Sativa vs. Indica What Makes Them Different?

crowned hemp-sativa vs. indica. What Makes them different? illustration

If you’ve ever asked a frequent cannabis user what the differences are between sativa and indica, you most likely hear that sativas are not as strong as indicas and indicas create relaxing and sedative effects. While the descriptions may be correct, the names are not. So, why are the names wrong? As of now, the distinction is based on the variety’s cannabinoid content. It all comes down to the strains of cannabis and how they share their genes.  

To be clear, all cannabis strains share a relatively narrow range of genes. All hemp strains share another small set of genes. The crossover between them is not as much as what was once thought to be true. So, in order to differentiate between the two and clear up misconceptions-all hemp varieties have been classified as cannabis sativa and cannabis drug varieties have been classified as cannabis indica (with some crucial distinctions). 


indica cannabis was divided into broad-leafleted drug (BLD) and narrow-leafleted drug (NLD) varieties. You’ll find that the majority of present-day drug cannabis varieties are actually a hybrid of these two biotypes. indica resembles the BLD side when it comes to appearance, but contains characteristics from both BLD and NLD. The majority of NLD-dominant hybrids can be slightly brain stimulating in comparison with BLDs. 


While sativa is most often though of a valued mostly for its fibers, their abilities go far beyond that. Sativas carry a gene that makes the enzyme which converts CBG into CBD (not THC). From what research has proved, all CBD genetics seem to trace back to hemp varieties of cannabis


The Middle East hashish cultivars are most likely the true indica/sativa crosses (meaning classic early cannabis drug strains contained some CBD as well as THC). Even though the distinction between the two’s effects are presently based on the variety’s cannabinoid content, eventually, the distinction will come down to the variety’s terpene content.  

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