Indica and sativa plants differ a lot in many aspects, from the appearance to growing habits and cannabinoid ratios. But have you ever wondered which of these species is the smelliest — indica or sativa?
Whether you strive to learn everything about cannabis plants or you just don’t want to get in trouble when carrying weed on public transportation, knowing which strains produce more intense aromas will help you big time.
You don’t need to be a weed connoisseur in order to distinguish between indica and sativa strains, but savvy users can instantly tell the difference between the two plants by simply having a waft over their resinous flowers.
This task gets a little bit trickier with hybrids, but still, certain notes are more typical to sativas, while others are prevalent in indica flowers.
Want to know which weed is the smelliest?
Read on to find the answer.
A Brief Overview of the Differences Between Indica vs Sativa
Using the indica vs sativa classification is a classic way to distinguish between specific marijuana strains. Both species come from different parts of the region and offer their unique traits to both recreational and medical consumers alike.
Here are the key differences between indica and sativa strains:
- Geographic origins: sativa plants originated in the regions near the equator, such as Mexico, Colombia or Thailand. Indica strains come from countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, and India — specifically in the hotter regions of the Hindu kush region.
- Appearance: A sativa plant can grow up to 25 feet tall and has thin leaves and branches. The bud structure of sativa strains is loose, with conical flowers and soft seeds. Indica plants grow shorter (up to 5 feet) and produce densely packed, more resinous buds with broad leaves.
- Effects: The effects of pure sativa strains are more cerebral and stimulating. They induce an invigorating, uplifting high that also prompts chattiness and gets the user into a positive vibe — improving focus and stirring creativity. Indica strains have more body-centered effects that may result in a couch-lock effect when consumed in large amounts. Indica flowers are appreciated for their ability to provide utter physical relaxation and relief from different types and levels of pain. They also tend to make users sleepy at higher doses.
But, indica and sativa vary in terms of their aroma profiles — which boils down to their terpene ratios.
What’s the Role of Terpenes in Cannabis Flowers?
Take a closer look at your cannabis flowers.
What do you see?
A beautiful coating of crystal-like resin?
Great, because that’s where trichomes are found. These glandular trichomes are where terpenes get synthesized.
Terpenes are volatile molecules that give plants and fruits their tempting fragrances. In nature, plants release terpenes in order to lure animals into eating their fruits and ingesting the seeds along with them.
Some people use the term “terpenes” and “terpenoids” interchangeably, but these two have a slightly different meaning. The most striking difference is in the chemical makeup of terpenes and terpenoids.
Simply put, terpenes are made from carbon and hydrogen only, while terpenoids are released during drying and curing weed when they are degraded by oxidation.
Aside from the sensual aspect, terpenes provide cannabis plants with a natural protection system against insects, bacteria, fungus, and other environmental threats.
Terpenes can also affect mind, emotions, and behavior, giving each strain’s high its unique character and amplifying certain effects of cannabis.
This synergy is also referred to as the entourage effect — the main reason why whole-plant cannabis products are more desired than their isolate-based counterparts.
What Do Sativa and Indica Smell Like?
Both sativa and indica strains have different ratios of specific terpenes. For example, sativas sport high concentrations of limonene and pinene. This makes them produce a grassy smell hat is accentuated by citrus fruits and forest notes depending on the ratios between limonene and pinene.
Indica strains, on the other hand, are more pungent. Many indica plants release a fume-like aroma combined with notes of berry fruits and earthiness. They also carry more terpene myrcene, alpha-pinene, and linalool, all of which are responsible for the physical heaviness and sedation after smoking an indica bud.
Which Weed is the Smelliest: Indica or Sativa?
High Times has pooled together the terpene profiles of 28 indica-dominant strains and 20 sativa-dominant strains. The indica ones were OG and Kush crosses in general, while the sativa sample pool included strains like Strawberry Cough, Grapefruit, and Blue Dream.
That comparison led the High Times team to interesting conclusions. Not only did indica strains had 0.15 percent more terps by mass when compared to sativa flowers, but they also carried around 16 percent more of the smelly terpenes — a sufficient amount to notice a difference in the intensity of their aromas.
Sativa strains smell great; they are refreshing and hearld an uplifting high with potent stress relief. However, they don’t pack the punch of indica strains whose smell tends to linger for hours after a finished smoke sesh.
The Top 5 Most Pungent Weed Strains Ever
Looking for the smelliest buds on the planet? Take a look at the strains below and make sure to add them to your wishlist.
- Cat Piss — Cat Piss is a sativa-dominant strain that brings distinct notes of ammonia with the following pine cleaner you’d use to refresh your kitty’s poop house after getting rid of the litter.
- Dog Shit — while not the most tempting name out there, this indica-dominant hybrid packs a pungent punch of aromas that are unique to strains like Afghani and Colombian Gold. This bud smells as if you opened a plastic bag with a not-so-pleasant content. Thankfully, it’s a very rare strain nowadays.
- Chemdawg Sour Diesel — care for having a waft over something that makes you feel as if you’ve just walked into a meth lab? Then you’ve found yourself a decent option. Imagine two layers of gasoline — one huffing from your car and the other one locked under your kitchen sink — hitting your nostrils and showing you the less discreet part of smoking weed.
- Space Queen — this is one of the funkiest strains on the market. Being a cross of Cinderella 99 and Romulan, this cheesy bud smells like fermented milk spoiled in the city streets filled with diesel fumes.
- Super Skunk — The name already tells you pretty much about the aroma profile of this strain. Imagine one of those awful animals that you avoid for fear of being embraced by their repelling smell being distilled into a flower form. We don’t know what’s worse — the smell or the aftertaste that feels like an IPA that was left in the sun for a week.
What are the smelliest strains that you’ve smoked so far? Give us a shout in the comments!