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what is indica

What is Indica?

If you’ve done some research on cannabis, you’ve likely come across the terms “indica” and “sativa.” and are wondering what is Indica? While many of the properties of cannabis – from planting to harvest to consumption – are quite similar across the board, if you’re using this natural medication to treat a specific symptom or condition, it’s helpful to have some understanding of the difference between these two species of cannabis.

First up, Cannabis indica.

Origin and Appearance

Indica strains mostly originated in the Hindu Kush mountain range that stretches between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The climate in this area can get quite harsh, and indicas adapted to the colder temperatures and severe weather by developing a thick resin coating, which is used to create concentrated products like hashish and shatter.

Visually, the indica plant can be quite easily differentiated from sativa. The leaves consist of leaflets so thick they sometimes overlap one another, and the short stalk tends to be densely clothed in branches, giving the plant a bush-like appearance.


Depending on your choice of cannabis product, you may notice a taste difference between indica and sativa strains.

It is the terpenoids or aromatic oils in the cannabis plant (and all other botanicals) that ultimately affect the scent and taste of the bud and other cannabis products. When you hear someone talking about a pungent or “skunk” scent or flavour (introduced by terpenes like limonene or myrcene), it’s probable they are sampling an indica or indica-dominant strain. Not to be so easily pigeon-holed, however, indica flavours run the gamut from skunky to sweet and fruity.

Some recent research suggests terpenoids may do more than simply impose their flavour profiles on the cannabis plant. These multifaceted organic compounds seem to also be responsible for altering cannabinoid reactions, thereby playing a part in how cannabis affects the body and mind.


Indica and indica-dominant hybrid strains are often sought out for their relaxing and calming effect. Rather than inducing a mental, “spacey” sensation, indica mostly plays its role in the body, creating what some users call “couch lock.” This non-mind altering quality has to do in part with the fact that, compared to sativa, indica strains contain more CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid that is gaining popularity with those seeking natural medication without the classic cannabis “high.”

Thanks to the muscle-easing effect of indica and CBD, the products are a common recommendation for people suffering from muscle spasms, severe or chronic pain, headaches and migraines. The medicine’s ability to sedate the user makes it a good choice for late afternoon or evening use, or days when you don’t have much planned.

That sedation effect is also handy for patients dealing with insomnia and anxiety. Depending on the cannabinoid content and dosage, indica can calm nerves and ease agitation, or soothe you right into sleep. For individuals suffering from epilepsy or other conditions that cause seizures, indica’s muscle-relaxation effect can provide considerable respite.

These are widely accepted effects of indica products, but it’s important to note that most cannabis strains are not 100% indica. Instead, many are combinations – called hybrids – of both indica and sativa, and sometimes ruderalis, a third species that affects growth more than flavour or effect.

Because of the popularity of hybrid strains, your chosen medication may relax you while still providing a bit of a heady “high,” or enable you to be active all day while still relaxing your muscles. The knowledgeable budtenders at FARM will be able to recommend the best strain for your symptoms.

We hope we’ve answered your question on what is Indica and have learnt more about cannabis. Learn even more by reading our Cannabis education centre.

Check out our current selection of indica flowers here.