Understanding Sativa vs. Indica: Effects, Differences, and Benefits

Posted by London Kelley on Jun 6th 2023

Understanding Sativa vs. Indica: Effects, Differences, and Benefits

There are hundreds of thousands of cannabis strains as a result of cross-breeding, and as you can imagine, they all have their own unique effects and qualities. The world of cannabis is vast and complex, with many factors playing a role in the experience you will have.

To give you some insight about what to expect from a strain, we will dive deep into the differences between sativa vs indica, their origins, appearances, and general effects. We will also explore the diverse world of hybrid strains, the role of cannabinoids and terpenes, and how to choose the right strain based on your preferences and benefits you seek. This article will broaden your cannabis knowledge and make it easier to pick the right product.

Key Takeaways

  • Indica and Sativa strains have distinct origins and appearances and generally produce consistent effects.
  • Popular Indica/Sativa/Hybrid cannabis strains offer specific benefits and effects suitable for various needs.
  • Always puff or consume with awareness for the best experience. Look at the dose, method of ingestion, strain potency, and effects, and understand your tolerance and potential side effects.

Distinguishing Indica and Sativa: Origins and Appearances

Cannabis varieties are often categorized as sativa, indica, or hybrid with indica-dominant genetics or sativa-dominant genes. Originating from different parts of the world, sativa, and indica cannabis cultivars have distinct appearances and growth cycles.

When someone says "sativa or indica," they are referring to the species of the plant and its physical differences. Although people often associate its effects with its parent species, that is not exactly accurate. Don’t be deceived by the look, or the name of cannabis products, because the strain's effects actually depend on its individual makeup, of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Now let's dive into the characteristics of these strains and their origins and appearances.

Indica Origins and Appearance

The original cannabis indica plant, also called pure indica, is believed to have originated in the Hindu Kush mountains of Southern Asia, specifically in the Central Asia or Indian subcontinent region. These indica plants have a shorter and bushier stature, with wider leaves, and are well-adapted to the colder climates they come from.

Indicas tend to be great for sleep and are physically relaxing in contrast to their sativa counterparts. This may have to do with their faster growth and shorter flowering cycle; however, there is not much scientific evidence to support that theory.

Sativa Origins and Appearance

Cannabis sativa, on the other hand, is thought to be native to Eastern Asia but has spread across the globe due to widespread cultivation. Sativa plants are tall and slender, with narrow and light green leaves. Sativa cannabis tends to grow up to 10 feet tall and can increase in height by 200-300% during the flowering period. Sativas are easily distinguishable from other cannabis types, including cannabis ruderalis plants, another subspecies that contain low levels of THC.

Sativa plants tend to be energetically uplifting and can boost creative ideas and produce euphoric feelings.

Effects of Indica and Sativa Strains

Indica and Sativa strains have different effects, thereby providing a broad spectrum of experiences for users. When considering indica vs sativa, indica strains are known for their relaxing effects, often providing a soothing body high and aiding in stress relief. In contrast, sativa strains are associated with increased energy and focus, making them a popular choice for boosting creativity and productivity.

While those effects are generally consistent with the strain species, effects can vary from person to person, and due to cross-breeding, hybrid strains can have varying effects. This is why it's important to look at the cannabinoids and terpene levels instead of just going by the name listed on the cannabis product.

Understanding the therapeutic effects of certain cannabinoids and terpenes will help you select strains that will bring you the symptom relief you are looking for.

Indica Effects

Indica strains are famous for their calming effects, often helping users unwind after a long day or prepare for a good night’s sleep. The body high provided by indica strains can lead to a deep sense of relaxation, making them a popular choice for those seeking stress relief and tranquility.

Your individual response and the potency of the product can vary depending on tolerance and the way you ingest the plant.

Sativa Effects

On the other side of the spectrum, sativa strains are known for their uplifting and energizing effects. Users often report feeling happy, euphoric, and focused, making sativa strains an excellent choice for those looking to enhance creativity and productivity. While sativa strains may also provide a body high, the effects are typically more cerebral and invigorating, perfect for daytime use or social situations.

Sativa varieties can also differ depending on what that strain has been crossed with, so reading the labels or lab results for the strain profile breakdown is a good idea. Also a little experimenting with different combinations and strains will lead you to find the perfect blend for you.

Popular Strains: Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids

Having delved into the differences between indica and sativa strains, let’s now examine some popular examples of each, along with hybrid strains that encapsulate the advantages of both. These strains offer a variety of effects and benefits, catering to users with diverse preferences and needs.

From classic indica and sativa strains to unique hybrid creations, The Standard BM has some of the most popular strains available in a premium live resin vape format for an easy, convenient consumption experience that produces fast-acting potent effects.

Popular Indica Strains

Some of the most popular Indica strains that we carry in our live resin vape format are :

These strains are highly regarded by cannabis enthusiasts for their calming, relaxing effects, making them an excellent choice for those seeking a peaceful and soothing experience. Whether you’re seasoned when it comes to cannabis use or a curious newcomer, exploring these popular indica strains can open up a world of blissful relaxation and stress relief.

Popular Sativa Strains

Our popular sativa strains can help you feel focused, creative, and ready to tackle the day with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. These strains are known for their uplifting and energizing effects.

Whether you’re seeking a boost of energy, a spark of creativity, or a heightened sense of focus, these popular sativa strains offer a unique and invigorating journey.

Popular Hybrid Strains

Hybrid strains, such as OG Kush and

combine the characteristics of both indica and sativa plants, offering users desirable recreational effects and medicinal benefits.

However, OG kush is a Indica dominant hybrid so it has more of the physical and relaxing properties. Death Star OG leans more toward a sativa-dominant hybrid and shares more of the creative, energizing effects. This is a great example of how crossbred strains provide a great balance of therapeutic effects for both body and mind and can open you up to a world of relaxation and euphoria, perfect for those seeking the best of both indica and sativa.

The Role of Cannabinoids and Terpenes

In addition to considering the differences between Indica and Sativa strains, understanding the role of cannabinoids and terpenes will further help you understand the subtleties of the cannabis plant and the differences these compounds make.

The chemical compounds in the plant work together, producing the entourage effect, which ultimately influences the user’s experience. By understanding the interplay between cannabinoids and terpenes, you can choose a strain to target a specific ailment or give you that fun, giggly high you are looking for.

Understanding Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids, such as THC, CBD, and CBN, all have slightly different purposes and mechanisms of action. While THC is responsible for the psychoactive effects that make you feel high, CBD is known to help relax muscles and reduce inflammation without causing a high. On the other hand, CBN is said to help with sleep and can induce drowsiness. Taking into account the levels of THC and CBD in a specific strain can give you some insight into its potential effects.

Understanding Terpenes

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that contribute to the unique smell and flavor of the buds. More than just providing aroma and amazing flavor to our live resin vapes, terpenes also have benefits and influence the effects of the strain by interacting with cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

If you are really interested in learning about cannabis and its benefits, get familiar with the most popular terpenes found in cannabis varieties, and you will start to notice how they contribute to the high. Terpenes are the reason each strain's aromas and flavors are not all the same.

Choosing the Right Strain: Factors to Consider

Given the wide array of cannabis strains, selecting the one that will produce the effects you desire is somewhat of an experimental process. However, there are some tried, tested, and true methods to determine the strain-specific effects you may experience. And, of course, you should take into account your tolerance level, method of ingestion, and the compounds that make up the plant, like the cannabinoids and terpenes in the strain. These factors can help you determine if the strain will suit your needs. The tips you find in this article will help you navigate the vast world of cannabis strains with confidence and ease.

Tolerance Levels

As you experiment with cannabis varieties and test out new strains of products, it's always important to start with a low dose if you do not consume cannabis regularly. Individual tolerance levels fluctuate, and if you are not an experienced cannabis connoisseur, you definitely don't want to overdo it, as too much can take away from the therapeutic experience and cause you to feel paranoid or anxious.

Those new to cannabis or with a lower tolerance may prefer strains with lower THC content to avoid overwhelming effects, while experienced users may seek out strains with higher THC levels for a more intense experience.

By understanding one’s own tolerance level, consumers can make more informed decisions to find the right strain for their needs.

Desired Effects and Mood

The effects you desire, be it for pain relief, relaxation, energy, or creativity, will guide your decision-making when picking out a strain. People generally associate indica strains with their calming effects, while others look for a more uplifting and energizing experience with sativa strains. Although these effects are usually consistent, there is so much more to a strain and the effects it produces than looking at indica or sativa alone.

Consider the method of ingestion, potency, and the dominant cannabinoids and terpenes in the strain to help you find the perfect product that aligns with your needs and preferences.

Personal Preferences

Factors like taste and smell, which are personal preferences, can also influence the choice of strain. Our vape cartridges are packed with flavor for a smooth and enjoyable experience that is true-to-strain. Some consumers may be drawn to strains with specific aromas or flavors, like Pineapple Diesel or Maui Wowie, while others may prioritize factors such as:

  • Potency
  • THC/CBD Content
  • Medicinal Benefits

By taking personal preferences into account, users can find the perfect strain to suit their unique taste and wellness needs.

Consumption Methods and Their Impact on Effects

The intensity and duration of cannabis effects can be influenced by various consumption methods. Therefore, understanding the advantages and drawbacks of each method is crucial for users.

In this section, we will explore the various ways to consume cannabis, from smoking and vaping to edibles and tinctures, and discuss how these methods can influence the overall cannabis experience.

Smoking and Vaping

Smoking has a quick onset of effects as the cannabinoids reach the bloodstream fast, but sometimes it comes with the discomfort of coughing and can lead to respiratory issues if done frequently.

Vaping also has fast-acting effects, but the experience is much smoother on the lungs, and the flavor is much more enjoyable. Without combustion, you get to taste all the terpenes and really enjoy the complex depth of the strain. Vaping is also convenient and discreet without leaving lingering odors.

Additionally, smoking and vaping can cause dry throat and mouth, so get yourself something to drink to soothe any of these side effects.

Edibles and Tinctures

Edibles and tinctures can provide a longer-lasting experience, and typically take longer to feel the effects as the plant compounds need to be processed through your body. Edibles can also sneak up on you and be really potent.

While this method offers a discreet and controlled way to measure your dose, you should also be cautious of overdoing it, which can be tempting when an edible tastes delicious! When trying a new cannabis product, take a small dose, and wait a few hours before consuming more to test the potency of the edible.

What to Expect and Some Words of Advice

As a cannabis lover who values the healing powers of the flowers, it's important to acknowledge that these plant medicines can be very therapeutic and can also be an intense mind-altering experience when taken in big doses.

As you journey with the plants and try out new strains, it's always good to have an awareness of common effects and know how to help yourself calm down and ground if you get a little too high.

Always consider your consumption method, potency, dose, and the benefits you are seeking, and please always consume in a safe environment. We want you to always have a positive experience!

Common Side Effects

Everything has side effects, and side effects are not always negative effects; they are just possible reactions that the human body may experience. Here are some common effects that you can experience with cannabis products.

  • Dry mouth
  • Coughing
  • Sleepiness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Paranoia (Can happen if you take too much)
  • Feeling creative and open-minded
  • Euphoric feelings
  • Aphrodisiac effects

Always consider your current state of mind and wellness goals when consuming cannabis and if there are any potential risks.

Precautions and Recommendations

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are on medications, it is advisable to talk with your doctor about cannabis and the health benefits or potential interactions to avoid any adverse reactions.


Cannabis offers us many wellness benefits that support quality of life with endless possibilities for exploration and enjoyment. If cannabis calls to you, get to know the plants and the differences between indica and sativa strains, the role of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Consider factors such as tolerance levels, desired effects, and personal preferences to navigate the vast world of cannabis strains with confidence and ease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sativa an upper or downer?

Sativa strains are known for their energizing and uplifting effects, making them an upper.

On the other hand, Indica strains are thought to be more sedating and relaxing (downer).

Which is better sativa or indica?

This is entirely a personal preference based on the effects you are seeking. Sativas are great daytime strains and can enhance energy, while indicas can help you relax and unwind and support sleep.

What do sativas do for you?

Sativas are known for their energizing and uplifting effects, helping to boost mood and increase creativity. They often produce a “mind high” that reduces anxiety, making them great for daytime use or when needing extra focus.

How do cannabinoids and terpenes influence the effects of cannabis strains?

Cannabinoids like THC and CBD contribute to the psychoactive and therapeutic properties, while terpenes lend to the flavor and scent, as well as interacting with cannabinoids. All of these plant components add to the strain's unique effects. This synergy is referred to as the entourage effect.

Written by London Kelley