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NewsCannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa: what do we know?

Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa: what do we know?

In 1785 the first person to describe the distinction between cannabis Indica and Sativa was Jean Baptiste Lamarck

Often, when we read or hear people talk about Cannabis we tend to confuse between cannabis Indica and cannabis Sativa.

In this article we intend to provide a clear understanding of these two varieties; which are the effects and differences characterising them.  In the second part of the article, we will then outline the main cannabinoids making up the plant with their respective properties and features. 

The  morphological features of Cannabis Indica and Sativa

The Cannabis Indica plants are characterised by wide leaves and broad ramifications, while they are rather moderate in height.

The Cannabis Sativa plants, on the other hand, can reach up to five metres of height, are little branched and have extremely narrow leaves. 

Cannabis Indica and Sativa, some historical notes

In 1785 the first person to describe the distinction between cannabis Indica and Sativa was Jean Baptiste Lamarck. According to the French naturalist, cannabis Indica conveyed a major production of resins and therapeutic properties with respect to cannabis Sativa.

With the passing of years, we arrive in the 21st century,  when the theories of Lamarck are completely overturned and cannabis Sativa is described as a variety of Cannabis with properties that are completely different from those described by Lamarck.

It should be underlined, however, that over the years, cultivators and researchers have worked on the best phenotypes of cannabis in order to obtain the highest qualities out of the Indica and Sativa varieties. This has led to an increasing depletion of the differences between Indica and Sativa over time.

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash


Cannabis Indica and Sativa, which are the effects?

Cannabis Indica has mainly relaxing effects, it can be utilised, for example, to facilitate sleep or to find a form of relaxation after a particularly stressful day.  

Cannabis Sativa, on the contrary, has stimulating and energising effects, it activates the individual. 

Both varieties are applied in the therapeutic field; subjectivity and the health issues intended to alleviate with cannabis suggest the use of a specific variety rather than another one, according to the concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes present in them.  

However, the topic of applying cannabis in the therapeutic sector is a subject requiring a specific focus,  which we will discuss in our upcoming articles.

Cannabinoids and Cannabis

In Cannabis we can find over 80 Cannabinoids, the best-known are most certainly THC and CBD.

THC (Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) was isolated and synthesized for the first time in the Sixties by Raphael Mechoulam, “the father of Cannabis”, Israeli; he was among the first scientists to study Cannabis and its potentialities. THC  is responsible for the psychotropic effect; it stimulates the brain to release dopamine, which results in the effect of euphoria and well-being.

In 1985 the “Food and Drugs Administration” recognised the therapeutic capacities of THC, developing a medical drug, Dronabinol, produced by Unimed Pharmaceuticals, also thanks to financing by the National Cancer Institute.

CBD (Cannabidiol), just as well-known as THC by now, unlike the latter, hasn’t got any psychotropic effects. It is used by an ever growing number of consumers, who take this molecule for many different purposes. 

This is possible due to the medical and scientific community, demonstrating the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and neuroprotectant activities of cannabidiol.

In 2017 The World Health Organization published a report in which it describes the enormous therapeutic potentialities of CBD, underlining that it is well-tolerated and that there is no scientific evidence, today, revealing health risks for the user.  

In recent years a ‘new’ cannabinoid is attracting the attention of researchers and, as a consequence, of the public opinion. We are talking about CBG, acronym of Cannabigerol.

CBG is a phytocannabinoid, which, unlike THC, is not psychotropic. Identified for the first time in 1964 by Y. Gaoni, CBG is composed of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), one of the first cannabinoids formed in the cannabis plant. Subsequently, during the growth and ripening phases, specific enzymes spring into action, transforming CBGA in a wide range of cannabinoid acids, such as THCA, CBDA and CBCA.

Unlike CBD, CBG is a cannabinoid exerting its function as a basis for many other compounds produced by the plants during the growth phase. 

CBG contributes to the increase of Anandamide production, which is the main endogenous cannabinoid we can find in the human body.

Anandamide helps to regulate sleep, appetite and memory, and acts directly on the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

A study conducted by researchers of the Department of Pharmacy of the University of Naples “Federico II”,  in collaboration with medical professionals of the department of Diagnostics of the Hospital “dei Pellegrini” of Naples and with researchers of CNR of Pozzuoli, has demonstrated the action of CBG  in contrasting intestinal inflammation, arriving to the conclusion that “cannabigerol is a new therapeutic opportunity for those suffering from the indicated pathology”.

Cannabis is a plant demonstrating immense therapeutic and other potentialities; the single molecules making up the plant can contribute significantly to raise the daily well-being of millions of users. Potentialities we are going to uncover in the upcoming articles.