Garden City/Greeley:

Cannabis 101

What is Cannabis Indica and What are its Effects?

Cannabis Indica is an annual plant cultivated in many parts of the world for fiber as well as its psychoactive effects. Along with Cannabis Sativa, it’s the most widely grown strain of Cannabis. Let’s look at some qualities of Cannabis Indica and how it differs from other strains.

Qualities of Cannabis Indica


IndicaThe cultivation of Cannabis dates back to distant antiquity. The Indica strain was originally found in the Kush mountain range between Pakistan and Afghanistan. As Cannabis was cultivated and traded, it made its way around the world. Both Indica and Sativa, whose origin is further East in China, were widely traded and increasingly blended as demand for Cannabis increased around the world.

Appearance and Growing Season

Cannabis Indica has a shorter, denser appearance than Cannabis Sativa. Its leaves are wider, with fewer leaflets than Sativa. The leaves are usually olive green, compared to the lighter green of Sativa leaves. Indica has a shorter flowering cycle than Sativa, making it easier to grow in colder climates.


The effects of any strain of Cannabis mainly come down to its chemical properties, especially the cannabinoids and terpenes. The most important cannabinoids are THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive effect, and CBD, which contains important medicinal properties such as providing pain relief. Terpenes, meanwhile, influence the plant’s odor and provide aromatherapy benefits. Both Sativa and Indica Cannabis plants have different chemical compositions, making it difficult to generalize. Nonetheless, there are some distinctive qualities associated with Indica.

  • Lower levels of THC and higher levels of CBD compared to Sativa.
  • Relaxing, sedating effect. This is perfect for relaxing and socializing but less appropriate for activity.
  • Appropriate for evening use.
  • May reduce pain and nausea. Sativa also has these benefits.

Differences Between Indica and Sativa

While Cannabis Indica is known for its sedating effects, Sativa is more energizing. Sativa is often used for creative inspiration and any situation where you want to be mentally alert. Using Sativa at night is not recommended as it can interfere with sleep. However, the individual strain of Cannabis and its levels of THC and CBD is more important than whether it’s Indica or Sativa.

Hybrid Cannabis Plants

While people often refer to Cannabis plants by the names Sativa and Indica, the fact is most plants are hybrid. Growers often create their own hybrid variations based on the THC and CBD levels. As noted, Indica and Sativa have their distinct appearances but few plants today are pure specimens of one or the other. Because of this, shopping for either Sativa or Indica is not always the most useful way to choose your Cannabis. At the same time, many Cannabis connoisseurs maintain an overall preference for one or the other.

Shopping for Cannabis Guidelines

When shopping for Cannabis, it’s more useful to ask about the chemical composition rather than focusing on terms such as Sativa or Indica. Because growers create their own blends, you should seek out the strains that are in alignment with your needs. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Potency. Higher levels of THC will produce a stronger psychoactive effect. Strains lower in THC are appropriate if Cannabis tends to produce anxiety or other unwanted side effects.
  • Medicinal benefits. If you’re primarily using Cannabis for pain relief or to treat a medical condition, you’ll want to look for higher levels of CBD.
  • Smell and taste. If you’re going to be smoking or otherwise consuming Cannabis, you may as well enjoy the experience as much as possible. The terpenes contained in Cannabis influence the flavor and produce a variety of herbal, fruity, and spicy aromas.

When shopping for Cannabis Indica or any other type, you may need to do your own experimenting to find out which strains produce the effects you prefer.

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