Cannabis UNKNOWN: The Great Indica vs. Sativa Myth

It’s been a debate that has been going on since humans first began consuming cannabis. Indica? Or Sativa? Well the winner is: Terpenes. In this episode, I’ll tell you why.

Now confession time. I’ve been a cannabis consumer for 30 years. It’s only been within the last few years that I even had an idea that there was a difference between indica and sativa. Why? Well, because it’s been on the black market my entire life, so I had to get it from Frank, down the hall, or Jane, down the street. And you just took whatever they got, and you smoked it, and you smiled.

Now thanks to technology, we’ve been learning a lot about the plant, and the latest research indicates that the real difference between indica and sativa, well, they’re mainly physical.

Now indica, what we’ve always considered to be the “indacouch” or the “stony” bud. They come in small plants, with fat leaves and their yield times are quite short, whereas sativas, what we consider to be the “pick-me-up” strain, well, they take a lot longer to yield, they’re tall, and have skinny leaves. But as far as what you actually feel, indica and sativa doesn’t have much to do with it. It has more to do with turpenes.

What are terpenes? Well, they’re sort of like … Well, let’s put it to you this way. THC is almost like Everclear is to alcohol. It’s kind of what gives cannabis its fuel, but like hops gives the flavor to beer, or juniper gives to gin, that’s what terpenes do. It gives cannabis its flavors and aromas, also gives it many of the things that make your body feel a certain way, and also a lot of the medicinal benefits.

Now there are a ton of terpenes out there, but let’s just talk about a few of the major ones. Myrcene is by far the most common of the terpenes in cannabis. It’s associated with things like mangoes and lemon grass. In fact, some people think that if you eat some mango right before you ingest some cannabis, you’ll have a much better time. Somebody put that to the test and then email me back. Myrcene is a potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. It gives a relaxing, calming, antispasmodic, and sedative effect.

Now limonene is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s got a great citrusy aroma. But it’s also a great antifungal, antibacterial, and an anticarcinogenic. Oftentimes, people use limonene to treat depression and anxiety. It also stimulates the immune system.

And pinene, well, do I really have to explain that one? Yeah, it smells like you’re in a forest. You’ll find it in things like rosemary and sage. It’s an expectorant, a bronchodilator, anti-inflammatory, and local antiseptic. And if you like the skunky bud, that’s pinene.

So now you’re saying, “Okay, so terpenes matter, but what can I do about it?” Well, the good news is, if you’re in a legal state, most of the packaging that you get on strains now has a terpene profile. You can certainly ask your bud tender about the details, or just send me an email, and as soon as I get all this limonene out of my blood system, I’ll get right back to you.

If you don’t live in a legal state, there’s plenty of great information online. Check out Leafly, they’ve got a terpene wheel available. High Times has one, as well. So there’s lots of great information on the internet to prepare you for the day when it becomes legal in your state, and you can walk in and say, “Give me some #$%$#  limonine! and some *&$#* myrsene!”

So go figure, after all this time, the big debate between indica and sativa, well, the winner is terpenes. If you have any questions about turpenes, be sure and ask your bud tender or send me an email. Like I said, I’ll get back to you as soon as I zzzzzzz…..

Now do me a favor. If you’re in a legal state, start playing around with terpenes and taking notes. Then when you get some conclusions, post them in the comments section below so we can all educate the masses. For Cannabis Unknown, thanks for tuning in.

I am The Herb Advisor.

Power to the flower.


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