The content provided on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly advise readers to seek guidance from a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical concerns.

To reflect its medicinal nature rather than recreational use, we prefer the term ‘medical cannabis’ over terms such as ‘marijuana’, “grass”. or ‘dope’ which may carry negative connotations.

The opinions expressed in the blog belong to the respective authors, who are not medical professionals, and may not necessarily align with those of Lyphe Clinic. Lyphe Clinic does not endorse any specific products or services mentioned, except those provided through Lyphe Clinic.

Readers should be aware that the legality of medical cannabis varies by location, and this disclaimer may be subject to periodic updates.

Did you know that in the UK, around one in three people suffer from chronic pain? [1] As for anxiety, it touches around 7% of the general population, a number that’s steadily climbing. [2] Now, imagine finding relief with just a small edible that aligns perfectly with your body’s needs. 

As cannabis edibles grow in popularity due to their discretion and ease of use, it’s important to know the difference between sativa vs indica edibles. What works well for one person might not have the same effect on you.

Whether it’s the calming effects of indica that soothe your pain or the uplifting energy of sativa that alleviates your anxiety, knowing their unique qualities and impact can make a real difference in your life. 

Understanding Cannabis: Sativa vs. Indica

An infographic comparing Sativa and Indica cannabis strains, illustrating their respective properties.

If you’re new to using cannabis to improve your health, you might find the terminology a bit daunting. In a nutshell, sativa and indica each represent a different species of the plant with distinct properties and health benefits. 

  • Cannabis Sativa: This is like the morning coffee of the cannabis world – known for boosting energy and enhancing creativity. It’s often the go-to choice for those looking to uplift their mood and spark a burst of productivity. Originating from warm climates like Central America and Southeast Asia, these plants are tall and lean and thrive under the sun.
  • Cannabis Indica: Think of this more like a soothing evening tea – best suited for relaxation and relief. Hailing from the harsher, mountainous regions of countries like Afghanistan and India, these plants are shorter, bushier, and typically grow faster than their sativa siblings. They are sought after for their ability to alleviate pain, help with sleep, and reduce anxiety.
  • Hybrid Strains: As the name suggests, these are cultivated to offer the best of both worlds. They are a result of crossbreeding sativa and indica plants, aiming to produce specific effects tailored to individual needs.

Cannabinoids and Their Effects

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis plants to varying degrees, depending on the specific strain. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) are the most well-known cannabinoids, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. Researchers have identified over 100 different types, each contributing uniquely to the overall pharmacological and therapeutic effects of the plant. [3] 

These are the main differences between CBD and THC:

  • CBD: This doesn’t produce a high. Instead, it’s celebrated for its therapeutic effects, such as reducing anxiety and managing pain without the psychoactive effects.
  • THC: This is the main psychoactive component, famous for the euphoria or “high” it produces. It’s also noted for its pain-relieving properties and ability to combat symptoms like nausea and loss of appetite. 

The interaction between these compounds can vary significantly between sativa and indica strains. For example, sativa strains traditionally have a higher THC-to-CBD ratio, which contributes to their energising effects. Indica strains, however, tend to have more balanced proportions, leading to more pronounced sedative effects.

With that said, modern breeding and cultivation techniques have somewhat blurred these lines. Many hybrids now exhibit a mix of these ratios, which means that the old rules don’t always apply. For instance, you might encounter a sativa with a surprisingly high CBD content or an indica that’s low in THC.

The Role of Other Cannabinoids

While THC and CBD grab most of the spotlight, other cannabinoids like CBN (Cannabinol) and CBG (Cannabigerol) play crucial roles as well. CBN is gaining attention for its potential to treat insomnia and relieve pain without the intoxicating effects of THC. On the other hand, CBG, though typically present in smaller quantities, is being studied for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and neuroprotective properties.


Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants, but in cannabis, they contribute significantly to the plant’s effects, aroma, and flavour. For example, myrcene, limonene, and pinene not only influence whether a strain will help you feel relaxed or revitalised but also affect how cannabinoids interact with your body. This phenomenon is known as the “entourage effect.”

More specifically, myrcene is believed to help THC penetrate the blood-brain barrier more effectively, potentially increasing its effects. Limonene, on the other hand, might elevate mood and reduce stress, while pinene could help counteract the potential memory-impairing elements of THC. [4]

So, when you’re picking an edible, think more carefully about the specific chemical profile of the strain than just the plant type. It can help guide you towards the experience you’re seeking, whether it’s relief from pain without a high or a gentle buzz to lighten the mood.


The Science of Edibles

A vibrant display of cannabis-derived products, including green cannabis oil in glass bottles, a spoonful of cannabis powder, and raw hemp seeds, accentuated by fresh cannabis leaves.

Unlike vaping, where the effects can kick in almost instantly, edibles introduce a slow, more surreptitious journey of feeling, thanks to the unique way our bodies process them.

In other words, when you indulge in an edible, the THC and CBD aren’t immediately released into your bloodstream. Instead, they take a detour through your digestive system. As the edible breaks down, THC is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and intestines. 

But primarily, it’s metabolised by the liver into a compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more potent and has a longer-lasting effect than THC itself. [5] The more pronounced results are because it crosses the blood-brain barrier at a quicker rate.

This process means that the onset of effects from edibles can be delayed – typically taking anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to kick in, depending on factors like:

  • Your metabolism
  • What else you’ve eaten
  • The functioning of your digestive system 

This is why it’s particularly important to manage dosing carefully. The effects can also last much longer, typically between four to 12 hours. This makes it particularly suitable for chronic conditions that require steady, long-lasting relief without the need for repeated dosing.

Furthermore, the experience with edibles can vary more than with other forms of cannabis consumption because of the complexity of digestion and metabolism. Each individual’s body processes THC and CBD differently, causing different reactions in different people. It is, therefore, recommended to start with a low dose and go slow, especially if you are new to edibles or trying a new product.


What Is the Difference Between Sativa and Indica Edibles?

As also highlighted above, there are many characteristics that set Indica and Sativa edible apart. From their distinct effects on the body and mind to their suitability for different times and purposes, this knowledge can greatly influence your decision. 

Below is a direct comparison of the two varieties:

Sativa Indica
Characteristics and Benefits  Perfect for beating fatigue and sluggishness, giving you a natural boost without the jitters associated with caffeine.

Known to elevate mood, making them beneficial for those battling depression or mood swings.

Can improve concentration and creativity, making everyday tasks more enjoyable and productive.

Promotes deep relaxation, helping to alleviate stress and prepare the body for sleep.

Excellent for managing chronic pain, particularly muscle pain, due to their sedative effects.

Enhances the quality of sleep, making them a favoured choice for those with insomnia or sleep disturbances.

Common Medical Uses Offers a cerebral uplift that can alleviate the heavy clouds of depression, promoting a positive mindset.

Acts as a natural energy booster, ideal for those with conditions that cause chronic tiredness.

Frequently used by artists and creatives looking to deepen their thought processes and artistic exploration.

Effective in reducing the discomfort associated with conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Aids in calming the mind and body, useful for those dealing with anxiety or high-stress levels.

Helps maintain a healthy sleep cycle, providing a natural alternative to pharmaceutical sleep aids.

Pain Management  Ideal for the daytime management of autoimmune and inflammatory pain, allowing patients to remain active and engaged.

Provides pain relief without sedation, making it suitable for users who need to maintain alertness and activity.

Helps alleviate acute and chronic pain, such as migraines, by relaxing tense muscles and calming the nervous system.

Because of their potent sedative effects, they are best used at night to help ensure uninterrupted sleep while under pain management.


Things to Consider Before Consuming Cannabis Edibles

A close-up image of a cannabis oil vape pen with a golden hue, lying next to a cannabis leaf on a white background.

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned user, there are some crucial points to keep in mind to ensure your experience is both safe and within the bounds of the law.

Legal Considerations

In the UK, medical cannabis was legalised in November 2018. However, it is strictly regulated and can only be prescribed by specialist doctors in limited circumstances. Recreational use remains illegal, and possession can lead to serious penalties. 

For those using cannabis for medical reasons, it’s necessary to ensure that it is obtained through proper channels that are regulated by the UK government. This means the products, including edibles, must be prescribed and should come from a licensed pharmacy to ensure they meet strict safety and potency standards. 


Dosing with edibles can be tricky due to their delayed onset of effects and prolonged duration. Start with a low dose, especially if you are new to cannabis or trying a new product. A common recommendation for beginners is to start with an edible that contains no more than five to 10 milligrams of THC. Always wait at least two hours to feel the full effects before considering an additional dose to avoid overconsumption.

Role of Healthcare Providers

Always consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabis edibles for medical purposes. They can provide personalised advice based on your health conditions, medications, and overall treatment goals. They can also help you understand the potential interactions with other medications and monitor your response to the treatment, adjusting dosages as necessary to safely achieve the desired therapeutic effects.

Legality of Consumption Methods

While the use of medical cannabis is legal when prescribed by a specialist doctor, the methods of consumption are also regulated. Smoking cannabis remains illegal in the UK, even for medical users, primarily due to health risks associated with this method. 

However, vaping is permitted as it is considered a safer alternative. It optimises the therapeutic benefits while reducing the harm associated with the combustion of plant materials. For patients prescribed medical cannabis, you must adhere strictly to these laws. 


Discover Personalised Medical Cannabis Care With Lyphe

The logo of Lyphe.

Understanding the subtle differences between sativa and indica edibles is key to tailoring treatment to your specific needs. Hence, at Lyphe, we focus on personalised, patient-centred care, whether you’re seeking the uplifting effects of sativa for daytime relief from anxiety or the soothing properties of indica for pain management and better sleep.

Our approach combines expert medical advice, comprehensive condition assessments, and a seamless online consultation process, making it easier than ever to access medical cannabis treatments from anywhere in the UK. 

Therefore, if you’re serious about enhancing your quality of life, make Lyphe a trusted partner in your healthcare journey. Book an appointment today and explore the possibilities.



In navigating the nuanced world of cannabis, understanding the distinct benefits of sativa vs indica edibles is essential for anyone looking to enhance their health regimen. 

Sativa edibles, known for their energising effects, are ideal for daytime use, helping to elevate mood and increase productivity. The Indica kind, on the other hand, is perfect for evening use, providing deep relaxation and pain relief that can lead to a restful night’s sleep. 

Whether you’re a seasoned user or new to cannabis, it’s important to consult with healthcare providers like those at Lyphe to navigate this complex landscape safely and effectively. Get in touch with us today and discover the right medical cannabis solution for you.


Frequently Asked Question

Do you feel more high on indica or sativa?

The feeling of being “high” can vary between indica and sativa strains due to their different chemical compositions. Indica is often associated with a more intense, body-centred high that can feel deeply relaxing, often referred to as a “body buzz.” Sativa, on the other hand, tends to produce a more energising and uplifting high, which might feel more cerebral and less intense physically. The choice between the two depends on the kind of experience you’re seeking.


Which is stronger, sativa or indica?

The question of whether sativa or indica is “stronger” depends on what effects you are considering. Indica strains are typically associated with more potent body effects, often producing deep relaxation and drowsiness, which many might interpret as stronger for physical sensations. Sativa strains, however, tend to produce more pronounced mental effects, such as increased alertness and energy, which can be perceived as stronger in terms of cognitive stimulation.


Is sativa an upper or downer?

Sativa is generally considered an “upper,” as it tends to provide an energising and uplifting effect. This makes it popular for daytime use. It helps to enhance focus, creativity, and overall mood, making activities more enjoyable and productive.


Do gummies use sativa or indica?

Gummies can be made with either sativa or indica strains, tailored to specific effects. Sativa-based gummies are often chosen for their ability to enhance alertness and boost mood, and they are ideal for day use. On the other hand, indica-based gummies are preferred for their properties that promote calm and help with sleep, making them better suited for use in the evening.



  1. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/6/e010364
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8246441/ 
  3. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-59259-947-9_2 
  4. https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x 
  5. https://academic.oup.com/jat/article-abstract/16/5/276/797725?redirectedFrom=fulltext 

Related Insights

Whilst you’re here you might also like to read…