Sativa vs. Indica: The differences we don’t hear about

Published on September 9, 2022 by Bradie Sparrow

Sativas and Indicas are perceived differently by growers.

I had the opportunity to visit a micro cannabis facility near Creston, BC, where the flagship strain is a Sativa-leaning Hybrid. Due to the low availability of craft-quality Sativas, their product sells out at the BCLDB warehouse very quickly. However, that does not mean that bringing a Sativa to the market is an easy gig.

As the wife of a long time cannabis grower, I was surprised to learn that Sativas are harder to grow. They tend to have more height and be a wilder plant, requiring support or staking that a shorter, more stout plant may not. The owner of this facility actually called them an “asshole plant,” requiring a longer period of time to finish their flowering. These flowers can take up to 16 weeks, whereas an Indica may mature in as little as eight weeks. If this lengthened growing schedule is considered over a year’s time, these growers are likely realizing one less crop per year compared to a facility focusing on Indicas. I can’t help but wonder how that affects their bottom line.

Unfortunately, the reality of a longer flowering period is that these plants are more susceptible to disease and pests. Let’s face it, the longer growing time will also mean additional labour and extra nutrition. On top of all these details, we are assuming that the growers have the integrity to allow the plants to finish their natural cycle and develop to their fullest, hoping that they are not chopping early and feeding subpar product into the market.

Photo: Adobe/the oz.

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Perhaps you were expecting to hear about the effects of these flowers.

Since cannabis is a subjective experience, instead I will wrap up by sharing more about leaf appearance and their differences. The bulk of cannabis varieties available today are hybrids, but when we look at a plant that’s Sativa leaning, her leaves tend to be slim, narrow and long, with buds that finish slender with more length. Plants with wider, chunky, and stout leaves that produce buds which are bulkier and more dense are leaning more towards the Indica side.

While I am confident the list of differences is longer than what I’ve presented here, hopefully this provides a better variety of arguments when you are asked: What is the difference between Sativa and Indica?

What is Hybrid Cannabis? Hybrid cannabis strains are plants that have the combined characteristics of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica plants, depending on its genetic lineage. In fact, most cannabis today is a type of hybrid marked as either indica- or sativa-dominant, rather than pure indica or sativa.Jan 18, 2022

— source https://www.verilife.com/blog/hybrid-cannabis-strains