Indica vs. Sativa: What’s the Difference Between Cannabis Types?

Indica vs. Sativa

Whether you prefer hard-hitting classics like Death Bubba or uplifting gems like Love Potion, every cannabis user has their favorite strains. Users have more selection than ever before when it comes to cannabis strains, especially now that it’s legal across the country and you can even buy weed online in Canada. But with so many strains, new users are often unsure what to pick and even experienced users are spoilt for choice. For many, the choice comes down to indica vs. sativa.

So what’s the difference between these two cannabis types? Indica and sativa are both different species of cannabis plants, although both pack a potent punch of THC alongside a range of other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. Each strain differs in its appearance, smell, and even the effects they induce, but categorizing these into indica and sativa makes things a little simpler.

In general, indica strains are known for more physically relaxing qualities whereas sativa strains are known for more mentally uplifting effects, but the difference is more complicated than that. There’s also a third option with hybrid strains which combine both indica and sativa genetics to make unique and well-rounded cannabis strains. So indica vs. sativa: what’s the difference between cannabis types, what should you expect from them, and which should you use?

Indica vs. Sativa: What’s the Difference?

When you buy cannabis, you’ll notice that they’re separated into different categories, with the two most prominent being indica and sativa. Indica and sativa are two different species of cannabis plants. Although they both give you the effects of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids when you consume them, there are some distinct differences between them.

Indica plants are shorter and bushier with wider leaves. Many growers prefer indica plants as they grow faster than sativa plants and can produce high yields of resinous buds in a short amount of time. They’re also easier to grow indoors, making them ideal for winter and fall growing. As such, you’ll generally find much more indica strains than sativa strains available.

Sativa plants grow taller and thinner with narrower leaves. Although they usually take longer to grow than indica strains, sativa strains are widely sought after for their more stimulating effects. Sativa plants usually require more light than indica plants, and they’re often grown outdoors in the summer.

In addition to differences in the appearances of these plants and the way they grow, users also find indica and sativa strains have different effects. The plants produce different levels of terpenes and cannabinoids, and usually, indica strains are more relaxing whereas sativa strains are more stimulating.

Indica vs. Sativa What’s the Difference

Effects of Indica Strains

Indica cannabis strains are known for having much more relaxing effects. They’re often characterized by the soothing body high they give users. In addition to being prime for nighttime use, indica strains are also ideal for counteracting physical issues such as chronic pain, headaches, and migraines, although the mentally relaxing effects are also useful for stress and anxiety.

In comparison to sativa strains, the high from indica strains is usually much more body-focused. Users often feel intensely relaxed and experience soothing tingles all over their body. These effects can make it hard to be productive and some users even feel locked to the couch, hence why users often refer to indica as in-da-couch.

Indica strains can also be very relaxing for the mind. Unlike sativa strains, which usually make you more mentally stimulated and focused, indica strains often put you in a hazy and dreamy state of mind. These effects can be very useful for those who want to clear their mind to reduce stress and anxiety.

Medical users usually opt for indica strains when it comes to treating conditions associated with pain such as Arthritis, injuries, cancer, MS, and fibromyalgia. The mental effects can also be useful for lowering stress and anxiety. Indica effects are also extremely useful for helping with insomnia and other sleep problems due to their sedative properties.

Best Indica Strains To Try

Generally, indica strains are more common than sativa strains due to how easy and quick they are to grow. As such, you can find a huge selection of indica strains each with different tastes, smells, and subtle differences in effects. Indica strains are usually the most relaxing and calming strains you can get, as well as being great for physical and mental relief. Here are some of the best indica strains to try.

Mars OG – Mars OG is an indica strain that’s bound to hit you hard. It gets its name from its unique growing method, which involves switching between indoor and outdoor growing to result in dense, thick buds full of THC. It’ll give you a powerful spacey high, leaving you feeling super relaxed and sedated. It’s perfect for those who want a natural pain-reliever and sleep aid but should be avoided if you plan on doing anything important.

Watermelon Zkittlez – Watermelon Zkittlez is a cross between two great strains- Zkittles and Watermelon. The result is an indica-dominant strain with a deliciously sweet and fruity taste. This strain will give you deep relaxation, perfect for kicking back on the couch and unwinding at the end of the day. It’s also useful for pain, stress, and anxiety.

Tuna Kush – Tuna Kush is a pungent, skunky strain with effects just as strong as its aroma. A few hits of this will hit you with a soothing body high, taking away any kind of physical tension or pain. It’ll also make you feel more euphoric and mentally relaxed. It originates from BC but has quickly become popular all over North America for its sensational indica effects.

Comatose – As you might gather from the name, this is a powerful indica strain that’ll hit you hard. If you’re suffering from severe pain or insomnia, Comatose will relieve you of all of that, putting you in a sedated and couch-locked state. Don’t smoke this if you have any plans, but if you need a nighttime strain that’ll knock you out, Comatose is perfect.

Tom Ford Pink – Tom Ford Pink is an interesting cross between two hugely popular strains- Tom Ford and Pink Kush. In addition to its rich flavor and strong aroma, Tom Ford Pink is also loved by many for the deep, introspective relaxation it gives you. You’ll experience soothing body tingles all over as well as a more happy and peaceful state of mind.

Best Indica Strains To Try

Effects of Sativa Strains

In comparison to indica strains, sativa strains are known for being much more stimulating and providing more of a head-focused high. Users often opt for sativa strains when they need a wake-and-bake strain to perk them up in the morning or something to provide mental stimulation throughout the day.

The mental effects of sativa strains are particularly prominent. Users often report feeling much more happy, creative, social, and mentally focused. Sativa strains will heighten your senses and make things like music, movies, and TV shows seem much more interesting and fun.

Sativa strains also provide some calming physical effects. While not quite as pronounced as indica strains, they can still help soothe your body and relieve you of pain and tension without making you feel too overwhelmed or sedated.

Medical users often use sativa strains to put them in a good mood and counteract stress, depression, and anxiety. They can also help ward off fatigue, aches, and strains while putting you in a more motivated and energetic state.

Best Sativa Strains To Try

Sativa strains are a little rarer than indica strains, but there are still plenty of choices to try out. These are usually the best strains for mental stimulation and can even boost your energy and alertness. They’re also ideal for counteracting stress, depression, and anxiety. Here are some of the best sativa strains to try.

Jack Herer – Jack Herer is widely considered one of the best sativa strains and one of the most popular strains in general due to its highly uplifting effects. It’ll instantly put you in a good mood, relieving you of all stress and anxiety while making you feel more creative and mentally focused. It’s a perfect strain to use during the day for a burst of energy and stimulation.

White Potion – White Potion is a sativa-dominant hybrid which will stimulate your mind while also giving you some nice, soothing body tingles. It gives you a happy and clear-headed high making it perfect to use as a wake-and-bake or during the day. The smooth body high is also great for relieving pains, aches, and strains.

Durban Poison – Durban Poison is a strong sativa known for producing thick buds of resin. The effects are incredible, giving you a huge burst of mental stimulation so that you take more joy in every activity and everything seems more interesting. If you want to feel curious, focused, and creative, this is a perfect strain to use.

Lemon G – Lemon G is a fantastic sativa-dominant hybrid with a delicious citrus taste. The high will soothe and relieve your body while also boosting your mood and making you feel happy and euphoric. It’s a solid strain for social use as well as for simply chilling out at home.

MediHaze – Also known as CBD MediHaze, this is a unique strain that’s bred specifically for medical use. As such, it packs a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, giving you both fun psychoactive effects and a bevy of medical benefits. Whether you’re looking to tackle pain, anxiety, depression, muscle spasms, migraines or any other kind of medical issues, it’s a perfect choice. The sativa effects will also give you a happy and clear-headed high that’s great for use at any time of the day.

Best Sativa Strains To Try

What Are Hybrid Strains?

There’s also a third option when it comes to cannabis types- hybrid strains. These are strains which cross both indica and sativa genetics to result in a strain with properties of both. 

Hybrid strains can be more indica-dominant, more sativa-dominant or have an even balance of both. The plants can also vary widely in their appearance, often taking attributes from both types.

These strains also offer a mix of both indica and sativa effects. Hybrid strains are great for when you want both physically relaxing and mentally stimulating effects in one balanced strain. They’re among the most versatile strains and generally provide a range of medical benefits as well as a balanced high.

Best Hybrid Strains To Try

There are many popular hybrid strains for users who want both the relaxing body high of indica strains and the stimulating head high of sativa strains. These are among the most versatile and well-balanced cannabis strains, making them great for all-day use. Here are some of the best hybrid strains to try.

ACDC – ACDC is an incredible medical cannabis strain with CBD levels reaching as high as 12-16%. As such, it’s perfect for users who want medical benefits such as relief for pain, anxiety, depression, and migraines without an overwhelming psychoactive high. It’ll make you feel clear-headed, focused, and stress-free.

Headband – Headband is a cross between two of the most popular cannabis strains- OG Kush and Sour Diesel. It’s a slow burner, but when the effects hit you, you’ll get both a smooth and soothing body high along with heightened senses and a burst of mental stimulation. Users often report feeling like they’re wearing a headband due to the unique physical high it gives you.

Grape Kush – If you want a strain with a flavorful fruit taste, a tingly body high, and mood-lifting effects, Grape Kush is perfect. It produces delicious smoke and gives you a well-balanced hybrid high which every user will enjoy.

White Widow – This Holland-born strain is popular worldwide for the brilliant high it induces. White Widow gives you sharp cerebral stimulation, making you feel creative and social. Whether you want to hang out with friends or chill at home, it’s a fantastic choice. It also soothes your body without making you feel sedated.

Pink Kush – Pink Kush is an indica-dominant hybrid known for giving users a powerful, relaxing body high. It’s also well known for its sweet taste with hints of vanilla and candy. If you’re looking for a hybrid strain that tastes good and feels even better, try Pink Kush.

Best Hybrid Strains To Try


Indica vs. Sativa is a common question when it comes to buying strains. These two species of cannabis grow differently, look different, and often provide different effects. Indica strains are known for being more physically relaxing whereas sativa strains are more mentally stimulating. There’s a wide selection of both available, and users who have a hard time choosing can always opt for balanced hybrid strains instead.

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