Have you ever been asked if you want an indica or sativa when at the cannabis dispensary? Perhaps someone has asked if what you are consuming is indica or sativa based? It is a common question when it comes to cannabis and one that many people can struggle with. This blog will present some basic information about sativa cannabis to help make answering that question a little bit easier. Read on to get to know a little bit more about cannabis sativa. 

What is Indica?  

Cannabis indica and cannabis sativa are both types of cannabis and can be found in many different cannabis products. One of the main differences between the plants is their appearance, and time in cultivation. The two can also have differing effects. A general rule of thumb in the cannabis industry is that Indica strains provide a calm relaxing “body-high,” while sativas tend to be more of a cerebral, “mind high,” and are stimulating rather than relaxing, this should be taken with a grain of salt, as there has been a lot of cross-breeding and hybrid strains cultivated over the last few decades.  Contrary to what many people believe, indica and sativa cannabis plants are not separate species. While they appear different from one another in terms of what many refer to as “appearance,” both indica and sativa grow equally well indoors or outdoors. Indica cannabis plants tend to grow shorter and bushier than other types. Their leaves are typically broader with shorter petioles. Indicas produce more resin than other cannabis strains, which gives them their characteristic sticky texture.
  • Cannabis will have different effects on each person, regardless of strain. Both strains will cause psychoactive effects due to cannabinoids.  
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid that stimulates a positive mental feeling, euphoric effect. It is the chemical compound that causes a high feeling. The higher the level of THC the  
  • Cannabidiol (CBC) is a cannabinoid that is non-euphoric meaning it does not cause the mental high THC does. CBD is used to manage a variety of medical conditions and is known for its use in helping alleviate pain.  
  • Cannabis can be taken in many forms. It is commonly smoked, vaped, eaten, used in oils and tinctures, used topically, in pill form, and more.  
  • Indica plants grow short and wide, with broader leaves that are often dark green in color with light-colored pistils (hairs) growing from the buds.
Indica buds produce what consumers typically refer to as a “body high” rather than the cerebral psychoactive high that is common with sativa strains. The body high results from what scientists refer to as an “entourage effect.” THC is both psychoactive and non-psychoactive, meaning it binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain but also produces effects throughout the body through what scientists refer to as a neuroprotective effect.   THC binds with the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system, but also stimulates what is referred to as the “peripheral endocannabinoid system.”  This means that THC binds with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body, which is what produces what people refer to as a “body high.” Because the indica plant is what many people picture when they think of marijuana, most cannabis consumers tend to believe that indica is what has traditionally been used for medicinal purposes. In fact, what consumers refer to as sativa-dominant strains have long been smoked throughout Asia to help prevent symptoms like nausea and increase appetite. 

How does an indica high feel? 

Indica is known for its strong body high and sedative effects. It is often used to manage pain, anxiety, and insomnia. Indica strains are also known for their relaxed and euphoric effects, which can make them a great choice for social events.   An indica high can feel very relaxing and euphoric. It is often described as a ‘couch-lock’ high, meaning you will likely want to stay put on the couch. Indica strains are great for winding down after a long day or for helping manage pain or anxiety. Indica strains are often used for their medicinal properties, as they can help manage conditions such as pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders. 

What can indica be used for? 

Indica can be used to manage several conditions, including: 
  • Pain 
  • Anxiety 
  • Sleep disorders (insomnia) 
  • Inflammation 
  • Muscle relaxation
Because indica strains are thought to have more CBD than sativa plants that are often used for conditions like long-term pain, anxiety, and sleep issues like insomnia. If using cannabis for any of these conditions it is best to discuss with a medical marijuana professional, they can guide patients on the best strains, applications, appropriate dosage, and more. Cannabis does not have to be smoked, although that is one of the most popular ways to consume it. It can be eaten, applied topically, as well as taken sublingually and in capsule or pill form. Many medical marijuana patients do not smoke cannabis, and many may look for high CBD strains. 

How to Identify Indica Strains 

Indica cannabis plants tend to grow shorter and bushier than other types. Their leaves are typically broader with shorter petioles. Indicas produce more resin than other cannabis strains, which gives them their characteristic sticky texture.   An indica strain like Hindu Kush will deliver what many consumers refer to as “couch-lock” because it induces what many describe as powerful sedation. This type of full-body relaxation is what makes indica ideal for nighttime use, especially if consumers are looking to combat symptoms like chronic pain or insomnia.   Many growers will cross their favorite indica strain with a sativa strain to achieve what they believe to be the best of both worlds. An indica/sativa hybrid like Blue Dream delivers what many consumers refer to as an “in-your-head” psychoactive high combined with what people refer to as a powerful body relaxation. This combination makes it ideal for daytime use when consumers are looking for relief from what is often described as a “mind and body high.”  Remember that cannabis is a very personal experience. What one person prefers is not necessarily going to be enjoyable for another. Even smoking, eating, or otherwise consuming the exact same plant can be a unique experience for each person. Always keep in mind that at some level indica and sativa labels may be more geared toward marketing than they are true reflections of the cannabis strain.  

Some popular indica strains to keep an eye out for: 

  • Grandaddy Purple 
  • Blue Cheese
  • Northern Lights 
  • Purple Punch  
  • Grape Ape 
  • Blueberry 
  • Hindu Kush
  • Afghan Kush
  • Bubba Kush 
  • Critical Kush
  • Purple Kush 
  • OG Kush
What is Indica - Leafy MateKeep in mind that the terms indica and sativa often mean more for growers and cultivators than they do consumers. If you are looking for a pure indica strain you can ask at your local dispensary, or even try to grow some of your own. The system of indica, sativa, or hybrid is the only system the cannabis industry currently has to classify different strains. There can be some different effects from different strains, however, with all the different breeders, names, and nicknames out there it can be difficult to truly separate them.  As the cannabis industry has expanded growers have learned how to breed different strains together to create the effects they want. 

How Do Cannabinoids Affect Indica Strains?

Cannabinoids play a crucial role in understanding cannabinoids and their effects on Indica strains. These compounds interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, influencing various physiological processes. Indica strains, known for their relaxing and sedating effects, are often high in THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for inducing these calming sensations.

Indica vs Sativa- What’s the difference? 

The current classification system for cannabis indica and cannabis sativa is based on 18th-century research by French biologist John Baptiste Lamarck. Using samples acquired from India he observed differences in the plants and classified shorter, wider and darker plants as indica and the taller narrower plants as sativa. Lamark also determined that the two different strains had different effects when consumed. This research is the basis for the classification system used for quite a long time. In recent years biologists and botanists have determined that at a molecular level, they are all the same.   Cannabis can look different and cause different effects in part due to the strain, however other factors such as growing environment and conditions can play a much larger role. Because of this, it is quite possible to get cannabis of the same strain and name grown in different places that will not look or act the same.  Discover more on Indica vs Sativa.

What to Remember About Indica 

Historically indica dominant strains are known to give a body high and are used for those looking for relaxation, pain relief, help with sleep, and more. When looking at cannabis flowers or cannabis products it is always best to talk to the professionals. You can rely on dispensary staff or speak with a medical cannabis provider if seeking help managing a medical condition or ailment. In current times with over 1000 different strains of cannabis on the market, finding a true indica or sativa strain can prove difficult and is not necessarily what one should be making their purchasing decisions on. 

Discover Leafy Mate – Your Cannabis Industry Resource

Leafy Mate is a resource that can make the cannabis purchasing and consumption process easier and more user-friendly. Connect with us online to learn more, connect with medical marijuana providers, find reputable dispensaries near you, and learn about new products and deals. Cannabis consumption does not have to be difficult, and there is no need to get hung up on if one is using sativa or indica strain. Let leafy Mate help with the hard stuff. Connect with us today! 

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