What is the difference between indica and sativa?

July 28, 2023

As with all things in life, not all strains of cannabis were created equal. Even different crops of the same strain will have different levels of potency when you really get into the science, which is why we take the time to make sure everything we do here at Northern Ireland’s trusted CBD supplier is always independently third party tested. Exactly what you want to hear when it’s time to make the most of the health and wellness opportunities that are out there. 

Now, while we’re the experts when it comes to all things CBD, we also know a thing or two about the wider world of cannabis. Medical cannabis oil comes from there after all! To help raise awareness of what cannabis really is, and the impact it can have on your health and wellness journey, we wanted to dive in and take a look at two of the most common strains in the world right now: indica and sativa. 

Indica strains of cannabis possess a greater ratio of CBD-to-THC, giving them a greater range of stronger sedative effects. For this reason they are sometimes referred to as ‘downers’ because they can slow things down and stop your mind racing. 

By using indica as a sedative, the science shows you can use it to combat things like social anxiety, sleeplessness and interrupted sleeping. While indica will get you high because it contains the psychoactive compound THC, it is up to you whether you choose to use it over CBD. And really it’s not the purpose of this article to try and lobby you one way or the other. What we actually want to do is show you that when you invest in doing a little background research, you can come to a much more balanced and reasoned decision about what you want to put into your body. Precisely the approach that will allow you to achieve health and wellness goals others will think are far out of your reach when you voice them. 

Another reason indica is highly popular with regular cannabis smokers is it is more effective than other strains when it comes to pain management. By actively binding to the brain receptors that are responsible for reporting chronic pain from sites around the rest of your body, it can dramatically reduce the discomfort smokers feel. There are then other knock-on effects as a result, including things like better sleep and improved sense of self as a result of no longer being in such a high degree of seemingly never-ending pain. 

This all helps improve your health and wellness in a holistic way because, as our research over the years has clearly shown, one change virtually always leads to another. The only downside is that because you’re smoking cannabis, as opposed to taking CBD oil, you’ll have the side effect of getting high. Maybe you like that too, in which case it’s a free country and you’ll hear no judgements from us folks. Just remember that the law treats cannabis and CBD differently, regardless of the underlying health conditions you’re attempting to treat. 

Then we have the sativa strains that are chiefly known for their far more stimulating and invigorating properties due to having a greater THC-to-CBD ratio. While the ‘downer’ sedative nature of indica makes it ideal for use late in the evening or at night, the ‘upper’ stimulant nature of sativa makes it far better suited for use in the day. 

Some users report frequent feelings of euphoria and joy, although nowhere near as intense as other recreational drugs. These feelings are different to what you’ll get from CBD oils because the THC has been engineered and filtered down to a trace level. If you’re looking for a creative burst of energy, or an uplifting experience in a group environment, many regular cannabis smokers will point you towards their favourite variety of sativa. Like we say, there’s always no judgement from us because what you put into your body is always your business. Just make sure you remember that CBD and cannabis are treated very differently by the law, irrespective of your motivations for taking either of them. 

Hybrid strains are very interesting because they balance the properties of both blends to provide a real mix of effects. To be clear, we’re not talking about a mixture where you get half indica and half sativa in the same pot and they’re just blended into one another. What we’re actually talking about is some clever cross pollination that has enabled expert growers to fine-tune the exact properties that you can experience when you smoke their product. 

Due to the fact that cannabis growing is still illegal in the UK, it can be hard to get accurate third party data covering the precise nature of the effects you will experience. This is not the case in US states where commercial growing is licensed and regulated, but it will likely remain the case here for the foreseeable future. This is one area in which CBD has a clear advantage in because you can access fully independent third party testing data for every individual bottle or pot of product you buy from the UK’s trusted CBD supplier — that’s us by the way! 

It’s a personal choice

A good way to get a little more information is to look up the details of common strains from US sellers who have fully characterised their products. You can then compare these strains to those you are being offered in the UK. You will never get a perfect match because you can’t fully legislate for the growing practices and quality control of unlicensed growers in what is still a black market, but it provides a degree of peace of mind if you still prefer cannabis to fully tested, legal and certified CBD products. 

Now that we’ve covered the two most popular strains, as well as the idea behind hybrid varieties, let’s wrap this up with a few words about how to know what’s best for you. All judgement on personal preference we’ll keep to ourselves because we want you to be able to feel at peace with your choices and happy where you land. We also want to make sure that you know we’re advocating the use of illegal drugs — we’re just giving you ideas about how you might want to move forwards. 

If you’re looking to manage pain and get to sleep, a strain like indica will be the best choice for you when it comes to smoking or eating cannabis. But you can also achieve the same results using CBD without the side effect of getting high, nor having to flout the law to it. 

Try what works for you

On the other hand, if you’re looking to explore the way your mind processes and approaches creative tasks, you can go a long way with sativa. It will be able to deliver effects and sensations that are simply not possible when taking CBD because of the higher THC concentrations it will put into your system. 

We hope you found this guide useful and that it helps you make choices that are yours to make.

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