In 1783, French Naturalist, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck came across a new type of cannabis that was distinct and different from the already discovered sativa species.
He named it Cannabis indica. This species had adapted to its harsh growing environment in countries like Afghanistan, India, Turkey and Morocco and developed some unique characteristics than other cannabis species.
Cannabis indica hails from the rocky, environmentally-hostile Hindu Kush Mountains in the Middle East. Visually, they are short (roughly 3-4 feet high) and densely branched with broad leaves. These leaves are a dark, forest green colour, due to a higher concentration of chlorophyll.
To protect itself from the harsh, turbulent conditions, indica developed the ability to produce resin; a sticky, organic substance produced by plants. The "resin" is very dense in cannabis which generally makes indica strains very potent. The buds are compact and extremely dense because their blossoms tend to stick closer to nodes along the stem when they flower. As a result, indica buds look full and feel firm when touched.
Another aesthetic quality of indica is the purple colouring in the plant. Since indica plants are native to colder climates, they are more likely to express purple colouration. In both recreational and medical circles, this has long been the most common and accessible way to distinguish different types of cannabis. There is technically a third type of cannabis-derived from hybridisation of sativa and Indica, called Ruderalis.
Ruderalis were first known as indica-dominant strains originating primarily out of Central Asian countries such as Afghanistan and Nepal. Their leaves are broader, and the plants are typically shorter and bushier than sativa strains. They tend to have a higher THC level and are suited to night time use, as they have a more subdued and sedative feeling.
Indica has a shorter flowering period, which makes them a popular choice for many experienced growers; indoor growers can have more annual cycles when growing, and outdoor growers can confidently cultivate in climates where fall quickly turns to winter.
Therapeutic benefits of Indica:
To this day, indica strains are associated with very relaxing and sedating effects.
Indica strains are often recommended for night time use because many patients find them helpful for promoting sleep. Indica is often associated with what people believe is a “high”, when physical senses are heightened while listening to music, eating food or touching different textures.
Research explains the reason most indica strains are attributed to feelings of sedation has more to do with the concentration of the terpene myrcene than it does the cannabinoid content or the structure of the plant. This makes Indica far more valuable for cultivators than they are for consumers. Hopefully Cultivating and growing Indica plants soon be rewarding for patients as well.