What are the Effects of Indica? Our Comprehensive Guide

A woman smoking a joint on the street, wearing a jacket and sunglasses hanging on her T-shirt with a greenish light illuminating her face and body

If you’ve been on the cannabis scene for a while, you’ve probably heard people talking about indica and sativa like they’re the Beyoncé and Jay-Z of the weed world. But what do these terms mean, and what’s the fuss all about?

Let’s paint a quick picture for you — think of sativa as a triple shot of espresso, while indica is more like a cozy blanket and a warm hug.

In other words, indica may be the better option if you want to relax and unwind. But that’s not all of its effects.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll give you the lowdown on indica strains, their unique properties and effects, and some of the top strains you should check out. So, sit back and relax (no pun intended) as we explore the indica world.

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Key Takeaways

  • Indica cannabis is one of the two primary strains of cannabis plants — indica and sativa.
  • Indica strains usually produce a calm, sedating feeling, which promotes intense relaxation and stress relief.
  • The effects of indica strains are usually felt throughout the body and not just the head.


What is Indica?

Some people refer to indica strains as “in da couch” as a play on its name and its tendency to cause a deeply relaxing couch-lock effect. However, that’s not all there is to indica cannabis.

Indica is one of the two main species of cannabis — indica and sativa. However, while sativa usually yields an invigorating and energetic effect, indica is the opposite. With indica cannabis, you should typically expect sedative and relaxing effects.

Interestingly, the differences between both strains are not only about their effects. Even their individual plants are different.

While both indica and sativa are species of cannabis, they look distinctively different. On the one hand, indica plants are usually short, stocky, and bushy, while sativa plants typically grow taller with broader leaves.

In addition, indica plants are typically harvested after only eight weeks of flowering, resulting in smaller yields.

Generally, the effects of indica range from deep relaxation to restful sleep, with most users reporting feeling full-body effects.


History of Indica Cannabis

Indica cannabis has a very long history, dating back thousands of years to when it was first discovered in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The plants had adapted to the dry, harsh, and turbulent climate of the mountains.

However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck first classified indica cannabis.

Interestingly, “indica” gets its name from the Latin word for India, as it was first thought to have come from that region.

It wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that indica cannabis became popular in North America when immigrants and cannabis enthusiasts from South Asia introduced it to the indigenous population. Not surprisingly, it quickly made a name for itself due to its sedative and relaxing effects.

Today, indica cannabis is more widely cultivated and has seen numerous applications in medicine and recreational purposes. Some of the more popular indica strains that exist today are Afghan Kush, Hindu Kush, and Granddaddy Purple.

How Indica Affects the Body

Indica cannabis strains typically have a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body. In other words, you should expect effects like feelings of deep physical relaxation, reduced tension, and lower anxiety and stress levels.

In addition, indica strain effects are often referred to as a “body high” — as in you feel it throughout your entire body, unlike sativa strains, which often result in a “head high.”

Overall, indica cannabis primarily affects the body on a physical level, promoting calmness and relaxation.

However, you should note that everyone’s reaction and experience with cannabis is never the same. As a result, the effects of indica strains on your body may vary depending on several factors, including the specific strain you consume, the dosage, your tolerance level, and more.


Common Physical Effects of Indica

Here are some common physical effects of consuming indica strains:

Relaxation and Pain Relief

One of the more popular effects of indica strains is their relaxing effects. Indica cannabis helps reduce stress by inducing a sedating, calming, and relaxing effect. This can help to reduce the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

In addition, research has also shown that indica may possess pain-relieving properties, which help people living with chronic pain.

Muscle Tension Relief

Indica strains can also help relieve muscle tension and stiffness due to their deep relaxation effects. This can be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from muscle spasms or other forms of muscle pain.

Appetite Stimulation

Another indica high effect is appetite stimulation, better known as “the munchies” in cannabis communities. Indica’s appetite stimulation effect can come in handy for people suffering from eating disorders.

Sedation and Sleep Aid

Due to their deep relaxation and sedating properties, indica cannabis strains are used by many as a natural sleep aid. They can help to calm your mind and body, which may make it easier to fall asleep and even stay asleep through the night.

Overall, consuming indica cannabis can provide a range of benefits for those seeking relief from physical symptoms. But how does the substance affect the mind?


How Indica Affects the Mind

Like its effects on the body, indica can also help to relax and calm the mind. Indica cannabis strains produce a sedating feeling that may reduce the symptoms associated with mental stress, anxiety, and depression.

In addition, since indica strains typically contain higher levels of CBD and studies show that CBD has antipsychotic and anxiolytic properties, consuming indica cannabis may help regulate mood and improve mental health.

Also, indica high effects may include euphoria and boost creativity, as many users have reported feeling more introspective after consuming indica strains.

However, you should note that the effects of indica cannabis may vary depending on the specific individual, dosage, and other variables. While most people may feel calm and sedated after consuming indica, others may not.

There’s also the risk of side effects such as confusion and paranoia with higher doses and low tolerance levels.


Potential Mental Effects of Indica

Here is a range of mental effects that indica strains may have on you:

Euphoria and Happiness

Many consumers report feelings of euphoria and happiness after consuming indica strains. Since this strain produces a relaxed, calm high, it is no surprise it can produce feelings of contentment and happy well-being.

Reduction in Anxiety and Stress Symptoms

Research has shown that indica strains possess anxiolytic properties, which means they may help manage anxiety and stress. By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, the cannabinoids and terpenes in indica strains can produce a calming effect.

Mood Enhancement

Anecdotal evidence from users has revealed that indica strains may also possess mood-enhancing effects. Since indica cannabis promotes feelings of relaxation and contentment, it is not a far leap that it can lead to improved mood.

Cognitive Impairment

While indica strains generally produce positive effects in most people, they may lead to cognitive impairments in some users. Since indica induces sedative and intense relaxation, this state of drowsiness can make it challenging to focus on tasks.

However, you should note that the degree of cognitive impairment largely depends on the individual and specific strain.


Use of Indica for Other Benefits

Chronic Discomfort Management

Many people who suffer from chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia often use indica cannabis to help manage the discomfort due to its pain-relieving properties. Indica’s high CBD content also makes it ideal for discomfort management purposes.

Calming Benefits

Indica strains are also popular for their relaxing and calming effects, which can help to reduce tension and stress while promoting feelings of relaxation and contentment.

Potential Sleep Aid

Since indica cannabis strains can induce relaxation and sedative effects, they may help reduce racing thoughts, making falling and staying asleep easier.

Nausea Relief

Finally, indica strains may also possess anti-nausea properties, which can be beneficial to people who suffer from nausea.


Potential Side Effects of Indica

While there are several potential benefits of consuming indica, there are also some potential drawbacks. Here are some side effects of indicas:

  • Dry mouth and eyes: Some users may experience dry mouth and eyes after consuming indica. However, drinking some water and waiting it out should solve this issue.
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness: Another potential side effect of indica is dizziness. In this case, it is usually best to sit or lie down until you feel better.
  • Memory impairment: In cases of high doses or more potent indica strains, users may experience short-term memory impairment or “skipping.”
  • Paranoia and anxiety: While indica typically helps reduce anxiety, in cases of higher doses or people with lower tolerance levels, it may lead to paranoia and anxiety.


Best Ways to Use Indica

Consumers use indica in several ways. However, here are the top options for consuming indica to enjoy its benefits:

Smoking or Vaping

This is arguably the most popular way people consume cannabis, including indica strains. Smoking involves heating the plant material with fire and inhaling the resulting smoke.

Indica strains can be smoked in a joint, vape, or bong. You should note that you’ll typically feel the effects of smoking indica within a few minutes.

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Edibles are essentially food products infused with cannabis extract or oil and are also a popular option for consuming indica.

Indica strains can be used to make edibles such as brownies, gummies, and chocolates. However, the effects of consuming indica edibles can take longer to kick in, usually 30 minutes to an hour or more, and can last longer than smoking.

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Tinctures and Oils

Indica strains can also be consumed in the form of tinctures or oils. These refer to the liquid cannabis extracts that are usually taken sublingually (under the tongue) or added to food or beverages.

Tinctures and oils are a discreet and convenient way to consume indica, and the effects can be felt within 15-45 minutes.


Indica strains can also be used in the form of topicals, such as balms, lotions, and creams, that are applied directly to the skin. These products are usually used for localized pain relief, muscle soreness, and skin conditions.

You should note that indica topicals do not produce the psychoactive effects associated with other forms of cannabis consumption, as cannabinoids do not enter the bloodstream.


Best Indica Strains

You’re probably wondering what the best indica strains are. Well, here are our top four:

Alien OG

Alien OG is a potent hybrid strain that is a cross between Tahoe OG and Alien Kush. It is known for its high THC content and strong effects that produce a relaxed and euphoric feeling with a cerebral buzz. Its flavor profile is a combination of earthy, citrus, and pine flavors.

Hindu Kush

Hindu Kush is a pure indica strain named after the mountain range it originates from. It has been used to create many popular strains and is known for its earthy and spicy aroma. Hindu Kush is known for its heavy body high and sedative effects, making it a popular choice for those seeking relaxation and pain relief.

LA Confidential

LA Confidential is a pure indica strain that is known for its potent effects and skunky, piney aroma. It has won multiple awards and is known for its relaxing and sedative effects that can ease pain and insomnia. Its flavor profile is a combination of pine, earthy, and diesel flavors.



Indica FAQs

What is the Difference Between Indica and Sativa?

The primary difference between indica and sativa is the effects they produce. While indica typically gives a relaxing, body-high effect, sativa is more energizing and produces a head-high.

Can Indica Make You Feel Paranoid?

Yes, if your dosage is higher than your body’s tolerance level, you may experience paranoia alongside other potential side effects. Also, your environment and the people you’re with may also induce paranoia.

How Long Do the Effects of Indica Last?

The duration of indica effects depends on your dosage amount, method of consumption, and other body’s metabolism. Generally, smoking effects usually last about 1 to 2 hours, while ingesting edibles may last about 4 hours in your state.

Is it Legal to use Indica in my State?

Hemp-derived indica strains are legal at federal level in the US. However, you’ll need to consult a legal practitioner to determine if indica is legal in your specific state.