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Expert Tips For Choosing Between Indica And Sativa

Indica and sativa are the two main types of marijuana that are commonly used for various medicinal and recreational reasons. These two strains of the cannabis plant fit into a category system that includes indica, sativa, and hybrids; plants in the three-type system are categorized by their chemical profile and effects. However, one issue with this categorization is when it comes to user effects, there are often many other factors involved. 

Choosing the right strain of marijuana that suits your lifestyle and needs can be difficult especially since the effects of indica and sativa typically create different highs. If you are having trouble deciding which strain of weed to get, then you may find the in-depth guide to indica and sativa below useful. Once you’ve reached your decision, you’ll be able to visit an internet retailer to buy indica online quickly and easily, and the same goes for sativa too!

Understanding The Effects

Before settling on a strain, it is a good idea to get a better understanding of its chemical profile and what the likely user effects will be. As recommended by the cannabis gurus at Tale of Two Strains, a good place to start when looking at the chemical profile of a marijuana strain is the amount and types of cannabinoids and terpenes it contains. Taking some time to understand the chemical compounds in the different types of cannabis and their effects should help you find one that works well for you. 


The marijuana plant contains over one hundred cannabinoid compounds, each responsible for different physical and/or psychoactive effects. The two cannabinoids most commonly found in marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and generally, strains of cannabis can also be classified by the amount of CBD or THC they contain. 

Varieties of cannabis with higher levels of THC are known as THC dominant strains that typically result in psychoactive effects as well as being used to provide relief for chronic and severe pain.  

Types of cannabis containing very small amounts of THC or none at all are referred to as CBD dominant strains. These are regularly used by people who enjoy the relaxing properties and pain relief of cannabis but prefer not to experience the psychoactive effects caused by THC. 

In addition to THC dominant and CBD strains, there are also hybrid strains containing a balanced mix of both cannabinoid compounds. 


Terpenes are chemical compounds also found in fruits and other plants that are responsible for creating aromas. Terpenes work in a similar way to essential oils and can help people to feel more energized or relaxed depending on the type and interaction with other compounds in the strain. 

The different strains of weed each has their own unique aroma due to the terpenes present, some terpene compounds commonly found in marijuana include: 

  • Caryophyllene. This compound creates a peppery aroma and is thought to help manage anxiety and depression. 
  • Eucalyptol. The eucalyptus and tea tree oil aromas created by this  molecule are energizing and refreshing and may help to decrease inflammation 
  • Humulene. With earth and woody tones similar to the scent of cloves or hops, this terpene helps to reduce inflammation. 
  • Limonene. The citrus tones of this terpene are known to help improve moods and reduce stress and improve sleep
  • Myrcene. Creating an earthy herbal scent, this is the most common terpene compound that helps to reduce anxiety and 
  • Terpinolene. Smelling like apples, cumin, or conifers, this terpene compound has antibacterial, antifungal, and sedative qualities

How Cannabis Strains Are Classified

As mentioned above, myrcene is the terpene found most often in strains of cannabis and is responsible for improving sleep quality due to its sedative effects. The amount of myrcene found in a strain of cannabis is also used to classify whether it is indica or sativa, if a strain contains less than 0.5 percent myrcene then it is categorized as a sativa. Cannabis strains containing more than 0.5% myrcene are deemed indica. 

The Characteristics of Indica and Sativa

Dating back to the 18th century, the terms “indica” and “sativa” were first coined to label the two main varieties of the cannabis plant. The hemp plants, referred to as sativa, originated from parts of Asia and Eurasia, and are tall and narrow-leafed in appearance. “Indica” on the other hand, was used to describe the psychoactive properties associated with the strains of cannabis found in India that are shorter broad-leafed plants. 

Sativa plants, otherwise known as cannabis sativa contain lower levels of CBD and higher doses of THC and often create a head high due to the psychoactive effects of THC. Other effects of sativa strains include an energized mood, greater creativity and productivity, and reduced anxiety.

Indica plants, also referred to as cannabis indica, usually contain higher levels of CBD, however, there may still be a substantial amount of THC present depending on the variety. The indica strain is sought after for its calming properties that can help to increase appetite, reduce nausea and manage pain. 

Since there are many kinds of cannabis products available, it can be difficult to choose which strain is going to work best for you. The two main strains of indica and sativa offer varying effects depending on the cannabinoid and terpene compounds present in the variety. However, finding the right strain for you can be easier if you understand the common effects of the chemical compounds.