade of purple, this is most likely a quality indica strain. Additionally, the leaves of the indica plant are a generally darker shade of green.


The indica plant is characterized by a short stature with denser foliage. If you try to feel the plant, it is subtly firmer than sativa. The leaves are broader and are more closely packed together than the sativa strain which fans out more. Sativa on the other hand, looks wiry and is taller in contrast.


Weed connoisseurs will tell you there IS an obvious
difference between the aroma of indica and other strains. To a newbie, the distinction might be subtle, but believe us it’s there. The unique aromatics of indica (and most plant species), is attributed to a chemical compound called terpenes. This compound is the prime component of the essential oil in cannabis, similar to CBD.


We’re all aware that scent has a remarkable effect on
flavour. When the olfactory nerves in the nose pick up chemicals in the air, in this case, terpenes, this triggers signals in the brain on how to perceive a particular scent. The tongue is greatly limited in this capacity, as it can only detect sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami tastes.

Effects of Indica vs Sativa Weed

The indica strain does not only differ from sativa physically, but their properties and psychoactive effects are immensely distinct. Indicas tend to have a more relaxing effect, so relaxing that it leads to what some recreational smokers call “couchlocking”. A condition in which they become so chilled out and calm that they are tethered to the sofa, barely able to get up. Precisely why indica is best consumed during your downtime. Because of its sedative effects, indica is usually taken by insomniacs to help induce sleep, while also lowering stress levels.

Medical Benefits of Indica Marijuana

Summary of the major qualities of Indica medicinal strains include:

  • Decreases nausea
  • Decreases acute pain
  • Increases dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers)
  • Increased mental relaxation
  • Increases appetite
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Seizure reduction
  • Recommended for night-time use

Sativa Strains

And throughout recorded history, cannabis sativa is cultivated and traditionally used for its fibre, seeds, and oil for commercial, nutritional, and medicinal purposes. Sativa cannabis strains continue to grow wild across many of the world’s humid and tropical regions.

Sativa strains are known to be highly pungent due to their distinct terpene profile which produces aromas ranging from fruity, citrus, and sweet to earthy, piney as well as peppery.

History of Sativa Weed

“Sativa” simply means ‘cultivated’ in Latin. This was a word coined by a Swedish botanist named Carl Linnaeus. These varieties of narrow-leaf drugs (NLD) were originally known as cannabis indica ssp. indica. Then in 1785 Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, proposed that there were two different types of cannabis species. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a naturalist, used the categorization of cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.

Appearance of Sativa Plants and Flowers:

Plant characteristics

Sativa strains are the long internodal distance, tall size, large and thin leaf with very narrow leaflets, and long flowering periods that may range from 10 to 20 weeks. They boast a long flowering cycle, as there is no climatic drive for rapid reproduction and seed propagation. The prolonged flowering period is offset somewhat by a reduced vegetative period, during which there are no flowers visible.

Bud characteristics

Sativa buds are wispier and less dense. They would appear taller, rectangular, thin, and fluffy. Sativa’s flower buds can also form foxtails when the female buds stack up on each other’s calyxes, or nug groupings. Sativa buds would also be airy and lighter compared to an indica, as the flower spreads along the branch almost like it’s stretching out when sativas bloom.


Interestingly, as sativa continues to mature, it begins to turn red in colour. The sativa plant would turn purple in colder climates. But wait, sativa strains can also take on a yellow or gold coloured hue.


Sativa plants will have thin leaves and grow tall as a natural means to prevent the mould from forming. This increase in height during the flowering stage is more apparent. Under proper conditions, sativa plants can grow up to 6 metres tall.

Sativa Aroma

The scent of sativa strains should reach closer to the nasal cavity. Although sativas are often fruity, due to the strong presence of limonene, many will also get sour notes. Check for hints of orange, raspberry, sour cherry, and light floral notes.

Sativa Flavour

The level of terpenes also influences the way your bud tastes. Terpenes are aromatic oils that colour cannabis varieties with distinctive flavours. Also, the way you consume marijuana also makes a difference. Marijuana which is smoked tastes different than when it is ingested.

Sativa plants have a wide variety of flavours, and some of them are particularly enjoyed by cannabis consumers. Sativa varieties are typically very piney and earthy, flavours that are highly appreciated by cannabis users. Think about Silver Haze, Blue Dream, Sour Diesel, and White Widow.

Effects of Sativa Weed

Sativas are often seen as suitable daytime strains, as they usually have vibrant and uplifting effects — the total opposite of indica. Sativa weed is generally associated with creativity, vitality, and a clear mental focus. With sativa, you are more functional. Daily, practical scenarios requiring creativity are heightened. Sativa cannabis counters fatigue – a huge favourite for those wanting to be productive.

Medical Benefits of Sativa Marijuana

Sativa is an organic uplifter, it will offer you focus and energy when you most need it. Sativa can help reduce tiredness, fatigue, acute pain, mental fog, anxiety, PTSD, headaches, and depression.

Summary of the major qualities of Sativa medicinal strains include:

  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-depressant
  • Treatment of chronic pain
  • Increases focus and creativity
  • Increases serotonin (a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of learning, mood, sleep, anxiety, and appetite)
  • Recommended for day time use

Hybrid Strains

Cannabis hybrids are a product of experimentation of
various strains. While growers are tinkering with breeding new crosses, tokers are trying out different hybrids to find out really which hit delivers the goods. It’s very safe to assume that new hybrids are being introduced every week in the market.



Usually, these hybrids provide a stimulating cerebral high that pairs well with a relaxing body feeling, typically used to mentally and physically relax, and unwind.



The effect should provide a strong body high and but with a rested feeling. There is a mild mental effect yet won’t put you to sleep.



These hybrids reflect an even 50/50 sativa and indica combination, delivering an all-over effect that affects both the mind and the body.

History of Hybrid Weed

There is a much shorter history to the hybrid category than sativa and indica. Hybrids were developed mainly by intentional crossbreeding of sativas, indicas, and even other hybrids. In the mid-60s, to produce a more viable crop, farmers mixed mould-resistant equatorial sativas with fast-flowering, subtropical indicas.

Appearance of Hybrid Plants and Flowers

Plant characteristics

Identifying a hybrid can be difficult since it is a
combination of various strains and would exhibit shared
characteristics of both indica and sativa strains. Each component would add something unique to the overall experience.

Bud characteristics

If the hybrid cannabis is of indica-dominant strain, it would appear to have small, thick buds. However, if the hybrid cannabis is sativa-dominant the buds would look thin and wispy.


Some cannabis strains, notably indicas, come from areas around the world where the climate is cold, and the days are short. So, if hybrid cannabis is indica-dominant it will make the bud have a purplish or bluish tint. Purple
cannabis is a big favourite among the tokers.


A cultivator’s choice on where to grow hybrid cannabis whether indoors or outdoors influences the size of the plant. Hybrids can also be selected for size and
bushiness. It is common for sativa hybrids to be mistaken for indicas.

Hybrid Aroma

Remember the plant’s terpenes – the molecules
responsible for giving marijuana plants its scent.
Terpenes do more than just infuse the air with aroma, they also impact flavour. Breeders create hybrid strains that contain high levels of terpene. Terpenes can
influence a strain and make them smell like berries, or pine trees, or even

Hybrid Flavour

Some strains of cannabis can smell like diesel or cheese and this is often reflected in their street names. However, other strains can smell different – like citrus or with fruit notes.

Initially, indica-dominant strains were assumed to be the ones with soft, fruity flavours, such as blueberry, grape, and mango. But with the constant experimentation, the range of flavours and smells also keep adding.

Effects of Hybrid Weed

Hybrids are usually the offspring of sativa and indica parent plants. With hybrids, breeders can predict the kind of effect that the strain will have. This is also beneficial for tokers as they can sort of customize their experience. For instance, if one consumes a pure indica strain, expect an overwhelming feeling of sleepiness and lethargy.

Medical Benefits of Hybrid Marijuana

Unlike other strains, weed hybrids are bred for specific uses. Careful thought and consideration go into creating hybrids. Because of careful formulation, users are presented with well-researched data that will tell them what to expect from the cannabis hybrids.

This “customized” experience lessens the possibility of unwanted side effects. Essentially, hybrids provide breeders and users with more control and nail the experience they want to create.

Weed hybrids are the most widely-consumed form of medical marijuana because these breeds capitalize on the CBD and THC content. The different blends are used to manage and treat conditions such as:

  • Nausea
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic oain
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cancer

The Difference Between Indica,
Sativa, And Hybrid Strains

It has become quite tough to find a pure indica or pure sativa strain, after decades of crossbreeding. Most strains of cannabis are now commonly indica-dominant,
sativa-dominant, or hybrid. And as is expected, the different genetics will most likely result in different effects.

Indica-based strains

Have denser buds and will typically produce a more
relaxing effect and give their consumers more bodily
sensations. This is why it is a favourite for those having a hard time settling down at night.

Summary of effects:

  • Deep states of both mental and physical relaxation
  • Decreased nausea and increased appetite
  • Increased dopamine that makes the body feel better

Sativa-based strains

Have longer, thinner leaves and are less dense compared to indica-based strains. The effects are often associated with euphoria, cerebral
experience. It’s the go-to strain to enjoy for daytime use.

Summary of effects:

  • Deep states of both mental and physical relaxation
  • Decreased nausea and increased appetite
  • Increased dopamine that makes the body feel better

Hybrid-based strains

Are a crossbreed of indica and sativa strain varieties. Most of the cannabis being sold in the market are hybrid strains. Considering that a hybrid strain could be
created and developed, the strain will have the ability to kill pain and combat inflammation while not putting a patient to sleep in the middle of the day.

A patient who needs medication for nausea and pain daily may prefer a sativa-dominant hybrid if taken in the morning or midday but may consider an indica-dominant strain during evenings.

Indica vs Sativa vs Hybrid:
What Weed Strain is Best for Me?

Given that it can be confusing at times or even overwhelming which strain is right for you. Indeed, knowing your cannabis’ genetics can be useful in helping you find the right product for you and for the desired effect you want.

Go ahead and ask yourself and determine what types of effects you want. Are you looking for daytime use or night time use? Are you looking for something to boost your productivity or do you want to veg out? Are you looking for something to deal with pain? To help you sleep? Are you primarily looking to get as high as possible?

Here are snapshots of the strains, its effects, potency, and therapeutic value.

If you are someone with a need for medical cannabis or a lifestyle user, chances are you will not find your favourite strain right away. Prepare for a little bit of trial and error along the way before the strain that is desirable to you. But then again, it’s all part of your adventure with weed!

The Best Place to buy
Indica and Sativa
strains online in Canada

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From indica vs sativa vs hybrid strains, we have you covered. Come try out our delectable marijuana menu now and mix and match your favourite strains.

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