When your doctor prescribes a drug for you, oftentimes there are different variations or similar drugs that might be similar but have different advantages. For example, if you have a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics, your doctor may write a script for penicillin, unless you’re allergic in which case he or she may offer you Bactrim or another safe alternative. In much the same way, indica and sativa – the two primary strains of cannabis – each have their own distinct advantages for different needs.


Indica Leaf

The indica strains of cannabis tend to have a higher ratio of THC – the psychoactive element – to CBD, or cannabidiol, which has known medical benefits and works well as a sedative, according to the Medicinal Marijuana Association. This makes indica the preferred choice for pain relief as well as the treatment of tremors or muscle spasms. Commonly patients with chronic pain issues, arthritis, swelling or achy joints, Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. It is also a good option for treating those with issues with anxiety and insomnia thanks to the higher THC concentration which helps alter brain functions and create a more relaxed and calm state of mind.

Sativa Leaf


On the other end of the spectrum is sativa, which usually offers a greater level of CBD than THC, providing a greater feeling of energy – both physically and mentally – than indica. While strains in the sativa family can also be used to treat chronic pain, it is often more beneficial for those who suffer from feeling lethargic, a common complaint of those going through radiation or chemotherapy treatments or who take other medications to manage HIV or AIDS. It also is frequently used as a treatment for migraines and depression, and can also serve as an appetite stimulant for those who may be struggling to counteract nausea or other issues making them not feel hungry.

If you’ve been prescribed medicinal marijuana, this information can help you manage your symptoms more effectively. Many budtenders at medical cannabis shops can help you determine which strains might be most effective for and direct you toward a product that is more indica or sativa, depending on your needs.

For those who are looking to even further refine their experience, using a portable vaporizer or vape pen with temperature control capabilities can help. Controlling vaporizer temperature – as we blogged about previously – can help release the cannabinoids that are most beneficial for your specific concerns or symptoms. Check out the reference chart at the linked blog for even more information on the different cannabinoids and the ideal temperatures that may be best for you.