Understanding Cannabis: Sativa vs. Indica vs. Ruderalis

Indica Sativa

Understanding Cannabis: Sativa vs. Indica vs. Ruderalis

A Breakdown of the Key Differences Between Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis

Sativa, Indica, and ruderalis are all types of the same species—Cannabis sativa L. However, despite being from the same species, the effects, appearance, and characteristics of each subspecies vary greatly. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the different subspecies of cannabis.

Why understanding the subspecies of cannabis is important

Cannabis is an incredibly diverse plant that can be split into thousands of different strains, dozens of categories, and several different species. What’s more, the different subspecies also have unique characteristics, which can make navigating the legal cannabis industry confusing if you don’t know where to start.

Certain subspecies will be more suitable for medicinal markets, while others are beneficial to commercial sectors, like agriculture and textiles. Knowing the fundamental differences is the ideal place to start before building a cannabis portfolio. It allows you to understand the focus of a company, and how their product ranges or services may be affected in the future.

With that in mind, we are going to break down the three subspecies, Sativa, Indica, and ruderalis. We will cover their key characteristics, as well as the effect they can have when consumed. Armed with this information, you can continue to build an overview of the legal cannabis industry’s core commodity. 

Sativa Appearance

Capable of towering over six meters in height, the Sativa species is native to tropical climates, where long periods of intense sunlight are the norm. This adaptation to its environment has allowed the Sativa species to develop large pointed leaves with minimal markings or patterns. Their branches are outstretched with 3–6 inches between nodes.

Growing characteristics


Sativa strains are capable of dealing with higher concentrations of humidity compared to their indica counterparts. However, sativas have a longer flowering time, with plenty of space needed for them to reach their full potential. Cultivating the sativa subspecies requires a knowledgeable hand, and a carefully prepared growing environment or greenhouse.



Sativa strains commonly incite feelings of euphoria and a head-focused high when consumed. They can also be used in small doses to boost energy levels, creativity, and divergent thinking. Sativa are not the first choice for medical markets unless dealing with specific medical conditions. Sativa-dominant strains are an ideal choice for the recreational food and drink market. 

Disclaimer: This article is originally published on https://www.cannabismarketcap.io/blog/understanding-cannabis-sativa-vs-indica-vs-ruderalis

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