Strain prices are broken down by sativa, indica or hybrid drawn on a price board at Outliers, one of the only licensed medical marijuana shops in San Diego county California. (Photo by Vince Chandler / The Denver Post)

Marijuana talk: Why words such as ‘indica’ and ‘sativa’ don’t mean what you think they mean

A long-running feature of The Cannabist Show involves Cannabist editor-in-chief Ricardo Baca asking his guests this question, “indica or sativa?”

There might not necessarily be a simple answer to that for those who consume marijuana, says Max Montrose, who heads cannabis training and certification firm the Trichome Institute.

A lot of confusion surrounds cannabis and the chemistry of the plant, he says.

“Unfortunately, most people don’t know what indica and sativa truly mean,” Montrose says. ” … A lot of people know this thing called sativa, but we have a lot of genomic evidence that supports the idea that the DNA and the chemotype, the chemistry, of a sativa is strictly hemp.”

There are certain types of cannabis that can stimulate and others that can relax; however, because the plants are vastly hybridized, it’s not necessarily sativa- or indica-dependent, he says.

“It’s terpene-dependent,” he says. “It’s the terpenes that will dictate the psychoactivity that we’ll experience from cannabis, not really the cannabinoids.”

Montrose delves into the dynamics and chemistry of cannabis on The Cannabist Show.

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