A French naturalist named Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was studying plants around the world when he stumbled upon what we now know as cannabis indica in 1783. Just thirty years after cannabis sativa was discovered, Lamarck realized that this strain was not an individual plant but rather, another member of the previously discovered plant.
The new species was named “Indica” by Lamarck. Cannabis Indica comes from environmentally hostile regions in the Middle East, where it was first discovered in the Hindu Kush mountains. The plants are a shorter cannabis, growing no more than 3-4 feet in height. They have dense branches covered in wide, broad leaves. The color of the leaves is a rich, dark forest green as a result of higher concentrations of chlorophyll necessary to offset the limited sunlight exposure.
They grow in rocky areas with a different environment and temperature, so their leaves have unique characteristics. Having adapted to areas in the world such as India, Morocco, Turkey, and Afghanistan, the plant has to protect itself against rather turbulent conditions. To that end, the plants have a sticky resin on them which is dense, protective, but also responsible for making Indica strains incredibly potent.
Cannabis Indica is used for medicinal and recreational purposes, as it has been since its discovery. When used medicinally, cannabis is typically harvested and then purchased in the form of dried buds. These are short and compact buds, often dense because the blossoms will remain closer to the nodes on the stem when they flower whereas Sativa buds stretch out. Therefore, the buds are fuller and firmer comparatively.
When purchasing, indica buds will often feature purple coloring, indicative of their cooler native climates. Bigger, purple strains are Indica dominant strains. In essence, Indica buds are short, heavy, compact, dense, and often feature purple hues in them.
You can differentiate between Sativa and Indica if not by buds, then by strain names. Indica, for example, originates heavily in the Hindu Kush as mentioned. Therefore, most of the strains have the term “Kush” in their strain names, in reference to where it was grown. That is not 100% effective, but it is a good starting point. Some popular strain names include:
- Pineapple Kush
- Grandaddy Purple
- Northern Lights
Indica strains are well regarded for their sedating and relaxing effects. Indica strains are more commonly used at night to help provide a relaxed, sleepy feeling just before bed. There are many Indica strains also used to provide intense body impacts like muscle relaxation. As such they are used for situations where people need to sit and relax. It is because of this that they earned the nickname “couch lock” for the Indica effects. Indica also provides a heightening of your physical senses, such as when you touch various textures, eat different food, or listen to music. It is this strain, as a result, which is often associated with what people think of when they think of a “high”. There are higher amounts of THC, one of the many cannabinoids in cannabis, which makes it the more psychoactive of the two.