Sativa or Indica

Medical Marijuana Effects: Indica vs. Sativa

The effects of marijuana can vary greatly depending on which sub-species, or strain, you medicate with. The plant species Cannabis sativa L. has two main sub-species used for medicinal purposes: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. Read on to learn more about the effects of each strain.

Marijuana Effects: Indica


Indica strains are sedatives/relaxants and are effective for treating the symptoms of medical conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, muscle spasms and tremors. Common strains include: White Berry, Blueberry, Northern Lights, Sensi Star and Gold Star. Indicas have a higher level of cannabinoids than sativas, which results in a sedated body-type stone. Because indica strains may cause feelings of sleepiness and heaviness, many patients prefer to medicate with this type of cannabis at night.

Marijuana Effects: Sativa


Sativa strains are more of a stimulant, and are effective in appetite stimulation, relieving depression, migraines, chronic pain and nausea. Common strains include: Haze, Trainwreck, K2, Kali Mist White Russian and Kiwi Green. Sativas have a higher level of THC than indicas, which results in a psychoactive and energetic mind-high. Because sativa strains may cause feelings of alertness and optimism, many patients prefer to medicate with this type of cannabis during the day.

Marijuana Effects: Hybrids

Hybrids and cross-breeds of indica and sativa strains produce varieties that carry some characteristics of each parent. For example, adding sativa to indica strains adds mental clarity and decreases sedation effects.  And adding indica to sativa strains can decrease or even eliminate the sativa tendency to stimulate anxiety. Common strains include OG Kush, Himalayan Gold, Blue Cross, 00 Diesel and Kandy Kush.

Hybrids are often referred to based upon the dominant sub-species inherited from their lineage, eg:  pure indica, mostly indica, mostly sativa, or pure sativa.  Instead of using pure indica or pure sativa, many patients can benefit from the use of hybrid strains. There are a vast number of strains available for patients, each with a different cannabinoid profile and effect.

Talk to your Marijuana Doctor

Medical marijuana is a versatile medicine that can help with the side effects and symptoms of countless medical conditions, including cancer, HIV/AIDs, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and more. Ask your doctor which medical marijuana strain is best for your medical condition.