Describe difference of Sativa, Indica, hybrid, cannabinoids, terpenes, and the entourage effect.

Sativa vs Indica: How are they different and what does it mean?

Written by: Janie Greenthumb | June 25th, 2020 (UPDATED 2023) | Marijuana Education

Photo by: TwoBeltJournalism

There are many kick ass strains of marijuana that have been developed over the years. Thank you to all the herbalists and cannabisseurs!! These strains are all derived from two types of marijuana: Sativa and Indica, and then a mix of the two called Hybrid. An old theory called the “Lamarck Marijuana Theory” states that because these two types were once grown in separate isolated locations, it gave them distinctive characteristics in their appearance and experience. This theory carries onto today and a lot of people base their weed experience on whether it is sativa vs indica. So what’s the difference?

Sativa vs Indica effects and high-what’s the difference?


  • Cerebral Head High
  • Uplifting
  • Energizing
  • Can reduce anxiety/stress
  • Increase creativity and focus
  • Good for social settings
  • Tall thin plants


  • Full body effects
  • Deep relaxation
  • Sedating
  • Can reduce insomnia
  • Appetite Stimulator
  • Pain reliever
  • Short, stocky, bushy plants

This is a list of common characteristics associated with Sativa vs Indica, but is this always true?? We wish it was that simple, but it is not. There are many variations based on other factors. Individual plants have varying effects, even when they are the same type of marijuana. Also most strains nowadays are hybrids so it is difficult to judge correctly. Just by looking at whether it is Sativa or Indica is not enough to know what experience you will have. So what is the best choice when shopping for marijuana?

Here’s how to find the right nuggets for your needs: Base your search on the chemical composition of the plant, not on appearance and genetics. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.. Isn’t that what our mama’s always said??

What should you look for to find the best choice of marijuana?

Instead of looking at the type alone – sativa or indica – look at the description that the grower and marijuana dispensary have provided and pay attention to the cannabinoids and terpenes which is what sets different strains apart from one another. Just because a strain has lower THC levels does not mean it is not some choice buds. There is a theory developed by scientists known as “The Entourage Effect” that states there is better effects from utilizing cannabinoids and terpenes together than just by themselves. More cannabinoids the better!


The two most common and well known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. There is many years of research that has shed a lot of light on the effects. On every cannabis product you buy it will have a percentage of THC and CBD on the label. THC is psychoactive and is responsible for the euphoric high you feel. It has many mental benefits such as reducing anxiety and stress, stimulating your appetite and helping with insomnia. CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn’t create a high but produces many physical benefits, such as reducing pain and nausea, preventing seizures and easing migraines. There are also dozens of other less common cannabinoids that play a part in a person’s experience such as CBN or THCA. More research is being done to identify the effects and benefits.


We all love our THC and CBD but it is beneficial to look at more than just the cannabinoid percentages. Newer research suggests terpenes may be just as important.


Terpenes are a naturally occurring compound in marijuana and many other herbs and plants around the world. There are over 200 found in the cannabis plant. Terpenes directly affect the plant’s scent and also have a psychoactive effect in cannabis. An example would be when you peel an orange and smell the citrus, that’s terpenes. Terpenes play a critical role in plant health like attracting pollinators, scare off predators and increase immune system function. They may also influence the effects of different cannabis strains on the human mind and body. Terpenes are bioactive so need to be consumed to have an impact on the body. So next time you smell that skunky dank weed, think of what terpenes are in it.

Photo By: THC Design

How to get the best marijuana for your budget

When you are buying your budz make sure you think about what is in it and if that is something that will help you. Don’t base your judgement on whether it is Sativa vs Indica or THC content alone. The labels will usually only have info on what type of marijuana (Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid) and common cannabinoid (THC and CBD, sometimes THCA) percentages so you’ll need some help. Luckily most Budtenders are very knowledgeable in popular strains (we know a few 😉) and will be able to guide you in the right direction.

A good suggestion is to write a marijuana journal and write down your experience with each strain. If it was a good one you will know it is a good fit for your body chemistry. The same strain could have different effects depending on the person. So take it slow and enjoy the ride!

Hopefully you have a better idea of what the difference is between Sativa and Indica as well as a good way to choose your marijuana to get the best experience!


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2 thoughts on “Sativa vs Indica: How are they different and what does it mean?”

  1. Everything in cannabis is useful, It is a new way to consume for medical purpose like edibles, cbd oil etc. Medical uses like anxiety, sleep disorder, hunger issue, head pain etc can be cure by medical cannabis. Thanks for your wonderful information.

  2. Pingback: The Best Restaurants in Kitsap to cure the munchies | Budeez

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