What is the Cannabis Indica plant?

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When you’re first shopping for cannabis, understanding the different strains and product types at your disposal can be a little intimidating. However, when it comes to cannabis flower, there are essentially two major varieties that you will come across: Indica and Sativa.

At Supreme, we know that Indica and Sativa may not be the best way to classify cannabis cultivars. The chemical composition of the plant (terpenoid and cannabinoid percentages) are a much more accurate way of gauging the potentiality of a specific cultivar. However, the Sativa/Indica distinction is relevant when it comes to growing patterns and genetic lineage.

In this overview, we will cover the basics of Indica including the history of use, the effects and how Indicas differentiate from Sativas.

What is Indica?

Indica is a species of cannabis. The plant is distinguishable by its relatively short stature, broad leaves, and short flowering cycles. While the Indica plant is well-known to cannabis enthusiasts and cultivators today, this was not always the case. In fact, for centuries, people grew and used cannabis without knowing which specific variety they were consuming.

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Why is Indica Used?

Like all cannabis, Indica-dominant cannabis has a wide range of uses. Obviously, it can be consumed for its psychoactive effects. However, its uses go far beyond what most people would expect. Let’s take a look at some of the most common (and a few uncommon) uses for Indica:

Medical Treatment

Cannabis has been used for different medical treatments for years, and there is still a lot we have to learn about its effects on the body. That said, doctors currently prescribe medical cannabis for a wide range of symptoms and conditions including Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, anxiety, inflammatory bowel disease and insomnia.

Spiritual Experiences

Though not as well researched as some of Indica’s medical properties, spiritual experience is a common reason for cannabis consumption. For centuries, different cultures and religions have utilized cannabis for rituals and ceremonies, as well as personal spiritual growth.

Recreational Use

Finally, recreational use is perhaps the most common reason for cannabis consumption. Recreational Indica consumers seek the intoxicating effects and cerebral “high” that the plant produces.


How is Indica Consumed?

There are numerous ways to consume Indica flower, though not every method will yield the same results. So, let’s take a look at how Indica-dominant cannabis can be consumed, and how each form of consumption is unique:

Traditional Smoking

This is one of the most common ways to consume cannabis flower. You can smoke dried cannabis using a wide variety of devices, including pipes, bongs, joints, and blunts. You can purchase many of these items at a cannabis storefront or head shop. While smoking is a popular way to consume, it is important to remember that any sort of combustion can have an adverse effect on the lungs over time.


Vaporizing has become a popular way to consume cannabis flower, without the need for potentially harmful smoke and combustion. While the jury is still out on whether or not vaping is safer than smoking, there is Dried herb vaporizers can be purchased at your local head shop or cannabis storefront.


Though edible cannabis products will not officially be legal in Canada until late 2019, they are still a viable option if you are willing to do the cooking yourself. Edibles usually have a longer onset period (up to 2 hours) before the psychoactive effects are felt. The intoxicating high from edibles typically lasts much longer than the effects from vaporizing or smoking dried flower.


Topicals such as infused oils, creams, and lotions will not be available in Canada until late 2019. Topicals are generally used for their localized, pain-relieving effects. Most forms of topicals do not have the same psychoactive effects as other forms of cannabis consumption because these products cannot penetrate the blood-brain-barrier.


Indica-dominant cannabis strains can be used in the creation of concentrates and extracts. Cannabis concentrates can be solvent-based or solvent-less and come in a large array of forms including rosin, shatter, hash and wax.

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Effects of Indica-Dominant Consumption

Cannabis affects everyone differently. However, there are some commonly reported psychoactive, subjective and physical effects from consuming Indica-dominant cultivars.

Psychoactive Effects

The psychoactive effects of the Indica flower vary for each individual user, however, the chemical process is the same in every case. Cannabis affects the levels of several neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine. These changes, in turn, can cause changes in conscious perception, euphoria, relaxation, introspection, amplified sensuality, and increased libido. Anxiety and panic attacks can also occur among consumers when dealing with cultivars that contain a high THC content.

Subjective Effects

In addition to the more universal psychoactive effects of cannabis consumption, there are also a few more subjective effects that are common for many users. These include increased appetite and increased enjoyment of food and drink. Many users also report feeling a distorted sense of time, with time generally slowing down or feeling as though it has stopped. Cannabis can also produce a “rush” of ideas and perceptions. Finally, with higher doses, some users report instances of dissociation and even mild hallucinations.

Physical Effects

For most people, the physical effects of cannabis consumption are virtually the same regardless of whether it’s a Sativa or Indica strain. Users will experience dry mouth, an increased heart rate, dry or red eyes, and muscle relaxation.


Some consumers tend to associate Indica-dominant strains with high CBD levels and Sativa-dominant strains with high THC levels, although this classification is largely incorrect.

The real distinction between the effects felt by consuming Indica and Sativa strains are the result of terpenes – the aromatic compounds found in cannabis. The deep and pungent terpenes commonly found in Indica-dominant strains are associated with relaxing, sedative effects. Terpenes associated with Indica-like effects include Myrcene and Beta Caryophyllene.

Indica-dominant cannabis is widely available around the world and can be cultivated in most temperate climates.

Cultivation of Indica Cannabis Plants

Indica cannabis plants are widely available around the world and can be cultivated in most temperate climates. However, Indica has adapted to the harsh and often unpredictable climate of the Hindu Kush mountains, so it is far more versatile than other strains. That said, temperatures above 30°C or below 13°C can slow growth and lead to lower levels of THC. This is especially relevant if it is being cultivated outdoors. Thankfully, many cannabis cultivators grow their product indoors via traditional soil growth, hydroponics, or aeroponics.

In addition to stable temperatures, Indica plants require ample light, water, humidity, and nutrients. When it comes to the lighting environment, Indica plants can grow with either real or artificial sunlight. If artificial light is used, it is best to mimic the natural day/night cycle, by providing approximately 16 hours of light alternated with 8 hours of darkness. These times may differ depending on the quantity and cultivation process.

The frequency that Indica plants must be watered depends on several factors and can vary greatly. Cannabis plants require a delicate balance, as under-watering can cause wilted leaves, while over-saturation can lead to bacterial growth. Generally, it is best to wait until the soil has dried completely between each watering.

Though very high humidity could lead to over-saturation, cannabis plants usually grow better in humid climates. This is due to the fact that dry conditions slow photosynthesis, thus slowing plant growth. As a result, certain dry climates are not ideal for outdoor cannabis cultivation.

Finally, Indica plants require plenty of nutrients to grow. This can usually be accomplished using a mixture of natural soil and commercial fertilizer. Cultivators must experiment with their cultivation conditions in order to find the best ratio for their plants.

In Canada, many cultivators choose to grow their product in indoor facilities to prevent climate-related damage to the plants.

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