As marijuana use for both medical and recreational purposes becomes legal in more and more states, there is a growing interest in the different effects that various types, including indica and sativa, can produce.

Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are two species of cannabis. This means that they share many similar features but have specific and distinct differences.

Although anecdotal evidence and some marijuana dispensaries claim that indica is more calming and sativa is more energizing, some experts say that such statements are misleading. Many more factors are involved in creating the recreational and medical effects of marijuana than strain alone.

In this article, learn more about the differences between each strain, as well as the effects that indica and sativa can produce.

Can’t decide whether to buy Indica versus Sativa? We can help

The best way to remember the difference between the effects of a good sativa strain versus an indica strain: indica puts you “in da couch.” The main difference between the indica vs sativa high is that indica typically has more of a noticeable effect on your body while sativa tends to live in your mind. In that sense, indica strains are more sedating and sativa strains are more activating or energizing. Thankfully, with thousands of different cultivars out there and the extensive menu at our dispensary, you won’t be forced to choose between feeling sleepy or hyper!

What is Sativa? Sativa strains are known for their “head high”

indica vs sativa

Sativa-dominant strains typically produce an energizing effect that can help with a multitude of issues. Sativa is great for people that want to feel focused, yet still relieve anxiety and decrease stress. Sativa strains are also very impactful for those who want to heighten creativity. As paradoxical as it may seem, this head high can even leave some people feeling more clear-headed.

Sativa dominant plants look and smell different

The plants themselves are very different from Indica dominant strains. The leaves are longer and thinner, the plants are typically taller and stretchier, and they are a lighter green color. Sativa plants will grow tall and lean.

Why use Sativa strains?

Sativa-dominant strains are usually preferred for daytime use or if you want to feel uplifted, energized, clear headed and focused.

The effects of Sativa-dominant strains

Smoking sativa-dominant flowers will produce a variety of effects. The most common effect has already been described, but it’s important to note that sativa strains may also help with depression or anxiety. Sativa is also recommended for those who are feeling creative or people who need to get things done around the house or in their daily life. Strains may arouse creativity levels and cause more focus in tasks.

Most Common Sativa Strains:

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel offers long lasting pain relief and an energizing, euphoric feeling. Sour Diesel is also known for its ability to amplify mental and creative focus.

Lemon Haze

Lemon Haze is known for its uplifting,  happy euphoric effect. This strain will also leave you feeling clear-headed and ready to tackle projects head-on.

Jack Herer

Jack Herer is known for its unique creative effects. It’s been described simply as a clear-headed, focused, level high that can sometimes get intense.

Try Sativa-dominant Strains For These Reasons

If you’re looking for a strain to make you feel uplifted, energized, focused, clear-headed – or if you seek relief from depression and stress, Sativa is the type of cannabis for you. Sativa strains are handy for artists and consumers who are feeling creative. But remember, each strain will affect each person differently.


indica vs sativa

We’d estimate that thousands of different cannabis strains have existed throughout the history of time. With all of the various options out there, it can be hard to determine which type of cannabis is best. For just about any strain, you can find top tier cannabis at our dispensary in Federal Heights. Even when you know it’s hard to go wrong, there’s still some desire to identify which cannabis strain is the very most appealing.

This leads people to categorize cannabis intro groups. That way, theoretically, it should be easier to identify which specific strains will offer a particular type of effect. Every cannabis strain is unique, but lumping them together by primary characteristics makes it easier to narrow down the options on a dispensary menu. One of the most classic ways to talk about cannabis is in terms of Indica versus Sativa.

  • Indica Strains – Indica strains are what people typically think about when they imagine enjoying cannabis and dozing off while a movie plays.
  • Sativa Strains – Sativas are popular among people who like to be more active after enjoying cannabis. They’re associated with physical activities, social gatherings, and creative pursuits.
  • Hybrid Strains – This is a category to catch all of the strains that can’t necessarily be considered either an Indica or a Sativa. Hybrids can be dominated by Indica or Sativa characteristics, or they may be very balanced. 

Some budtenders will be able to make a strain recommendation based on what you typically prefer. While even two strains of the same general type can have dramatically different effects, this is probably the best place to start your education on different varieties of cannabis. Learn more about the differences between Indicas and Sativas before diving more into the nuances of individual strains.


If Indica versus Sativa was the traditional way of talking about cannabis, relaxing versus invigorating is a more modern take. Different strains of cannabis can lead to different experiences, and just talking about a general type of plant isn’t always enough to express the nuances. To do that, cannabis enthusiasts usually like to use words like the following as they hone in on what they’re after:

Head HighBody HighAlertRelaxedClear-headedHazyHungryRelievedSleepyHappyGigglySoothedEnergeticCreative

If you want to get specific effects from a cannabis strain, you’ll have to dive deeper into that strain’s specific cannabinoids and terpene footprint. CBD and THC results are generally understood, but even plants with the same THC levels can be associated with entirely different experiences. Our body chemistry, mood, and various other things can impact how we experience cannabis, but terpenes are essential things that set strains apart.


If you’re familiar with aromatherapy or essential oils, you already know something about terpenes. These plants naturally produce these aromatic compounds. They’re what provides the enticing aroma of flowers, fruits, and essential oils. They’re found in lavender, lemons, hops, pepper, pine needles, and cannabis. There are hundreds of terpenes that cannabis can produce at various levels.

Terpenes are responsible for the unique aromas and flavors of different cannabis strains. Different terpenes have different scents and flavors like fruity, sweet, sour, earthy, herbal, and spicy. Cannabis connoisseurs with very refined palates may be able to guess which terpenes are in a strain just by smelling it or tasting it. While we’re all about finding the most flavorful cannabis strains, terpenes might inform so much more than just the aroma.

The terpene footprint of a particular strain may have a massive impact on its effects. Just as people might choose peppermint essential oil while they work and lavender essential oil to relax, the terpenes in cannabis have unique characteristics. It’s also believed that the terpenes present in a cannabis strain may affect how the body interacts with cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This is called the entourage effect.

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