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Cannabis Clash: Sativa vs. Indica [WEEDLY COLUMN]


While some ganja makes you feel as euphoric and hyped up as Roger Rabbit when he’s with his wife Jessica, other smokeables may have left you too zonked out on your couch to do anything but watch “Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman” while eating your weight in cheesy puffs. There’s no cause for alarm if you feel unusually spazzy or drained. It’s most likely not laced with anything. What you’ve experienced is the difference between Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. Check out our easy to read table along with a full explanation below.



  • Grows to a greater height
  • Shorter and stockier
  • Leaves are long and thin
  • Leaves are squat and fat
  • Leaves are lighter green
  • Leaves obtain a darker, purple haze
  • Buds are tinged with dark orange &red hues
  • Buds achieve a deep purple color
  • Buds smell sweet and fruity
  • Buds smell dank and skunky
  • Strains include Green Crack, Train Wreck, Sour Diesel
  • Strains include OG Kush, Purple Erkle, Afghani
  • Acts as an upper (keeps you awake)
  • Acts as a downer (makes you sleepy)
  • Higher THC to CBD ratio
  • Higher CBD to THC ratio
  • Thrives in equatorial lands like Jamaica
  • Thrives in southern Asia
  • Better grown outdoors
  • Better grown indoors
  • Grows / matures slower
  • Grows / matures faster

If you gander at the plants themselves, you’ll find Sativa generally grows to a greater height while Indica is shorter and stockier. Upper vs. downer, right? The leaves match the bush as well; sativa leaves are long and thin while indica leaves are squat and fat. Even the leaves’ color seemingly corresponds to the degrees of compactness the two varying strains show (it’s based on the clorophyll levels and pigmentation). Typically, Sativa leaves are lighter green and Indica leaves smush the greenness together to obtain a darker, purple haze we all know and love.

Now for the juicy, sticky icky parts: the bud and the smell. Sativa buds become tinged with the dark orange and red hues of the sun and across the board smell sweet and fruity. The cooler-climate-based Indica buds achieve a deep purple color and pong just how they look: dank and skunky.

And…exhale. Now that all the technicalities are out there, I can get to what I know what’s really on your mind: the high times. You can sort of liken the difference in highs to a Four Loko buzz compared to a glass of Merlot or Chianti. A legit Sativa strain, like the appropriately named Green Crack, Train Wreck or Sour Diesel, is generally recommended for the all-day medicator, so toke up these trains if you’re planning to be out on the town or simply on an afternoon picnic. On the other hand, Indica strains such as OG Kush, Purple Erkle or Afghani conquer even the toughest cases of insomnia by knocking you out warm and fuzzy, sometimes after only one joint.

What are the reasons for the sundry highs, though? The answer lies in two acronyms: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). If you’ve been smoking enough weed to finally put down the snack food and do some research, you probably know what THC and CBD are and what each does. For those that aren’t in the loop, though, I’ll put it in Layman’s terms. A higher THC to CBD ratio will shuttle you up to Jupiter and give you that mythical spacey, nearly hallucinogenic state of mind. However, a higher CBD to THC ratio is going to make you feel sleepy…sleepier…and eyelids are closing…you’re drifting off to a deep, deep sleep…deeper…deep…er…

You get my point. Can you guess which ratio is characteristic of Sativa and Indica?

Anyways, the Sativa’s and Indica’s optimal growing geography and climate differs as well, with sativa favoring equatorial lands (which is probably why all that happy reggae music originally sprung out of Jamaica) and Indica thriving in southern Asia (Indian sitar music complements “couchlock” like you wouldn’t believe). Indicas win the race to maturity against Sativa but are better grown indoors, so if you stumble upon a field of Mary Jane, it’s probably going to be a whole mess of Sativa.

Just like you can never smoke too much of the herb, you can never know too much about it either.

  • COED Writer