Since the 18th century, and the report of biologist Jean Baptiste Lamark, the plant genetically identified as Cannabis Sativa L. was for reasons of classification split into two categories that had to be visually distinct: Sativa and Indica.
These visual differences – sometimes glaring but often unclear and confusing – were also related to the supposed effects of the plant. Those classified as indica would then be recommended for evening use, promoting relaxation, while the sativa ones would be better suited for daytime consumption, with effects on concentration, creativity…
A few scientists in the 1970s then looked into the issue, and recent advances and research have since shown that this classification of the plant’s effects according to its physical appearance was too simplistic and confirmed that there was only one common plant: Cannabis Sativa L.
In addition, factors such as temperature, nutrients from the planting soil, light, altitude, and many others can affect a plant’s behaviour and physical appearance, while keeping its original genome. For instance, a strain with the same Amnesia Haze genome grown in California or Europe will be really different. Also, for many years, plants called “hybrids” have developed as combinations of different strains, adding to the confusion of this binary classification.
It should also be mentioned that the effects can vary depending on how you use it. If you smoke, vape, ingest, or use it in any other way, it will greatly influence the effects felt. It is then easy to understand that the comparison between indica and sativa is easily biased, if not false. Nevertheless, it is still used everywhere for marketing reasons, for lack of an alternative.
However, there is a risk that consumers who wish to feel the analgesic or anxiolytic effects of cannabis will be confused or deceived because they have not felt the desired effect when requesting an indica, sativa or hybrid.
It shows a clear lack of regulation on the nomenclature and labelling of cannabis in general. The industry is still nascent and it will be necessary to address this point in the years to come…