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Cannabis plants generally get divided up into one of two categories, Indica or Sativa. Indicas are short and bushy, while Sativas tend to be tall and thin. Indicas have shorter flowering seasons than Sativas do. It’s not just about physical differences, though. Knowing the differences between the two can help you navigate a dispensary menu and choose a strain that’s likely to provide you with what you need. Here’s what you need to know about Indica vs Sativa effects.

Indica vs Sativa Effects

There are more than 750 strains of cannabis on the market, which can make it difficult to narrow down your options, especially if you don’t know where to start. One of the first places many users start is to find out if a strain is an Indica or a Sativa. Knowing this information gives you a general idea about what types of effects you can expect.

In general, Indicas produce the following effects:

  • Deep mental and physical relaxation
  • Sleepiness
  • Decreased nausea (often accompanied by increased appetite)
  • Increased dopamine levels

Sativa strains, on the other hand, generally produce:

  • Increased energy and focus
  • Greater productivity
  • An enhanced mental state
  • Increased serotonin levels (which increases happiness)

What About Hybrid Strains?

There’s also a third category of cannabis plants called hybrids. These are crosses between different strains, which lead to various plants that are part Indica and part Sativa. You might see a strain listed as 80% Indica and 20% Sativa or 60% Sativa and 40% Indica. Some strains are split evenly between the two. What this means is that the strain exhibits both Indica and Sativa traits. You could feel a deep, full-body relaxation but also increased mental clarity and focus, for example. Depending on your needs, a hybrid could be just the ticket.

cannabis leaf

Other Factors to Consider

While knowing whether a plant is an Indica or Sativa strain (or some combination of the two) can help you to understand a little bit more about it, this isn’t the only factor you should take into consideration when trying to find a strain suitable for your needs. Other factors to keep in mind include:

The THC (and CBD) content. Some strains are high in THC, while others are high in CBD. Some contain equal amounts of each. Every strain, regardless of whether it’s an Indica, a Sativa, or a hybrid, contains various levels of these two cannabinoids.
The terpene profile. Every strain of cannabis has a unique terpene profile. These are the compounds responsible for the flavor and aroma of the plant. They also play a role in providing certain effects. For instance, linalool promotes relaxation, while limonene provides a boost of energy.
Other factors. Several other factors also play a role in the effects you feel, including your biology, metabolism, method of consumption, and the dosage you take.

Understanding the differences between Indica and Sativa strains helps to get you started on your search for finding a strain that provides you with the desired results. While these differences are a great place to start, there are many other things to keep in mind as well. If you’re not sure which strain to choose for your specific needs, a budtender at your local dispensary should be able to help.