The Difference Between Sativa and Indica

Cannabis has been used over the centuries for two specific purposes; recreation and medical. Sativa, indica, and ruderalis are three primary plant sources of cannabis responsible for their psychoactive properties.  

From research, sativa and indica share many similarities; the difference between them only lies in their composition. It is these properties that give sativa an invigorating effect and indica, a relaxing effect. 

However, these days, if you visit a dispensary in Palm Springs, you may not need to mention sativa or indica. These types of cannabis are now classified in terms of the different “strains” and, better still, chemovars (chemical varieties). This article will provide extensive information on the two plants to extract the difference. 

Sativa vs. Indica 

Generally, it is rare to find two plants that have entirely the same effect. Even though highly identical, there may be slight differences, and this may be due to the different chemical compositions and growing process. 

Cannabis plants are no different; sativa and indica share a lot in common yet are unique in their effects. 

Sativa is labeled “head high” cannabis, because they produce an invigorating, energizing effect,  reducing anxiety or stress to improve creativity and focus. Indica, on the other hand, helps you achieve deep relaxation by reducing insomnia. 

However, recent research has shown that both have almost the same effects, and there’s no clear-cut difference. Therefore, instead of looking at the type alone, consider the description of cannabis that each dispensary in Palm Springs provides. 

The various types of cannabis plants are categorized into particular chemovars. Chemovars are differentiated by their chemical compounds, cannabinoid, and terpene content.  

A cannabinoid is a natural component of cannabis responsible for producing many negative and positive effects you experience when you take it. Researchers have found that cannabinoids have various properties, but two stand out, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 

THC is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” or stimulating effect that comes with the use of cannabis. CBD is just like the opposite of THC; it produces a non-impairing or non-euphoric effect. In other words, it doesn’t cause a “high.” The physical effect of CBD is lessening pain and nausea, easing migraines, and preventing seizures. 

Terpenes are also natural compounds in the cannabis plant. This compound is directly responsible for the unique smell of the cannabis plant. They may also influence the effects that specific strains produce. 

In conclusion, the names are not the correct determinant for choosing the right type of cannabis. The compounds are what determine the chemovar’s general effects. 


Cannabis sativa thrives in hot, dry climates. They are found in parts of the world, such as Western Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, Central and South America. 

With finger-like leaves, Sativa plants can grow as tall as 12 feet or even more, and they are usually thin too. Compared to some other types of cannabis, it takes Sativa plants more time to mature. They constitute more of THC and less of CBD. 

Sativa is associated with a more energizing and creative high effect, thus reducing anxiety. Sativa can also be helpful for people with depression, headaches, nausea, and appetite loss.  

Because of its stimulating impact, a dispensary in Palm Springs may recommend you use sativa in the daytime. Though in some people, sativa can prompt anxiety, the energizing effect may vary with individuals. Cannabis sativa is associated with three strains; they include Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, and Durban Poison. 


Cannabis indica mostly grows in India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey. Indica plants have shown high adaptability to the Hindu Kush mountains’ harsh, dry, and tumultuous climate. 

Unlike Sativa, Indica plants are short with broad and wide leaves that look chunky. Compared to Sativa, they take less time to grow and they produce more buds. Indica generally has a higher CBD content and the almost same level of THC. It has more CBD than Cannabis sativa. 

Indica is believed to have intensely relaxing effects and is effective for relieving pains. It may also help reduce nausea and pain and increase appetite. 

Because of its profound relaxation effects, you should not be surprised if any dispensary in Palm Springs advises you to take it at night. Cannabis indica is associated with three strains; Hindu Kush, Afghan Kush, and Granddaddy Purple. 

Bottom Line 

From our analysis, you can see that sativa can provide the same effect as indica. The difference between the two is the level of CBD and THC, and other compounds they contain. This dispensary in Palm Springs may help you choose the one you need depending on what you are using them for. 

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