Published: May 29th, 2017
Categories: Cannabis Info
In 1785, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck made the original distinction between Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. He discovered that Cannabis indica (Indian hemp), held greater potential for resin production and medicinal use than Cannabis sativa. It’s important to note, that "Cannabis sativa" in those days, was equivalent to what we consider to be “hemp” today; cannabis with very low levels of THC. What we refer to as “sativa”, in the 21st century, is a different story from the same book.
Ganja enthusiasts hybridised and selected the best phenotypes to get the best characteristics of both indica and sativa varieties. Hybridization processes brought to light dank strains such as White Widow, OG Kush, and Diesel. The line between what is sativa and indica has been blurred. Here, we will describe the indica and sativa landrace varieties, straight from their ancient origins to highlight their differences.
Cannabis strains originating from tropical climates are coined as sativa. The famous geographical roots of these marvellous plants are Thailand, Cambodia, Central America, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, among other tropical destinations. Sativa landrace strains usually come from warm and humid climates, think "rainforest".
During the 60’s-70’s, the Haze Brothers from California decided to make the dankest sativas, known to mankind. They gathered landraces from Hawaii, South America, Thailand, and India. All these varieties were selected and hybridised to generate high-quality sativas. As a result of these breeding endeavours, "Haze" genetics came to light. After Haze seeds got their way into Amsterdam, they were diluted with other cannabis varieties from every corner of the globe. Therefore "original" Haze genetics are incredibly rare.
“Indica” is a classical Greek and Latin word for “India”, which is where the western civilisation first discovered indica strains. These strains find their origin in the mountainous areas of the Hindu Kush and desert-like climates such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are hot and dry.
Tropical environments are abundant with humidity and heat. Sativa plants adapted to these environmental conditions. They reach approximately 400cm in height, the internodal space is stretched out and the buds are fluffier. These characteristics allow the plants to respire and deal with the high humidity levels, without developing mould. The fingers of the leaves are relatively thin, which allows the air to circulate through the entire plant with more efficiency. The flowering cycle lasts about 12+ weeks. Sativa strains are recommended for outdoor growing operations, due to their heights. Although, if one decides to grow them in colder climates, or hot and dry environments, it’s recommended to grow them indoors, with an abundance of space. When it comes to yields, sativa strains will usually deliver bountiful yields per plant, simply because they grow so large.
Indica strains derive from dry/hot deserts and mountainous climates, therefore the shape of the plants is more protective. The leaf fingers are wider, the buds are denser and the plants reach shorter heights to retain moisture and protect their composure from the hot days and cold desert nights. It’s recommended for indoor growers to choose indica varieties due to their short heights, which normally span between 50cm-200cm. These heights are perfect for limited space and stealthy operations. The flowering time of indica strains is shorter compared to sativa strains. One can expect the plants to finish flowering after around 8-10 weeks. Though overall harvest is lower, the yields in grammes per m2 are higher when compared with sativas.
100% Indica strains, such as LA Confidential and Critical Kush are perfect examples of what the pure indicas look, smell and feel like.
The classic sativa effects comprise uplifting, energetic, focused and creative sensations. When one wishes to have a more awakening experience, Sativa dominant strains are usually the way to go. Fantastic 100% sativa strain out there are Dr Grinspoon and Desfrán.
The classic indica effects emanate those relaxing “couch-lock” sensations. Chilled and narcotic feelings are to be expected. If you're looking to fall asleep or relax on the couch and watch some Netflix series, indica strains should be the dank of choice.
New studies show that the effects of cannabis are not merely based on the origins of the Cannabis species, but on their cannabinoid and terpene profile. For example, a terpene Myrcene together with cannabinoids such as THC, enhances the narcotic effects of indica. Therefore, if an abundance of Myrcene is present in a sativa strain, it can actually create a more down-tempo indica vibe. Ganja scientists are perpetually researching the connections between hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes, present in cannabis and us humans.