Indica and Sativa are botanical terms used to describe a variety of subspecies of the cannabis plant. Indica and Sativa are also known as chemotypes. Indica tends to be a short bushy plant with compact flower structure and a variety of broad leaves. Sativa tends to be a tall skinny plant with an unconstrained flower structure and fine leaves.
Carl Linnaeus first used the name ‘sativa’ to describe hemp plants harvested for their fiber and seeds. Indica received its name from Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, when he studied the plant in India where it was cultivated for its seeds, fiber, and hashish production. While the definitions have shifted a bit with modern use, it is important to understand the history and etymology behind terms to better understand them.
Indica and Sativa are also terms used to analyze the type of effect that consumption will have an on an individual. Indica refers to strains that trend towards physically sedating, often used to relax or help the consumer sleep. Sativas are categorized as providing more invigorating, uplifting cerebral effects; these effects are often paired with creative projects, physical activity, and social gatherings. Hybrids are a little trickier. They fall between the Indica-sativa spectrum based entirely on what traits they inherited from their parent plants.
The entire selection of cannabis cultivars currently available in the market is genetically hybrids. The study of these genetic hybrids can help us analyze the effect of a certain cultivar.
However, more research is starting to show that these are not good indicators of effects. Cannabinoids, terpenes, and your personal physical and chemical construction all play a part in determining how a certain strain of cannabis will affect you. Still, the labels in most dispensaries are a good start to forming an educated decision.
Other things to consider when choosing a strain are as follows:
- Your personal experience with cannabis.
- Consider strains with low concentrations of THC is you have a low tolerance.
- Do you have any medical conditions?
- Pay attention to CBD and THC levels. Each has their own specific medical benefits, though CBD has more medicinal properties than THC.
- Discuss with your medical practitioner and get their advice. They will have a better idea of which strain would work better with your symptoms.
- How long do you want the effects to last?
- Edibles have longer lasting effects, while inhalation or tincture has a short-term experience.