If you’re just starting to use cannabis and aren’t exactly sure what to expect, we’ve got you covered. Could you use a boost in mood and creativity or are you looking to relax aching muscles and maybe get deeper sleep? Do you need to increase your appetite? Are you dealing with anxiety?
Although there are tons of strains, the two main strains of marijuana are Indica and Sativa. When I was first learning about which was which an old roommate informed me that Indica was ‘in the couch’, lol…a handy description considering I’ve remembered it since. To me, the effects of Indica strains are often misrepresented in with stereotypes of juvenile cannabis users, or ‘stoners’, that never get off their couch. The reality is that while Indica does make users relaxed, it can be used sparingly, or at night, so that it’s not disruptive to your daily routine. What’s awesome about Indica is that if you have a muscle injury or are experiencing nausea or any kind of acute pain, it’ll help curb it. Indica gives users a ‘body high’ because it also serves as a dopamine enhancer and activates the pleasure centers in your brain. So, if you have a date coming over, you might want to consider having a bit, ahem. Indica is also high in CBD vs. THC, which means that it has more anti-inflammatory effects and less psychotropic ones, like products that are high in THC.
Sativa, meanwhile, is likely to have somewhat different effects. It takes longer to mature and grow than Indica, and although it also works as an anti-depressant and treats chronic pain, it’s better for day time use. This is because it specifically increases focus and creativity to give users a ‘cerebral rush.’ It works with serotonin, which affects sleep, mood, learning, anxiety and appetite, and has a higher concentration in THC. The plants are longer, thinner, and lighter than Indica plants, which grow quickly and tend to have a higher yield. Sativa needs warmer climates and also has shorter cycles for flowering.
These two descriptions aside, most strains are hybrid, regardless of how they’re packaged or marketed. Because of decades of crossbreeding, it’s unlikely to find a pure strain of either. Each individual strain is likely to have a combination of both sets of traits, and some outlets like Vice have even mentioned that the most important part of the part of the plant is its chemical make-up and terpenes, which are the types of essential oils present in weed and are responsible for the various effects. Crossbreeding is nuanced, and strains are now developed carefully to create certain experiences, even though there’s little regulation as far as categorization. On top of that, two people could use the same strain to experience totally different effects. So, although it’s good to have a general idea of how most people tend to experience either type, you’ll only really know what works for you once you try it.