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Indica vs. sativa: Why cannabis labels are meaningless

Some people are adamant that Indica strains are sedative with earthy aromas.

Indica and sativa are commonly used to describe cannabis strains, but what’s the difference between these two labels?

Some people are adamant that indica strains are sedative with earthy aromas. In contrast, Sativa strains are supposedly energizing with sweet aromas. However, the extent to which indica and sativa labels actually capture meaningful information is unclear.

CANNABIS STRAIN ANALYSIS

Our team of researchers at Dalhousie University worked with Bedrocan International, a Dutch medical cannabis company, to study hundreds of cannabis strains with indica and sativa labels. We measured the chemical compounds produced by each strain. This included not only the major psychoactive cannabinoids like THC and CBD but also the terpenes that give cannabis its distinctive aromas. We also measured the genetic profiles and were then able to examine the chemical and genetic differences between strains.

If labels describing cannabis strains do in fact represent two distinct groups of cannabis, then the differences should be reflected by chemical and genetic differences. Our study, published in Nature Plants, found that Indica and Sativa labels are largely meaningless.

It was frequently the case that strains labeled indica was just as closely related to strains labeled sativa as they were to other strains labeled indica.

An example that illustrates the inconsistent use of these labels is that in 1999, a cannabis strain named “AK 47” won the Sativa Cup in the Cannabis Cup. The same strain went on to win the Indica Cup in the same competition four years later.

To Read The Rest Of This Article By Sophie Watts on Inverse

Published: November 27, 2021

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