What Is an Indica Strain?

The term indica is used to refer to certain types of cannabis strains. As opposed to sativa strains that are commonly associated with an uplifting cerebral high, indicas are usually known for producing a relaxing and sedating body high.

Cannabis Taxonomy: What’s In a Name?

Today we use the term indica as shorthand for the effects of a cannabis strain. But the term’s origins actually come from taxonomical botany, and origin had nothing to do with the plant’s effects.

The term comes to us from Jean Baptiste Lamarck, a French biologist who used it to describe the shorter and more psychoactive variety of cannabis plants that came from India—as opposed to the taller, lankier varieties called sativa. In fact, the actual taxonomy of ‘indica’ comes from the modern Latin word indica–meaning ‘of India.’

Believe it or not, there is still some debate today as to exactly how cannabis plants should be taxonomically classified. However, the term cannabis indica seems to have stuck when it comes to representing the relatively shorter and bushier plants/strains that originated in the Hindu Kush mountain range in the Himalayan region.

Indica Cannabis Plants

Plants of the cannabis indica variety usually grow much smaller and bushier than their sativa counterparts. While sativas can grow upwards of 10 feet outdoors, indicas typically grow to the 3-to-6 foot range. Moreover, indica plants tend to produce shorter stems and broad, dark-green leaves that don’t look quite as thin and fragile as those of the average sativa.

When it comes to growing, indicas have a shorter flowering time, usually requiring only 8–10 weeks. Additionally, they’re also better adapted to colder climates where the temperature can fluctuate a lot.

All things considered, cannabis indica strains are usually a better choice for first-time growers or for those who are short on time, resources, or space. Their small size, quicker growing time, and resistance to outdoor temperature changes make them easier to handle than most sativa strains.


Strain Effects: How Does an Indica Make You Feel?

The high produced by cannabis indica is often described as a ‘body buzz’ since it tends to be more physically euphoric and less mentally stimulating than the effects produced by sativas. Mentally, indicas tend to produce a more relaxed, introspective, and spaced-out state of mind. While physically, they are known more for their sedating and euphoric effects.

Because these relaxing indica effects tend to make people feel somewhat lethargic and sleepy, indica strains are usually best left for evenings or late afternoons. The sedating side of these indica effects can also make it hard to find the motivation to get up and do anything super productive or physically intense—and they might just have you ready for bed!

This laid-back and sedating combination of effects has made indica strains a favorite among many of our medical cannabis patients who rely on these benefits to help manage conditions such as insomnia, pain, nausea, and poor appetite.

Some also feel that the less stimulating nature of indica strains makes them a better alternative to sativas for managing anxiety. But using indica for anxiety is not a foolproof strategy since a major contributing factor as to whether cannabis will help or exacerbate anxiety has more to do with the dosage of THC and other cannabinoids. Research suggests that low doses of cannabinoids are best for relieving stress and anxiety.

What Really Determines The Effects of a Cannabis Strain?

While the indica/sativa/hybrid classification system is really convenient, it’s not very precise, and there are better ways of learning more about a strain’s effects. A more accurate way to predict the effects of a strain is by looking at its cannabinoid and terpene profiles.

For example, the entourage effect is a theory proposing that the many different chemical compounds in cannabis—there are over 500—work together synergistically to produce the overall effects of any given strain or plant.

The exact chemical makeup of a plant is influenced by a lot more than simply its genetics. Where the plant was grown and what conditions it was grown under will also affect its cannabinoid and terpene content and possibly alter its effects. Even if these factors are constant, other things like how a strain is consumed and at what dosage can also change the overall experience.

This is why grouping different strains into two convenient categories based on their effects is impractical. It’s also the main reason why the indica vs sativa dichotomy can only be so useful in helping us to predict a strain’s effects.

To get the best idea of what effects a strain will produce, it’s better to look at the compounds it contains, including cannabinoids and terpenes, rather than solely its classification.

Different Types of Indica

Not sure where to start on your indica journey? With so many different strains available, finding the perfect one for you is no simple task. Here are a few all-time favorites among our customers and patients.

Hindu Kush

Hindu Kush is a pure indica and a classic landrace strain native to the Himalayan region. This Kush strain is known for its deeply relaxing and sedating effects and its hazy and euphoric cerebral effects. Hindu Kush produces an enveloping body buzz that will have you relaxing in no time.

Granddaddy Purps

Granddaddy Purple, also known as Granddaddy Purps or GDP, is an indica-dominant hybrid known for its robust effects and grape-like aroma/flavor. This strain hits you with an initial wave of euphoria before settling into a full-body high and a slightly uplifting cerebral buzz. It also features a sweet grape aroma with earthy hints of berry. If you like super flavorful strains then Granddaddy Purps is a can’t-miss among indicas.


Do-Si-Do, also known as Do-Si-Dos and Dosi Dos, is another indica-dominant hybrid well worth a look for those who seek a little more cerebral stimulation with their indica buzz. Do-Si-Do comes from the infamous Cookies genetic line so you know it’s not just potent but also packed with fantastic flavor.

Peyote Cookies

As a descendant of Cookies Kush, Peyote Cookies is a strain that brings together the best of Kush and Cookies genetics to produce a buzz that is deeply relaxing with a highly aromatic profile. Peyote Cookies has a sweet and earthy aroma and that’s great for winding down at the end of the day.

Explore Relaxing Strains at Takoma Today!

We always stock a wide variety of relaxing and euphoric cannabis products including flower, pre-rolls, edibles, tinctures, concentrates, vapes, topicals, and much more!

Come by our Takoma dispensary today or browse our online menu to shop  our unbeatable selection, including many of the best-known and most trusted strains to help you wind down and reset.

Do you have any additional questions about indica strains? Don’t hesitate to reach out, we’re here to help.  We look forward to seeing you!