Cannabis Strains: Sativa versus Indica

Cannabis is a genus of flowering plant in the family Cannabaceae.

The two species most commonly referenced are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica and each contains numerous strains including hybrids that blend both species.

Cannabis has been referred to as weed, pot, smoke, grass, and many other names over the years, although it was coined ‘marijuana’ by members of the U.S. government in the 1930s during campaigns to vilify and ban the medicinal plant.


Sativa is the taller plant – up to 20 feet tall – with thinner leaves. Sativa plants take from 10 to 16 weeks to harvest.

For most people, Sativa acts as a stimulant producing an energizing “head high.”


Indica is the shorter plant – 3 to 4 feet tall – with broader leaves. Indica plants have a shorter growing time than sativa, usually 8 to 12 weeks.

Indica-dominant strains are more likely to produce what is referred to as a “full body high,” relaxing and sedating. A common description of the effects of Indica cannabis strains is “couch-lock,” or being so relaxed you’re stuck on the couch.

Different strains of cannabis are bred to contain different potencies that, in turn, lead to different effects. Knowing the strain that you’re consuming can help you anticipate the effects, or more ideally, you can seek out specific strains and potencies for desired results.

Additional Resources

A helpful resource that lets you know the attributes and effects of cannabis strains is:

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  1. […] ate some edibles that were made with an indica strain. It took me about a week with the indica edibles to get me back on a good sleeping schedule,” […]

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