Are you ready to deaden that stress at the end of the day? Maybe it’s only the full body pain relief effects of a nice indica-dominant strain that can help you treat your chronic pain? Or is it just your turn to bring the fire to party (if they still exist where you are)?
Good, strong indica strains are typically the ones we all have in mind when we’re searching for that loud, serious weed. But what are the best indica strains—and does that even mean anything?
We’ve gotten into serious depth on this elsewhere, but for now, here’s the real way to think about the perennial question: indica or sativa? Instead of a question with a binary answer, consider these facts:
- Day to day in coffee shops or dispensaries, indica strains are more popular.
- Most people believe that indicas are more potent, but actually sativas can have THC levels that are just as high or higher.
- With effects, it’s a spectrum ranging from energizing and cerebral on one end (sativa) to relaxing and physical on the other (indica) with the actual phenotype of the plant being less important.
- It is the overall blend of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, terpenes, and other full-spectrum plant compounds that lend any one strain its overall effects. And don’t forget how important personal preference is!
Still, many people want to know what the best indica strains overall are, and why. So although everyone has their favorites, here are some standout best indica strains that we think everyone should try.
It’s sort of like being well-read, or having a sophisticated palate. The advanced cannabis consumer has just tried the best indica strains.
If you don’t like popular things, you’re about to be totally conflicted. There’s really no way this knockout, standby indica strain will let you down. Northern Lights originates around Seattle, Washington, but now comes from Sensi Seeds out of Holland. It’s famous worldwide among smokers and growers alike for good reason.
This is the piney, earthy product of two old school landrace strains: Afghani and Thai. Obviously the heavy, pure indica Afghani traits are dominant in Northern Lights although its exact genetics is unknown. But you can be absolutely sure of a spicy, distinct aroma and flavor, a full body buzz, and a couch-lock high.
These crystal-coated buds emit pungently spicy, sweet fragrances and the best crops shine with psychedelic looking hues. Expect a musky, woody, piney, sour and sweet taste. A dreamy euphoria hits the user first with a wave of calm, but the psychoactive body effects of Northern Lights are where the strain really shines, relaxing the muscles, hitting the rest of the body hard, and sedating the mind.
We mentioned that growers love Northern Lights, and that’s in part because these big, dense colas have given birth to tons of new classics, from Super Silver Haze to Shiva Skunk. Its quick flowering cycle and fat, resinous buds also make it a winner crop. Even indoors Northern Lights rewards growers with high yields, and these responsive plants adapt well to SCROG, SOG, supercropping, lollipopping, or fimming techniques to boost production.
The bottom line: It’s a piece of the Pacific Northwest in the form of full body bliss. Indica effects to remember from these crystalline trichomes which sometimes reflect the purple and green hues of the lights the strain is named for.
This fabulous indica-dominant hybrid can rock your world, day or night. It is one of those that is definitely a deep, soothing indica, yet it won’t knock you out unless you dose it that way.
Blue Cheese is a cross between the popular Original Cheese, also called UK Cheese, a phenotype of the masterfully relaxing Skunk #1, and the delicious, heavy-hitting indica strain, Blueberry. Blue Cheese retains that unique smell and taste profile you find in cheese strains, although the Blueberry lends is a distinct sweet, fruity flavor. Aside from its delicious, creamy, cheese taste, this strain also packs some powerful effects.
The long-lasting indica body buzz you get from Blue Cheese balances well with the low-level wave of clear, mental euphoria that fans of sativa strains, indica strains, and hybrid strains alike will appreciate. The effects are very largely indica-dominant, to be sure, but there is just enough of the sativa in there to lift the mood as the rest goes to work on anxiety, pain, and stress.
Perfect for end of the day tokes and daytime use alike, Blue Cheese is a very popular strain among medical marijuana patients. This indica-dominant strain packs that body high punch but doesn’t fully knock you out. Similar to Bubba Kush or OG Kush, Blue Cheese is a happier, less sleepy, more social indica experience.
Blue Cheese cannabis plants are beautiful, with striking blue flowers and a fruity, sweet aroma.The THC levels of this strain are up to 19% with CBD levels relatively high at 2%. Growing Blue Cheese is easy, and the strain itself is strong and hardy. It is naturally resistant to disease, pests, and parasites, so outdoor grows are possible.
The down side to growing Blue Cheese is that yields are somewhat low, at only about 5 ounces per plant for indoor grows and 8 ounces per plant for outdoor grows.
The bottom line: Blue Cheese is perfect for a deeply indica-dominant stone at any time of day.
9 Pound Hammer
Sometimes you want an indica strain because you just can’t with this day anymore, you know? You need to just sort of unplug, and reset until tomorrow…or whenever. This is where 9 Pound Hammer comes in.
The offspring of Hell’s OG, Jack the Ripper, and Gooberry, this 80% indica-dominant strain has some scary heritage. But there’s nothing scary about how you feel after that first puff of pine, lime, grape, and peppery spice—only relief of pain and stress. The slow-burning, deep body buzz is heavy-hitting and long-lasting.
Well-cured 9 Pound Hammer has a strong tropical, fruity aroma. Similar to its tasty parent strain Jack the Ripper, sweeter grape and citrus notes come through, while more classic landrace incense-like aromas come from this strain’s Afghani heritage.
From the moment you use 9 Pound Hammer it really does hit you over the head with deep body warmth, relaxation, and heavy-duty sedation. Expect to engage in some deep breathing as your muscular tension melts away, leaving a slightly disorienting full-body high in its place.
9 Pound Hammer also imparts some subtle mental effects—the kind where tastes, colors, or sounds take on a new intensity, that are ideal for a night of couch lock, or a morning or watering the garden. Higher doses obviously will launch you off completely into body relaxation and sleep.
From a phenotype standpoint, 9 Pound Hammer is visually impressive, with big, densely-formed, multi-colored flowers. The short, classically Cannabis indica leaves are a mossy green with orange and yellow pistils. Like Northern Lights, 9 Pound Hammer can produce some amazing shades of purple when exposed to lower growing temperatures at night, offering savvy growers a chance to add bag appeal to a harvest.
9 Pound Hammer seeds are easy for growers to succeed with. This indica strain grows indoors or outside under the right conditions. The right trimming encourages lateral growth and enhances the plants’ natural resistance to molds and mildew.
The bottom line: 9 Pound Hammer hits you like a classic indica is supposed to, locking you down on that couch hard and sending you sky high.
Obviously, you’re going to want a classic landrace strain on any list of best indicas, and Afghani is the old school favorite. A heavy-duty pure indica strain named for its origins, Afghani is said to have grown hundreds of years ago among the earliest cultivars of cannabis.
Since that time, breeders from around the world have been blending the cherished Afghani genetics into new strains, choosing it for its classic effects and heavy resin production. That doesn’t mean the only jewels produced through Afghani are indicas; breeders back in the day crossed Afghani and Acapulco Gold to create Skunk, a hybrid known for its strong aroma and relaxing effects.
Afghani plants develop dense, thick, buds heavy with resin. Phenotypically, it resembles other broad leaf indica hash production plants from the mountainous regions near and in Afghanistan.
The sweet, earthy, hashy smell and flavor from this strain is amazing, and do not underestimate this powerful, narcotic high. Yes, you will achieve a seriously relaxing head high here, but the sedation is right behind. Medical marijuana patients often use this indica strain to treat pain, insomnia, and stress disorders.
Afghani is an excellent cannabis plant to grow, sturdy and healthy, and compact enough to grow inside. A central, dominant cola will develop from a single, strong stem. The flowering cycle is up to 55 days—but remember that this Skunk ancestor can have a powerful smell for indoor grows.
The bottom line: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it…and it’s definitely not brokwn with this resinous, sedating Afghan landrace strain.
Every list of the best indica strains needs some deep purple kush style magic. Granddaddy Purple or GDP is one of the more famous of indica-dominant hybrids, a happy mix of Big Bud and Purple Urkle. This means a few things for growers and consumers alike.
For growers, look for big, heavy buds that almost make the branches want to sag within a normal flowering time—that’s the gift of Big Bud. On the Purple Urkle side, you’ll see the flowers blooming in purple hues and smell berry and grape notes as they mature. Topped off by sugary white resin crystals, this is a stunning crop that is also famous for massive yields.
But Granddaddy Purple is even more fun from the consumer side, honestly, and that’s why it’s on the list of best indica strains. This great strain offers psychoactive effects that are potent for both the body and mind, with a sweet, fruity flavor on top of it.
GDP is one of those classic creeper strains, kind of similar to Kosher Kush or Purple Afghani. You may not realize how intense that high is at first, until you recognize you’re experiencing time stretch, or you’ve forgotten what you came in here for, or whatever. But this is part of the whole experience. You get lost in the most pleasant way on Granddaddy Purple, and that’s why it’s a must for indica fans.
The bottom line: One of the old time indica royalty, Granddaddy Purple brings the major flavor along with deep body effects.
Some people think Grape Ape and Granddaddy Purple are too similar. They are, of course, wrong.
Grape Ape is most definitely our other delicious purple strain on this indica list, but it gets its royal purpleness from Mendocino Purps. Fold in that legendary Afghani landrace and some Skunk, and you have Grape Ape, a potent strain known for sweet flavor and deep relaxation.
This indica hybrid Kong is about what you might be expecting in terms of effects: big, sweet, and powerfully goofy. Aptly named for its unmistakable aroma of grapes, Grape Ape can take you back to those cartoon days of relaxing without a care.
For cannabis fans who also have a sweet tooth, Grape Ape satisfies both cravings, although it can also hit you with some munchies at times. But for certain like Banana Kush or Bubble Gum, this is one of the more taste-forward indica strains out there today, and it does not disappoint.
Medical marijuana patients report that Grape Ape is among the best strains for treating anxiety, PTSD, depression, and related issues. It is also excellent for chronic pain and insomnia.
From a grower’s standpoint, Grape Ape is fairly accessible, with a short 7 to 8 week flowering period. Its compact, dense buds are heavy but don’t demand staking as the plants rarely exceed 4 feet in height. Grape Ape is happiest inside, away from pests.
The bottom line: Grape Ape is a fantastic nighttime strain for people who love a flavorful strain.
Hindu Kush is the other side of our indica landrace coin. Named after the mountainous region in Central Asia where it first grew wild, Hindu Kush has been cultivated by hash plant growers and hash makers for centuries.
It’s no surprise that growers love making hash and other extracts from Hindu Kush, with its highly resinous colas known for their full body effects. The flavors are ideal for hash and related products, bold, spicy, and sweet—typical of indica strains.
Hindu Kush cannabis offers users gives a calm, pleasant, uplifting experience. Despite THC levels that are often high, it typically does not produce harsh side effects in users. For all of these reasons, this strain is often a favorite of veteran growers and patients.
The plant’s short life cycle and high yields makes growing Hindu Kush a smart proposition for many users, and the strain is also an important part of various breeding schemes. Hindu Kush seeds germinate reliably and the plants grow well. They respond well to lollipopping and SOG, and these techniques should result in better yields.
The bottom line: This is a classic for a reason and you’re going to love Hindu Kush. You’re also going to love knowing what helped create half of the other indicas you’re smoking.
Girl Scout Cookies
Have you seen news stories about Girl Scouts wisely setting up tables to sell their cookies in front of cannabis dispensaries? It happens every year, because the combination is undeniably magical.
The Girl Scout Cookies cannabis strain was born and bred for medical patients, but it has achieved a super star status far beyond that. With THC levels of up to 28%, it’s no wonder that this is a multiple Cannabis Cup award winner.
The Girl Scout Cookies marijuana strain was born in California. GSC for short, it is an indica-dominant hybrid cross of Durban Poison, a sativa landrace strain from South Africa, and OG Kush, an indica strain from the West Coast of the United States. This American original, now world-famous, remains seriously popular throughout the US and Canada.
Famous for its sweet and earthy aroma and flavor, the most popular version of GSC provides an 80/20 indica/sativa ratio for some seriously indica-dominant effects. Medical marijuana patients use Girl Scout Cookies to treat appetite loss, severe pain, and nausea, and this is why it is such a popular medical indica strain.
From a grower’s standpoint, GSC is easy to moderate difficulty to grow, and is best inside. It can produce high yields of up to 21 ounces per square meter, and at these extreme THC levels, that’s pretty impressive.
The bottom line: Girl Scout Cookies is among the most potent indica-dominant strains out there, hands down, and it’s defined by euphoric, uplifting effects that eventually dissolve into a soothing couch lock.
2013 Best Indica Winner of the High Times Cannabis Cup, Godfather OG will not let you down. Extremely popular in Southern California, like many other OG strains, Godfather OG delivers powerful pain relieving properties and a serious sedative high.
There aren’t too many better strains to get deeply mellow with than the sweetly earthy Godfather OG. It was created from Alpha OG and XXX OG, and shares some of those similar, subtle, kush pine notes. Some variations on this cultivar cross Granddaddy Purple and OG Kush to get Godfather OG, as well, but the main version is the one you usually run across.
With a seriously high THC content topping 28 % in some cases, Godfather OG isn’t necessarily for beginners. But for many users, it’s the perfect indica strain, with one of the strongest, most sedative highs out there.
When you first see Godfather OG at your dispensary—or, if you’re really lucky, growing at your place—expect to be impressed by dense buds violet-hued pistils and a thick dusting of trichomes. Open up that container and you’ll be hit with earthy, pine notes.
Tasting it is similar, but deeper, with a sweet, fruity, grape chaser. The first wave to hit you will feel light, happy, and even giggly. It’s cerebral, but nothing troubling or too energizing, to be sure. As the high sinks in, serious, full body effects will take over and can even immobilize you—in the best possible way. For insomnia sufferers there is nothing better, and this is also true for people battling with serious anxiety or trauma.
From a grower’s perspective, Godfather OG is an easy and safe bet. It’s a strain that thrives indoors, liberally producing colas after 8 to 9 weeks. The plants typically offer a good yield, are resistant to pests, and are well-suited to SOG and SCROG techniques.
The bottom line: Godfather OG is that indica strain you graduate up to and use when you’re pulling out the big guns to unplug or for an extremely stressful day.
There is just no way to round out any list of best indica strains without a nice fat skunk. Any true cannabis aficionado will tell you that skunkiness is one of the best things about this amazing plant, and strains known for their skunk smell and taste are complex and exciting. Super Skunk is the best one to talk about here for so many reasons.
Super Skunk is the indica-dominant hybrid that offers up a deep body buzz and next level relaxation. Bred from Skunk #1, a famously reliable strain that also birthed Shiva Skunk, Sensi Seeds bred Super Skunk to develop skunk traits with Afghani roots. The result is a surprisingly sweet smell and taste following beneath that sour, ammonia, skunk aroma and flavor you’re expecting. Some even taste notes of fruit and berry in Super Skunk.
Despite its heavy indica-dominant status, Super Skunk is excellent for all-day pain relief, especially for patients with chronic conditions. Cramps, headaches, and muscle spasms are also on the list for this strain according to customer reviews. In higher doses Super Skunk is a powerful sleep aid and helps users fight insomnia.
The THC level is typically at 19 percent, at the CBD levels are high at 2.4 percent, making Super Skunk ideal even for serious medical problems such as seizures. These indica plants also boost the appetite and calms nausea, including for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Recreational users will find at least as much to love about Super Skunk. The unique smell alone is something that can put a user into the zone, and the strain offers a lot in terms of psychedelic spaciness at the right levels.
On the grower’s side, Super Skunk is typically brighter green, sometimes with undertones of brown and orange. Plants are easy to grow, especially indoors, with higher than average yields of about 15 ounces per square meter. Buds are dense with short trichromes and thick crystals in 8 to 9 weeks.
The bottom line: Super Skunk is a classic cannabis experience and an indica that’s great for patients and recreational users alike.
We hope this list of best indica strains has been useful to you! It wasn’t easy narrowing it down–and we passed up lots of more obscure indica strains hoping to keep the guide more useful. We’ll be updating this list of best indica strains frequently, so watch this space.