Indica vs. Sativa: Not All Medical Cannabis Is Created Equal

Posted on: 19 June 2019

If you have never purchased medication from a medicinal cannabis dispensary before, then it's likely you are concerned about which strain will best meet your needs. For example, you may want to achieve one of the following things specifically:

  • mental relaxation
  • an increased appetite
  • a reduction in pain
  • better-quality or longer sleep

Thanks to the advanced plant genetics and specialty breeding programs today, you have a wide variety of different strains to choose from.

The Two Varieties of the Cannabis Plant

There are two basic varieties of cannabis plants—indica and sativa. Each variety of cannabis has different effects on your mind and body, so choosing the right variety of plant is vital to achieve the effects you desire. For example, some strains will make you feel tired and lethargic, while others will give you energy and increase your mental focus. Consuming the wrong strain will lead to undesirable effects and a failure of the medicine to help with your issues.

In addition to pure strains of indica and sativa, there are also many hybrid strains available at the dispensary that are bred to create combinations of effects. Often, these are the best options for many common medical ailments.

The Indica Cannabis Variety

Indica cannabis plants tend to be smaller in size. However, because indica plants produce more flowers, they produce more medicinal buds per square foot of growing space.

In general, indica strains are higher in CBD compounds and lower in THC. This makes indica better for pain reduction, seizures, and nausea. Indica is also effective in treating insomnia and chronic pain. As an added bonus, indica also makes you feel happy when consumed. This can be very helpful for patients with depression and anxiety issues.

The Sativa Cannabis Variety

In contrast to indica plants, sativa strains are larger plants that are lighter in color and thinner and tend to be a lot taller at maturity. Sativa plants require a lot more light and take longer to grow and flower. This tends to make their price higher at the dispensary.

Sativa strains give you energy and are very effective at reducing chronic pain because they are lower in CBD and higher in psychoactive THC. These are a good option if you need the energy to work and complete projects and don't want the sleepy effects typically found with indica strains. 

Combination Therapy

Finally, it's important to note that many medicinal cannabis users choose to use indica strains for evenings when sleep is the goal and sativa strains for daytime use.