Intro to Indica, Sativa, and Terpenes

If you’re new to cannabis you may have found some terminology that’s new to you as well. At Accoutrements we want to ensure that you are as equipped as possible to get the best and most accurate experience whether you are using cannabis medicinally or recreationally.

Below is our breakdown of three common and important terms that every cannabis user should be aware of when selecting the right strain for you: Indica, Sativa, and Terpenes.



Indica is one of two subspecies of cannabis (Indica, Sativa). The cannabis Indica plant grows shorter and bushier than its Sativa counterpart with wide leaves. They typically grow faster and have a higher yield.

People tend to use Indica strains for mental and muscle relaxation, night time use as a sleep aid, to increase dopamine, boost appetite, decrease nausea, and to help relieve acute pain.

We recommend using Indica to enjoy a relaxing night in, a chill day or night at the cottage, when you need to destress, or for cramps and nausea.

Popular Indica strains include: Northern Lights, Purple OG Kush, Hindu Kush, Blueberry, Rockstar, and LA Confidential

*It is important to note that some Indica strains will exhibit effects more associated with Sativa (and vice versa). When selecting a strain we also recommend consulting trusted sources like Leafly and reading the effects that they list for the specific strain. 


Sativa is the opposite of its Indica cousin. Sativas typically grow taller and thinner with narrow leaves and are usually a lighter shade of green. They typically take longer to mature and usually require more sunlight.

People tend to use Sativa strains for anti-depression, to treat chronic pain, increase focus and creativity, on long runs, and to increase serotonin.

We recommend using Sativa if you are going out for the evening, want to get in “the zone” during tedious activities or to reduce pain.  

Popular Sativa strains include: Sour Diesel, Laughing Buddha, Strawberry Cough, Maui Wowie, and Willie Nelson.

*As mentioned above some Sativa strains with have effects more commonly associated with Indica. When selecting a strain we also recommend consulting trusted sources like Leafly and reading the effects that they list for the specific strain. 

**It is important to note that there are many strains that are hybrids of the two subspecies, these are not surprisingly referred to as "hybrids". 


Terpenes (pronounced tur-peens) are a class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons, they are what give cannabis the many different aromas and tastes that the various stains exhibit. There are about 140 different terpenes that can be found in cannabis strains. They evolved in cannabis to ward off would be predators of the plant and to attract pollinators. Many have also been discovered to protect against bacteria and fungus from the plant.

Research into terpenes has found that aside from just contributing to the aroma and flavour of cannabis they also have medicinal effects. Below are some common terpenes you will find across both strains. 


  • Aroma/Flavour – Citrus
  • Medicinal benefits – can be used to promote weight loss, prevent and treat cancer, as an anti-depressant, and to treat bronchitis.
  • Strain you can find it in – Super Lemon Haze (Sativa dominant hybrid strain)


  • Aroma/Flavour – Earthy and musky with a splash of fruit flavors
  • Medicinal benefits – Effective anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxation.
  • Strain you can find it in – Mango Kush (hybrid)
  • Fun fact – you can find myrcene in any strain as it is so abundant in cannabis. How abundant? It plays an important role in determining whether or not a strain is Indica or Sativa. If the plant has more than .5% myrcene is will produce Indica like effects, less than .5% it will produce Sativa like effects. 


  • Aroma/Flavour – Pepper, spice, woody, cloves
  • Medicinal benefits – Stress relief, pain suppressant, anti-anxiety and anti-depression.
  • Strain you can find it in – Super Silver Haze (Sativa), Skywalker Alien (balanced hybrid), Rockstar (Indica)

Alpha & Beta Pinene

  • Aroma/Flavour – Pine.
  • Medicinal benefits – Anti-inflammatory, helps memory, anti-bacterial.
  • Strain you can find it in – Strawberry Cough (Sativa), Trainwreck (Sativa dominant hybrid), Jack Herer (Sativa), Bubba Kush (Indica)


  • Aroma/Flavour – Floral, lavender, hint of spice.
  • Medicinal benefits – Anti-inflammatory, can help modulate motor functions, and could potentially aid in the treatment of liver cancer.
  • Strain you can find it in – Amnesia Haze (Sativa), LA Confidential (Indica)


For a more in depth look at Sativa and Indica check out this article from Leafly.

Have any favourite Indica or Sativa strains you want to share? Let us know in the comments section. 

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