It seems like hemp is the latest and greatest topic of discussion. Hemp is talked about at the dinner table, in work environments, around friends and family—when is hemp not discussed? Years ago, this wasn’t the case at all. Anything within the cannabis realm was considered hush-hush, but we now live in a world where hemp is no longer taboo. CBD, hemp, cannabis, marijuana, THC all terms we’re sure you’ve heard recently.


The influx of CBD use (particularly for pain relief) has quelled all prior anxiety about hemp, and with more use comes more comfort surrounding the topic of hemp. In fact, according to Bloomberg, it is predicted that the CBD market could inflate to $20 billion by 2022


We’ll tip our hats off to the supportive research studies, as the world is pointing in a pro-hemp direction now. With all this change in the air, it’s hard to keep up! If you aren’t familiar with hemp and it’s various strains, confusion might set in when you start hearing terms like “Sativa” or “Indica.” Buckle up for a comprehensive overview of hemp. We’ll cover exactly what hemp is, along with a side-by-side comparison of Sativa and Indica. 


First Things First: What is Hemp?


Whether you’re a long-time hemp user or this is your first time hearing the word, you may not know the full definition of hemp. It’s one of those terms that is tossed around without a proper understanding of its meaning. 


To clarify, the definition of hemp is: a tall widely cultivated Asian herb (Cannabis sativa of the family Cannabaceae, the hemp family) that is cultivated for its tough bast fiber and edible seeds and oil and that is often separated into a tall loosely branched species (C. Sativa) and a low-growing densely branched species (C. Indica). 


That’s a lot of words, and that’s a lot of “Sativa” and “Indica.” We told you they would be important later on—we’ll get to those. 


In layman’s terms, hemp is a plant that is linked to Cannabis. Here’s how: 


Hemp falls under the umbrella of the Cannabis genus, which is part of the Cannabaceae family. Within the Cannabis genus are three species: Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Hemp stands for any varieties of Cannabis that have .3% or less THC. 


It’s often mixed up with marijuana. Some people use “hemp” and “marijuana” interchangeably; others think they’re entirely separate things. In reality, hemp and marijuana share common ground (the Cannabaceae family) without being the same exact thing. Think of them as siblings or cousins. 


Marijuana, unlike hemp, includes all Cannabis varieties that contain more than .3% THC. That’s why marijuana induces psychoactive effects and hemp does not. THC is what gives people the “high.” 


Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the moment you’ve all been waiting for: a breakdown of Sativa vs. Indica. 

sativa vs indica hemp types



If you’re classifying Sativa and Indica based on their appearance, here are a few ways to tell which is which.




Sativa plants are tall, and they grow long, narrow leaves. If you look at the green color on Sativa plants, it’s generally a lighter shade than that of Indica. Sativa is more of a “slow and steady” growing plant, as it requires more time and more light to grow than the Indica plant. 




Indica plants are less lanky than Sativa plants. They grow wider, and they give off the appearance of a bush than a tree. The shade of green is a bit darker than that of Sativa plants, and the individual leaves are generally fatter and shorter. 


Marijuana Strains


As you know, marijuana includes Cannabis strains that contain over .3% THC. When classifying Sativa and Indica with over .3% THC, we’re looking at how these plants affect the mind. Sativa and Indica create different psychological impacts, which can affect the type of strain you buy. 




Known for having lower CBD levels and higher THC levels, Sativa increases alertness, energy, and creativity. It affects the mind more than it affects the body. Sativa doesn’t turn people into couch potatoes, which Indica is often known for doing. Most people use Sativa during the daytime. 




Indica is more of a relaxer than a stimulant. It contains higher counts of CBD and lower THC levels, and it relaxes the mind and the body. Unlike Sativa, Indica doesn’t induce cerebral stimulation. It’s great for nighttime use because it makes users feel relaxed and at ease. 

Medical Uses


Hemp’s recent glow-up is mainly due to an influx of research studies supporting the use of Cannabis as a medicine. These medical uses vary, depending on the strain and strength of the plant. If you walk into a dispensary, you’ll likely see a variety of names or strains. These can get confusing, but these names are meant to denote how the bud will make you feel. Look at the breakdown of Indica and Sativa, and you’ll have a better idea of how you’ll feel from a certain strain. 




A user who benefits most from Sativa is one who is looking for antianxiety and antidepressant properties. Sativa targets the mind, increasing serotonin to boost focus and creativity. While it is sometimes is thought of as trip-like because it arouses the mind instead of relaxing it. Sativa helps users with chronic pain or mental instability. It won’t create a calming effect, but it will give the brain a much-needed vacation from stress and anxiety. 




Although Indica can also be used to calm the mind, its primary focus is the body. Indica works as a muscle relaxer, so it’s great for decreasing acute pain. Users who have stomach issues or who experience nausea will benefit from Indica—as well as anyone who has a decreased appetite. Another benefit of Indica is sleep regulation. Indica is usually recommended for nighttime use because it relaxes the mind and body in a way that makes users sleepy, which is helpful for anyone with insomnia or other sleep troubles. 


The next time you find yourself wrapped up in a conversation about hemp, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re talking about. You may be surprised at how many people throw around terms like “Sativa” or “Indica” without really knowing the differences between the two types. 

At Vance Global, we use this knowledge to help you find a safe and natural alternative to vaping and smoking—while providing all the same health benefits as other CBD products. Click here to shop our line of Vances today and experience hemp without the high.