There is a lot of misinformation around sativa and indica weed strains. Check out Leafly's guide to learn about the difference between indica and sativa strains. CBD oil is made from hemp plants. It may help treat pain, anxiety, and seizures. Here is what you should know before trying it. Sativa vs Indica What is the difference between Sativa and Indica is a question we get quite a lot- particularly from previous customers of the CBD brothers/ The Original Alternative or those
Indica vs. sativa: understanding the differences between weed types
When browsing cannabis strains or purchasing cannabis at a dispensary, you’ll notice that strains are commonly broken up into three groups: indica, sativa, and hybrid. Most consumers and budtenders use these weed types to predict effects, but are they accurate?
Science is pointing to a better way of determining the effects a cannabis strain will have on you: cannabinoids and terpenes, the compounds that make up a particular strain’s chemical profile.
So why do smokers and budtenders alike still use indica, sativa, and hybrid instead of the cannabinoid and terpene model?
There’s a big push in the cannabis industry to disavow the indica/sativa/hybrid classification system because it is not based in data and science—the terms are botanical names that refer to a plant’s structure, not the effects it produces.
However, most of the cannabis industry, including shops where you buy weed, is still stuck in classifying strains as either indicas, sativas, or hybrids for one main reason: It’s easy. Give a consumer three options—up, down, or in-between—and you can easily explain how a certain strain will make them feel and sell a product. Like it or not, the indica, sativa, hybrid classification system is still entrenched in the world.
Both models have value, and consumers of all levels can use both. For an easier, more general way to pick a weed strain and its effects, the indica/sativa/hybrid model may work for you. Once comfortable with cannabis, you may want to dig into the nuances of weed a bit more, and learn about chemical profiles, cannabinoids, and terpenes—our preferred method.
Let’s look at the differences between indicas and sativas, and the usefulness of the two classification systems.
Indica vs. sativa: understanding the basics
The common understanding of indicas and sativas is that indica strains are physically sedating, perfect for relaxing with a movie or as a nightcap before bed, and sativa strains are energizing with uplifting cerebral effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative projects. Hybrid strains are thought to have a mix of indica and sativa effects.
But indica doesn’t always mean “in da couch” and sativas don’t necessarily energize all consumers. The origins of the two terms are actually rooted in botany, not effects, and describe the physical structure of a plant. On top of that, every person has a different body chemistry, so a strain can affect each person differently.
However, even today, the belief that indicas, sativas, and hybrids deliver distinct effects is still deeply rooted in mainstream cannabis culture. If you’ve ever been to a dispensary, you’ve likely heard a budtender begin a strain recommendation by asking which of those three types you prefer, but the science doesn’t support that.
The origin of indica and sativa
In 1753, Carl Linnaeus published Species Plantarum, classifying all cannabis plants under one group, “Cannabis sativa L.,” with “Cannabis” as the genus, “sativa” as the species, and “L.” indicating Linnaeus’ system. “Sativa” comes from the Latin “sativum,” meaning “cultivated.”
French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck updated the naming in 1785 with two distinct species: “Cannabis sativa,” a taller, lankier, and more fibrous plant, and “Cannabis indica,” a shorter, stouter, and more psychoactive plant, its name meaning “from India,” where it was thought to originate.
These definitions largely refer to each weed type’s physical structure and are still used today.
Typically thought to be energizing, sativas originally grew in warm, humid climates, growing long and lanky so they can dry out and not absorb so much humidity. Their warm climate also means they can take a long time to grow and flower, or produce buds, because the weather won’t get cold and rainy at the end of the growing season.
Typically said to be relaxing, indicas originally grew in cold, northern climates. They grew short and dense because of their environment, and their growing life cycle is shorter so they can get harvested before the cold and wet of fall and winter set in.
As a side note, what we call “hemp” refers to the industrial, non-intoxicating varieties of cannabis harvested primarily for fiber, seeds, CBD, and novel cannabinoids such as delta-8. Hemp’s fiber can be used to make materials and textiles, its seeds can be eaten, and CBD and other novel cannabinoids can be extracted from it. Legally, hemp is any cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC.
Indica, sativa, and hybrid vs. cannabinoids and terpenes
Weed is incredibly nuanced. Each strain has its own chemical profile that will interact differently with each person’s body chemistry—the same strain could affect you and your smoking buddy completely differently.
As weed nerds here at Leafly, we prefer the more complex and specific model of determining a strain’s effects by looking at its mix of cannabinoids and terpenes (more below). But the indica/sativa/hybrid model is a basic, quick and easy way to get a general sense of how a strain will hit you. Just know that it isn’t exact.
Leafly’s own strain database uses the cannabinoid and terpene model, compiling the chemical profiles of thousands of strains using data from cannabis testing labs all over the country.
This method is a little more complex, but don’t let data scare you—once you find a strain you like, you can dial in your cannabis experience and find a strain that’s best for you.
How to use the indica, sativa, hybrid method
Had a long day and want to chill out? Need to do some spring cleaning or get a project done? Talking to your local budtender, they will tell you:
- Indicas are calm and relaxing, great for chilling out at the end of the night, watching a movie or listening to music, taking a nap, or just staring at the wall.
- Sativas are energetic and will make you productive. They’re great for physical activity, going for a hike, completing a task, cleaning, and anything that requires focus.
- Hybrid strains offer a mix of indica- and sativa-like effects.
Broadly speaking, you’ll see a lot of consistency to the idea that indicas are relaxing and sativas are energetic in Leafly’s own Top 100 cannabis strains: Most of the strains in the “sleepy” and “relaxed” categories are indicas, while most of the “energetic” strains are sativas.
Easy, right? Now let’s dial in that process.
Cannabinoids and terpenes
So if indica and sativa aren’t the best predictors of effects, what are?
The better way to pinpoint effects of different weed strains is to talk about their mix of cannabinoids and terpenes, or the chemical compounds in it. These compounds combine to create the entourage effect, leading to the feeling of being high.
What are cannabinoids?
The cannabis plant is composed of hundreds of chemical compounds that create unique effects, and the primary ones are cannabinoids. THC and CBD are the two most common cannabinoids and are the main drivers of cannabis’ therapeutic and recreational effects.
- THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound that most think of when talking about weed—it’s what makes you feel high, and relieves symptoms like pain and nausea.
- CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating compound known to alleviate anxiety, pain, inflammation, and many other medical ailments.
What are terpenes?
If you’ve ever used aromatherapy to relax or invigorate your mind and body, you understand the basics of terpenes, the aromatic compounds commonly produced by plants and fruit. They can be found in lavender flowers, oranges, hops, pepper, and of course, cannabis. Secreted by the same glands that ooze THC and CBD, terpenes are what make cannabis smell like berries, citrus, pine, fuel, etc.
There are many types of terpenes found in cannabis, but these four are the most common:
One question yet to be answered by research is how terpenes—and different combinations of terpenes—shape the effects of different cannabis strains. So while cannabinoids are the primary step in determining how a strain will make you feel, for example, whether you want THC or CBD in a strain, or both, terpenes add a lot to effects as well.
How to use the cannabinoid and terpene method
When choosing a cannabis strain, instead of thinking in terms of an indica or sativa, the better way is to think of weed is in terms of cannabinoids and terpenes, or a strain’s chemical profile (another name for this is “chemovars”).
Cannabis strains are broken down into three broad chemical profile types, or chemovars:
- Type I: high THC, low CBD
- Type II: balanced, or equal parts of THC and CBD (like 1:1 cannabis strains)
- Type III: high CBD, low THC
These terms are out there in the industry, but aren’t commonly used—you likely won’t hear a budtender using them, and most customers don’t walk into a weed shop asking for a “type II” strain; they’ll ask for a “balanced” or “1:1” strain.
Step 1: Pick a cannabinoid
To use the cannabinoid and terpene model to pick a strain, start by considering how much THC and CBD you want in your strain.
THC-dominant strains (Type I) are high THC/low CBD, and are great for people seeking a potent euphoric experience. These strains are also selected by patients treating pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more.
Balanced THC/CBD strains, or 1:1 strains (Type II), contain similar levels of THC and CBD, offering mild euphoria alongside symptom relief. These strains tend to be a good choice for novice consumers seeking an introduction to cannabis’ signature high.
CBD-dominant strains (Type III) are high CBD/low THC, and are widely used by those highly sensitive to THC or patients needing clear-headed symptom relief because of their low levels of THC. If you tend to feel anxious with THC-dominant strains or dislike other side affects associated with THC, try a strain with high levels of CBD.
Step 2: Pick some terpenes
Take note of the terpenes in some of your favorite strains. You can find a strain’s terpene profile in Leafly’s strain database, and many products include this information as well.
For example, GSC is primarily composed of caryophyllene, with smaller amounts of myrcene, and limonene. If you like GSC, you may like strains with that similar mix of terpenes, such as GMO Cookies or OG Kush. Conversely, if you find a strain you don’t like, it’s highly likely you won’t like strains with that similar terpene profile.
Step 3: Use Leafly’s strain database
As previously mentioned, Leafly’s own strain database is based on the cannabinoid and terpene model. It’s the more accurate of the two models because it relies on data from cannabis testing labs.
Weed has to be tested before it can be sold in a dispensary, ostensibly for pesticides and contaminants, but sometimes also for its cannabinoid and terpene levels. Leafly uses that data to power our strain database and strain search tool, giving consumers a variety of related strains to choose from and explore once they find a strain they like.
More considerations when choosing between indicas and sativas
Other factors play into how a strain will affect you. Consider the following when looking for a cannabis strain or product.
Everyday smokers will have a much higher tolerance than occasional smokers and can often consume a lot more weed, or stronger weed, without feeling effects. If you don’t smoke a lot, remember the saying: “start low, go slow.”
A strain’s potency and how much you consume, known as dosage, will greatly affect a cannabis experience.
Many popular strains at dispensaries can be potent, and a strain packing 25% THC might not be as enjoyable as one with 16% THC. There’s no shame in opting for a low THC percentage—find the right level for you and your ideal experience.
Additionally, taking a couple puffs and smoking an entire joint will produce much different effects, and a different intensity of effects. If your tolerance is low, consider a low-THC strain in low doses.
Everyone’s body chemistry is different, and it’s hard to know how a strain will affect each individual. Even if you consume as frequently as someone else, your bodies could react to cannabis much differently. A friend may be able to burn down a whole joint, but maybe a puff or two are sufficient for you.
If you’re susceptible to anxiety or other negative side effects of THC, try a strain high in CBD.
Set and setting
Aside from tolerance, dosage, and body chemistry, your mindset and environment when consuming weed—known as set and setting—are crucial to enjoying cannabis. If you’re having a bad day or are nervous about trying weed, consuming it may give you negative effects. Additionally, if you’re not a social person, smoking in a big crowd may also give you negative feelings.
Set and setting depend entirely on the individual. Some people thrive in social settings, some don’t. Some prefer smoking in the comfort of their home, while others enjoy consuming out in nature.
How you consume weed will also determine how a strain affects you. One puff on a vape is generally thought to be lighter and deliver less effects than one puff of a joint. Doing dabs will produce intense effects immediately, and generally isn’t for beginners.
If you want long-lasting effects, consider edibles, and again, start low, and go slow.
Be mindful of any medical conditions you have, or if you are taking any medication, and how they might interact with cannabis. When in doubt, talk to your doctor or a medical professional before trying cannabis. They may have suggestions or recommendations for you to complement your existing medical or health regimen.
Desired effect, mood, or experience
If you’re hoping for a specific experience, like relaxing or watching a movie, or if you’re looking to treat an ailment like insomnia or nausea, use Leafly’s strain lists to help select a strain, or ask your local budtender for recommendations on what you’re looking for.
Remember that not all indicas are sleepy or heavy, and not all sativas are energetic or uplifting.
Note favorite and least favorite strains
Keep track of what weed strains you like and don’t like to explore (or avoid) similar strains. If you like a strain with a certain cannabinoid level and terpene profile, you’ll likely enjoy another strain with similar levels.
Additionally, strains in the same family, or with the same lineage, often have similar chemical profiles—GSC is derived from OG Kush, and is parent to GMO Cookies, Sherbert, and many more, so they’ll all have similar terpenes.
Summary of sativas, indicas, and hybrids
What is a sativa?
While not all sativa marijuana strains will energize you, most consumers notice a tendency for sativas to produce a “head high,” an uplifting, stimulating effect. They also often report sativas as being helpful in mitigating stress or anxiety, and many consumers enjoy sativas to sharpen focus and boost creativity or motivation.
Common effects associated with sativa strains include feeling happy, uplifting, euphoric, and energetic. Sativas are often thought of as “daytime” strains, used for feeling productive, creative, and focused, and for getting chores done.
Popular sativa strains
There are many sativa strains to try, and you’ve likely heard of some of the most popular. Most dispensaries should stock at least some of these sativa weed strains as they’re generally a crowd favorite.
What is an indica?
Not all indica strains will put you “in da couch,” but nevertheless, many consumers associate indicas with body effects, for example, heavy limbs or a tingly face. They also report indicas are helpful in aiding relaxation and curbing insomnia.
Common effects associated with indica strains include feeling relaxed, euphoric, happy, and sleepy. Indicas are commonly known as nighttime strains, used for relaxing and unwinding at the end of the night.
Popular indica strains
There are many indica strains, many of which you may be familiar with. Check your local dispensary for these popular indica weed strains.
What are hybrid strains?
Hybrid strains are bred from both indica- and sativa-descended plants. Due to the long history of crossbreeding cannabis, strains that have pure indica or pure sativa lineages are rare. Most strains referred to as “indica” or “sativa” are, in fact, hybrids, with genetics inherited from both types.
Since hybrid weed strains derive genetics from both indicas and sativas, their effects pull from both indica and sativa strains. Common effects include feeling happy, euphoric, uplifting, energetic, relaxing—it all depends on which hybrid you consume and what effects its parent strains produce.
Looking at a hybrid’s lineage—its parent strains—may give you a better sense of what kind of effects it will produce. For example, if it has more indica in its lineage, it might have effects more associated with those strains, but this is not always the case.
Popular hybrid strains
There’s certainly no shortage of hybrid strains on the market, and some of the most popular you’ll come across are also the most iconic.
Popular strains by strain type and effect
|Strain Name||Strain Type||THC||CBD||Helps with|
|Sour Diesel||sativa||18%||less than 1%||creativity, depression, anxiety|
|Green Crack||sativa||17%||less than 1%||energy, stress, euphoria|
|Lemon Haze||sativa||18%||less than 1%||happiness, fatigue, pain|
|Charlotte’s Web||sativa||less than 1%||13%||pain, stress, anxiety|
|Candyland||sativa||18%||less than 1%||socializing, relaxation, energy|
|Purple Punch||indica||19%||less than 1%||relaxation, stress, euphoria|
|Pennywise||indica||8%||8%||relaxation, anxiety, pain|
|Northern Lights||indica||16%||less than 1%||stress, pain, anxiety|
|GMO Cookies||indica||25%||less than 1%||pain, insomnia, relaxation|
|Bubba Kush||indica||17%||less than 1%||appetite, pain, insomnia|
|GG4||hybrid||20%||less than 1%||relaxation, happiness, stress|
|Sour Tsunami||hybrid||less than 1%||12%||pain, stress, anxiety|
|Sherbert||hybrid||18%||less than 1%||happiness, creativity, relaxation|
|Cannatonic||hybrid||5%||10%||pain, focus, stress|
|Blue Dream||hybrid||18%||less than 1%||relaxation, euphoria, happiness|
Indica vs. sativa FAQs
Here are answers to some common questions about indica and sativa marijuana.
Is there a difference between indicas and sativas?
“Indica” and “sativa” are botanical terms referring to a plant’s physical structure. As far as effects, indicas are thought to be sedating and relaxing, while sativas are thought to be uplifting and energetic.
Do sativas give you energy?
While there is no scientific evidence that sativas give you energy, they are believed to be uplifting and euphoric.
Do sativas give you a body high?
Sativas are commonly thought to provide a head and body high, although every consumer’s body chemistry is different.
Do sativas give you the munchies?
Sativa strains may help stimulate appetite and give you the munchies, but it depends on your body chemistry.
Will sativas keep you up at night?
Sativas are thought to be energizing so they may keep you up at night, but it depends on your body chemistry.
Do indicas make you sleepy?
In general, indicas are thought to be relaxing, which can make you feel sleepy.
Do indicas give you a body high?
Some indica strains are known for delivering heavy body highs.
Will indicas make me feel paranoid?
If you’re prone to anxiety or paranoia when sober, indica or sativa strains may cause negative effects, but it depends on your body chemistry.
Will indicas turn my eyes red?
Indicas or sativas may make your eyes turn red, depending on your body.
- Scholler DJ, et. al. Use patterns, beliefs, experiences, and behavioral economic demand of indica and sativa cannabis: A cross-sectional survey of cannabis users. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33856822/
- Clarke RC, Merlin MD. Cannabis Evolution and Ethnobotany. UC Press, 2013. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275175754_Cannabis_Evolution_and_Ethnobotany
- Russo, EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol, 2011. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21749363/
- John M McPartland JM, Small E. A classification of endangered high-THC cannabis (Cannabis sativa subsp. indica) domesticates and their wild relatives. PhytoKeys, 2020. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32296283/
This article was originally published September 20, 2018 and is often updated for accuracy and clarity.
CBD Oil Benefits vs. Side Effects
While it may be helpful, it may not be safe for all
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman’s World, and Natural Health.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Meredith Bull, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a private practice in Los Angeles. She helped co-author the first integrative geriatrics textbook, “Integrative Geriatric Medicine.”
CBD oil is said to have a variety of possible health benefits. It is used as an appetite stimulant, a sleep aid, a treatment for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, for relief of pain, to prevent seizures, and much more.
Though derived from cannabis, the same plants grown for marijuana, CBD oil is not he same as pot. But that doesn’t mean that CBD oil is 100% safe. Some possible side effects, like dry mouth, may be fairly minor. Others, like anxiety, are potentially more significant. And certain potential side effects may even make using CBD oil inadvisable for some people.
This article goes over what CBD is used for, the possible side effects, and what you should look for if you choose to buy CBD.
What Exactly Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a hemp plant extract known as cannabidiol mixed with a base (carrier) oil like coconut oil or hemp seed oil. CBD oil comes from Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa plants.
CBD Oil Benefits
People who support the use of CBD claim that CBD oil benefits people with a variety of health problems. CBD oil is said to be good for:
- Drug use and withdrawal
- High blood pressure
- Muscle spasms
- Poor appetite
- Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis
As CBD has gained popularity, researchers have been trying to study it more. Still, there has not yet been a lot of clinical research focused on finding evidence to back up these health claims.
Here’s a deeper dive into what is known about a few of the purported health benefits of CBD oil.
A 2015 review of research that was published in the journal Neurotherapeutics suggested that CBD might help treat anxiety disorders.
The study authors reported that CBD had previously shown powerful anxiety-relieving effects in animal research—and the results were kind of surprising.
In most of the studies, lower doses of CBD (10 milligrams per kilogram, mg/kg, or less) improved some symptoms of anxiety, while higher doses (100 mg/kg or more) had almost no effect.
The way that CBD acts in the brain could explain why this happens. In low doses, CBD might act the same as the surrounding molecules that normally bind to the receptor that “turns up” their signaling. However, at higher doses, too much activity at this receptor site could produce the opposite effect.
There have not been many trials to look at CBD’s anxiety-relieving effects in humans. However, one was a 2019 study published in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry.
For the study, 57 men took either CBD oil or a sugar pill with no CBD in it (placebo) before a public-speaking event.
The researchers assessed the participants’ anxiety levels using measures like blood pressure and heart rate. The researchers also used a reliable test for mood states called the Visual Analog Mood Scale (VAMS).
The men who took 300 milligrams (mg) of CBD oil reported less anxiety than the men who were given a placebo; however, the men who took 100 mg or 600 mg of CBD oil did not experience the same effects.
CBD oil might help people with substance use disorder, according to a 2015 review published in the journal Substance Abuse.
The review looked at the findings from 14 published studies. Nine of the studies looked at the effects of CBD on animals and five looked at the effects on humans.
The researchers reported that CBD showed promise for treating people with opioid, cocaine, or psychostimulant use disorders.
However, the effects of CBD were quite different depending on the substance. For example, CBD without THC did not decrease withdrawal symptoms related to opioid use.
On the other hand, it did reduce drug-seeking behaviors in people using cocaine, methamphetamine, and other similar drugs.
Some experts suggest that CBD could help treat cannabis and nicotine dependence, but more research is needed to provide this theory.
Some studies have suggested that CBD oil may benefit the skin.
A 2020 paper, for example, found that CBD oil may help reduce inflammation, which could be useful for treating a variety of skin conditions including allergic dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis.
Proponents say CBD oil has benefits for people with cancer. Although some studies have shown promise, there have been no large studies proving the benefits of CBD oil as a cancer treatment.
Other studies suggest that CBD might interact with cancer drugs.
If you have cancer and are considering CBD, talk to your oncologist first about whether or not it is safe for you to use.
High Blood Pressure
A 2017 study found that CBD oil may reduce the risk of heart disease because it can lower high blood pressure in some people.
For the study, nine healthy men took either 600 mg of CBD or the same dose of a placebo. The men who took CBD had lower blood pressure before and after experiencing stressors like exercise or extreme cold.
The study also looked at the amount of blood remaining in the heart after a heartbeat (stroke volume). The stroke volume in the men who took CBD was lower than in was in the placebo group, meaning their hearts were pumping more efficiently.
The study suggested that CBD oil could be a complementary therapy for people with high blood pressure that is affected by stress and anxiety.
However, there is no evidence that CBD oil can treat high blood pressure on its own or prevent it in people at risk. While stress can complicate high blood pressure, it does not cause it.
Proponents say CBD oil has benefits as a sleep aid, but research so far is inconclusive.
A 2017 review pointed out that many studies have been small and limited. However, the authors also noted that because cannabinoids seem to have an effect on the sleep-wake cycle, their potential as a sleep aid is worthy of additional research.
In June 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a CBD oral solution called Epidiolex.
Epidiolex is used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy in children under the age of 2: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. These are very rare genetic disorders that cause lifelong seizures starting in the first year of life.
Other than for these two disorders, CBD’s effectiveness for treating seizures is not known. Even with Epidiolex, it’s not clear if the anti-seizure effects are from CBD or another factor.
However, there is some evidence that CBD interacts with seizure medicines like Onfi (clobazam) and raises their concentration in the blood. More research is needed to understand the link.
Possible CBD Oil Side Effects
Clinical research has shown that CBD oil can cause side effects. The specific side effects and their severity varies from one person to the next and from one type of CBD to another.
Some common CBD side effects people report include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in mood
- Dizziness or fatigue
- Dry mouth
Do not drive or use heavy machinery when taking CBD oil—especially when you first start using it or switch to a new brand. Remember that some products do contain THC, even in small amounts.
Your healthcare practitioner may advise against using CBD oil if you:
- Have liver disease: CBD oil may increase liver enzymes, which is a marker of liver inflammation. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking CBD oil. You may need to have your liver enzymes checked regularly if you decide to use it.
- Have eye issues: CBD oil may also cause eye-related side effects. A 2018 study found that it may increase pressure inside the eyes. For people with glaucoma, this can make the condition worse. Some people also report dry eyes as a side effect of CBD oil.
- Are pregnant or nursing: You should not use CBD oil if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Even though the effects of CBD are not fully understood, it does pass through the placenta.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) further states that pregnant people should not use marijuana because of the potential risks to a developing fetus.
Can CBD Oil Get You High?
CBD oil does not get you high. Although it is from a plant that is in the same family as the marijuana plant, it does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for this feeling.
|A component of the hemp plant||Separate plant in the hemp family that contains CBD and hundreds of other compounds.|
|No or trace amounts of THC||Significant amounts of THC|
|Works receptors in the brain, but not those that induce psychoactive effects (e.g., opioid receptors that help control pain, glycine receptors that impact mood control)||THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain to create “high” feeling|
What CBD Oil Can Interact With
CBD oil can interact with medications, including many that are used to treat epilepsy. One of the reasons for this has to do with how your body breaks down (metabolizes) drugs.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP450) is an enzyme your body uses to break down some drugs. CBD oil can block CYP450. That means that taking CBD oil with these drugs could make them have a stronger effect than you need or make them not work at all.
Drugs that could potentially interact with CBD include:
- Anti-arrhythmia drugs like quinidine
- Anticonvulsants like Tegretol (carbamazepine) and Trileptal (oxcarbazepine)
- Antifungal drugs like Nizoral (ketoconazole) and Vfend (voriconazole)
- Antipsychotic drugs like Orap (pimozide)
- Atypical antidepressants like Remeron (mirtazapine)
- Benzodiazepine sedatives like Klonopin (clonazepam) and Halcion (triazolam)
- Immune-suppressive drugs like Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
- Macrolide antibiotics like clarithromycin and telithromycin
- Migraine medicine like Ergomar (ergotamine)
- Opioid painkillers like Duragesic (fentanyl) and alfentanil
- Rifampin-based drugs used to treat tuberculosis
Always tell your healthcare provider and pharmacist about all the medicines you take, including prescription, over-the-counter (OTC), herbal, or recreational drugs.
The interactions between these medications and CBD are often mild and you might not have to change your treatment. However, in some cases, you might have to change medications or space out your doses to avoid a reaction. Never change or stop medication without talking to your provider.
What’s a Safe Dosage of CBD Oil?
There are no guidelines for use, nor is there a “correct” dose of CBD oil. That said, the average dose range is from 5 mg to 25 mg.
Available forms include:
- Tinctures (CBD oil mixed with a base oil)
Which you choose largely comes down to your preference and what you hope to get in terms of effects. For example, putting the oil under your tongue can produce effects more quickly than swallowing a capsule that needs to be digested.
Each product works a bit differently, depending on the form, so it’s important to follow the provided directions.
How to Calculate a CBD Dose
Sprays, gummies, and capsules are easy to use because their doses are pre-measured.
Tinctures are a bit more challenging. Most oils come in 30-milliliter (mL) bottles and include a dropper cap to help you measure.
But some tinctures have concentrations of 1,500 mg per 30 mL, while others have 3,000 mg per mL or more. That means figuring out the exact amount of CBD per milliliter of oil requires a little math.
To determine an exact dose of CBD, remember that each drop of oil equals 0.05 mL of fluid. This means that a 30-mL bottle of CBD oil will have about 600 drops in it.
If the concentration of the tincture is 1,500 mg per mL, one drop would have 2.5 mg of CBD in it (1,500 mg ÷ 600 drops = 2.5 mg).
Safer Buying Practices
Remember that CBD oils are unregulated. There’s no guarantee that a product is what it claims to be on its packaging. You also can’t know for sure that it’s safe and effective.
A 2017 study reported that only 31% of CBD products sold online were correctly labeled. Most had less CBD in them than was advertised, and 21% had significant amounts of THC.
If you are interested in buying CBD products, here are a few tips that can help you make the best choice:
- Buy American: Domestically produced CBD oil might be a safer option than those that have been imported.
- Go organic: Brands certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are less likely to expose you to pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Read the product label: Don’t assume that every ingredient on the product label is natural. CBD products can also have preservatives, flavorings, or thinning agents in them. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, ask the dispenser what it is or check online.
Frequently Asked Questions
CBD oil comes in different forms:
- Isolates contain only CBD.
- Broad-spectrum oils have nearly all of the components of the plant (e.g., proteins, flavonoids, terpenes, and chlorophyll), but do not have THC. oils have all the compounds including THC (up to 0.3%)
Alternative medicine practitioners believe that the compounds provide more health benefits, but the is a lack of evidence to support these claims.
Not necessarily. While the names are sometimes used interchangeably, hemp oil can also refer to hemp seed oil, which is used for cooking, food production, and skincare products. CBD oil is made from the leaves, stems, buds, and flowers of the Cannabis indica or Cannabis sativa plant. It should contain less than 0.3% THC. Hemp oil is made from the seeds of Cannabis sativa and does not have TCH in it.
It would be hard to overdose on CBD oil. Research has shown that human tolerance for CBD is very high. One study reported the toxic dose would be about 20,000 mg taken at one time.
It depends on where you live, the type of product, how it was sourced, and its intended purpose (medical or recreational). In many states, you must be 18 or 21 to buy CBD oil. Check your state’s laws.
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman’s World, and Natural Health.
Sativa vs Indica
What is the difference between Sativa and Indica is a question we get quite a lot- particularly from previous customers of the CBD brothers/ The Original Alternative or those who smoke cannabis recreationally.
For those of you who don’t know, that there are three main strains: Sativa, Indica, & a Hybrid of the two (we will talk about Sensimilla towards the end – no Seeds). These types (or strains) of Cannabis strains are deeply routed in Cannabis culture and usually, if you are into smoking you will be asking which is your preference.
While the battle between Sativa & Indica is fairly obvious in the cannabis community, it is much less obvious when you are looking into CBD oils or CBD paste. All CBD oils in the UK (including ours) are produced (or should be according to the FSA & CTA) using a Hemp extract (from leaves and/ or flower), from a strain called Sativa L. – which is a part of the Cannabis family but isn’t known for being smoked down to the fact that there is a very high level of CBD, and low levels of THC (why people smoke Cannabis in the first place).
If you are looking for an Indica strain CBD product, you can find it here!
So what is the difference between Indica & Sativa (& the CBD oils they produce), and does it matter?
What is the difference between Indica vs Sativa?
Well, if you ask somebody who knows their Cannabis well:
- Indica: is known for being chill and is often taken before bed or to relax after a long day (strains like Northern Lights & Blue Cheese). The Indica strains are known to ‘lock you’ to the couch.
- Sativa: is commonly associated with an ‘uplifting, exciting and cerebral’ effect which is said to be better for creative projects, exercise or at social gatherings (strains like Amnesia or Sour Diesel)
- A Hybrid: is a combination of the two where you may be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. Some of the most famous strains are Hybrids: Including Stardawg, Gorilla Glue and OG Kush. All of our Vape concentrates/vape pen options are hybrids with a sativa/indica lean.
The physical differences between the strain are:
- Indica: Short in stature, broad leaves, shorter flowering cycles and are better suited to cooler climates.
- Sativa: Tall in stature, narrow leaves, long flowering cycles and (you guessed it) like the warm sunshine.
The different environments and structures will certainly have an impact on the chemical profile of the plants.
These differences, however, are generalisations and do not truly represent the qualities of either strain; by a long way, the most important factor in this is the Cannabinoid & Terpene profile of the plant. So it is much more important to understand the chemical structure of the plant (eg- CBD ratio to THC etc..) rather than the strain. For instance, a strain that is a Sativa with a high CBD content will feel much more like an Indica for example- there is no real telling the difference.
This is important for those who know a lot about Cannabis and are looking for a CBD oil. It would make sense that you would look for an Indica based oil as most people who buy a CBD oil are not looking for it to get them ‘hyped’. So when faced with an overwhelming array of oils that are made with a Sativa, it may be confusing. Some companies make a big deal of which strain they use but at the end of the day, does it really make too much of a difference.
Indica CBD Oil or Sativa CBD Oil?
In the context of recreational cannabis, the different strains and CBD/THC ratios make some kind of sense. As there is a large amount of THC being consumed, the effects of the cannabinoids and other phytochemicals can be instantly felt. In the UK, the only strain that CBD oils should be produced with is the Sativa L but it seems that this doesn’t make too much of a difference to the finished article.
The production of most CBD oils seems to make the strain somewhat irrelevant. Hemp is used in the production of CBD oils due to its high concentration of CBD, and generally, most of the other important chemicals are stripped out or reduced significantly- for legal reasons: According to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (MoDR) 2001 regulation 2, the legal level of THC is 1mg per closed container, irrespective of size. 0.2% THC is the maximum content which is for growers and refers to raw extract.
CBD oils are manufactured (in most cases) to remove THC (and often terpenes too) so the nuances between the strains are almost completely lost. There are some oils that are thick and dark (like our full spectrum 10% CBD Oils) and others do not contain THC at all (like our 2000mgs/20% oil) – each hold a very different experience (in regards to taste, general well-being), but often the same outcome in terms of the way they feel. Some oils are manufactured to contain a carefully constructed profile of Cannabinoids specifically to target particular effects. All of our own oils contain natural plant terpenes so they are getting to work without you even knowing it.
There are lots of Indica CBD oils on the market at the moment, but according to some regulators, these may not be strictly legal. Most notably, Indica CBD oils can be purchased online alongside Sativa CBD oils. The main difference between the two will certainly be their terpene profiles. We currently only sell Sativa CBD oils as we wish to be on the safe side of the coming regulation and enforcement.
Terpenes are a set of aromatics that can have a huge impact on the way the body uses cannabinoids, and have their own array of health and well-being benefits. generally, Terpenes are used during aromatherapy to relax or invigorate your mind and body and are produced by plants and fruits. They are very easily found in lavender, oranges, pepper, hops and in cannabis. Do you like the smell of cannabis, and notice that different strains smell differently? Well, that is all down to the terpene profiles? Some smell citrusy, like pine, berries or fuel. The Terpenes that are most commonly found in cannabis are Mycene, Caryophyllene, Limonene and Terpinolene.
The presence of certain terpenes in your CBD oil can have a huge impact on your experience. Some are very soothing, and others may make you feel stimulated or anxious!
The Terpene profiles found in both Sativa and Indica are largely very similar – the main difference between a Sativa CBD oil and an Indica CBD oil is really down to a high level of Terpinolene in certain Sativa strains. Terpinolene can be found in Nutmeg, Teatree Lilacs, Apples and Cumin.
Although there is plenty of research into terpinolene ongoing: the terpene has been found to contribute to a plethora of well-being outcomes.
What Is Sensimilla?
While Cannabis Indica & Sativa are the most commonly talked about forms of Cannabis, there is another sub-sector of cannabis plants called Sensimilla. Question: is Sensimilla Sativa or Indica? Sensimilla plants can be both! A Sensimilla is simply a female cannabis plant that has been grown without male cannabis plants.
In biology, all plants have a male and female part which are essential for the reproduction of plants. For cannabis, the male plants produce pollen which fertilizes the females- the females produce seeds that drop and germinate to produce new plants. These new plants, however, are of random strains and cannot be controlled.
When cannabis growers want to control the strain, cannabinoid levels and yield of the plants, they tend to remove the male plants from the and keep the ‘pure’ females which are seedless and have higher levels of THC. The Sensimilla plants contain more THC (or CBD depending on the strain), have a greater flower yield and there are no seeds that are produced. This process revolutionized the cannabis industry and the quality of smokable flowers.