At one time Sativa and Indica were used to differentiate the Cannabis plants.
Sativa being tall, lanky, loosely branched, with skinny leaves and lighter in colour. This is due to the growing climate, being that Sativa landrace strains come from places near the equator. ex. Mexico, SE Asia, Columbia and Africa. Because of the humidity and heat levels in the these places, Sativa plants have to fight off mold, mildew and potential bacteria. Hence the plants sparse branches, leaves and looser buds. Now Sativa seems to mean a head high, uplifting, motivated and can cause anxiety.
Indica plant is the complete opposite in size and shape. Indica landrace strains were found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, Tibet and Nepal. Unlike Sativa, Indica plants are very short, stout, tight buds, with wide and dark leaves. Because of the cool climate these buds are dense, heavy and can be found with a red or purple top bud.
Everyone has heard of in-da-couch.. well that's pretty much what Indica means now, sedative, body high, relaxation and lazy.
Since genetic breeding of plants is so commonly done today, you can assume that a large majority of strains are a Hybrid. Because of criminalization of Cannabis most "black market" growers didn't keep a journal of all the strains they were crossbreeding. Although they did crossbreed some amazing strains, but because of this finding the true lineage of a strain can be very difficult to find.
So if Sativa and Indica aren't really what they once were, then why are we still categorizing them that way?
As a consumer that only knows of "Sativa/Indica" or "Day/Night" smoke, it would be very difficult for people to figure out what strains they wanted. So generalizing them into two categories seems to work best, but if you want to broaden your strain knowledge. I suggest trying to find the Terpene profile for that specific strain and grower.
Terpenes are now what Cannabis enthusiast are looking for in their bud, once you figure out what smell you like.. it's a whole new world!
So what the heck is it?!
You know that smell when you open your weed container.. that's it!
That lemony, tangy zest.
The florally, sweet aroma.
The earthy, pine like scent.
That is the terpene profile of that strain, just like when wine people sniff the edge of their glass. Except you don't have to swoosh your weed around.
Learning what terpene profiles are in what strains, is the best way to have a better idea of what to expect from your high. Science and research is still sparse in the Cannabis world, however you can do your own digging around. The terpene profiles are always available due to mandatory second party lab testing, most LP's have this information available on their websites. If you are ready to take your experience to a higher level (pun intended) then get to know the aroma of your favourite and least favourite bud.