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In the world of cannabis, the many terms, such as "indica" or "sativa can be confusing and even potentially misleading when you get to the science behind their origins. Colloquially, sativa or indica products, such as edibles, have to do with whether their effects make you more energized (sativa) or relaxed (indica). But those new to the scene may be wondering, exactly, whether sativa or indica edibles are better.
Indica and sativa scientifically refer to a plant's growth characteristics, the amount of THC, CBD, and terpenes that all can affect a user’s experience. They are helpful shorthand terms for our purposes, and for those seeking edibles as a handy cannabis treat, consumers want to know what to expect.
In the world of edibles, these cannabis treats are designed to have a precise ratio of all ingredients to produce specific and consistent effects. Simply put, indica edibles should make you feel more grounded and relaxed, while sativa edibles are designed to uplift and energize. Hybrids can offer a middle-ground, with varying effects based on ratios, terpenes, and other actors.
Read on to learn more about sativa vs. indica edibles, what to expect when taking each, and when one may be better than the other.
- Edibles are food infused with cannabis compounds that produce intoxication, such as gummies or brownies.
- Sativa and indica are colloquial labels that refer to the "upper" high of the former or the more sedating experience of the latter.
- It's essential to review lab results and understand how THC, CBD, and terpenes play a role in the high your edibles will provide.
What are Edibles?
Edibles are food products made with ingredients infused with cannabis extract. Classic examples include weed brownies or cookies, but cannabis edibles can be made from virtually any food or drink. Cannabis oil or cannabis-infused butter are essential ingredients that can be incorporated into hundreds of dishes.
Cannabis edibles can be precisely targeted, containing specific and measured ratios of THC, CBD, terpenes, and other components to produce reliably effective results, depending on the user's goals.
However, the general rule of thumb with edibles is to start with very low doses and gradually increase the amount ingested, as edibles are far more potent than other consumption methods.
What are Sativa Edibles?
Sativa edibles are infused foods that contain cannabinoids and other cannabis extract materials that may produce an energizing, uplifting feeling. In nature, sativa strains usually contain more THC than CBD and feature prominent amounts of limonene, beta-caryophyllene, and other uplifting terpenes.
The ratios of cannabinoids and types of terpenes in a given sativa strain depend entirely on the environment in which it's grown. Sativa edibles can either contain a combination of similar components that produce an uplifting exerience or can be strain-specific, recreating the reported effects of a particular sativa.
Sativa edibles yield effects like increased energetic, and creativity. Some credit sativas as handy tools to accomplish daytime tasks, adventure on an outdoor hike, or pursue artistic endeavors.
Some of the most popular sativa strains used in edibles are:
- Hawaiian Haze
- Sour Diesel
- Durban Poison
- Jack Herer
- Blue Dream
- Super Lemon Haze
What are Indica Edibles?
Indica edibles are foods infused with cannabinoid profiles and terpenes that reliably produce relaxing, sedating, and pain-relieving effects. By nature, indica plants typically contain high levels of THC, while some species feature greater concentrations of CBD. Terpenes such as myrcene, linalool, and beta-caryophyllene appear more commonly, with the first two producing relaxing effects.
Some higher potency strains are known for creating a "couch lock" effect, a heavy sedation where users feel glued to their seats and do not move. Indica edibles may be more tolerable from a potency perspective if they contain higher levels of CBD, which act to minimize the stoned feeling while still pleasantly sedating aches or pains.
Edibles labeled indica are crafted to produce indica-like effects, including full-bodied relaxation or numbing, and are formulated or extracted from an indica strain. Indica edibles commonly soothe anxiety, while some varieties (with less sativa characteristics) can banish depressive thoughts and even help users achieve restful sleep.
Some of the most popular indica strains used in edibles are:
- Granddaddy Purple
- Northern Lights
- Bubba Kush
- Purple Punch
Choosing Sativa vs. Indica Edibles
Choosing between sativa or indica edibles involves factors like personal preference and a user's intention. Both sativas and indicas may offer health and wellness benefits, with hybrids and varieties in both camps capable of producing highly varied effects depending on the producer, consumption method, and chemicals involved.
For example, you may prefer a sativa edible with some CBD during the day to energize yourself from fatigue while avoiding any potential paranoia that can occur with too much THC. A mix of an indica edible with CBN included may be a helpful wind-down choice in the evening, especially for those who struggle with insomnia.
The best way to determine whether a particular strain or edible product will work for you is to examine the test results on the packaging and experiment with a few exciting options. A simple sativa/indica binary won't give you clear insight into how your body will respond to an edible. It's better to focus on the product's suggestions and start with very low doses early in your experimentation.
For strain-specific edibles, it is also important to remember that two source strains could have a completely different makeup of THC and other compounds, even with the same name. Variations in growing techniques, breeders, seeds, and environmental circumstances can change the high a strain like OG Kush produces – this is why lab results and sourcing from a reliable brand are crucial for a consistent experience.
Correctly dosing your edibles, whether indica or sativa-infused, is a key element of using cannabis. In a dispensary or online store, edibles will display their cannabinoid content in milligrams and provide a recommended serving size so you know exactly how much you're consuming per bite, gummy, or capsule.
The best rule of thumb is to start with as low a dose as possible - most start at 2.5mg of THC - and wait 90 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects and determine if you need higher amounts. It may take a few tests to find the best option, but remember: you can always take more, but you can't take back what you've already ingested.
Terpenes and other cannabinoids
THC and CBD alone aren't solely responsible for how certain strains or edibles make us feel. Terpenes such as limonene and beta-caryophyllene, for example, have been shown to produce energizing and focusing effects, plus the ability to lift moods and inspire creativity.
Minor cannabinoids such as CBN or CBG also have unique effects that can enhance or add nuance to an indica or sativa edible. CBN, for example, has been shown to produce sedative effects and inspire general relaxation, so many products on the market have started adding the compound for indica-focused edibles. THCV is another recently discovered cannabinoid that's more energizing, and sativa strains are thought to have higher concentrations that contribute to their "upper" effects.
The entourage effect, or the combined effects of a combination of cannabinoids and terpenes, also changes what you'll experience when using a sativa or indica edible. Some producers use this and formulate their edibles to achieve focusing, relaxing, or sleep-time results specifically.
Your unique physiology will also respond to different combinations differently. Again, your best bet is to read lab results, experiment with multiple products and cannabinoid/terpene ratios, and start with small doses before gradually increasing.
The Bottom Line: Are Sativa or Indica Edibles Better?
Neither sativa or indica edibles are universally better. Instead, you need to consider your goals for using edibles and what kind of high or effects you want to achieve. Sativa edibles are best for daytime use, as they inspire focus and energize users, while indicas are better suited for evening consumption as they relax and sedate.
Curious about different sativa and indica edibles options? Our line of gummies mix cannabinoids and terpenes to produce specific effects with reliable efficacy - check them out!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which edibles are better, sativa or indica?
Indica edibles are typically best reserved for sleep or evening use and help fight insomnia or other pain- or sleep-related issues. Sativa edibles are more stimulating and better for focusing or invigorating users during the day.
Do you feel more high on indica or sativa?
Sativa strains tend to contain higher amounts of THC. In contrast, indica strains typically contain terpenes such as myrcene and linalool, which can produce a stoney body high and even intensify the effects of THC.
Are indica edibles better than sativa for pain?
Depending on the time of day, either option may be a good fit for pain management. Sativas with some CBD may stave off inflammatory pain so you can focus during the day, while indica strains help mute the sensation of many pain types and help users achieve rest in the evening.