Sativa And Indica Leaf Difference – [Things you should know]

Sativa And Indica Leaf Difference: Have you ever wondered what the Sativa and Indica leaf differences are? Or do you know about them separately, but you never found out how they’re different?

Don’t worry because, in this guide, I am going to indulge and dive deep into guiding you about cannabis indica and cannabis sativa.

Indica and Sativa Cannabis


Indica and Sativa Differences

These two (2) terms are the most talked about in the cannabis industry. A lot of smokers, tokers, growers, and enthusiasts go ’round the circle to discuss their fair share of what it is.

I’m going to be honest; I had no idea what these were at first, especially when I was starting to get a hold of these plants. What about you? Do you know what they are?

For starters, the terms “indica” and “sativa” refer to the strains of the cannabis plant. Strains would be the term referring to the offspring of a plant — it is the genetic variant of the cannabis species.

To help you understand these more and better, let me go ahead and discuss the correct history of how both sativa strains and indica strains came to be.

The History of Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa

The History of Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa

The terms indica and sativa have been around since the 1700s, thanks to the study done by Carl Linnaeus, who is a Swedish botanist. In the original classification in 1753, he was able to identify one (1) — which is Cannabis Sativa.

In translation, the word sativa roots in the word sativum, which means “cultivation.”

Then, in 1785, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French naturalist and biologist, collected specimens of new and unique strains in India, and thus, the term Cannabis Indica was born.

According to Lamarck, the indifferences it had from the earlier-known strain, Cannabis Sativa, needs to be determined, and so he coined the second term based on where he found the specimen.

This ends the cannabis indica and cannabis sativa debate on where they were from and who coined them.

Indica vs. Sativa: Understanding the Basics

Now that you know of their origins let’s go ahead and compare some of the basic distinctions between these two.


Cannabis sativa plants originated in Central and South America, as well as Southeast Asia. On the other hand, indica was discovered in India (the reason why it’s called “Indica”) and the Middle East, particularly in Tibet, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

CBD to THC Ratio

What CBD to THC ratio means indicates the total amount of cannabidiol (CBD) to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a specific dose. Indica strains are known to have higher CBD content — the ratio is 1:1. Sativa strains, however, are the counterpart.

Psychoactive Effects

Generally speaking, the indica cannabis plant is known to have no psychoactive effects because of its higher CBD content. Medical News Today says that the higher the THC ratio, the more effects it has.

The widely-known perception about this is that indica strains tend to lean more on the side of it being a sedative. Indica effects are usually calming and relaxing. They are usually for the relief of pain.

On the other hand, sativa plants tend to be more known for their “head-high” effect. This is the feeling of being high and is commonly used as medical marijuana for stress, anxiety, and depression.

Now that we’re aware of the basic differences between the most famous two strains, let’s dive right into discussing the comparison of sativa marijuana from indica.

Ruderalis Plants

Ruderalis Plants

Another species of the cannabis plant, the cannabis ruderalis, is a type that grows out in the wild. Their origins trace back to Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Russia.

A lot of veteran growers postulate that it could have been from parents that have escaped cultivation, giving birth to a plant that has wild-type characteristics.

Unlike indica and sativa plants, ruderalis strains neither have high THC nor CBD levels. However, breeders are giving it value because of its autoflowering ability without help in cultivation.

Moreover, cannabis ruderalis strains are used to create hybrids that include both indica and sativa strains.

Popular Cannabis Strains

Here’s a table that describes and identifies the most common and popular sativa, indica, and hybrid strains with the THC content they contain so that you know the strength of the psychoactive effects each of them has.

NameStrainAverage THC ContentMaximum THC Content
True OGIndica18.5%22.2%
Train WreckHybrid14%19.8%
Bubba KushIndica15.5%19.4%
Afghan KushIndica17.6%22%
Fire OGHybrid17.3%20.2%

Sativa and Indica Leaf Difference: What You Need to Know

Sativa and Indica Leaf Difference_ What You Need to Know

Yes, these two cannabis strains don’t come from the same plant.

I won’t lie — when I was first starting, I thought these two strains were the same and that they were just interchanged by people. Over time, I learned many things, such as the different indica varieties, their varying effects, as well as other distinctions between them.

Do They Have the Same Parent Plants?

No, they do not. Pure sativa comes from two (2) sativa strains, while pure indica plants tend to come from two (2) indica strains.

Their parent plants are from different combinations, and although they’re from the same species, there are quite a few varieties of factors that differentiate them.

Other than the different physiological effects these plants have, they’re also distinct when it comes to their appearance. So, here’s a quick and easy way to differentiate indica and sativa plants from each other.

Sativa Plants

The sativa plant appears to be taller and slimmer. The leaves tend to be thinner and longer, too, compared to indica.

They have finger-like leaves, and they can grow higher than twelve (12) feet tall. One of the distinctive features they have compared to indica is that they take longer to mature.

Part of the most popular sativa strains includes Durban PoisonAcapulco Gold, and Panama Red.

Indica Plants

When it comes to indica, their bushes are green and chunky, short, and stocky. The growth is wide and broad compared to the thin structure or framework of sativa.

Indica plants thrive more in cooler and colder climates than other cannabis.

Compared to Sativa dominant strains, indica is the best product if you’re looking for relaxing effects due to the plant’s chemical composition.

Part of the most popular indica strains includes Grandaddy PurpleHindu Kush, and Afghan Kush.

Hybrid Plants

The origins of these hybrid plants and strains are usually grown artificially. Cannabis farmers typically grow them on farms, as well as greenhouses.

When it comes to their physical appearance, it will depend on the parents of the hybrid strains. For instance, it could have the appearance of sativa leaves, but the overall stem is wider and broader than that of indica.

The most popular hybrid strains are identified to be indica-dominant or sativa-dominant. There are also hybrid cannabis products that are balanced, such as Pineapple Express, Blue Dream, and Train Wreck.

Do The Differences in These Cannabis Plants or Strains Matter?

Yes, the differences in these strains matter. Besides the fact that some strains contain more THC, more CBD, or if they’re balanced, the overall effects would be different.

To help you with it, here’s a list of the differences between each cannabis strain.

NOTE: These effects have been based on user experience and peer-reviewed studies. They should not be taken without the advice of a healthcare professional.

Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid Effects

Indica vs. Sativa vs. Hybrid Effects

You might know these at the top of your tongue, but here are more detailed differences between indica and sativa strains, as well as those that are hybrid.

Sativa Effects

Sativa is the type of “weed” people use to get more energy. This is because of the high THC effect that it has. It gives a head-high effect, which gives euphoric and uplifting, promotes creativity, and gives a better sense of energy.

This strain is particular for daytime use because of the energy it gives you, thanks to the higher THC content.

In addition, the several distinct effects of cannabis sativa have included:

  • Anti-Anxiety
  • Anti-Depressant
  • Focus
  • Creativity
  • Anti-Stress

These are the things people look for in sativa.

Indica Effects

The effects of indica, on the other hand, are for mellowing, relaxing, and calming. This gives the user somebody high, which will technically give and stimulate relaxing effects.

Due to this, indica strains are the ones used as medical cannabis. The relieving, relaxing, calming, and smooth effects it has are perfect for people with health conditions, which is due to the higher CBD to THC ratio it has.

The effects you can get with the indica cannabis strain include:

  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Increased Appetite
  • Pain Reliever
  • Better and Deeper Sleep

Hybrid Effects

Last and most definitely not least are the effects of hybrid strains. This category has a lot of popular strains, but how about their effects?

Depending on the strains and strength of the content, it can have both indica and sativa-like effects on the human body. It will actually be dependent on the parent strains of the hybrid, but there are quite a few known hybrid cannabis strains today.

As a matter of fact, budtenders are able to create specific strains depending on the type of effects you prefer. This puts it in a position to be excellent medical cannabis, recreational cannabis, or cannabis for business.

Technically, the reason for the different mild and intense effects is because of the fact that they have different chemical compounds. Yes, they root from the same origins and probably the same batch of parents, but the different chemical makeup makes them all distinct and different.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are compounds that are found in many plants, and they’re also present in cannabis. They are aromatic compounds that are commonly associated with cannabis simply because cannabis has high levels of it.

They play a vital role in plants because they help attract pollinators, as well as help repel predators like insects and other animals that can damage them.

There are people, though, that use terpenoids instead of terpenes. But, it is important to know that terpenes and terpenoids are not the same.

Terpenes are the actual, natural form of the compounds, while terpenoids are the oxidized state of it.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are compounds that occur naturally in a Cannabis plant. This plant is said to produce anywhere between 80 and 100 cannabinoids and about 300+ non-cannabinoid chemicals and compounds.

The most popular and most well-known cannabinoid is the Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol or the (Δ9-THC). This is the primary ingredient in a cannabis plant responsible for the psychoactive effects they have.

Other cannabinoids that are famous are categorized into different classes, which include:

  • Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Cannabichromene (CBC)
  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabicyclol (CBL)
  • Cannabitriol (CBT)
  • And others

Terpenoids vs. Cannabinoids

Most people, especially those who are new in the industry, think that terpenoids are THC and cannabinoids are CBD, but no, that’s not even half true!

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that are found in cannabis. What they do is activate certain receptors in the human body. Just like THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol, they influence certain receptors in the body and are what’s responsible for the effects they have on our body.

Terpenoids, also commonly referred to as isoprenoids, are classes of occurring organic chemicals that are natural and have been derived from isoprene, which is a 5-carbon compound. They’re found in a ton of different species of plants, and it acts as secondary metabolites for them.

So, terpenoids are found in plants, while cannabinoids are found specifically in cannabis plants.

Choosing From Different Cannabis Plants: What Do You Consider?

What will be best for you depends on a ton of different factors. However, the best way to determine it is by being aware of both the psychoactive and body effects a strain has.

If you want a mellow, relaxing, calming effect, go for indica. Why? — Because indica is CBD dominant and will only phase you out and relax you. It wouldn’t give you that energizing feeling compared to when you take on sativa.

On the contrary, if what you’re looking for is a cannabis strain that has higher levels of THC or one that can give you more energy and focus, go with a sativa.

This is the general notion when choosing between sativa and indica, though. However, there are a ton of hybrid products today that have specific effects that they can give you.

Choose the cannabis product you think will befit the experience and the effects you’re looking for!

Other Popular Cannabis Strain Products For Certain Effects

The market has produced a ton of popular strains that circulate the globe. These strains, rather known for their street name, are common among growers, sellers, as well as several wellness professionals who are open to the use and effects of cannabis.

So, here are lists of different strains for specific conditions.

DISCLAIMER: This came from several Healthline media websites and dispensaries. Still, ask about it from an expert or your therapist.

Best Strains For Insomnia and Sleep Disorder

The following are the best pure and hybrid strains for people experiencing sleep disorders.

OG Shark

OG Shark Strain

This strain is the perfect, well-balanced strain with 21.4% THC and <1% CBD. The effects are known to be extremely potent and will give an energetic relaxing feel to the user.

It will elevate the mood and provides a feeling of euphoria while the strain is in effect.



Also commonly referred to as the Blueberry x Mazar strain or the Skywalker Kush, it’s a balanced indica-dominant hybrid, helping users and patients to eliminate pain and allow the melatonin to kick in.

About 47% of people said that it has been an effective medium to cope with stress and that it gave the sleepy feeling in less than 10 minutes.



Harlequin is the strain that’s common for people who are new to the industry. It’s a 1:1 strain, having amounts of CBD and THC at the equator.

It has 7 to 15 percent THC while 8 to 10 percent CBD, making it an excellent strain to exercise those sleep motors.

Best Strains For Mental Wellness

For better mental health and wellness, the following are the best strains.

Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)


In the country, 8 out of 10 people suffer from mild to severe stress. There are nearly 300 million Americans — so I’ll let you do the math.

Girl Scout Cookies are part of the best strains for mental wellness because of their known ability to reduce stress impact drastically. It gives a euphoric, focused feeling without the fear of being too energized.

Jack Herer

Jack Herer

Also known as JH or Premium Jack, this sativa-dominant strain has captured the market for decades. Consumers don’t only feel relaxed but also creative and focused when they consume it.

About 55% of Jack Herer patrons said that the hybrid gave them a clear-headed, electromagnetic feel.



Last but most definitely not least is the Pennywise strain. This is a cross between Jack the Ripper and Harlequin and is named after the “killer clown” because of its ability to kick in and eliminate stress.

It has been known that Pennywise treated PTSD, cancer symptoms, arthritis, as well as other neurological disorders.

Best Strains For Anxiety and ADHD

For anxiety and ADHD, the following are the best strains.

Sour OG

Sour OG

Sour OG is the go-to if you’re looking for that balanced high. You’ll get amazing relaxation while picturing that best euphoric moment you have inside your mind. It does not have a dominant strain and will bring you calmness in as fast as 10 minutes.



If you’re looking for that creative euphoric feeling, Cinex will definitely do the job for you. It might feel a little fast and racy, but anxiety patients approved the strain. Just be cautious with the amount because it will hit you tremendously.

Black Jack

Black Jack

It’s safe to say that Black Jack has been one, if not the most effective strain when it comes to ADHD. With Ocimene, Terpinolene, and Caryophyllene, it will give you the mellowest and calmest feeling you’ve gotten. It targets the entire body, and it will bring you peace.

NOTE: If you have a medical history and you're looking at using cannabis, use it at your own risk. Better yet, ask a healthcare professional about it and check if it's possible first.


Here are a few commonly asked questions by growers and smokers around the globe regarding hybrid, indica, and sativa!

Is Indica an Upper or a Downer?

Indica is known to be a relaxing strain, making it more of a downer than an upper. Sativa, on the contrary, gives that energizing boost, making it more of the upper.

What is a Body High Like?

“Body high” is the sensation or feeling of your body after you consume cannabis. The feeling you’ll get will be light as if your entire body is floating and you are not feeling anything. Time feels like it’s slowed down to the minimum.

Does Indica Make You Lazy?

Because indica directs your muscles and your brain to relax, it can give you the feeling that you are lazy. I prefer the term “sleepy” because that’s what CBD is more for.

The Bottom Line

So, do you now know sativa and indica leaf differences? Which strain would you go for? Choosing the best strain will lead you to get the best experience you have with cannabis!

If you are going to use it for medical purposes, be sure to check out and ask a professional before consuming anything!

Christopher Andrews
I am Christopher Andrew, the owner of 420 Expert Adviser. I have been in cannabis cultivation for more than ten years, and I'm sharing my experience with you guys using this blog!

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