Indica and Sativa, two well-known names in the cannabis world, but do we really know what they mean? When we look for information about cannabis strains it’s very common finding that the strains are classified into three groups: indica, sativa and hybrids. Most consumers have used these classifications to predict the effects:
● Indica strains are believed to have sedative and relaxing effects
● Sativa strains are said to provide energy and work well with physical activity
● Hybrids are considered to offer a balance between both effects
This is a deeply ingrained belief in popular cannabis culture, however, if we take a look at the chemicals found in indicas and sativas (terpenes and cannabinoids), we’ll notice that there are no clear patterns that explain why one would have sedative effects, and another energizing effects. We know that indica and sativas look different and grow different, so this classification would really be primarily useful for growers.
But if the Indica and Sativa ratings don't serve as predictors of effects, what can serve as a good predictor?
The effects of any strain of cannabis depend on a number of different factors, including its chemical profile, the biology and tolerance of the user, the dosage and method of consumption.
Considering the chemical profile of the strains, these could be classified more appropriately as follows:
● THC dominant strains, this type of strains are used by patients treating pain or side effects of cancer or AIDS treatments.
● CBD dominant strains contain small amounts of THC and are used by patients who are very sensitive to THC.
● Strains with a THC/CBD balance, contain similar amounts of both compounds, can be used for a variety of purposes by patients seeking relief from their symptoms and are mostly used by adults.
Terpenes also play an important role in the energizing or sedative effects of the plant, since they interact with cannabinoids, enhancing their effects.
The amounts of THC, CBD and terpenes in cannabis are not related to the indica, sativa or hybrid classification, the only characteristic of sativas that has been found is the presence of the Terpinolene terpene, which is present in a small number of strains which most are considered sativas and hybrids. Still, not all sativas contain this terpene.
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