What is Sativa? What is Indica?

Have you ever heard the term Indica means in-da-couch, maaan…? As legalization takes place across the country, consumers have adopted the terms ‘indica’ and ‘sativa’ to help better describe the effects of strains. Understandibly so, as the catalog of cannabis strains seems endless and grows day-by- day. Seeing as consumers have preferrences, they often need help sorting through the library of strains and try to find what works best for them and so more often then not, most consumers will look towards Sativa and Indica to help identify the effects that any given strain will give them.

Generally, Sativas will be described as up-lifting, cerebral mind effects. Indicas are described as being more sedating, relaxing body effects. However, there are almost no scientific studies that prove these effects. Another important thing to know is that it is generally accepted amongst most cannabis experts that true, 100% pure sativa or 100% pure indica may actually be extinct or near extinction.i Furthermore, the terms themselves are rooted in botany rather than explaining the effects of the strain. The words ‘Indica’ and ‘Sativa’ were first coined in the 18th century to describe 1.) the shape and size of the plant and 2.) the location/origin of that particular strain.

So, where do they come from? Sativa was actually coined to describe hemp plants found in Europe where-as Indica was coined to describe the pyschoactive plants found in India. Sativas are also identifed by the tall, narrow leaves and Indicas are identified by having short, stout plants with broad- leafs. ii

Then what really determines the effects? Cannabinoids, Terpenes, your own personal body chemistry, and the method of consumption. This, of course, makes it very difficult for those behind-the- counter to really nail down the perfect treatment a customer may be looking for and to that end, there really is no way to guarentee that “Blue Dream” will give your customer the exact effect that he or she is looking for, but you can describe how it effects others, how it effects you, or how it effects your co- workers. But, it is also totally cool to let your customer know that they really won’t know how mary jane is until they take her on a date themselves. Of course, the true answer to a customer should be that they should familiarize themselves with a particular family or a particular strain that satisfy their needs best and stick with that family. For example, Blue Dream is BlueBerry x Haze. So, if you happen to really enjoy Haze, you will also probably really like Blue Dream. It goes further! If you like Blue Dream, then you may also like Dream Lotus, which is a Blue Dream cross. Even then, however, it is not so simple. A Blue Dream cut found in California for example, could be totally different from a Blue Dream cut found in Massachusetts.

This all has to do with genetics, mostly. When a breeder actually breeds a cannabis plant, they often under-go what is called a phenohunt once they produce enough seeds. From there, they will plant how ever many seeds they want and once each of those seeds have been grown, cultivated, and cured, the breeder will often select which of those seeds is the best of the bunch, make that the mother plant and either sell clones or sell seeds from there.iii In other words, you could have joe schmoes cut of Blue Dream on the west coast where-as the east coast has billy jean’s Blue Dream cut. While both may be Blue Dream (Haze x BlueBerry) they could both look completely different, smell completetly different, taste completetly different and even have completely different effects. In other words, every strain that we carry is simply an expression of what we think that strain actually is. Next week, What is a Landrace strain and the origins of cannabis as we know it. ~Sutten M. Further reading:




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