Do Indica and Sativa Really Have Different Effects?

Do Indica and Sativa Really Have Different Effects?

You’ve always heard that sativas are good for social situations and indicas’ lock you in da’ couch. But are these long-standing assumptions about the two primary types of cannabis true? New research has started exploring the different experiential effects of cannabis, but what’s shocking is the results don’t prove the sativa versus indica assumptions we all hold.

Sativas, indicas and the hundreds of different hybrids sitting somewhere in between have so many nuanced experiences that cannot be adequately categorized by only these two ideas. Before you buy sativa online (or buy indica online), you need to know that new research doesn’t support sleepy indicas nor active sativas.

What We All Assume About the Effects of Sativas

You want to buy sativas online because they are big, bright, and energetic. The high from a sativa is often described by cannabis connoisseurs as cerebral, meaning it sits more in the head than in the body. Any sativa-dominant strain is supposedly good for socializing with friends, heading to parties, or getting housework done. A few tokes on a sativa-filled joint, and you can not only expect to get your house clean from top to bottom but enjoy it.

For patients, a sativa recommendation comes if you need to treat your symptoms during the day. Because sativas tend to promote wakefulness, chattiness, and productivity, they are marketed as better for day time use over indica dominant strains.

What are some big-name sativas you may have heard of? Sour Diesel is one of the most famous modern sativas. But several haze varieties also deserve a shout out: Ghost Train Haze and Amnesia Haze. Other nearly pure sativas include Trainwreck and Green Crack.

What We All Assume About the Effects of Indicas

But what if you are looking for a sleepy high that helps soothe chronic pain? You’ll want to buy indica in Terrace, instead of a sativa. Indicas are small bushy plants with tightly packed nugs that promise to ‘lock you in da’ couch, as the old saying goes.

Patients typically enjoy indica strains because they are deemed to be sleep-inducing, like a mild-to-medium strong sedative. They deliver a body high, more than a heady high. Indicas are also euphoric and uplifting, but without lifting you off the couch like a sativa.

If you like this experience, pure indicas are everywhere these days. Most indoor-grown strains come with some indica heritage. Today, some of the most popular indica strains include Girl Scout Cookies, Northern Lights, and Granddaddy Purple. 

What the Science Tells Us about the Effects of Sativa and Indica

Although humans have cultivated cannabis for several thousand years, it was only in the last few hundred that we’ve tried to classify it. The classification system which stuck was one developed in the 1800s by French biologist Jean Baptiste Lamark. He suggested two distinct types of cannabis called indica and cannabis sativa.

Lamark’s system was designed around the growing characteristics of the plants from different areas of the world. For example, sativas are big with thin leaves, while indicas are small and compact. But even in the beginning, other famous botanists disputed this classification. Still, for whatever reason, the sativa and indica categories persisted. Since Lamark’s creation, these two categories have taken on a life of their own, indicating the experiences, effects, and properties.

Today, thanks to modern technology and molecular testing, we know there is only one cannabis species, not two. At the molecular level, scientists can’t find a pattern in the chemical makeup of these two kinds of weed. You’d think there would be one or more compounds in indicas which make them sedative, or certain compounds in sativas that boost energy. Thus far, no patterns exist.

So if there are no distinct differences between indica and sativa, why are there measurably different effects between strains?

Strain Effects Come From Chemical Profile, Not Indica or Sativa Roots

Cannabis is a beautiful plant because it has hundreds of different cannabinoids and terpenes, with each strain producing a unique combination. Each cannabinoid, and likely each terpene, subtly changes the experiential effects. Each strain profile has incredibly different effects, from sleepy and sedated to energetic and productive. It’s why some strains make you feel creative, and others like you don’t want to leave your house.

The challenge is that indicas and sativas don’t have a typical pattern when researchers look at them at the molecular level. There are no terpenes or cannabinoids that repeat between one indica and another. The same holds true for sativas. Furthermore, there are so many hybrids these days that they complicate matters further.

Cannabis is a remarkable plant because the environment and genetics both impact it’s unique profile. For example, Blue Dream grown indoors in Vancouver, British Columbia, will smell, taste and feel much different from Blue Dream grown outdoors in California. Even if they came from the same seed, the environment they grow in would directly impact what cannabinoids and terpenes they contain.

On top of these issues, many different producers are selling seeds labelled with the same strain name. But are they really exact duplicates? A long time ago, all the Blue Dreams may have come from the same stock, but over successive generations growing with different producers, are these really the same anymore? The multitude of seed and clone suppliers complicates everything, especially for consumers.

Should You Buy Indica or Sativa in Terrance, British Columbia?

As a cannabis lover, this new research may pose a problem for you. If the indica and sativa categories don’t describe the effects, how do you decide what to buy on the next trip to your local dispensary in Terrace BC?

Retailers and consumers can’t just stop calling strains by their supposed lineage. That would cause chaos across the industry. Yet, customers risk getting a strain with different effects than what they signed up for.

If you want a strain that delivers sleepy effects, you will have to do your own research. Look into the strain profile and read reviews from real people. Find a few possible options, and get to testing. Just like real scientific research, you’ll want to take notes. Keep a strain journal! Once you find a strain you like, stick with it. It also helps to keep buying from the same supplier and the same cultivator. They will be working with the same environment and the same genetics for a repeatable experience.

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