There are hundreds of different cannabis strains available for purchase — each with their own unique set of characteristics and chemical profiles — but they all fall under two basic categories: indicas and sativas. Understanding the difference between the two is an important milestone in your stoner journey. Here’s what you need to know about them, according to the good folks at Leaf Science.
In the wild, sativa plants grow much taller and skinnier than indicas, and they can reach up to 20 feet in height. They originated near the equator where the temperate climate does not interfere with their longer grow time. By comparison, indicas, which are more common in northern regions with variable weather conditions, are shorter and bushier plants (this is a product of their evolution — they have adopted a shorter grow time and a hardier harvest to account for the shorter grow period of the area). If you were to view them side by side you might think of Horace and Jasper from 101 Dalmations, or Marv and Harry from Home Alone.
The differences run much deeper than surface level, though. For example, sativa strains tend to produce a cerebral, uplifting and energetic high. Many smokers prefer sativa buds before working out, or when they’re about to sit down to do something creative like paint or write poetry. They do tend to cause anxiety in novice users, however, so caution is recommended when trying a potent sativa strain for the first time.
Indica buds offer an entirely different experience. These buds might produce the classic sensation of sinking into your couch. One common way to remember this is by associating indicas with the phrase “in da couch”. Indica strains tend to be better for night time use or pain management because they tend to be very sedating and soporific.
Hybrid strains, which are a mix of the two, offer the best (or worst) of both worlds, depending on what you’re looking for. They are often labeled by their dominant strain type as a percentage. For example, Lemon Skunk will likely be labeled as a sativa due to its sativa dominance of around 70 percent despite its hybrid status.
To find the perfect sack of bud, experiment with strain types and choose your experience accordingly. Ask your budtender for advice or more information about the difference between indica and sativa strains.
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