What is Indica
Have you ever been too embarrassed to ask about the differences between indica and sativa? They look and smell the same so you would think they would have the same effect, wouldn’t you? While Sativa and indica are two distinct species from the same cannabis family, they are actually distinctively different. They have unique growing characteristics, highs, and are used for different medicinal purposes. Understanding the variations can make all the difference for people who suffer from different ailments because they can be better informed on which strain will be a better cure.
The name indica originally referred to the geographical area in which the plant was grown. During the 1970s, Cannabis indica strains mainly originated from Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Northern Pakistan, particularly from the Hindu Kush mountain range. However, as knowledge about the plant became more widespread, it became more common to grow it in greenhouses all across the world.
The Difference Between Sativa and Indica
On a chemical level, indica and sativa strains have different cannabinoid composition as well as the balance of other phytochemical compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids. Sativa strains usually show a higher Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content and lower Cannabidiol (CBD), whilst indica strains tend have a lower amount of THC and a somewhat higher CBD content. But thanks to breeding, both indica and sativa strains can be found with varying THC and CBD concentrations. THC is the psychoactive element in the cannabis while CBD is one of the major cannabinoids in a cannabis plant.
While the THC and CBD balance plays a significant role in shaping the effect, other naturally occurring substances also play their part in producing these distinct characteristics. For example, over 120 different terpenes have been found in cannabis which, thanks to science, can be mixed and matched. The concentration and balance of can largely influence the high produced by a particular strain.
After THC, CBD is the second most prevalent and important cannabinoid naturally found in cannabis. It also modifies the way THC interacts with the body, modulating and dampening the effect of the THC. Generally speaking, sativa works on the mind and is good for creative thought while indica tends to produce a more body-centred, stoned effect
Indica Growing Traits
Indica cannabis strains tend to be shorter and bushy in stature than staiva strains. Their leaves are fat and a dark-green coloured, which is due to the higher amount of chlorophyll. Unlike Sativa strains, which tend to grow tall and lanky, Indica strains tend to grow between 2-6 feet tall, produce around 1.5 to 2.5 ounces per plant, and are typically have higher levels of THC percentage than its Sativa counterpart. The buds of the indica strains tend to be wide, dense and bulky, while sativa strains are likely to be long, sausage shaped flowers. They also tend to have a shorter flowering period than sativas, which is why it is better to grown them indoors or in a greenhouse.
In the recent era of cannabis breeding higher-ratio CBD strains are being developed from Indica origins that balance CBD and THC but can go as high as a ratio from 22:1 CBD-THC. The medical interests in Cannabis are taking this further and we will see increasing cultivation trends for more strains developed with CBD-dominant ratios for medical purposes. There are three chemotaxonomic types of Cannabis. One with high levels of THC, one which is more fibrous and has higher levels of CBD, and one that is an intermediate between the two.
In general, the effect of sativa strains is often a strong and uplifting head high which is good for concentration and work, while indicas tend to produce a more body-centred, stoned effect which is better for parties and other social gatherings. The indica high is often referred to as a “body buzz” and has beneficial properties such as pain relief in addition to an effective treatment for insomnia and an anxiolytic, as opposed to sativa’s more common reports of a cerebral, creative and energetic high. While the THC and CBD play a significant role in shaping the effect, other naturally occurring substances also play their part in producing these distinct characteristics.
Medical Benefits From Indica Strains
Because of the higher levels of CBD, Indica strains are ideal for people looking to treat symptoms such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, nausea, appetite stimulation, and sleeping issues.
Indica strains may even help more complex diseases such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, sleep apnea and insomnia also tend to benefit immensely from the effects. Cancer patients especially benefit from the pain & nausea relief from medicating with indica after chemotherapy treatments.
Unfortunately most commercially available indica strains have been selected and bred for their high levels of THC for the past 30 years. This has resulted in CBD being nearly bred completely out of the plant. Until recently most strains contained less than 1% CBD. Thankfully as more research is being conducted and scientists are rediscovering the benefits of cannabis, specifically CBD, the trend is being reversed by many growers who are now focusing on CBD-rich strains for their medicinal benefits rather than seeking a high from the THC.
History of Indica
In 1785, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French naturalist, published a description of a species of Cannabis, which he named Cannabis indica because he found it grew in and around India. Lamarck based his description of the newly named species on plant specimens collected in India. He described indica as relatively short, conical, and densely branched, whereas sativa was described as tall and sparsely branched. Later, as Lamarck and other naturalists studied further, they found indica plants were able to flourish across other parts of Western and Southern Asia.