[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Like most plants, cannabis comes in many different forms. You might recognize the names of some cannabis strains—Pineapple Express, Purple Kush, or Northern Lights, for example—but few know what separates them from one another. One of the key differentiating factors when it comes to marijuana strains is the type of plant. There are two types of cannabis plants, cannabis indica and cannabis sativa; while both plants are technically cannabis, that is about where their similarities end. Read on to learn more about the differences between indica and sativa.


When it comes to the appearance of the plant, even a botanically mystified layperson can identify indica versus sativa. Firstly, there’s height: popular culture more commonly depicts the indica plant, which you might recognize as short (~1 meter), bushy, and dark green. Sativa plants, however, look more like trees than bushes; they grow upwards of 7 meters and have loosely leaved braches. Because of its size, sativa is usually grown outdoors while indica is grown in greenhouses or hydroponics facilities. Secondly, there are clear distinctions between sativa and indica leaves. Sativa has long, narrow, light-coloured leaves, while indica has short, broad, dark leaves.

Chemical Makeup

There are two active chemicals in cannabis: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). All cannabis plants, whether indica or sativa, contain both THC and CBD; the difference is in the ratios. Sativa plants have a higher CBD to THC ratio, and vice versa for indica. So, if the chemical compositions of these two plants differ, do their demonstrable effects on users differ as well?


Scientists believe that THC is responsible for the stimulating effects of cannabis use, and CBD for the sedative effects. Thus researchers believe that indica, with its higher THC to CBD ratio, energizes users and encourages uplifting, cerebral thoughts. On the other hand, with higher levels of CBD, sativa is believed to relax muscles, ease aches, and aid sleep. Due to these effects, indica is more commonly used to treat mental and behavioural issues like PTSD and depression, and sativa is more commonly used for physiological issues like chronic pain, nausea, and insomnia.

At CannaConnect, we strive to connect patients with the resources they need: be it our trusted network of physicians, licensed cannabis producers, or industry-leading consumption technology companies. Through telemedicine or in person, CannaConnect educates and informs Canadians on medical cannabis. If medical cannabis can help you, contact us today.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]