If you’re a seed collector, you’ll be familiar with the terms sativa and indica when it comes to cannabis seeds - these are the two main categories of cannabis plants that have been used for decades. Although cannabis has been categorised in this way, there is evidence to suggest that these groups are generalisations and don’t necessarily reflect the seeds’ or plants’ individual qualities or merits. However, it’s still helpful to consider.
Here, we look at the similarities and differences between sativa and indica cannabis seeds and plants and a checklist to help you buy the best available for your collection of seeds. Please note: Cannabis seeds, both indica and sativa are in fact legal in the UK for trading, buying, selling and collecting. You can have them shipped to your address providing that they are for collection purposes, bird food, fish bait and other general interest purposes. The germination of seeds is illegal, as is the growth of cannabis plants in the UK.
What are sativa cannabis seeds?
- Sativa is found in hot climates
- Plants are tall and skinny to conserve water
Cannabis sativa is the cannabis plant that grows in equatorial regions across the world. Sativa strains are often referred to for their reportedly creative, energetic high. It is said that users of cannabis choose sativa over indica strains because they can be better for daytime use as they give more of a ‘head high’. The appearance of sativa seeds does not differ much, if at all, from indica seeds; rather, the differences are found within the properties of the seeds, their nutritional contents and their appearance and effects once grown. Many collectors and observers of sativa seeds note that they are commonly smaller than indica seeds, averaging the size of match heads. As sativa strains originate from hotter climates they have evolved to be taller and skinnier plants to conserve water.
History of sativa
Sativa was the first of the cannabis strains to be identified in Western culture. It was first categorised by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 and was thought to be the only type of cannabis. Its origins lie between 0° and 30° latitudes, predominantly Thailand, Mexico, Columbia and Southeast Asia. It can be hard to pinpoint the exact qualities of sativa seeds. As has been observed, the chemical compositions, nutritional benefits as well as effects of the flowers differ greatly within the sativa category itself, at the same time as being similar to some of the properties of indica strains. Today it is cultivated around the globe for much the same reasons as it has been for thousands of years and some leading brands offer incredible ranges of sativa seeds to collect, having been bred over many, many years to perfection. Since recorded history we can see that sativa cannabis has been used for thing like:
- Religious and spiritual practises
- Industrial fibre
- Seed oil
- Medicinal purposes
Sativa cannabis seeds are a must have addition to any seed collection. They boast a huge history and many modern strain variations and hybrids are available, including feminised and autoflowering varieties.
What are indica cannabis seeds?
- Indica is found in mountainous regions
- Plants are short and stocky with chunky leaves
Indica cannabis plants originate from the mountainous Kush region of Northern India and also the mountainous areas of Afghanistan. It is said that these are some of the oldest original strains of cannabis and we can still find them today, Kush is a great example of an original indica and there are many hybrids and variants of this particular species. Indica strains are now found worldwide but naturally grow between the 30° and 50° latitudes. Users of cannabis indica report effects of a ‘relaxation’ and more of a ‘body high’. Indica strains show great potential for pain relief and are commonly used in the evening or night time. As plants, they tend to be smaller than sativa and yield more dense buds that have a pungent aroma. It has been said that indica cannabis can be better applied to medicinal use and sativa to recreational use, but these conclusions are questionable. This is largely due to the fact that research surrounding the medicinal use of cannabis has been slowed dramatically in the last 100 years because of the plant's illegality.
History of indica
The history surrounding the indica variety of cannabis is difficult to pin down due to the huge amounts of political change in the regions it grows. What is known is that traditionally, in these areas indica was used to make hashish - a dried, resin form of cannabis. First believed to be a subspecies, cannabis indica is now said to be different to sativa but this is all still to be determined. Much like sativa, indica has been used for thousands of years - industrially, medicinally, and recreationally - and is still being used today. We can find original Kush strains as well as modern hybrids of both indica and sativa. No seed collection would be complete without some original Hindu or Afghan Kush.
Sativa vs indica - the main differences and similarities
|Growth height||Up to 20 feet||Up to 6 feet|
|Flowering time||10-16 weeks||6-8 weeks|
|Bud appearance||Airy and light, commonly long sausage shape||Dense and thick, often conical or crowned|
|Leaf colour/appearance||Lighter green colours, skinnier and longer||Darker and often purple, wider and thicker|
|Seed appearance||Can be brown beige and grey. Some stripes may be seen.||Can be brown, beige and grey. Some stripes may be seen.|
|Seed size||Considered to be generally a bit smaller than indica seeds. Roughly match head size.||Considered to be generally bigger than sativa seeds. Can be match head or small bead size.|
As we can see both indica strains and sativa strains have their individual qualities as well as shared ones. For any cannabis seed collection, it’s likely to feature a mixture of the two to help complete it, along with strains within each such as kush, or skunk. For inspiration, check out our bestsellers. Please note: Seed size and shape don’t necessarily define quality, ability to germinate or yield size. Seeds are extremely biologically diverse so can appear to be different sizes and shapes. Green seeds are considered immature.
Checklist for buying cannabis seeds
When buying cannabis seeds there is much to consider. We have just a few simple guidelines to help you find the product that is perfect for you and your collection.
Be sure to check that the retailer you choose has good reviews and positive feedback. Reputable retailers offer plenty of information and are available to answer questions and advise you on the product that best suits your requirements.
When choosing your cannabis seeds don’t miss out on the opportunity of owning some of the best seeds in the world! We have compiled a list of our top 10 seeds lists - including for beginners, on a budget, and top regular seeds, that consists of indica, sativa, autoflower, feminised and hybrid varieties. Choosing from our top 10 cannabis seeds ensures that you get a high quality product at the best possible price.
When investing in high quality cannabis seeds it is imperative that you have enough space for storage and that your cannabis seeds can be stored in a cool dark place. Excessive moisture and light can cause germination which will make your collection illegal.
The right strain for you
There are an abundance of seeds available to you. Each collection is unique to its owner and generally, having a variety of strains makes for a good collection. If your own seed collection is sativa heavy, balance it out by purchasing some indica or hybrid seeds. By picking a reputable retailer you can obtain quality seeds from many different seed banks around the globe, including top brands like Big Buddha and Dutch Passion.
Prompt and discreet delivery
At ICE Headshop we provide free delivery on orders over £25 and offer discount or bulk purchases. International signed for delivery costs £9.50 and we deliver directly to your door in discreet packaging. It is advised to check the legality of the products you are buying in the country in which you live.
Contact ICE Headshop
Shop now at ICE Headshop, the most comprehensive cannabis seed supplier in the UK. If you have any questions about any of the seeds you see here or are looking to complete a bulk order, get in touch. Email: [email protected] (24/7/365) Phone: Mon-Fri, 10am - 4.00pm Phone orders: 01626 903101 General enquiries: 01626 903102 Disclaimer: All of these beautiful seeds are only sold by us to be collected or used as fish bait or bird seed; in the UK it is illegal to germinate cannabis seeds to grow into cannabis plants. Once you buy seeds, you’re fully responsible to stay within the law and should always check the law in your country before purchasing. As laws change over time, ensure you stay updated with the latest cannabis laws wherever you are. Just to reiterate, collect our seeds, do not germinate them. Ever.