While there are actually three different kinds of cannabis, chances are it’s only Indica and Sativa that you’re interested in. As a result of enormous cross-breeding efforts over recent years, the number of Indica, Sativa and hybrid strains on the market these days is literally insane. Choose a quality example from either side of the fence and you can expect a mind-blowing high, but what exactly are the differences between Sativa and Indica?
Well, the simple answer is a lot – especially in terms of the effects they have when smoked. Along with this, there are distinct differences between the two when it comes to origins, appearance, fragrance, flavours and so on.
So rather than pretending you know what separates the two, here’s a quick rundown of the key differences between Sativa and Indica weed:
First of all, you will absolutely notice a distinct difference in taste when comparing and contrasting a quality Indica strain to Sativa bud. While Indica tends to deliver a much fruitier, berry-like and generally sweet overall flavour profile, Sativa has a far mustier, earthy and pine-tinged taste. The more tropical and fruit-focused weeds you come across will therefore tend to be Indica dominant, while dank, skunky alternatives will come from the Sativa family.
It is of course the specifics of the geographic region of origin that will determine the exact properties of any given plant. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn that Indica and Sativa cannabis types come from two very different places. Whereas Sativa originates from tropical places like Thailand, Mexico and Colombia, Indica cannabis comes from Persian regions like Afghanistan and Northern India.
3. Leaf Shape
You can usually tell exactly which family any given cannabis plant belongs to by looking at its leaves. In the case of Sativa cannabis strains, the plant’s leaves tend to look like the more stereotypical cannabis leaves that immediately spring to mind – thin, slender and often quite long. By contrast, plants from the Indica family usually produce leaves that are much fatter and broader.
4. Plant Height
Another relatively easy way of determining which family a cannabis plant comes from is to take into account its height. Given the fact that many Sativa strains can reach up to a whopping 10 feet in height, it is usually safe to say that when you come across giants like these, they are Sativa strains. On the other side of the fence, the vast majority of Indica plants have evolved to remain relatively small and reach maturity earlier than Sativa strains.
5. Flowering Time
While flowering time can vary exponentially from one specific type of cannabis to the next, it is generally true to say that Indica cannabis begins to flower somewhat earlier than Sativa. Generally speaking, Indica cannabis has a flowering time of between 8 and 12 weeks, while Sativa usually comes in between 10 and 16 weeks.
6. Yield Size
There are a lot of factors that come together to determine exactly how generous or otherwise any given yield will be. Nevertheless, given the fact that Sativa plants have the potential to grow considerably larger than Indica plants, it’s hardly surprising that the former of the two can also deliver a much greater per-plant yield. Whereas it is realistic to expect 1.5 ounces to 2.5 ounces from a strong Indica plant, Sativa plants can deliver a generous 3 ounces to a full 1 pound.
Last but not least – how about those all-important effects when smoked? Well, Indica-dominant strains are famed for delivering a relaxing, sedating and largely physical stone that has the potential to wear you out flat. By contrast, quality Sativa is more about a cerebral high that feels uplifting, energetic and outgoing. Which is precisely why seasoned stoners maintain a ready stockpile of both, in order to choose the right bud in accordance with their mood, the time of day and so on.