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What Is The Difference Between Indica vs Sativa?

6 min read
Sativa vs indica

What Is The Difference Between Indica vs Sativa?

6 min read

Once you delve deeper into the world of CBD and cannabis-derived products, you might develop an interest in the origins of your products. 

A quick glance at the label of any CBD oil will likely reveal that it contains Cannabis Sativa, but what exactly does this mean?

Sativa vs Indica

The two main types of cannabis plants are Sativa and Indica. These plants are grown for medicinal and recreational use. The plant fibres are also used for creating textiles and eco-friendly building materials.

CBD is made from hemp, which is a kind of cannabis Sativa plant. But not all Cannabis Sativa plants are hemp plants.

To make it easier to understand, some in the cannabis industry are moving away from referring to plant strains as Indica vs Sativa and instead describing them as follows:

  • Type I: High THC content
  • Type II: Balanced CBD and THC content
  • Type III: High CBD content

As you can probably guess, the main difference between Sativa and Indica strains is the cannabinoid content, but terpenes will also have a big impact on the finished product.

While Sativas are typically known to produce energising effects, Indicas are better known for their full-body effects. At present, there aren’t any products available in the UK containing CBD made from Cannabis Indica.

As CBD can only be extracted from hemp, which is a Sativa, it would be difficult to work around this key distinction.

What's in this Guide?

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of around 80 active cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that can interact with the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors and neurotransmitters that send messages between cells. These messages help to maintain balance in the body, which is also known as a state of homeostasis.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the endocannabinoid system, but it is thought to influence everything from sleep patterns to appetite control. 

Taking CBD products regularly is thought to help maintain a sense of wellness by supporting the endocannabinoid system.

Another more famous cannabinoid is THC. This is the psychoactive element in cannabis that is responsible for the “high”.

For CBD products to be legal in the UK, they must contain very low levels of THC. This is why knowing the origins of your CBD oil is really important.

Many companies provide third-party lab testing of their products so you can check the cannabinoid content and ensure it has low levels of THC. However, not all companies provide this.

A simple way to confirm if your CBD is from a low-THC source is to check that it comes from the cannabis Sativa plant. This will often be listed in the ingredients for your CBD product.

What is Cannabis Sativa?

This plant is native to hot, dry climates including Africa, Central America and Southeast Asia. The plant can grow over 12 feet tall and has long finger-like leaves.

Hemp is a type of cannabis Sativa plant which contains higher levels of CBD and naturally low levels of THC. CBD products in the UK typically contain hemp, which is a kind of But the cannabis Sativa plant can also contain high levels of THC. 

How Does Sativa Make You Feel?

According to cannabis experts, Sativa strains of cannabis produce a “mind high”

This means that the effects of this strain are more likely to make you feel energised and creative rather than relaxed and lethargic.

CBD users often report varying reactions. While some use CBD to help them find mental clarity and feel more alert, others turn to CBD to help them sleep at night. 

The terpene profile of the CBD product and batch may also have an impact on the physiological reaction.

What is cannabis Sativa and How does Sativa make you feel
Sativa is better for mental clarity than the indica strain, and helps make you feel more alert

What is Cannabis Indica?

The cannabis Indica plant is native to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. It is shorter and bushier than the Sativa plant. It also produces more buds than the Sativa plant.

Indica is thought to have a full-body effect, helping to promote deep relaxation and to stimulate appetite. Cannabis from the Indica plant is thought to help with relaxation, making it ideal for nighttime use.

How Does Indica Make You Feel?

Indica strains are thought to provide a more relaxing experience. They are more commonly used to help relax the body and mind rather than produce a stimulating or creative effect.

What is cannabis indica and how does indica make you feel
Indica is associated more with deep relaxation as opposed to mental clarity and alertness

Is CBD Oil Made From Sativa or Indica plants?

CBD products are nearly always made from cannabis Sativa. Cannabis Sativa is also known as hemp, and this has a higher CBD content and low THC content.

When growing industrial hemp for manufacturing CBD, farmers must choose a strain that contains the highest levels of CBD and naturally low levels of THC. 

For industrial hemp to be grown legally in the USA, it must contain a low concentration of THC at harvest.

Cannabis is grown from three main strains; Indica, Sativa and Ruderalis. There are also hybrid plants within these varieties that have varying levels of THC. 

While some are grown to be more intoxicating, a growing number of cannabis users are seeking out cannabis strains with higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC.

While cannabis plants are growing in THC potency, they are also decreasing in CBD potency. This Indicates a clear divide in the production of cannabis and hemp.

This should provide some comfort to CBD users who may be concerned their products are a byproduct of cannabis production. 

At the moment, CBD sourced from areas like the USA and Europe must be made from hemp, which is a strain of Cannabis Sativa.

In the future, we may see more products made from a blend of cannabis Sativa and Indica.

Is CBD oil made from Sativa or Indica plants
In the future, we may see more combinations of sativa and indica strains in CBD oils

Does Indica vs Sativa really make a difference?

Yes, the two strains have very different cannabinoid profiles. There is also a legal distinction to consider. CBD can only be extracted from the hemp plant, as this ensures a low THC content at the time of harvest.

As a result of this, it would be difficult to find legal products in the UK that contain cannabis Indica. If the ingredient list states your CBD contains cannabis Indica, this could raise questions about the origins of the product.

While the cannabis strain is certainly relevant to the final product, some believe that the terpene and flavonoid profile of your CBD product could also make a big difference. 

You may see this referred to as the entourage effect.

Does Indica vs Sativa really make a difference
CBD extracted from the cannabis plant is likely to have much higher levels of THC and therefore is illegal in countries such as the UK

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in plants. They are responsible for the distinct smells given off by plants which help deter grazing animals and attract pollinators.

Some of the most popular terpenes are also associated with distinct smells such as linalool (lavender), limonene (citrus fruits), pinene (pine needles) and humulene (clove).

Read more: What are terpenes?

Different strains of cannabis plants will produce different terpene profiles. This is why CBD products from the same seller could have a drastically different flavour, as different batches could contain unique terpene profiles.

More research is needed to understand how terpenes and flavonoids help to enhance the benefits of CBD for promoting wellness. 

Terpenes are non-psychoactive, so they do not get you high.

We have long turned to terpenes for their aromatic benefits. This is the foundation of practices such as aromatherapy. 

Lavender is thought to help you to relax and sleep, while peppermint and eucalyptus are commonly used to ease congestion. 

Some people find scent alone is enough to elevate their mood.

As we learn more about these compounds, we’re discovering that they could offer additional benefits, including antiviral, antidepressant and antimicrobial qualities.

Terpenes could also offer pain-relieving properties

Humulene is found in high concentrations in cloves, and many people turn to clove oil as a natural way to relieve toothache.

What are terpenes
There are a number of terpenes in CBD products which contribute to the entourage effect


As a CBD user, it’s important to pay close attention to the origins of your CBD. 

Being aware when your CBD product contains compounds extracted from the cannabis Sativa or Indica plan is an easy way to confirm this.

If in doubt about your CBD products, always ask for a certificate of analysis to confirm the cannabinoid contents. 

And if a company cannot supply this, consider taking your business elsewhere.

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Check our other blog posts for more information about CBD – or buy CBD oil online from our shop if you’re ready to give it a try! With our 30-day happiness guarantee, there’s nothing to lose.

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