The evolution of cannabis has come a long way since its discovery around 2700 BC. Thanks to human intervention, there are now over 1,000 strains of cannabis displaying different looks, experiences, and medical efficacy. Not one marijuana type is exactly the same.
There are three main subspecies of the plant: Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. There was a time when most cannabis users did not have any idea or care what type of weed they were smoking. However, due to the legalization of cannabis across different states, almost everyone wants to know more about the different cannabis buds to get the best variety.
While Cannabis Sativa and Indica are familiar to most cannabis users, you will rarely hear about Cannabis Ruderalis. In this article, we will focus on the Cannabis Indica strain.
What is Cannabis Indica?
The Indica cannabis strain is said to come from the mountainous regions of Central Asia, mainly from India, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Northern Pakistan. Because of the harsh climates that these plants were exposed to, the strains tend to grow shorter (around 2 to 6 feet tall) and bushier in nature than their Sativa counterparts. Their leaves are also dark green in color and their buds tend to be wide and densely packed together. Lastly, Cannabis Indica plants tend to have a shorter flowering period than Sativas, which makes them the ideal weed to grow indoors or in greenhouses.
Some of the popular Indica-dominant strains include:
- Northern Light
- Bubble Kush
- Blue Cheese
- Purple Queen
Cannabis Indica Chemistry Snapshot
The group of active chemicals that is directly responsible for the effects we get from smoking marijuana are called cannabinoids. The two most well-known and studied compounds in this group include the THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) compounds. Despite being chemical cousins, each of these chemicals reacts with different receptors in our brains. THC interacts mainly with the CB1 receptors situated in the brain and the central nervous systems, while CBD interacts with the CB2 receptors located in the immune system and throughout the body.
As a result, THC compounds result in psychoactive effects while CBD offers an attractive non-psychoactive, and therapeutic experience.
The chemical makeup of Cannabis Indica generally shows a higher ratio of CBD as compared to its THC levels. In effect, this strain is easily a stoner’s favorite. With a higher concentration of CBD, the plants work as general analgesics, giving out sedating qualities that can easily put anyone into a deep state of calm and relaxation.
Cannabis Indica Effects
While Sativa strains often produce an uplifting cerebral high, Indicas tend to produce a more body-focused effect. Indica strains are frequently used for stress relief, relaxation, as well as various medical applications.
As mentioned above, Indica strains are generally higher in CBD concentration. Various clinical trials have shown that the CBD compound has a calming effect on our central nervous system. They work toward counteracting the psychoactive effects of THC on top of having its anti-anxiety properties. That being said, when looking for relief from the symptoms of anxiety, Indica strains are your best bet. One of the interesting things about CBD, however, is that in low to moderate doses, it can provide instant relief from stress and worry. But, in higher doses, it can cause or heighten anxiety-related symptoms. It is best to know your tolerance limits and only use marijuana within these dosages.
- The Munchies
While most cannabis strains are known to cause an increase in appetite, Indicas are typically known to produce the strongest effects of what is colloquially known as “the munchies.” Numerous studies have shown that the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, THC, has a lot to do with why smoking cannabis leads to a stimulated appetite. These chemicals bind with receptors in the brain that are associated with hunger, tricking the nervous system into thinking that you are starving even if you had just eaten. It also affects the brain receptors associated with smell and taste, thereby enhancing our sensitivity to scents and making food even more enticing.
For cannabis medicinal patients who have trouble eating due to the effects of chemotherapy, this particular Indica side effect could be very beneficial. However, for the most part, this is probably not the best idea for the waistlines.
In the cannabis community, couchlock is a term used to describe an intense state of physical sedation caused by smoking weed. It usually comes on unexpectedly and leaves people feeling extremely relaxed, so much so that they feel like they are locked to their couches, doing nothing.
Since Indica strains generally have a higher than average CBD content, there is a lot of discussion around these strains being the main culprit for causing couchlock. Some cannabis users embrace couchlock, while others try to avoid it as much as possible. Some smokers hate the feeling of extreme helplessness, while others enjoy the time to rest and recalibrate. Take note, however, that while your limbs may feel heavy and immovable in a couchlock, your mind may still be active.
- Lack of Coordination
An Indica body high can offer a lot of benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects. However, it can also impair your coordination. While high on Cannabis Indica, you might find yourself struggling with certain tasks, like as simple as walking or placing a glass of water on the table. It is for this reason that Indicas are highly recommended only if you have completed all tasks that need to be done for the day, and you are just about to relax for a good night’s sleep.
In recent studies, however, researchers found that even when you are not high, regular smoking of cannabis may lead to a lack of coordination in motor functions. They found out that cannabis affected the areas of the brain connected to motor learning and control. This is especially bad news for anyone who needs sharp motor skills for their jobs, like those heavy operating machinery as this can lead to very risky and even fatal accidents.
- Dry Eyes and Cottonmouth
Bloodshot eyes and cottonmouth are classic indicators of marijuana usage. The main THC compound causes these effects as it dilates the blood vessels and capillaries around the eyes, forcing increased blood flow to the eyes. It also affects the way certain brain receptors receive messages from our parasympathetic nervous system, leading to a reduction in saliva production. The best way to combat these exasperating effects is to stay well-hydrated and use eye drops while under the influence.
Cannabis Indica strains are known for their warm and relaxing physical high, which is excellent for patients suffering from chronic pain and insomnia. They also provide several other benefits, including stress relief and increased appetite for those suffering from eating disorders. However, like almost everything else, they can also produce effects that can easily become problematic and even dangerous in certain situations. The best way to avoid these is to educate yourself about the effects and be prepared.