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Cannabis Indica: What is Indica?

Indica cannabis plant

If you’ve ever stepped into a dispensary, you know you have the option between indica strains of marijuana, sativa strains, and hybrid options. But really, what is indica? In this guide, we’ll explain:

  • What is indica?
  • How different is it from sativa?
  • What are the popular indica strains?
  • How do you ingest indica?
  • Is indica right for me?

Need to start at the beginning? Check out our guide about what cannabis is today
 

What is Indica?

Indica refers to Cannabis indica, a plant that was originally classified by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French biologist, in 1785. Lamarck came up with the name to distinguish this form of cannabis from other types. Visually, indica is a bushier plant that doesn’t grow quite as tall as a sativa might. The leaves tend to have wider blades, and the flower buds are thick and dense. 

You may have heard the popular saying that indica will put you “in-da-couch,” illustrating the commonly held belief that indica is sedating and sativa is stimulating. However, as more research comes out about Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa, we’re learning that there isn’t much difference between the two plant types. In fact, with molecular testing, scientists have determined there’s really only one species of cannabis: Cannabis sativa L. The reason these plants appear different from one another, and we’ve attributed certain effects to either strain, is actually because of a variety of other factors, including environment, growing conditions, terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids

Because indica, sativa, and hybrids are what we know, the cannabis industry continues to label them as such. However more cannabis connoisseurs are looking to additional factors like those mentioned above to try to predict their experience. The reality is that everyone experiences cannabis differently, so don’t be afraid to try new products, and always remember to start low and go slow. 
 

What Are the Popular Indica Strains?

There are so many popular indica strains available on the market, it’s hard to limit ourselves to just a handful. Some of our favorite indica cannabis flower includes:

  • Purple Kush: This pure indica strain came from crossing Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani (both great strains themselves). Its earthy aromas mix with subtle sweet overtones, and it’s rich in myrcene
     
  • Do Si Dos aka Dosi: Technically, this is a hybrid, but it’s indica-dominant so it makes the list. It’s known for its shiny trichomes and unique lime green and lavender leaves. 
     
  • White Rhino: Another indica-dominant hybrid makes the list, but this one descends from cultivars sourced from, among other places, Afghanistan. Most true indica is of Afghan heritage. 
     
  • Northern Lights aka NL: This reportedly smooth-to-smoke indica strain features purple flower buds that actually grow well indoors. It is popular with growers because it’s fast to flower and produces resinous buds. 
     
  • Granddaddy Purple or GDP, Grand Daddy Purp, Grandaddy Purple Kush: Just one look at this hefty flower bud and you’ll know it’s indica. It smells like grape and berry and it’s deep purple bloom is the perfect background for its white resin. 
     

It’s important to note that dispensaries have different strains available depending on if they sell recreational or medical marijuana. When you visit a licensed dispensary, explain to them you’re interested in trying an indica strain, and let them share with you what they have available.
 

How Do You Ingest Indica? 

You can consume indica the same way you do any cannabis product. You have the option to vape, smoke, eat edibles, take tinctures, etc. When you start looking for indica edibles or concentrates, you may notice that they aren’t always labeled indica, sativa, or hybrid. This is simply because some of them only contain certain cannabinoids, like THC or CBD, and therefore, don’t qualify as a particular strain. If you’re looking to truly experience indica, your best bet is to go right for the cannabis flower. This way, not only are you getting the indica, you’re also getting all the molecules and compounds that come with cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. 
 

Is Indica Right For Me?

Only you can really know the answer for this. Remember, a lot of information out there that is claiming something is an “indica effect” may not be completely accurate. Websites like Leafly aggregate feedback from customers, making it easy to see what some people experience with certain strains. But at the end of the day, your body is unique, and how cannabis, including indica, affects you is also going to be unique. When trying anything new, we recommend microdosing cannabis to ensure you’re starting low and slow and that way, if you find your experience unpleasant, it should be more minor than if you went with a high dose. 
 

Recreational Cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.
 

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