This is a general overview of indicas vs. sativas. Today’s marijuana plants are products of a long history of plant breeding. Many strains have been breed to be a hybrid – both indica and sativa.
Not all of these methods are sure fire ways to determine indica vs. sativa; however, if you can identify several of these indicators then you’ll have a pretty good indication. I tried to keep these distinctions as simple as possible. I hope I haven’t oversimplified it. If you think I missed anything let me know in the comments.
1. Geographic Origin
Marijuana plants have quickly spread worldwide. The origins have been traced back to general geographic locations. Below are a few examples of countries from each region.
Indica – Hindu Kush region of the Middle East – Turkey, Morocco, Afghanistan
Sativa – Grown near the equator – Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, Southeast Asia.
2. Leaf Shape
One of the easiest ways to tell if a marijuana plant is indica or sativa is to look at the shape of it’s leaves. As with all the categories, hybrids my exhibit either shape, or a combination.
Indica – Broad leaf
Sativa – Slender leaf
3. Plant Height
If the plant is mature then the size is a pretty good indication. This makes indicas more suitable for small grow spaces, while sativas are often grown outdoors. In order to keep a decent size I didn’t even go with the tallest height for sativa in the graphic. Sativas can get massive.
Indica – 3-4 ft.
Sativa – Up to 20 ft.
4. Flowering Time
Flowering is the stage of a grow cycle when a plant begins to produce buds. Once flowering is complete it’s time to harvest and cure.
Indica – 8 to 12 weeks
Sativa – 10 to 16 weeks
5. Yield Size
The size of the plant (obviously) plays a big role in accounting for the size of the harvest. I used the higher yield size from each in the graphic.
Indica – 1.5 to 2.5 ounces per plant
Sativa – 3 ounces to 1 pound per plant
If you know which type of bud you’re smoking you can plan certain activities around your smoke sessions.
Indica – sedating and relaxing, full-body high – get ready to chill out on the couch and listen to music or take a nap
Sativa – energized, cerebral high – this is great for getting work done around the house or going on adventures.
7. Symptom Relief
Both strains have been successful at relieving symptoms such as pain relief, nausea and loss of appetite; however, certain strains may relieve certain symptoms more efficiently.
Indica – insomnia and anxiety
Sativa – fatigue, depression, and other mood disorders
Plant breeding has opened up an array of flavors, but here are the classic flavors produced by many indicas and sativas.
Indica – sweet – such as blueberry and strawberry
Sativa – earthy – such as pine
9. Strain Names
Names have pretty much gotten out of control; however, there are a few conventions left in tact. Below are examples of names that will let you know if the strain is indica or sativa. Unfortunately, names are often made up so it’s hard to know if you have a legitimate stain.
Indica – Kush
Sativa – Haze
If you like cannabis and want to see amazing examples then I highly recommend a book called Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana. It’s a coffee table style book with incredible photography and information. I had nothing to do with the making of this book. I just think it’s awesome, and you probably will too.
Related Article: 11 Marijuana Terpenes You Should Know About