FAQ: What is the difference between Sativa and Indica?

Walk into most dispensaries, and the standard menu will highlight sativa, indica, hybrid and CBD only products.

Sativa plants grow tall with narrow leaves and originated in hot tropical climates while Indica is a darker plant with a stout stature and are generally believed to have come from more mountainous areas that provide freezing winters and hot summers. Hybrids denote a combination of the two, and CBD is the part of the plant with potentially significant medical benefits. CBD does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the effects of THC.

By and large, the standard advice in choosing has been sativa is uplifting and better for daytime use while indica will put you "in da couch"and is better for nighttime use.

But many are starting to call BS and focus on the cannabinoids and terpenes instead. Lester Black explains....

"There is scientific evidence that certain strains produce wildly different effects, and each strain's specific effects are complicated by each individual person's mood, body chemistry, and environment. That's partly why the indica versus sativa distinction is pervasive—it offers an easy delineation when the reality is complicated.

"There are hundreds of active chemicals in weed, called cannabinoids and terpenes, that work together to get you high. Cannabinoids interact with your brain's endocannabinoid system; THC and CBD are the most commonly known cannabinoids, but close to a hundred others have been identified in pot. Terpenes are aroma compounds found in all plants, and there's growing evidence that pot's terpenes play a big role in psychoactivity. Scientists are just starting to understand how these terpenes affect people and have begun attributing effects to individual terpenes. For example, alpha-pinene, a terpene that smells like pine needles, has been found to induce alertness and memory retention...

"Both terpenes and cannabinoids can be precisely quantified with simple laboratory tests. Providing these lab reports to consumers would be a big step toward more informed shopping. But it's more complicated than seeing a terpene on a lab report and being able to predict that strain's effect. Alpha-pinene might produce alertness by itself, but there's evidence that each individual chemical's effect is mitigated and changed by the other chemicals found in the strain."

So it's complicated. :)

A better approach is to examine what you're using cannabis for and research compounds, products, strains and terpenes that people have seen benefits. Leafly.com is one of the best sources of information - and you can save your favorite strains and the app tells you the nearest dispensaries caring them.

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