Indica vs Sativa Leaves: A Comparison

A comparison between Indica and Sativa

Table of Contents

Every cannabis grower needs to understand and define the signals and messages the cannabis leaves send. A cultivator that can correctly read the cannabis leaves is expected to enjoy a yield of hearty plants with preposterous buds. At first, information can be overwhelming. However, there are ways on how to equip yourself with the basic knowledge of Indica vs Sativa leaves.

What Are The Functions of Cannabis Leaves

The leaves of cannabis are the main components of the life support system of the plant of cannabis. The green pigment chlorophyll lets leaves function as solar panels for cannabis. Leaves are important in the process of photosynthesis. Further, the lower side of the leaves is shielded with very little stomata. Through the use of a microscope, you will see these holes opening and closing like a door. As carbon dioxide gets in, oxygen and water get out. Moreover, the cannabis leaves can also ingest nutrients for the consumption of the cannabis plant – this process is called foliar feeding.

The leaves are commonly thoroughly curtailed before the flowering period, however, they perform an essential function in the development and health of the cannabis plant. The big fan leaves situated around the base of the plant, absorb all the essential light. With the photosynthesis process, the leaves provide food to the flower, later forming the bud we all love and enjoy.

A lot of cultivators use the leaves as a gauge on the general health of the plant. For instance, if the plant is not having the proper nutrients it requires, the leaves turn lighter and may even become yellowish. A lot of diseases or insect contagions will also exhibit themselves first in the fan leaves. Hence, it is necessary to put careful attention.

Types of Cannabis Leaves

Cannabis has two main species, namely Indica and Sativa. Although both are accompanied under the official class of Cannabis Sativa L., for realistic objectives, it pays well if one can make a distinction between Indica and Sativa. That being mentioned, many of the cannabis that you see nowadays are hybrid. Hence, what you will commonly witness in the grow-op are cannabis leaves that signify a combination of genetic characteristics.

Sativa – The leaves of Cannabis Sativa are long in length and slender-fingered. Some can come up as plenty as 13 leaflets. The tip of their leaves is commonly in sharp appearance. Together with its sides, the leaves are diverse bicuspid which are relatively remarkable. The leaves are distributed with distance and are likely to grow in up direction having the branches extending themselves to the sky. 

Commonly, Sativa plants will generate shade is lighter, lime green. It is thought that the lowered chlorophyll is partially accountable for the extensive period of flowering of Sativa strains. Sativa leaves are a lot slimmer. You will observe skinny, nearly pencil-like leaves that gather together at a portion in the bottom, providing the leaves its typical cannabis leaf look. 

The female Sativa strains are cultivated for their tasty buds. Different from the Indica strains, Sativa encourages an active high and more creativity. The male Sativa strains, on the other hand, are cultivated all over the world and characterized as hemp. Commercial hemp is utilized to make a nearly boundless quantity of goods, including foods, fibers, oils, and clothing. Given its low content of THC, it is more extensive than the psychoactive strains.

Indica – This kind of cannabis strain is more soothing and have very unique classifications of leaves. The leaves of Cannabis Indica are short and broad, mostly 7 to 9 bulky fingers. Comparing it to the leaves of Sativa strains, Indica commonly has a similar pattern but it appears as if its leaves have enlarged to double – if not thrice the usual width of Sativa. The leaves of Indica are lesser than Sativa’s. This is because Indica leaves are larger and fluffier. 

The most massive Indicas that originates from Afghan may have large-scale, super-wide fan leaves. Compared to Sativa, the leaves of Indica are darker, deeper green shade. The higher content of chlorophyll is thought to step up the flowering period of Indica strains. The leaves shield the majority of the plant because it is relatively bulky as required.

Indica was the original subspecies determined and was labeled as Indica because they saw it flourishing in India. What makes it different from the first strain is its compelling medicinal usages.  It continues to be an important medicine occurring in India, and now all over the world.

What you can do with Cannabis Leaves

Certain studies state that leaves have essential cannabinoids like CBD and THC. The efficiency is always much minimal than what you may see in the bud, however, this may be the kind of bud that you are looking for. One research identified that fan leaves have a shred quantity of cannabinoids comprising 0.7 percent of CBD and 0.3 percent of THC. 

How are you going to utilize the remaining cannabis leaves? You may consider the following methods to maximize the benefit of your cannabis leaves:

Cannabis leaf tea – If you do not like getting high when consuming cannabis tea, then cannabis lead tea is great. It has a THC content that is not too high, so psychoactive effects will not be triggered. You will feel a bit relaxed, but this will not stone you.

Cannabis leaf instilled coconut butter – Cannabinoids commonly need a little heat to properly draw out the curative benefit. It also works to instill cannabis in a fat. This will make it more dispersible during ingestion. One way is to heat the coconut oil and add cannabis leaves. Wait until it becomes green or light brown.

Cannabis leaf smoothie – If mixed with superfoods, the content of cannabinoids contributes a superior nutritional boost. One way is to make juice from raw cannabis leaves. Experts say that the intake of raw leaves will help promote both therapeutic and nutritional benefits of the cannabis plant.

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Cannabis Leaf Phyllotaxy

Based on the standard phyllotaxy, cannabis strains leaves are compound and crisscross-opposite instead of an alternate.  Phyllotaxy refers to the arrangement of the leaves in the stem of the plant. 

Opposite leaves come up in pairs, each is positioned in the side of the stem, having a clear perpendicular space in the middle of the leaf pairs. The decussate leaves, on the other hand, are opposite, however, each new pair of leaves is positioned in the right angle to the pair in the last. The alternate leaves come up from the stem separately, switching sides while the perpendicular height increases.

Although the leaves of cannabis strains are commonly decussate, while the plant gets ready to flower, the leaves may start to come up in the alternate structure. Amusingly, revitalized cannabis plants show alternate phyllotaxy.

Leaf Mutations

Cannabis plants can exhibit leaf mutations. Numbers of these mutations are introduced by growers to better disguise that cannabis plant and turn it less determinable as cannabis. Other moments, mutations are an insignificant deficiency innate to certain strains. Aside from the typical, cool-looking groups of leaves which occur on young cannabis plants, boundless leaf mutations with equal numbers of fingers and unpleasant impairments are very peculiar. Too mutations are demonstrations of poor breeding and bunk genetics.

Understanding the Signs

You do not need to be a medicine man to understand the cannabis plants. The leaves on the Indica and Sativa cannabis strains can transmit you a signal. However, you must acquire the knowledge to interpret it and do the necessary steps to solve the problem. 

The leaves may exhibit certain deteriorations and discolorations if the Indica or Sativa plant has enough nutrients like calcium, boron, molybdenum, manganese, phosphorus, copper, sulfur, potassium, or zinc. 

Insufficiency of Boron

The insufficiency of boron is illustrated in two manners:

  • Big brown or gray spots on the leaves
  • Tender and purple stems in between the leaves and the primary body of the plant

To avoid deficiency in boron, you have to see to it that you do not let the plants dry out often. Do not over-fertilize. See to it that the humidity in the growing space is over 25 percent.

Insufficiency in Molybdenum

The insufficiency in molybdenum is hard to notice because it appears a lot the same with other problems such as calcium and nitrogen deficiency. Deficiency in molybdenum commonly raises its unattractive leaf to form brown, brittle edges, and pink or orange shades in the middle.

The ultimate solution in addressing insufficiency in molybdenum is to drench the growing space with entirely 6.0 pH water.

Insufficiency in Magnesium

Insufficiency in magnesium is illustrated by the yellowing of the cannabis leaves and tips which later turn dry, brown, and crispy. Treating the cannabis plant with magnesium deficiency comprises drenching the substrate with 6.0 pH water, providing the plant with an excellent pH fertilizer, and then putting superior quality magnesium supplement into the mixture.


Indica and Sativa leaves are useful in their ways. This is the reason why it is important to learn how to distinguish the difference between the Indica leaves and Sativa leaves. You have to make sure that you the kind of leaves that you are using are the one you are looking for.

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