To stimulate the brain for a head high or to relax with a body high: That is the question for many cannabis enthusiasts. Making an informed choice between the two types of highs comes from knowing what factors lead to the differences between the two primary strains of the marijuana plant: sativa and indica.
Sativas usually produce a stimulating, euphoric effect on the human body. People choose sativas for head highs to feel like they are increasing their mental acuity, judging situations faster, performing more quickly, or appearing less self-conscious at social gatherings.
Indicas are chosen by consumers due to perceived calming effects, especially in pain relief and muscle relaxation. A benchmark study by Toronto-based Canabo Medical Inc. revealed Canadian patients even decreased their dependence on benzodiazepine due to working with doctors for medical cannabis treatments for pain and anxiety. Indicas deliver a body high because they usually contain a higher CBD (cannabidiol) level than sativas. This composition enables indicas to produce effects that are more concentrated in the legs and body. The indica-induced high leads to feeling subdued overall, commonly referred to as “being stoned.”
Getting a Heady Experience
Head highs reflect the sense of having more energy and motivation and typically a rush of creative thinking. Research about the stimulating effects of cannabis on human brains reveals some people simply feel more mentally and physically alert with its consumption. When you want to be quick-witted, a head high can create a cerebral experience that gives you an edge on your game.
Realizing a Full Body High
Body highs come from cannabis interacting with your brain, essentially slowing down the communications between your cells and your nervous system, which triggers a chilled, less tense mood. You are basically giving your brain a chance to relax.
Some people use body highs to help them through life’s major transitions, health threats, and long-term projects. Studies about CBD and anxiety, such as one published in The Permanente Journal, report that overall anxiety levels decreased in as short as three months in those taking CBD.
To Select Sativas or Indicas?
Some weed consumers believe Sativas boost inspiration, so cannabis from this strain is a favourite option for artists, authors, and musicians during their creative processes. Feeling too exhausted to finish a task? Sativas may help give you the energy boost needed to complete your mission.
Cannabis aficionados report feeling friendly and chatty after ingesting sativas. Some say after a few pulls of a joint, their brains are more motivated to exercise, as well as being more open to learning new concepts. College students shared they believe this strain’s targeted use increases their educational productivity. Others are hopeful about the potential therapeutic uses of cannabis. In fact, medical cannabis is approved under the health plans for Okanagan students at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna.
Is a head high always desirable? Many people say this effect helps them finally want to tackle their most mundane tasks. However, one caution is to try sativas in smaller concentrations at first, because they also can prompt anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed for some people due to their stimulation qualities.
Alternatively, because indicas tend to produce a sleepy haze effect, they often are used at night as a way to get solid sleep. Some call it a “bedtime buzz” or “couch-lock” rather than a body high. Regardless of what it is called, an indica is all about feeling relaxed, peaceful, and drowsy.
Differences in the Strains
Sativa strains offer several possible medicinal applications:
- Anti-anxiety assistance
- Anti-depressant assistance
- Increasing mental focus
- Reducing chronic pain
- Amplifying creativity
- Augmenting serotonin
- Recommended for daytime use
Indica strains also present quite a few possible medicinal applications:
- Relaxing muscles
- Relaxing minds
- Reducing nausea
- Lessening excruciating pain
- Upping positive effects of dopamine as a neurotransmitter, or the body’s chemical messenger
- Better appetites
- Recommended for evening use when activities are reduced or for sleeping
Sativa plants are tall and thin, with narrow leaves that are paler green than indica leaves. Sativas grow more slowly; they also require more light to mature. The buds typically are orange or red and are loosely packed. Sativa strains generally have a lower level of CBD and a higher level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the main psychoactive, or mind-altering, ingredient of cannabis.
The indica is a shorter plant with darker, broader leaves and thick stems. It is produced within shorter growing cycles but also has shorter flowering periods. Indica buds are firmer than sativa buds.
Sativa Product Examples
Start gradually when experimenting with different types of weed strains, regardless if you are a newbie to the concept or an experienced cannabis user. It is wise to determine what physical effects and to what tolerance degree each strain may have on you, whether vaping, smoking, or ingesting edibles. Because everyone reacts to cannabis in a unique way, the standard rule-of-thumb is to “start low and go slow.”
One product to try is Sativa Cara-Melts, which are creamy, chewy cannabis-infused caramels. Sample the AK-47 for a combined intense but mellow effect.
Indica Product Examples
One perfect evening strain for deep-body relaxing is Platinum Purple Kush. For times when you want to become at-one with your couch, Cement Shoes #1 can do the trick.
Can’t decide between the two major strains? Then try Milk Chocolate Shatter Bars or Chocolate Shatter Brownies, which can be chosen with either type.
Determining whether a head high or body high is your right choice depends on what results you’re hoping to achieve from cannabis. If you’re seeking mental or physical alertness, sativa strains of marijuana are usually the correct energizing option. However, if you want to chillax, opt for the sedating indica strains. Cannabis strains referenced as hybrids combine the effects of sativa and indica.
Head highs typically change your mood immediately, after just one or two hits of cannabis. Body highs, on the other hand, happen more slowly and may leave you feeling a little clumsy and tingly, but with increased physical sensitivities and sexual awareness.
Just remember, based on what type of personality you ordinarily are or why you are incorporating cannabis: Products with lower THC levels produce more mellow experiences, while products with greater THC levels generate more intense highs.