Cannabis is divided into three main categories: indica, sativa and hybrid. Indica-dominated hybrids are associated with a sense of physical arousal and «buzz», while sativas have a cerebral effect. However, some indica varieties do not induce drowsiness, while sativas are not conducive to creativity.
Because of the large number of cannabis strains that exist, we have decided to offer you a short and accessible list of the best indica strains.
The classic species cannot be left out, because they are the only strains that are truly pure indica or sativa. Everything on the market now is a kind of hybrid. However, Hindu Kush is one of the purest representatives of indica.
Hindu Kush is a native indica variety that comes from the mountain range between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The variety was first introduced to the U.S. in the late ’60s and early ’70s, and was then bred by OG breeders in Amsterdam in the ’80s, and has become one of the most influential varieties of all time.
The main feature of Hindukush is its thick, sticky and resinous buds covered in trichomes, making it a favorite variety for hash growers. This variety also attracts people with its woody, earthy and moist aroma, complemented by a slightly sweet and piney flavor. This is due to a combination of caryophyllene, limonene, pinene and myrcene.
Hindukush is a special variety for consumers, providing a calming effect that helps people relax from everyday stresses. Growing Hindukush is low maintenance and takes a short flowering period of 45 to 50 days. It also provides high yields. Hindukush plants do not reach a large size, allowing them to be grown indoors as well as outdoors.
At the top of the list of classic indica is Afghani #1, which grows in the Hindu Kush mountain range in Afghanistan. The genetics of the Afghan indica have been used to create many of the famous hybrid varieties we love so much, known for their predominance of indica. It’s important to note that without Afghanistan’s heritage, the cakes and cookies we love could not exist.
Afghani #1 is a local indica variety that is known for its sweet and earthy flavor, often referred to as «hash browns». It is popular because of its potency and attractive aesthetic. Afghan cones, usually dark green with purple hues due to the climate in which they grew. The rich three-meter coverage makes Afghan #1 an ideal variety for hash production. Afghan genetics is also notable for the abundance of myrcene, limonene and pinene in its terpene profile.
To reach its full potential, Afghan #1 is best grown outdoors. It has a short flowering period and provides high yields.
GP is a legendary indica variety and one of the most significant varieties ever. It was one of the sources of the lilac mania that now defines the cannabis world (along with Purple Haze and Purple Kushes).
Granddaddy Purple, often called Granddaddy Purp or simply GDP, is a hybrid of Big Bud and Purple Urkle. It was created by Ken Estes in the early 2000s based on genetics he acquired from local growers in northern California.
This variety is known for its dark purple flowers and deep spicy hash flavor with a hint of grape. Because of its sweet taste and strong relaxing effect, Granddaddy Purp is considered one of the indica varieties that is supposed to have a grapey taste and evoke a strong bodily impact. The terpene profile of Granddaddy Purple usually contains a lot of myrcene, pinene and caryophyllene.
Granddaddy Purple is also a great plant to grow. It is short and compact, blooms for about eight weeks and produces a high yield. Indoors you can expect about 19 ounces per square meter and outdoors about 17 ounces per plant.
It was created from a genetic line of indica varieties including Skunk Kush, Hindu Kush, Diesel and Silver Haze.
For cultivars, Banana Frosting could be their next favorite project. With a 70% indica predominance, it has a short flowering period (50 to 65 days), high yields and extremely resinous cones. But what else can you expect from a variety derived from native indica varieties? Banana Frosting cones are large, dense and pyramidal in shape.
Consumers can most likely expect a mixture of uplifting and relaxed mood from Banana Frosting. This is a powerful variety that won’t leave you sleepy and confined to the couch. Its aroma and taste is sweet, citrusy and slightly fizzy. The banana flavor is usually barely detectable among others.
Zkittlez is a modern indica strain developed between 2015 and 2016 by Terp Hogz and the 3rd generation family. It is currently experiencing a mass revival in the cannabis culture of the West Coast. The genetics of Zkittlez have created world-renowned strains like Runtz and Watermelon Zkittlez.
Zkittlez is a result of crossing Grape Ape with Grapefruit. It has a very fruity, caramel-like taste (hence the name) and a powerful cerebral effect loved by people for creative endeavors. The experience for consumers can be described as heavy and happy. Expect the terpenes of Zkittlez to contain Caryophyllene, Linalool, and Humulene.
For those who want to cultivate Zkittlez, it can be grown indoors or outdoors. It’s up to you. Indoors, you can expect a flowering period of seven to eight weeks, while outdoors Zkittlez may take a whole nine weeks. Zkittlez usually has a moderate yield and can be quite challenging to care for, so novice growers should be warned. You might want to start with something more beginner-friendly, like our Hindu Kush, if you’re new to growing.
BB is another classic variety known for being a hybrid of Afghani, Skunk and Northern Lights. In existence since the early 1980s, Big Bud gets its name from its huge crop of thick bulbous flowers. Big Bud buds are compact, dense and covered with resinous trichomes.
In 1989, Big Bud won the High Times Cannabis Cup in the «Best Indica» category. After its consumption you can expect a long and relaxing effect. Big Bud’s aroma is full-bodied and sweet, with touches of pinene, myrcene and otsimene.
This variety is a great choice for growers as it has medium height, is ideal for indoor growing, and has a short flowering period. Indoors, you can expect yields of 500 to 600 grams per square meter, and outdoors, about 800 to 1200 grams per plant.
Super Skunk is a hybrid of Skunk #1 and Afghan Indica, created by David Watson, also known as Sam the Skunkman.
This variety is a «super» version of the original Skunk, retaining its characteristic flavors and intense effects. It has an unusual cheesy flavor with a slight citrus tinge created by caryophyllene, humulene and limonene. Super Skunk is known for its ability to relieve stress and pain.
One of the most popular and well-known strains in the world is the Northern Lights #5 (NL #5) phenotype, which has been used to create many other famous hybrids such as Shiva Skunk and Super Silver Haze.
Northern Lights #5 is a classic indica strain with unknown origins (according to some sources, it was created back in 1979 in Seattle, Washington). It is not known exactly who originally developed this strain, but we do know that it was perfected and propagated in the early 80’s thanks to famous breeder Neville Schoenmaker.
Northern Lights is believed to have originated from genetics of Afghan and Thai native strains. The strain is known for its intense aroma, which quickly fills the room with loud, spicy notes. The taste can be sweet, spicy and hashy, similar to local indica strains. The main terpenes present in Northern Lights are myrcene, cariophyllene and pinene.
People love this strain so much because of its strong physical effects. This is a powerful strain that is not recommended for newcomers to cannabis. It should not be consumed if you plan on doing productive things. Northern Lights is the strain for those who want to immerse themselves in the pleasurable cannabis effect.
Hash Plant is another well-known indica strain with Afghan genetics. It was created by crossing the original hash plant with Northern Lights to stabilize its expression and genetics. According to history, Hash Plant was initially developed in the Northwest Pacific, but in the 1980s, it was brought to the Netherlands.
Hash Plant is a classic indica in terms of structure. It grows dense with compact colas. The flowers of Hash Plant display a mix of green and purple accents and a thick layer of resinous trichomes. Hash Plant is an excellent plant for hash production, as you can imagine.
You can expect Hash Plant to have a spicy and earthy flavor, the taste of hashish mentioned in the Afghan section. The effects are relaxing and mood-lifting for the body, but heavy, so it’s better for novice consumers to reserve this strain for an evening session. Hash Plant’s terpene profile is dominated by myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene.
It combines Northern Lights, Ortega, Hash Plant, and Afghan strains to preserve the pure indica genetics to the fullest.
Black Domina is known for its herbal, spicy, and peppery aroma, reminiscent of heavy caryophyllene in its terpene profile. There is also a significant amount of myrcene and pinene.
From this strain, you can expect a relaxing and sedative effect. Growers say it has a fast flowering time and very resinous buds. Currently, you can see that all strains with pure indica genetics come out covered in trichomes.
Rounding out this list of the top 11 indica varieties is Shiva Skunk, which was created by crossing Skunk #1 and Northern Lights #5, the most famous NL phenotype. The taste of Shiva Skunk has a complex mix of different flavors: the sweet and earthy smell of Northern Lights combines with the citrus and spicy funky notes of Skunk. Its terpene profile is rich in myrcene, cariophyllene and pinene.
Consumers will love Shiva Skunk for its strong and long lasting sedative effects, invented primarily for nighttime use. Grovers will appreciate this variety for its high yields and stability. Notify someone about the presence of Shiva Skunk in your garden, and they will immediately show interest. Varieties like this one are rarely found on dispensary counters. Be the one to bring them back into the great range.
Of course, there are many other indica varieties on the market, and this list includes only our favorites. We understand that preferences can be individual. If you think we’ve missed your favorite or think some classic indica should be included, please let us know in the comments below!