"Is this distinction still relevant when selecting your cannabis? If not, what is?"
Hi – this is a great question! Ultimately, you are going to look for your ideal ratios of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN and a few others of consequence). Also, you’ll want to think about your dosing amount and consumption method that are ideal for you.
Typically, when you walk into your dispensary, the strains are laid out by Phenotype – Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid. The myth is, Indica is known for it’s sedative, relaxing effects and are primarily used at night because of their sleepy side effects. Sativas on the other hand, are supposed to be know for their energetic, euphoric cerebral effects, and are used primarily as daytime strains.
The problem with this is that it’s a generalization rather than a reality. What Sessions would like to propose is looking at it from the point of view of, "how do the elements in cannabis interact with my body". In medicine, this is called the Mechanism of Action (or MOA). Looking at it from this perspective, we make our strain specific recommendations based on the individual cannabinoids and terpenes in each strain, and the mechanism by which it affects your body and mind.
Good luck in your journey to finding your balance!
Science is showing us that there isn’t a direct correlation between sativa being an upper and an indica being a downer as science isn’t ever that cut and dry. Because every single body is different in its needs, each strain will present differently in each person.
This distinction is still relevant when selecting a cannabis strains. Sativa is generally experienced as a more mental high, often stimulating, whereas indica is generally experienced as a body high, often sedating. There has been much cross breeding between strains, so much of what you buy is a hybrid these days rather than a pure indica or sativa, but looking to see which is dominant will give you an idea of what your cannabis experience will be like. Andrea describes it in greater detail in the video on this page.
In reality, I think most strains are hybrids that fall somewhere in the middle. However, as the market continues to mature and patients continue to be become more educated I think we will see more of a focus on cannabinoid ratios and terpene ratios. We’ll start to learn which cannabinoid and terpene make-up best suits our needs.
Yes, the distinction is relevant for the affect of the high, but this is not solely related to the THC/CBD content. In fact, you can not predict whether it is Sative/Indica/Hybrid based on the THC/CBD content. Rather, look at the terpene profile. If the strain has a high level of myrcene in it, then it most likely provide the couch lock. Pinene and Limonene can contribute to the familiar to uplifting experience well-known to Sativa lovers. There are dozens of terpenes found in cannabis so once you find a strain that works, stick with it.
From a medicinal standpoint, the terpenes provide their own health benefits and contribute to what is called the entourage effect, providing synergistic medicinal benefits.
Cannabis strains are broken into sativa, indica, and hybrids. Sativa tends to have more energizing and uplifting effects.