We’ve taken a look at the sativa strain of marijuana, which included its benefits, plant description and potential side effects. How do these differ from the indica strain, though? Are they more similar or completely different from each other?
In order to fully understand the difference between the two, we recommend reading our post A Closer Look: Sativa either before or after reading about indica.
PLANT HISTORY AND DESCRIPITON
Originating either in Afghanistan or the subcontinent of Asia, indica is a more compact, thick-stemmed bush than its brother strain, sativa. With its area of origination in mind, indica plants can thrive in often harsh and variable climates, including frigid winters and hot summers.
In parts of eastern Asia, the plant species was used in the production of marijuana and hashish products, but also for the cultivation of fiber (clothing) and seed (food).
In 1785, samples of the indica strain reached Europe for the first time. With its ability to produce large amounts of CBD, Europeans rejoiced in the new strain and naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck coined the term indica, meaning “Cannabis from India,” since its look and uses were clearly contrasting from the European-familiar sativa.
Unlike sativa, indica plants’ height typically reaches just less than 2 meters with leaves that are composed of wide, tiny blades. Its color is generally a darker green shade, while some examples have seen blue or almost black leaves. Indica flowers form in thick clusters around the nodes of the female plant.
Indica grows as both male and female plants. Male flowers distribute the pollen and female flowers produce the majority of cannabinoids and receive the male’s pollen, creating seeds. If male plants are not present early in the flowering phase, female plants are prevented from making seeds and their cannabinoid-rich flowers may be harvested for recreational and medicinal use.
In relation to sativa plants, indica plants weigh more as they have a more solid base.
THE "BODY HIGH"
Unlike sativa, which creates the head high, indica cannabis distributes a much higher proportion of CBD (Cannabidiol). This creates more body-centered effects than sativa. Users often enjoy an enhancement of physical sensations, relaxation and euphoria. Accompanied with some negative side effects, such as dry mouth, this creates the stoned feeling often associated with marijuana. Body highs typically make people feel deeply relaxed and sleepy, which is often why marijuana usage is associated with laziness and lack of motivation.
However, with combinations of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBN (Cannabinol) also found within indica, psychoactive effects are also reported by indica users. It’s just not as apparent as it is with sativa-based marijuana users.
Another term related to indica cannabis is the munchies. Sativa strains include high concentrates of THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin), which suppresses the appetite. Indica is known to boost appetite, providing the user with the feeling that they are hungry, even if they may have just eaten.
WHEN TO USE & POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS
Since indica strains are associated with sleepiness and the stoned feeling, it is best to consume them at nighttime. Indica strains can treat a wide array of conditions, including chronic pain, insomnia, nausea, low appetite, PTSD, inflammation and stress.
For people suffering from more temporary ailments, such as soreness from workouts or a stressful day at work, indica is suggested due to its deep relaxation benefits.
In terms of side effects, the colloquialism too much of a good thing comes into play. With its high concentration of CBD, indica can create couchlock, or a state of laziness or inactivity brought on by too much marijuana usage. This is why it is recommended to consume indica at bedtime or in a safe place where you can fall asleep without worry.
Dry mouth, also known as cottonmouth, can also occur with the usage of indica cannabis. Sometimes, the cannabinoid affects receptors in the glands that produce saliva, causing a production halt of sorts. The key is to stay hydrated and keep water handy while enjoying indica.
It is possible to experience a lack of coordination. We recommend not operating any kind of machinery while on indica or being in places where you could fall or trip. While we recommend not driving a vehicle on sativa for its psychoactive side effects, we recommend not driving on indica because of the lack of coordination or sleepiness that can occur.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Some of the information associated with marijuana usage can be difficult to fully understand. If you would like to learn more, check out our Education section. We have articles detailing sativa, proper dosing, cartridge vaping and more!