There are several key differences between Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa.  These include height and stature, internodal length, leaf size and structure, buds size and density, flowering time, odour, smoke and effects.  Indica plants tend to grow shorter and bushier than the Sativa plants.  Indica strains tend to have wide, short leaves with short wide blades, whereas Sativa strains have long leaves with thin long blades.  The buds of Indica strains tend to be wide, dense and bulky, while Sativa strains are likely to be long, sausage shaped flowers.

On average, Cannabis Indica has higher levels of THC compared to CBD, whereas Cannabis Sativa has lower levels of THC compared to CBD.  However, huge variability exists within either species.  A 2015 study shows the average THC content of the most popular herbal cannabis products in the Netherlands has decreased slightly since 2005.

In the recent era of cannabis breeding, higher-ratio CBD strains are being developed from Indica origins that may test as 1:1 (CBD-THC balanced) or even as high as a 22:1 (CBD dominant). The medical interests in Cannabis are taking this further and we will see increasing cultivation trends for more strains developed with CBD-dominant ratios.

The effects of this high CBD breeding are being seen throughout the world.  In California, cities such as Coachella and Desert Hot Springs are re-zoning areas for cannabis cultivation. Even though California legalised recreational use of cannabis in late 2016, the LA Times, prior to the vote, reported an entrepreneurial focus on CBD-dominant medical hemp crops. “The demand for medical products was so high, this [380,000-square-foot cultivation expansion] was just to fill the need for that”.

The low anxiety and hallucinogenic properties (psychoactive effects of THC reduced by CBD) make these “high-CBD strains” very desirable for chronic treatment programs.