By: Tad Brunton


Sativa strains have a euphoric effect on people. It increases one’s creativity and stimulates the mind while energizing the urge for physical and mental activity. Sativa is also known to prompt a positive mood and to relieve migraines. It is a good daytime strain that enables you to feel great and wide awake.


Indica strains are known for their evening or nighttime qualities. They have a calming influence and can also act as a mild sedative. Indica can also increase your appetite and give you the munchies as it reduces your anxiety and your pain. Indica is best used at night when you are finished with work and most other physical activity.


These two mainstays of our marijuana culture are pretty easy to tell apart. Physically they are noticeably distinct. If you were to see a mature sativa plant next to a fully-grown indica bush you would recognize a huge difference immediately. The sativa would be Abraham Lincoln standing next to Daniel Radcliffe. Sativa = tall, indica = short. The leaves or ‘hands are also very telling. Sativa’s leaves are like a pianist’s fingers, that is, they are long and slender, while indica’s hands are brick layer’s in that they, the individual leaves, are wide and full. They are what someone’s hands and fingers would look like after manhandling heavy bricks all his life.

Sativa = slender, indica = wide.

Sativa leaf (left) and Indica leaf (right). Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

Indica plants are usually grown indoors and can grow upwards of 3 feet high, and sativas are mostly grown out doors and can reach heights of over 15 feet.

In the late 1700s a French biologist named Jean-Baptiste Lamarck observed that hemp plants from India had an intoxicating effect when smoked. He also noticed that similar hemp plants in Europe had no psychoactive effects no matter how much one smoked them. The European hemp was already named Cannabis sativa so he decided to identify the Indian version, (which he liked much better) by name, so he baptized it cannabis indica. Shortly after that, Mr. Lamarck’s cannabis indica became very popular in western medical circles for its therapeutic benefits.


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