Sativa vs. Indica: What to Expect Across Cannabis Types and Strains
The two main types of cannabis, sativa and indica, are used for a number of medicinal and recreational purposes.
Sativas are known for their “head high,” an invigorating, energizing effect that can help reduce anxiety or stress and increase creativity and focus.
Indicas are typically associated with full-body effects, such as increasing deep relaxation and reducing insomnia.
Although research examining these effects is limited, it appears these plants have more in common than previously thought.
In other words, the category, or type, of cannabis may not be the greatest indicator of the effects you’ll experience.
Here’s how to find the right plant for your needs, strains to consider, potential side effects, and more.
The often-applied rule of thumb is that sativas are more invigorating and energizing, while indicas are more relaxing and calming — but it isn’t really that simple.
Individual plants produce varying effects, even among the same type of cannabis. It all depends on the plant’s chemical composition and the growing technique used.
Instead of looking at the type alone — sativa or indica — look at the description the grower and dispensary provide.
Oftentimes, the plant types are broken down into specific strains, or breeds.
Strains are distinguished by their individual cannabinoid and terpene content. These compounds are what determine the strain’s overall effects.
Cannabis plants contain dozens of chemical compounds called cannabinoids.
These naturally occurring components are responsible for producing many of the effects — both negative and positive — of cannabis use.
Researchers still don’t understand what all of the cannabinoids do, but they have identified two main ones — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — as well as several less common compounds.
- THC. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis plants. It’s responsible for the “high” or state of euphoria associated with cannabis use. Levels of THC have been increasing as growers try to create hybrids with a greater concentration of the compound.
- CBD. CBD is non-psychoactive. It doesn’t cause a “high.” However, it may produce many physical benefits, such as reducing pain and nausea, preventing seizures, and easing migraine.
- CBN. Cannabinol (CBN) is used to ease symptoms and side effects of neurological conditions, including epilepsy, seizures, and uncontrollable muscle stiffness.
- THCA. Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) is similar to THC, but it doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects. Its potential benefits include reducing inflammation from arthritis and autoimmune diseases. It may also help reduce symptoms of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and ALS.
- CBG. Cannabigerol (CBG) is thought to help reduce anxiety and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.
A great deal of attention is paid to the amount of THC and CBD in a given strain, but newer research suggests that terpenes may be just as impactful.
Terpenes are another naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant.
The terpenes present directly affect the plant’s smell. They may also influence the effects produced by specific strains.
According to Leafly, common terpenes include:
- Bisabolol. With notes of chamomile and tea tree oil, the terpene bisabolol is thought to reduce inflammation and irritation. It may also have microbial and pain-reducing effects.
- Caryophyllene. The peppery, spicy molecule may reduce anxiety, ease symptoms of depression, and improve ulcers.
- Linalool. Linalool is said to help improve relaxation and boost mood with its floral notes.
- Myrcene. The most common terpene, this earthy, herbal molecule may help reduce anxiety and insomnia so you can sleep better.
- Ocimene. This terpene produces notes of basil, mango, and parsley. Its primary effects may include easing congestion and warding off viruses and bacteria.
- Pinene. As the name suggests, this terpene produces an intense pine aroma. It may help boost memory, reduce pain, and ease some of the not-so-pleasant symptoms of THC, such as nausea and coordination problems.
- Terpinolene. Cannabis with this compound may smell like apples, cumin, and conifers. It may have sedative, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
- Limonene. Bright, zippy citrus notes come from this terpene. It’s said to improve mood and reduce stress.
- Humulene. This terpene is deeply earthy and woody, like hops or cloves. Cannabis strains with this molecule may reduce inflammation.
- Eucalyptol. With notes of eucalyptus and tea tree oil, this molecule is refreshing and invigorating. It may also reduce inflammation and fight bacteria.
Sativa and indica are the two main types of cannabis plants. The often-applied rule of thumb is that sativas are more invigorating and energizing, while indicas are more relaxing and calming — but this is an immense oversimplification. Here's how to find the right plant for your needs, strains to consider, and more.
Depression and Anxiety: Which Strains are Best for Each?
More people experience depression and anxiety than you may think. There are many people who go undetected dealing with one or both of these conditions every day. With that said, managing these conditions can be difficult because many individuals don’t have a full understanding of what depression and anxiety is and what their options are in terms of coping.
One coping mechanism that has been gaining attention is the use of marijuana. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug from the cannabis plant that is widely used for medical and recreational purposes. For this reason, we’re going to explain what depression and anxiety are and which strains of marijuana would work best for each condition.
What is Depression?
Depression, also called major depressive disorder, is a medical illness that has a negative impact on how an individual feels, thinks, and acts. Depression generally causes a feeling of sadness. In addition, individuals can experience bouts of uninterest in activities that they previously enjoyed. This results in an individual’s inability to carry out their day-to-day functions.
Depression can happen to anyone at any age and time. However, there are a few things that can increase your risk of experiencing depression. Here are a few influences to consider:
- if you are a smoker
- if you are stressed
- if you are someone who experiences medical problems
What are the symptoms of Depression?
There are many symptoms of depression. It’s important to note that everyone is different, therefore, your symptoms will vary.
- you constantly feel sad
- feeling tired even after getting the recommended amount of sleep
- difficulty thinking
- having a sense of worthlessness
- disengaging from activities that used to be fun
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. Those that experience anxiety often experience intense and persistent fear about everyday situations. In addition to this, anxiety can be accompanied by a fast heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and a feeling of tiredness.
It’s important to note that anxiety is often looked at as a healthy emotion. However, when anxiety becomes persistent and an individual regularly feels dis-appropriate levels of anxiety, it is considered a medical disorder.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
There are many symptoms associated with anxiety. Some of the symptoms can include:
- feelings of being in danger or dread
- feelings of nervousness, restlessness or being tense
- rapid breathing or hyperventilation
- feeling weak or tired
- twitching muscles
Understanding Which Strains Work Best for Each Condition
As stated previously, marijuana is used for both recreational and medical purposes. Recreational marijuana is generally used for things such as enjoyment, stress relief, and creative stimulation. Medical marijuana, on the other hand, is used to alleviate symptoms of things such as pain, anxiety, and depression. So which strains are best?
Strains for Depression
Acapulco Gold, a cannabis strain derived from Acapulco, Mexico, is a Sativa dominant hybrid. One of the benefits of this strain of cannabis is that it produces a powerful cerebral high that, in turn, raises the user’s mood. This is why many users who have depression opt for this particular strain.
Additionally, the cerebral high is paired with a calming effect that results in a relaxing experience. Alongside this, Acapulco Gold can alleviate chronic aches and pains during the body high.
Super Sour Diesel
Super Sour Diesel is extremely potent. It is a Sativa dominant hybrid strain of cannabis, which means it was made from a cross of Sativa and Indica strain of cannabis. With that said, it leans more on the Sativa side when it comes to growth patterns and the effects it has on the individual.
One of the benefits of this strain is that the effects are long-lasting. This is due to the fact that the THC level is generally between 18% to 20%. Additionally, Super Sour Diesel tends to alleviate pain and stress levels and increases energy. This makes it ideal for those who experience depression.
Harlequin is a CBD-rich strain. It is the Sativa-dominant product of several different landrace strains and harnesses about 75% Sativa. With that said, it lacks a strong cerebral high due to the high presence of CBD.
The standard ratio of CBD to THC is usually 5:2. Although Harlequin won’t get you high, it still does a good job of lifting individuals’ moods. Generally, users will feel mellow. It is even reported by some users that they experience a shift in perspective while using it, which is one of the main reasons why its great for those who experience depression.
Amnesia Haze is another Sativa-dominant hybrid. Despite its name, you won’t experience memory loss.
When taking this strain of cannabis, you can expect the high to come on almost instantly. With that said, many users boast an increase in cerebral thinking and a sudden acute awareness of surroundings. Users may also experience an increase in mood and motivation to complete tasks. Moreover, users love Amnesia Haze because it can even drive inspiration.
Strains for Anxiety
Grandaddy Purple is the result of two strains merged together to create the ultimate Indica hybrid. Made of Purple Urkle and Big Bud, this strain is great to use at night as it simultaneously hits the mind and body and then transitions into a smooth buzz.
For this reason, it’s powerful effects makes this strain a good choice when it comes to alleviating anxiety symptoms.
Girl Scout Cookies
This strain of cannabis is derived from OG Kush and Durban Poison and offers the body comfort and cerebral euphoria.
It has roughly 18% to 23% THC. With that said, the effects of this strain come on almost instantly. Individuals who use this strain may feel more motivated to socialize with friends and family.
Additionally, after the initial excitement of taking this strain, individuals may feel more motivated to socialize with friends and family. Also, individuals can expect to experience a relaxing effect throughout the whole body. This is one of the main reasons why this strain is great for those who experience anxiety.
Northern Lights is an Indica dominant strain. This powerful strain is known to make the body feel numb and instantly put users on “lazy mode”. In addition to this feeling, individuals often feel a sense of well-being and happiness, which can certainly alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
It’s important to note that this strain is recommended for evening use. It’s also worth mentioning that it is one of the most purest Inidca’s around with 95% Indica and 5% Sativa. This is why this strain is highly sedative.
Depression and anxiety are more common than people think. However, the effects of these conditions can be crippling to the individual. More people are turning to the benefits of medical marijuana to help them deal with their symptoms. If you have depression or anxiety, consider these marijuana stains to help you.
Here's an explanation of what depression and anxiety are and which strains of marijuana would work best for each condition.