When you begin your search for CBD products you’ll quickly see that there are two prominent types of CBD, indica or sativa, produced by most manufacturers. These types of CBD products are created by two unique subspecies of the hemp plant that have different effects that can be tailored to your wellness regiment. But, for us to understand what type may be best for you we first need to understand the characteristics of both indica and sativa.


Indica plants were first classified by the French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785. Historically, indica is a colder-weather species that is characterized by dark, broad leaves and is a denser and shorter plant. The effects produced by indica strains can be very relaxing, typically providing full-body muscle and tension relief, with lighter cerebral effects in comparison to sativa strains. Indica strains can be ideal for relieving tension and anxiety after work or at the end of the day. Often individuals dealing with anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms and tension, chronic pain, and menstrual cramps benefit from indica strains. Individuals who suffer from various ailments such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, sleep apnea, and insomnia may also benefit from the effects of indica.


Sativa is a warmer weather species of plant that takes just 10 to 15 weeks to mature. The sativa strains originated in the countries or areas located on or near the equator, such as Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and Southeast Asia. It is common for sativa plants to reach between 15 and 20 feet high and may even be lanky in appearance, with leaves that are thin and pointed.

Sativa strains are known to produce an uplifting and cerebral feeling that can be energizing and stimulating. These strains can significantly increase creativity. Sativas are often recommended for people looking for relief in the morning or during the day, keeping you energized and uplifted, ready to take on the day. They are known to help with fatigue, mood disorders, ADHD, appetite, pain, depression, and more.


While the conversation here is driven by the differences between sativa and indica, it’s also appropriate for us to take a moment to address a third type of plant you may read about. Cannabis ruderalis is a hardy species of plant that grows wild throughout Central Asia and Russia. It is much smaller than indica or sativa strains. It will typically only grow to about 1-2.5 feet high. It is characterized by a stalkier appearance than indica or sativa and has narrower palmate-shaped leaves.

Ruderalis is naturally higher in CBD which has proven beneficial to breeders, who cross ruderalis strains with indicas and sativas.


Each plant type not only has a specific look, but also a particular aroma. Indica tends to have musty, earthy, and even skunky odors, while sativa may smell more sweet, fruity, or even spicy. The aromas of indica and sativa are created by terpenes. Terpenes are fragrant oils that bind to receptors in the human body and carry a variety of health benefits.

In addition to appearance and smell, an additional way to tell the difference between sativa and indica is the amount of myrcene the particular plant has. Myrcene is a common terpene found in the hemp plant. It is known to help those dealing with sleep problems like insomnia and conditions like anxiety. If there is a greater volume than 0.5 percent of myrcene in a plant, it is considered to be an indica strain. If the plant has less than 0.5 percent myrcene, it is then considered to be a sativa strain.


Indica and sativa can have complimentary effects when taken together. Often, you may see people take a day and night bundle that works to provide all the benefits of both indica and sativa. The day portion of a bundle is often a CBD product like a sativa based CBD oil. The sativa product is taken in the morning to help provide energy, stimulate creativity, and to help with pain throughout the day.

A person may then take an indica product in the evenings which has a sedating effect. The indica combination in the evening can help with sleep issues like insomnia, anxiety, pain and inflammation. Together, the combination of indica and sativa can produce beneficial results.


Now that we have laid out some of the differences between indica and sativa you may be wondering what product will work best for you? Unfortunately, there is no one right answer because each person may experience different results or have different needs. Often, the best way to figure out the appropriate regiment for you is to work with an expert at a CBD wellness center like CBD Supply Maryland to determine what will be most effective for you.

With many new strains of hemp continuing to be developed, it’s important to know what products may work for you. Some varieties of sativa or indica are most appropriate for help with a particular disease or ailment, but not others. Choosing the right type is critical to ensuring that you receive the best possible outcomes.