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What’s the Difference Between Indica and Sativa Cannabis Strains?

Cannabis flower will be a hot topic for Louisiana in 2022 with the state looking to add a variety of smokable dry cannabis flower to dispensary menus in the coming year.

Patients who have applied for a medical marijuana certification in Louisiana will be able to shop many different cannabis strains grown by cultivators, and the addition of smokable flower will bring an exciting new range of choices for cannabis patients.

In finding the right strains for you, one of the biggest deciding factors will be in choosing between cannabis indica strains and cannabis sativa strains.

Both strain types will offer different effects and medicinal benefits, and choosing between them can be a tricky (but fun) process. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the differences between indica cannabis strains and sativa cannabis strains!

What’s the Difference Between Indica & Sativa Cannabis Strains?

How Types of Cannabis Plants Grow

The definitions of “indica” or “sativa” are used as identifiers for certain types of the cannabis plant.

Cannabis strains can be wholly indica or wholly sativa, indica dominant or sativa dominant, or they can be hybrids blending between the two.

Indica plants are notable for their short and stocky appearance, sitting at a wider and fatter stance when growing.

Sativa plants are the exact opposite, growing tall and slender, they are recognized by their thin and sharp leaves.

Both sativa and indica plants produce budding flowers called colas, which is where you’ll find all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and compounds that are smoked, baked, or processed into consumable products.

Indica vs Sativa Effects

Indica and sativa plants also have unique effects, though this is where it gets a little more complicated.

Because strains can contain varying degrees of terpenes and cannabinoids, many strain’s effects are more pronounced from the composition of their molecular makeup, rather than their strain type.

However, the difference in effects between indica and sativa strains are noticeable as a general approach, offering some specifics on how they are most often categorized.

Indica strains are typically noted for their drowsy, relaxing effects, and particularly their physical effects, which are more prominent, offering benefits such as pain relief, localized pain treatment, and physical relief.

Sativa strains are usually noted as being more cerebral, offering more prominent effects in the psychoactive range, rather than the physical. Sativa strains can be great for stress relief, creativity, and because of their lack of drowsiness, are often good for productivity.

As a generalization, indica strains are anecdotally referred to as “in the couch” strains, and sativa strains are playfully referred to as “brain strains”.

Should I Choose an Indica or a Sativa Cannabis Strain?

How Patients Pick Indicas, Sativas, and Hybrids

Choosing between an indica or a sativa can be a very simple or very difficult choice depending on your preferences and needs. Many patients choose to use both strains as they can offer different benefits at different times.

For example, many patients choose to use sativa strains in the morning for their heightened creativity and productivity and choose to consume indica strains at night for their relaxing and drowsy properties.

Many patients even choose to use hybrid strains, which when grown properly can make for an excellent combination of strong pain relief while maintaining alertness and promoting creativity.

How the Entourage Effect Determines the Experience

And it’s important to note that these categories are not exactly set in stone, In many cases a sativa strain can produce drowsiness, and an indica strain will make you more awake than drowsy.

This is because of the combination of all parts of the cannabis plant, rather than just one single factor. The process of all compounds working together to provide the overall experience of cannabis is called the entourage effect, and it is perhaps the most significant part in determining how a strain will work.

The combination of terpenes and cannabinoids in a particular cannabis strain will drive the majority of how the strain will work as well as the medicinal benefits that can be derived from the compounds working together.

Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid Cannabis Strains

Time & Anxiety Play a Role in Strain Types

Choosing between an indica, sativa, or hybrid, is often based on two major factors: time and anxiety.

Time plays a critical role in deciding on a strain type, because you may not want to be drowsy in the morning and you may not want to be hyperactive at night.

For some people who experience heightened awareness or prolonged hyperactivity, indica strains may even be more appropriate in the daytime, and for those who experience consistent fatigue, sativa strains may be the right way.

Anxiety can play a role in choosing between an indica or sativa as well, because although these facts won’t necessarily apply to everyone or every strain type, sativas do have a reputation of causing more anxiety than indicas.

This won’t always be the case, as some of the heavier physical effects associated with certain indica strains can cause anxiety, but as an average, sativas are known to be more intense on the mind.

Terpenes & Cannabinoids Play a Bigger Role

At the end of the day, deciding between an indica, sativa, or hybrid is entirely up to you! You may find that certain strain types provide more effects that you are comfortable with, or that certain strains offer more agreeable effects.

Ultimately, it will be in the properties of the terpenes and cannabinoids that will help drive the biggest factors when choosing a cannabis strain for medicinal purposes, and there are thousands of combinations of compounds found within different cannabis strains.

Get Your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certification

With Louisiana bringing smokable cannabis flower to the menu for 2022, there will be a large variety of cannabis strains to choose from for patients with medical marijuana certifications.

Louisiana makes getting a medical marijuana certification simple and stress-free, and you can even get certified online for ease of use and convenience.

For questions about Louisiana’s medical marijuana program, or how to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, consult with one of our trusted doctors and book an online medical marijuana appointment today!


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Louisiana Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Louisiana!


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