Calling a strain an Indica or Sativa may not be scientifically accurate....but I'm gonna do it anyways
According to taxonomic history the term Cannabis ( ancient Scythian for hemp) Sativa (Latin for 'Cultivated ') was meant to describe any cannabis plant with thin leaves cultivated for it's hemp fiber or seeds. Though modern DNA research paints a new picture of a plant with very distinctive genetic traits. While calling a plant a Sativa or an Indica may not be 100% botanically accurate we've developed an understanding of the species based on a handful of difining characteristics.
Here are 5 simple signs that you're working with a sativa dominant plant
5) It's A Late Bloomer
Sativa dominant strains originate from equatorial regions like Thailand, Southern India, Jamaica, and Mexico. They absolutely love the day light and will hold out as long as possible to drink up the sun. Some speculate that this is why Sativa dominant strains take so much longer to bloom (between 60 and 90 days). On the flip side they tend to need less time for vegetative growth prior to flowering than their Indica dominate counterparts.
4) It's Long And Scrawny
Sativa strains tend to be tall and scraggly. This may be because they originate from regions where the length of day stays pretty much the same throughout the year. To adapt, they flower in shorter bursts while continually gaining length. This makes for awkward looking flowers that start at the plant's nodes (the point where leaves grow from the stem) and expand along the length of the branches growing upwards.
In contrast, Indica plants tend to stay the same height once they transition from the vegetative to the flowering stage. That means that the flowers cluster together rather than spread out making for a tighter denser bud, compared to the light and spindly flowers of sativa.
3) It's Got A Heady High
For reasons that are still a bit of a mystery to cannabis scientists sativas tend to have lower THC levels than Indicas yet they are known to have a very heady 'high' effect. This may have something to do with the plants unique terpene profile or THCv cannabinoid content which we will explore at great length a little later on. After partaking of a sativa you might notice that you feel a little energetic, creative, or giggly. Some even call it the coffee of cannabis.
2) It Smells Like Fruits And Pepper
Sativa strains are known to have a very pungent smell but the profiles can be all over the board. You might notice a sweet and fruity aroma with hints of cherry or something a little more earthy with hints of pine and diesel fuel. Strains like Green Crack and Trainwreck are classic examples of that sweet and peppery scent.
1) It's Lighter In Color
Sativas are generally lighter in color than your average Indica heavy strains which tend to be a deep dark green. The tall scraggly sativa plant almost has a sun bleached look appearing to be a little more on the yellow side.
Now that you are familiar with one it will be a little easier to distinguish the other.
Up Next: Identifying Indica
I'm Mary J Poppins, herbalist, cannabis connoisseur and founder of the Sativa Science Club. Keep an eye on my blog Cannabis for Curious Creatures for nifty new products reviews, DIY tutorials, and scientific insights.