Indica Vs Sativa: The Biggest Misconception About Weed

purple weed

Ever walk into a dispensary and have the clerk ask you “what are you into?  Sativa?  Or Indica?” and you’re like…

“WTF man I just wanna get high!”

So he gives you some fire bud and you realize time and time again that you keep forgetting to ask what the difference is between Indica and Sativa.


  • Why Is that always the first question they ask you?
  • Is it that important?
  • Do other things matter?

We’ll answer all that in more in this article and by the end of it you’ll know the unfortunate truth about the Indica/Sativa myth.

What’s The Difference Between Indica And Sativa?

First off, there are actually three major varieties of Marijuana:

  • Sativa
  • Indica
  • Ruderalis

You rarely here about Ruderalis strains because they tend to have abnormally low levels of psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds, rendering them useless for most people.

One thing that is interesting about Cannabis Ruderalis, however, is that it is remarkably robust, capable of growing in harsher climate and flowering on it’s own after just 21-30 days and ready to harvest in less than 100 days.

In the future, you can bet that scientists/botanists will look to adapt these properties to more potent strains by cross-breading Ruderalis with either a Sativa or Indica.

The important takeaway here, however, these three varieties, though different in appearance and chemical makeup can be bread with each other, making them the same species.

That’s why there are so many strains out there.  People just keep bread new strains with old strains and old strains with new ones.

As you can see though, just by looking at the leaves, they’re all slightly different, with Sativas generally being tall and dark green whereas Sativas are more bushy and tend be shorter.

Sativa Indica Ruderalis

If you ask any experienced pot-head “what’s the difference between Indica and Sativa”, they’ll say:

Indica: promotes relaxation, provides more a body high, stimulates appetite, helps you sleep, better for pain.

Where as…

Sativa: provides more of  a ‘head high’, tends to be more euphoric, energizing, and uppity.

At least, that’s what one of the first thing you’ll hear the ‘Marijuana connoisseurs’ at the weed store when your trying to select from the menu of 30 strains…

“Are you looking for a Sativa?  Or more of an Indica?”

If you stare at them blankly, or say something like “what’s the difference?”, they’ll tell you that Indica strains tend to be more relaxing, body-high promoting, and useful for managing physical pain while Sativa is more of a ‘head high’, making you more alert, focused, and creative.

Sativa vs Indica

Unfortunately, they’ve got it wrong.

Most people genuinely believe that a Marijuana strain is either a Sativa or an Indica, where as most of them are both…

There Are Very Few Strains That Are Either Pure Sativa Or Pure Indica

The fact of the matter is that very few strains of Marijuana these days are one or the other, but rather a hybrid of sorts.

You see, over time, this strain got mixed with that strain and that got mixed with this strain until the point that there’s no doubt that most of the time, when you’re smoking weed, you’re getting a little Sativa and a little Indica.

This would explain why the majority of strains provide some of the benefits of both Sativa and Indicas.

If you dive deep into the wonderful world of weed, you’ll hear terms like “Sativa Dominant” which simply means the strain is a hybrid but has more of a Sativa-like feel to it.

In reality, the grower has no idea how much of each plant’s ancestors’ DNA are present in each plant, but guess what?

It doesn’t matter…

What Really Matters If Sativa And Inidica Doesn’t?

The answer to that is fairly simple:

  • Cannabinoids
  • Terpenes

There are two primary types of Cannibinoids that scientists have become fascinated with and attributed much of the therapeutic value to these two molecule alone:

THC: THC, short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive cannabinoid which is largely responsible for ‘the high’ marijuana users seek.

CBD:  CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is the primary non-psychoactive molecule in weed that not only has it’s own therapeutic uses, but has the power to combat the negative side effects of THC such as paranoia and anxiety.

Terpenes: Terpenes are aromatic substances that give plants and fruits their distinct smells.  They can be found in virtually any plant or natural food that has some sort of aroma to it.

Think hops, lemons, limes, oranges, and–obviously–cannabis.

The Combination Is What Matters

Assuming we’re not talking about a pure Sativa or pure CBD strain, it’s the combination of Cannbinoids (namely THC and CBD) and Terpenes that gives each strain it’s unique pharmacological profile, aroma, taste, high, etc.

That means, rather categorizing Marijuana strains as either “Indicas” or “Sativas”, you should really look at it as more of a spectrum.


Sativa is on one side and Indica is on the other, but in between lies an endless array of potential combinations and possibilities based on the chemical makeup of the strain.

People originally used to assume that Indica must be high in CBD because it’s a body high that’s relaxing and not mentally stimulating, but what we’re finding out now is that it’s entirely possible to have a strain that’s high in CBD but still has all the familiar traits of a Sativa (energy, creativity, mental stimulation, etc.).

Are There Pure Sativa Or Pure Indica Strains Out There?

Yes, such strains are referred to as Landrance Strains and are considered to be extremely rare.

These strains have never been cross bread with other strains so they are actually 100% pure Sative or Indica (depending on the strain).

Most of what you find on the street, in a despensary, or in your Mom’s sock drawer is a combination; a hybrid of Indica and Sativa.

Still, there do exist regions of the planet where, due to geographic isolation, Landrance strains exist.

So they’re out there…

Unfortunately, pretty much every strain you’ve ever heard labeled as either Indica or Sativa is actually a hydrid.

Some common strains considered to be “Sativa” include:

  • Silver Haze
  • Sour Diesel
  • AK-47
  • Green Crack
  • Jack Herrer

Whereas a few notable Indica strains would be:

  • Northern Lights
  • OG Kush
  • Afghan Kush
  • Purple Urcle
  • Grape Ape

If you’re a regular smoker, you’re probably aware of the majority of them.  I kept it mainstream to prove my which is simply this:

Most Marijuana Strains Are Sative/Indica Hybrids (To Some Degree)

All these strains have been labeled either Indica of Sativa when in reality they’re all–on some level–Hybrid strains created by cross breeding one strain with another.

Again, take a look at the spectrum above…

Just as there are an infinite amount of colors that can be selected from a full color spectrum, there are an infinite amount of marijuana strains that can be created, simply by mixing strains and then mixing more strains with those strains and so on…

So who really cares about whether it’s an Indica or Sativa?  At thsi point, hopefully not you.  We’re already established that what’s really important in the terms of how the bud effects you is:

  1. The amount of THC/CBD
  2. The amount of other Cannibinoids
  3. The amount of Terpines

So let’s just all take a step forward and leave this segregation between Sativa and Indica in the past.  Turns out, they’re more times than not, one in the same.

The Bottom Line On Indica Vs Sativa

We’ll just conclude this lesson promptly…

Both Indica and Sativa have different properties which give them unique benefits and/or side effects.  The Truth is, however, the vast majority of strains are a hyrbid.

theres a strain for that

For few Landrance Strains–as they’re called–are extremely rare, but don’t sweat it.  Everything evolves and Marijuana is no different.

Embrace the hybrid…

I’m Matt Theis, founder of SuppWithThat, Momentum Nutrition, and Singular Sport. I created SWT to separate the science from the hype and publish accurate, research-based information on supplements. If you like what I have to say here, feel free to check out my supplements at and

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