According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cannabis ranks as the most used, abused, trafficked, and cultivated illicit drug around the globe. About 2.5 percent of the global population consume cannabis every year.
At a dispensary, the indica versus sativa distinction may tell you what the desired and likely effects of the product will be, but this is not necessarily based on the plant itself. It is more likely due to the level of THC in the plant and other biochemical components.
In 2017, a quarter of a million people in the United States were admitted to public substance abuse treatment facilities citing marijuana as their primary drug of abuse. Marijuana is a form of cannabis.
Typically, the higher the level of THC, the more potent the strain and the more mind-altering the effects will be.
Cannabis plants are bred and genetically engineered into different strains. Two of the most talked about strains are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.
The fact that patients are given no choice of subspecies or strain when purchasing from the black market is a major reason it should be avoided. Patients should never trust or consume cannabis medicine without knowing its exact strain and that it was properly grown, dried, cured, and laboratory tested for purity and potential contamination.
With so many hybrid strains available to patients, many are a compromise that possess the ability to kill pain and fight inflammation while not putting a patient to sleep in the middle of the day. Patients who must medicate in the morning or mid-day, typically for nausea and pain, often prefer a sativa-dominant hybrid, but will switch to an indica-dom strain in the evenings and for maximum pain relief.
This dynamic is a good example of the entourage effect, a theory that cannabinoids and terpenes work together in harmony to deliver medicinal efficacy to patients. Many terpenes buffer or enhance the effects of major cannabinoids like THC.
In terms of particular ailments, sativa strains tend to be better for psychological disorders like depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Indicas are often the best for pain and inflammation and, thus, are beneficial for patients with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and cancer. However, because so many diseases are accompanied by side effects like depression and insomnia, a patient must consider treating both their core disease and also its daily symptoms. In the end, each patient will favor multiple strains that will likely fall within the categories of sativa, hybrid, and indica.
Indica and sativa plants differ not only in their physiological effects, but also in their appearance. Indica plants are short and stocky, featuring leaves that are broad and “chunky.” Sativa plants tend to be taller and skinnier and may even be lanky in appearance, with leaves that are thin and pointed.
There are two main varieties of cannabis, Indica and Sativa, and each offers a potentially different experience. Understanding the difference between the two is important to finding the right strain for you. Each strain has its own range of effects on the body and mind. Clients report that Indica strains generally provide a sense of deep body relaxation and that Sativa strains tend to provide a more energizing experience.
Typically, cannabis Indica plants are short, bushy plants with wide leaves. Indica plants typically grow faster and often have a higher yield than the sativa variety. Indica plants typically have higher CBD and lower THC content. Indica strains are often used by clients at nighttime.