Ten indica strains that stand the test of time

Indica strains: Purple cannabis plant at night, drooping

Though industry pundits have condemned the cannabis three-party system as of late, consumer language often still falls back to indica strains and sativa–with hybrids for good measure. Indica is a Latin word for “of India,” signifying that the plants come from the South Asian country.

Strains with Hindu Kush and Afghani as parents are called Indica to indicate Kush Mountain origins. Indicas available now can be traced back to India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Afghanistan. These plants often grow shorter and bushier than sativas, when untrained, the plants often grow in the shape of an evergreen tree.

These beloved indicas have been gracing dispensary shelves over the years, picked by consumers looking for a good night’s sleep or wanting to unwind after a stressful week.

OG Kush

There is a lot of lore associated with the origins of OG Kush, a strain that is a parent to many of today’s beloved hybrid strains. The most widely accepted story is that OG was first grown by Matt Berger, who developed it from a cut of Northern Lights.

OG often has an earthy, musky, and even gassy flavor and aromatic profile. Most times, these strains will create couch-lock effects. Though it may be hard to find on its own, OG hybrids are plentiful at dispensaries, just look for those two letters in the strain name.

Photo of cannabis cola growing in the sun.

Northern Lights

As exotic hybrids with high THC content replace true indica dominant strains, many old-school consumers pine for classics like Northern Lights. The indica, bred from Afghani and Thai, is known for its sleep-enhancing body high and earthy profile that features the faintest hint of berries. Be warned: this strain can promote a serious appetite.

Northern Lights first entered the US cannabis market in the 1980s where it became a base for other classic hybrids like Super Silver Haze. Keep an eye out for a number after the strain name, as this indicates what cut of Northern Lights the flower can be tracked to. Each cut offers a slightly different experience.

Blue Cheese

Though Blue Cheese is an indica-dominant hybrid, it deserves a place on this list for the perfect pairing of effects it offers. The hybrid combines classic Indica Blueberry with UK Cheese to create a novel pairing ideal for daytime relief from chronic pain and social consumption. Cheese strains develop a funky aroma akin to the name, and Blueberry offers a delightful sweetness with a hint of peat moss. Together they make a pungent pair.

Unlike pure indicas, Blue Cheese can have euphoric, stress-relieving qualities. It differs from euphoric sativas however, because most times Blue Cheese won’t evoke the anxiety that can arise after consuming pure sativa strains.

Blackberry Kush

In the world of cannabis indica strains, Blackberry Kush is an elder. The robust, often dense nugs of this strain feature Blackberry notes, just as the name implies, alongside a dry spice many connoisseurs refer to as gassy.

For effects, Blackberry Kush can be relaxing, stress-relieving, and appetite-inducing. Though it evokes the classic indica experience, the strain won’t ensure a knockout. People looking for sleep-inducing indicas may opt for a Northern Lights or Hindu Kush.

9 lb. Hammer

A favorite in the Washington state market, 9 lb. Hammer crosses Gooberry, Hells OG, and citrusy sativa classic Jack the Ripper. The little bit of sativa doesn’t compromise the wave of relaxation many experience when enjoying this cannabis indica strain. It will also inspire quite an appetite. Often testing with high THC, 9 lb. offers an intense but memorable experience when rolled in a joint or extracted and dabbed.

The nugs grown from this cultivar are dense and pointed like fat pine trees, and the thick bed of trichomes gives an almost silver sheen to the green flower. The name may evoke thoughts of metal, but 9 lb. has a straightforward nose and flavor. This terpene profile is a gift from the parent plant Gooberry emphasized by Jack the Ripper.

Indica strains: Cannabis cola with hunter green leaves growing indoors.

Grandaddy Purp

Anyone who spent time in the Bay Area in the 2000s heard someone walk by them and whisper, “I got purp,” a reference to this legendary purple cannabis strain. It may be called Purple, GDP, Grandaddy, or The Purps, but all names point back to the same plant. Forged from Mendo Purps, Afghani, and Skunk, Grandaddy Purp has a cocoa berry smell and a grape-forward flavor.

One reason Grandaddy Purp is beloved is the permeating body high it delivers alongside a giggly euphoria–an ideal experience for many. Many believe that it helps with stress and anxiety, helping melt the world’s cares of the world away and bringing consumers into the present moment.

Hindu Kush

Named after the mountains where it comes from, Hindu Kush is one of the originators of indica-dominant cannabis. The flowers of Hindu Kush are a hunter green verging on light brown with aromatics of sandalwood and with sub notes of fresh marjoram. They often feature abundant trichomes making the buds sticky to the touch.

After consuming Hindu Kush, many feel relaxed and almost tired with a deep body high. It has also been listed as an option for patients seeking relief from nausea. Despite these many benefits, this cannabis variety can cause dry mouth, eyes, and slight paranoia. This is an ideal option for beginners or experts: Hindu Kush is for everyone.

Purple Punch

As the name implies, Purple Punch features a violet hue and candied plum flavor. Flower from this plant is also known for having bountiful trichomes. Reports claim that the indica is a cross of Larry OG and Grandaddy Purple, which explains the color and flavor.

The flower doesn’t only taste like dessert; it’s probably best enjoyed after dinner as it can promote lethargy and drowsiness. Many also report Purple Punch as relieving nausea, and minor pain relief, and as a tool to manage stress. Though the effects are considerable, this strain is a proper option for a newer consumer.

Afghan, Afghani, or Afghanistan Weed

There’s no way this historic indica wouldn’t make the list. After all, it’s a parent of most of the phenotypes listed here. Afghani is well-known for its couch-locking, pain-squashing properties complemented by a subtle wave of euphoria. The buds are a sheen green with complex aromatics featuring hints of black pepper, frankincense, and musk.

Consumers often feel hungry, happy, and sleepy after consuming Afghani–the classic indica trio. Hashmakers also seek out this strain for its high resin production, which leads to a larger extraction output.

Blueberry Muffin

This indica dominant strain has an out-of-this-world flavor that bursts with true blueberry and undertones of fresh lemon. Instead of pure heaviness like the parent plant Blueberry, Blueberry Muffin also features waves of uplifting euphoria. Some even claim it has arousing properties.

Humboldt Seed Company created the plant using its Purple Panty Dropper and Blueberry genetics. Though it’s uplifting, many Leafly reviewers warn against making this a daytime smoke. It can be time-bending and silly, working against daytime productivity.

Though many call to abolish the names indica, sativa, and hybrid since every popular strain is a hybrid at this point. But there is value in having a vocabulary. These strains are all known for classic effects that have come to be associated with the term indica, making it an ideal term for consumers shopping for heavy hitters.

Whether someone is looking for THC, CBD, or any other specific cannabinoid– an indica is the right place to start if they want to unwind. These indicas are beloved for a reason, and though they can all have stress-relieving properties, each offers a specific benefit to the consumer.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of GreenState.com and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.