smoking indica

Smoking indica

Unlike cannabis sativa plants, indica cultivars are reputed for their soothing and sedative qualities. Indeed, indica hemp strains are so relaxing that many smokers only use them late in the day. 

While indicas aren’t great to take before going to work, they might “work” wonders on conditions like anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Plus, since hemp strains don’t contain more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there’s no chance Cannaflower’s indicas will cause the “mind fog” associated with marijuana. 

Anyone who wants clear-headed stress relief can’t afford to pass on the indica info below.

Indica vs. Sativa Hemp – Is There Really A Difference?

Anyone with a basic understanding of cannabis has probably already heard about the “indica vs. sativa” distinction. While there’s some debate over the accuracy of this classification system, many cultivators still believe it’s the easiest way to differentiate strains of cannabis. 

In terms of effects, indica cannabis plants are always linked with mild sedation, while sativas offer a euphoric “head-rush” sensation. Unsurprisingly, you’ll often hear experienced smokers recommend scheduling sativas early in the day and savoring indicas before bed.

But it’s not just the effects that separate indicas from sativas. In fact, the primary reason botanist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck created the “indica” category was to distinguish its growing patterns from sativas.

Lamarck noticed that certain cannabis strains coming from the Kush mountains on Pakistan – India border had a smaller size than sativa variants. If you were to see an indica plant’s low stature and densely packed buds, you could understand why Lamarck argued for this category. In addition to their short height, indicas also have a “short” growing period of about 8 – 9 weeks.

By contrast, sativa strains take a long time to grow (about ten weeks), and they grow, well, long! It’s not unheard of for sativa strains to reach 10 feet tall. Buds on sativa-heavy strains also tend to be airier than indicas, making them more susceptible to mold. 

Although hemp hybridization blurs the lines between these categories, many farmers still cling to the indica vs. sativa distinction. True, the indica-to-sativa percentage won’t tell you everything about a strain, but it’s a great place to begin your research.

smoking indica

Could Terpenes Enhance An Indica’s Effects? 

At this point, we don’t know what causes the distinctions between indica and sativa strains. However, some scientists believe terpenes may explain why these strains have such different effects on users. 

For those who don’t know, terpenes are the smelly compounds responsible for each hemp strain’s flavors. Terpenes certainly determine hemp’s aromatic properties, but new research suggests they may also have physiological effects. Some scientists suggest indicas and sativas evolved unique terpene profiles, which may account for their different impacts.

For instance, the terpene myrcene is typically found in indica strains. Interestingly, myrcene may have a sedative effect on smokers. By contrast, some sativa strains have the woodsy terpene alpha-pinene. Unlike myrcene, most users report alpha-pinene has a stimulating effect that’s best enjoyed early in the day.

Since terpenes seem to play a significant role in influencing a strain’s effects, we always recommend reviewing Cannaflower’s third-party results before buying a bag of buds. Knowing the average terpene percentages could give you a great preview into your chosen strain’s effects and aromatics. 

For more detailed info on how terpenes influence hemp strains effects and side effects, be sure to check out this previous Cannaflower post.

Things to consider

The two main types of cannabis, sativa and indica, are used for a number of medicinal and recreational purposes.

Sativas are known for their “head high,” an invigorating, energizing effect that can help reduce anxiety or stress and increase creativity and focus.

Indicas are typically associated with full-body effects, such as increasing deep relaxation and reducing insomnia.

Although research examining these effects is limited, it appears these plants have more in common than previously thought.

Many in the cannabis industry have moved away from the terms Indica, Sativa and hybrid and started classifying the different “strains” or, more correctly, “chemovars” as:

  • Type I: high THC
  • Type II: THC/CBD combined
  • Type III: high CBD

More and more, the cannabis industry is moving away from the term “strains” and using chemovars (chemical varieties) instead, since the word “strain” is often used to refer to bacteria and viruses.

Here’s how to find the right plant for your needs, strains to consider, potential side effects, and more.

What should you look for to understand strain effects?

The often-applied rule of thumb is that sativas are more invigorating and energizing, while indicas are more relaxing and calming — but it isn’t really that simple.

Individual plants produce varying effects, even among the same type of cannabis. It all depends on the plant’s chemical composition and the growing technique used.

Oftentimes, the plant types are broken down into specific chemovars, or breeds.

Chemovars are distinguished by their individual cannabinoid and terpene content. This “cannabinoid profile” will provide the user with the best information to help them determine which chemovar is best suited for them.

Relying on names does not provide the user with the necessary information to pick the correct profile. These compounds are what determine the chemovar’s overall effects.

smoking indica


Cannabis plants contain dozens of chemical compounds called cannabinoids.

These naturally occurring components are responsible for producing many of the effects — both negative and positive — of cannabis use.

Researchers still don’t understand what all of the cannabinoids do, but they have identified two main ones — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — as well as several less common compounds.

These include:

  • THC. THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis plants. It’s responsible for the “high” or state of euphoria associated with cannabis use. Levels of THC have been increasing as growers try to create hybrids with a greater concentration of the compound.
  • CBD. CBD is non-impairing or non-euphoric. It doesn’t cause a “high.” However, it may produce many physical benefits, such as reducing pain and nausea, preventing seizures, and easing migraine.
  • CBN. Cannabinol (CBN) is used to ease symptoms and side effects of neurological conditions, including epilepsy, seizures, and uncontrollable muscle stiffness.
  • THCA. Tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) is similar to THC, but it doesn’t cause any psychoactive effects. Its potential benefits include reducing inflammation caused by arthritis and autoimmune diseases. It may also help reduce symptoms of neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and ALS.
  • CBG. Cannabigerol (CBG) is thought to help reduce anxiety and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression.
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