In recent years, the use of medical marijuana has gained widespread acceptance as an effective treatment option for various medical conditions. As a result, there has been an increase in the demand for information about the different strains of cannabis available in the market. Two of the most popular strains of cannabis are Indica and Sativa. While both strains contain various compounds that offer different therapeutic benefits, each strain has unique characteristics that make them suitable for different situations.

As a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, it is essential to understand the difference between Indica and Sativa to make informed decisions about your treatment options. In this article, we will explore what Indica is, its unique properties, and the pros and cons of Indica vs. Sativa. We will also delve into the various medical conditions that can be effectively treated with Indica, and the appropriate dosage for each condition. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of Indica and Sativa, enabling you to make informed decisions about your medical marijuana treatment.

Definitions

What is indica?

Indica, also known as Cannabis Indica, is a subspecies of the Cannabis plant that is native to the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Indica strains are known for their relaxing and sedative effects on the body, making them popular among medical marijuana patients seeking relief from chronic pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, and insomnia.

What is sativa?

Sativa, also known as Cannabis Sativa, is another subspecies of the Cannabis plant that originated in warmer regions such as Central America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Sativa strains are known for their energizing and uplifting effects, making them popular among medical marijuana patients seeking relief from depression, fatigue, and other mood disorders.

Appearance

What does indica look like?

Indica plants have a short and bushy appearance, with broad leaves and dense buds. They grow faster than Sativa strains and are better suited for indoor cultivation due to their compact size. The plants produce a distinct earthy aroma with hints of fruit, and their effects are often described as a “body high” that leaves the user feeling relaxed, calm, and sometimes sleepy.

What does sativa look like?

Sativa plants have a tall and thin appearance, with narrow leaves and long buds. They require more light and space to grow than Indica strains, and are better suited for outdoor cultivation due to their height. The plants produce a distinct earthy aroma with hints of citrus, and their effects are often described as a “head high” that leaves the user feeling creative, focused, and alert.

CBD and THC concentration

CBD and THC concentration in indica

Indica strains typically have higher levels of the cannabinoid compound called cannabidiol (CBD). It is used in medicine for therapeutic properties and can help reduce inflammation, anxiety, seizures and improve the quality of sleep. Cannabis indica tends not to be as potent as Sativa strains because they have lower THC levels on average (though some Indicas can reach up to 30% THC). 

CBD and THC concentration in sativa

Cannabis sativa typically has higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD compared to Indica strains. This makes them produce stimulating psychoactive effects.

How does it work?

How does indica work?

Cannabis Indica strains induce relaxation and tranquility due to high levels of CBD. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system to regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. CB1 receptors in the brain are targeted by CBD, reducing anxiety, promoting relaxation, and relieving pain. Indica strains also contain sedative terpenes like myrcene, which increase the absorption of cannabinoids for quicker onset of effects.

How does sativa work?

Cannabis Sativa strains contain high levels of THC, which interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system and binds to CB1 receptors in the brain, leading to an increase in dopamine levels. This results in feelings of pleasure, reward, euphoria, and heightened sensory perception. Sativa strains also have high levels of terpenes such as limonene and pinene, which are known to be mood-enhancing and increase focus and creativity. THC also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that provide relief from chronic pain and inflammation, contributing to an overall sense of wellbeing and energy.

Effects

Indica effect

Here is a list of common effects associated with cannabis Indica strains from the user’s perspective:

  • Relaxation: indica are known for their calming and sedative effects, which can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
  • Pain relief: it has been shown to have analgesic properties, which can provide relief from chronic pain and inflammation.
  • Sleep aid: it can promote feelings of drowsiness and help improve the quality and duration of sleep.
  • Appetite stimulation: cannabis indica are known to stimulate the appetite, which can be beneficial for people with conditions such as anorexia or cachexia.
  • Muscle relaxation: it can help relieve muscle tension and spasms, making them a popular choice for people with conditions such as multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia.
  • Mood enhancement: it helps improve mood and promote feelings of well-being and contentment.

It’s important to note that the effects of Indica strains can vary from person to person, and may also depend on factors such as dosage, method of consumption, and individual tolerance. Patients should work closely with a medical professional to determine the appropriate strain and dosage of medical marijuana for their specific needs.

Sativa effect

Cannabis Sativa strains are known for their uplifting and energizing effects, and users often report the following effects:

  • Euphoria: it can produce a sense of euphoria and happiness, which can be uplifting and motivating for users.
  • Increased creativity: due to the stimulating effects of Sativa strains, users often report feeling more creative and imaginative, making it a popular choice for artists and musicians.
  • Enhanced focus: sativa are also known for their ability to increase focus and concentration, making it a popular choice for those who need to stay productive throughout the day.
  • Boost in energy: it can provide users with a boost in energy, making it a popular choice for athletes and those who need to stay active.
  • Heightened sensory perception: sativa cannabis can enhance sensory perception, making colors appear more vivid and sounds more distinct.
  • Appetite stimulation: it can also stimulate the appetite, making it a popular choice for those who struggle with nausea or loss of appetite.

It is crucial to understand that the effects of Sativa strains can differ based on various factors, such as tolerance, dosage, consumption method, and the specific strain being used. Therefore, patients must collaborate with a medical professional to determine the right strain and dosage of medical marijuana suitable for their individual needs.

Best time to use

When to use cannabis indica?

Cannabis Indica strains are generally associated with sedation and relaxation, making them a better choice for evening or nighttime use. Indica strains can cause drowsiness and may impair cognitive and motor functions, so it is important to avoid using them during the day if you need to be alert and productive. However, it is always recommended to work with a medical professional to determine the best strain and dosage for your specific needs.

When to use cannabis sativa?

Cannabis Sativa strains are best suited for daytime use as they tend to have more stimulating effects that can provide an energy boost and increase focus and creativity. Sativa strains can also be useful for social situations, as they can promote conversation and sociability. However, individuals should still be cautious with the dosage and monitor their response, as some Sativa strains can cause anxiety or paranoia in some users. Overall, it’s recommended to use Sativa strains during the day or early evening, rather than at night, to avoid disrupting sleep.

Medical purposes

Medical conditions and indica

There is growing evidence that cannabis Indica strains can be effective in managing various medical conditions. Some of the diagnoses that Indica strains may be helpful for include:

  • Chronic pain: Indica strains are known for their analgesic properties and may be effective in managing chronic pain conditions such as neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and arthritis.
  • Insomnia: it may be useful in promoting relaxation and inducing sleep, making them potentially helpful for individuals with insomnia or other sleep disorders.
  • Anxiety and PTSD: it may be helpful in managing symptoms of anxiety and PTSD due to their calming and sedative effects.
  • Muscle spasms and tremors: Indica strains may be effective in reducing muscle spasms and tremors associated with conditions such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
  • Nausea and vomiting: it helps in reducing nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy or other medical treatments.

It’s important to note that cannabis should always be used under the guidance of a medical professional and in compliance with local laws and regulations.

Medical conditions and sativa

There is limited scientific research on the medical benefits of cannabis, including Sativa strains. However, some studies suggest that Sativa strains may be helpful in managing symptoms associated with certain medical conditions, including:

  • Depression: it may have mood-elevating effects that can alleviate symptoms of depression.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): sativa may help increase focus and concentration, which can be beneficial for people with ADHD.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome: sativa cannabis may provide an energy boost that can help manage the fatigue associated with this condition.
  • Migraines: some studies suggest that Sativa strains may have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.
  • Nausea and vomiting: it may help alleviate nausea and vomiting, particularly in people undergoing chemotherapy or with gastrointestinal conditions.
  • Chronic pain: it may have analgesic properties that can provide relief from chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

It’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential medical benefits of Sativa strains and to determine the appropriate strains and dosages for each medical condition. Patients should always consult with a medical professional before using cannabis for medical purposes.

Side effects

Indica side effects

Although Indica strains are typically known for their calming and sedative effects, they can also cause side effects like dry mouth, dry eyes, and impaired coordination due to their higher CBD content. Therefore, it’s crucial for patients to consult with a medical professional to determine the appropriate Indica strain and dosage of medical marijuana tailored to their specific medical needs.

Sativa side effects

Sativa are known for their energizing and stimulating effects. It can also lead to side effects such as paranoia, anxiety, and tachycardia (increased heart rate) due to the higher THC content. It’s important for patients to work closely with a medical professional to determine the appropriate strain and dosage of medical marijuana for their specific needs.

Is sativa better than indica?

It is not accurate to say that Sativa is better than Indica or vice versa, as both types of cannabis plants have unique characteristics and can be beneficial for different individuals and medical conditions.

Sativa strains are known for their energizing and uplifting effects, making them a good choice for those looking to improve focus, creativity, and productivity. On the other hand, Indica strains are associated with relaxation, sedation, and pain relief, making them a popular choice for individuals with conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain.

You can compare these cannabis types in our table:

Criteria Cannabis Sativa Cannabis Indica
Appearance Taller and thinner plants with narrow leaves Shorter and bushier plants with wider leaves
CBD concentration Lower levels of CBD Higher levels of CBD
THC concentration Higher levels of THC Lower levels of THC
Effects Energizing, uplifting, creative, cerebral high Relaxing, sedating, calming, body high
Side effects Anxiety, paranoia, dry mouth, dry eyes, dizziness Dry mouth, dry eyes, impaired coordination, memory impairment
Medical purpose Mood disorders, fatigue, depression, appetite stimulation Pain relief, insomnia, muscle spasms, anxiety, nausea, headaches
Best time to use Daytime Nighttime

Ultimately, the choice between Sativa and Indica should be based on individual needs, preferences, and medical conditions. It is important to consult with a medical professional and start with a low dosage to determine the best strain and dosage for each individual’s specific needs.

Summary: sativa and indica pros and cons

Pros Cons
Cannabis Sativa
Energizing and stimulating Can cause anxiety or paranoia
Increases creativity Can be too intense for some
Can help with depression May interfere with sleep
Appetite suppressant
Best used during the day
Cannabis Indica
Promotes relaxation May cause sedation or drowsiness
Reduces anxiety and stress Can cause dry mouth and eyes
Increases appetite May impair coordination
Best used at night Can be too potent for some
Analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties

Contact LAMMD to get help to choose best cannabis type to relief their conditions

It is important to note that the use of cannabis indica or cannabis sativa is only legal with a valid medical marijuana card. If you are suffering from a qualifying medical condition, we urge you to contact LAMMD to get your medical marijuana card.

Our team of licensed doctors can assist patients in Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, New York, Rhode Island, Maryland and New Hampshire with obtaining their MMJ card. Not only that, our doctors will also help patients choose the right type of medical cannabis to provide the relief they need for their specific medical condition.