The two major types of cannabis plants are Indica and Sativa. Each strain has it’s own range of effects on the body and mind resulting in a wide range of medicinal benefits. Indica strains generally provide a sense of deep body relaxation. Sativa strains tend to provide a more energizing experience.
Medicinal cannabis can be used to treat a wide variety of common conditions. Generally, medicinal cannabis results in the user having a sense of greater physical and mental relaxation, pain reduction, increased appetite, and better sleep. However, there are two main varieties of medicinal cannabis plants, and each offers a different set of benefits. Understanding the difference between the two is important to finding the right strain for each patient.
Cannabis Sativa plants are opposite of the Indica strains and grow tall and thin with narrow leaves. Sativa plants are also generally a lighter shade of green than their counterpart, the Indica strain. Sativa strains take longer to grow, mature, and require more light. Medicine produced from cannabis Sativa plants have lower CBD and higher THC counts.
What’s Behind the Effects of Sativa?
While scientists aren’t sure why different types of marijuana work the way they do, they have explored the effects of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. By looking into the cannabinoid profile of a sativa marijuana strain, consumers can better predict what its effects will be.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is what causes marijuana’s euphoric high. It’s excellent at relaxing muscles and relieving pain. It’s also the cannabinoid that’s responsible for some of the less-pleasant effects of marijuana such as anxiety. Sativa strains are often quite high in THC – one of the reasons they induce such a strong “head” high.
Next to THC, CBD (cannabidiol) is the cannabinoid found in the highest concentrations. CBD is non-psychoactive and counteracts the psychoactive and anxiety-inducing effects of THC. A calming cannabinoid, CBD is known for its effectiveness at treating anxiety and insomnia. Some sativa marijuana strains have high concentrations of CBD, which can help balance out their stimulating effects.
A large number of sativas have a high CBD-to-THC ratio. This leaves many people wondering how strains that contain a high percentage of CBD can still be energizing and uplifting. The answer lies in marijuana terpenes.
Terpenes (otherwise known as terpenoids) are the chemical compounds in plants that have aromatic and flavonoid properties. Similar to essential oils, cannabis terpenes have aromatherapeutic properties that help enhance the overall recreational or medicinal effects of indica and sativa cannabis strains. Some terpenes are stimulating, some are good for pain, while others have sedative properties.
The Entourage Effect
In addition to working as individual elements, terpenes such as myrcene, caryophyllene, pinene, terpinolene, and limonene likely produce various effects when they are mixed with each other, as well as with cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBG, and others.
This phenomenon is known as the “entourage effect,” and it explains how different cannabinoids and terpenes have various effects when they’re consumed in different combinations. Researchers are studying the entourage effect to determine how different cannabis ingredients can be combined in various amounts to achieve different effects. In the meantime, this might provide some explanation for the difference between sativa marijuana effects and those of indica strains.
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