Oh, indicas… Where would we be without you? Indica strains helped launch the indoor grow room revolution, prior to which most cannabis available was grown outside and sativa-dominant.
When indica seeds were made more available during the 70s and 80s, no longer did people have to worry about getting the right light, height and room needed to grow cannabis of their very own. People also started to cross indicas and sativas, meaning that haze other sativa-dominant strains could become manageable to grow indoors.
However, for some, the introduction of indica strains has also meant the bottlenecking of cannabis genetics. Thankfully, things have changed as breeders realize that saving medical marijuana means having a wide and varied genetic pool to select from and not necessarily breeding just for for psychoactive cannabinoids, as different strains mean different cannabinoid and terpene profiles.
Still, indicas are great for a variety of reasons (including their high CBD content), and the below are 6 of the best, in no particular order.
This is one of the “cornerstone” strains that helped foment the indoor cannabis revolution and introduce the world to indica flowers and their power. Prior to this, most produce from Afghanistan was in the form of hashish, but people now have the chance to grow their own and make clean hash in their very own homes.
Afghani forms the backbone of many other strains, and is the one to go for if you suffer from pain or insomnia and want a “sedated” effect. It is one of the purest “couchlock” strains around. Many indicas come from or are crossed with plants of Afghani heritage, like Maple Leaf Indica (an excellent choice to grow in colder North American climates), Northern Lights and Blue Moonshine.
2. Northern Lights #5
There were nine Northern Lights – all Afghani phenotypes suitable for growing in non-Central Asian climates. Of these nine phenotypes, it is said that #5 is the best, although types #1 and #2 can be found in strains like Ortega.
NL#5 is considered the most reliable and homogenous variety. Such characteristics are great for breeders, as it gives them a “blank canvas” with which to cross other, experimental strains with. Furthermore, NL#5 has been imbued with a small amount of sativa, increasing the length of the Afghani euphoria stone, but diminishing some of its “couchlock” effects.
Now, this is not to say that NL#5 doesn’t have a relaxed, sleepy stone – it definitely does. However, those looking for a phenotype with relaxed stone with less of the couchlock could do worse than NL#5. Also great for the libido, apparently!
Despite being an indica, Blueberry comes from a very sativa-based line. The Mexican strain Highland Oxacan Gold (H.O.G) is crossed with Purple Thai and Chocolate Thai, as well as an indica-leaning Afghani. Blueberry is what you get when you have a breeder who meticulously plans and selects for specific traits, and is willing to spend the time needed to do so.
This could mean that the breeder – DJ Short – purposefully picked sativa strains that produced the occasional indica strains to breed with. This could explain why Blueberry has so many mutations, some of which are highly sought-after, but this is not the only reason (the “crinkle” comes from Thai genetics).
Blueberry is popular amongst those suffering from stress, depression and insomnia, and its high level of CBD makes it great for pain, too.
4. Master Kush
Before OG Kush, there was Master Kush – a stony, relaxing, uplifting strain that produced indica effects, but allows one to keep focus. Master Kush heralds from two landrace kushes that come from India. The flavor is truly “old school” – earthy, with hints of citrus and incense – and is reminiscent of charas.
This suggests a complex terpene profile, with limonene providing a sharpened sensory awareness that helps combat some of the sleepy effects. The citrus flavor also suggests that, alongside Lemon Thai, this could be one of the backbones to OG Kush.
5. Sensi Star
When Sensi Star was introduced to the world in 1995, it blew pot enthusiasts away. At the time, it was one of the strongest strains around, and it still holds its own today. Sensi Star was pretty much the ultimate “couchlock” strain, and it produces some excellent shatters and waxes thanks to the resin production.
Nobody knows the precise lineage of this strain except Paradise Seeds itself, but like most indicas it seems Sensi Star comes from Afghani stock. There is a sativa-leaning phenotype to be found in Sensi Star, though, so don’t be surprised to find that there are some haze genetics in a batch of seeds.
6. Granddaddy Purple (GDP)
Before GDP was on the scene, getting purple bud was a novelty. Indeed, anyone who had a regular supply of purple buds was considered a cannabis king, as the flavour and appearance were so unique.
GDP changed all of that, and now growers could get purple buds without having to mess around with temperatures and the like. The flavor matched the appearance, too: sweet, grapey and berry. Sure, there was GDP’s parents in Purple Urkle/Mendocino Purps, but they were prone to problems with hermaphroditism.
Adding Bid Bud to the mix for GDP was a master stroke. Not only did this add yield and potency, but it improved the growing experience. The result is a euphoria-, sleep- and hunger- inducing cannabis strain with a complex cannabinoid profile. Excellent for stress, cramps and muscle spasms.
Other indica strains of note: White Rhino aka Medicine Man; Critical Mass; Mango; Herijuana; Hash Plant; Black Domina.
Now, we know there are hundreds if not thousands of indica types, but we tried to pick the most influential ones. Some of the new hybrids might surpass some of the old ones, but the best old ones will always remain a building block for thousands of strains in the years to come.