The Best Cannabis Indica Strains & Quick Tips How to Grow Them

11 Nov 2020

Cannabis indica strains are sought after for their superior relaxing, sedative qualities. Indigenous to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Turkey, indicas are popular both among medical and recreational users. Below, skim through seven of the best cannabis indica strains to try at least once in your lifetime and pick up quick cultivating tips if you are planning to homegrow some. 

Indica strains are a common choice among medical users as they often contain more significant CBD contents, although a lot of varieties are dominantly THC. Recreational users also cherish them, for sometimes there's nothing in the world that can relax and offer comfort like indica. Originating in harsh environments such as the Hindu Kush mountains in Asia, Cannabis indica is a strain praised for delivering full-body effects, bolstering deep relaxation, battling insomnia and stress symptoms. Indicas are also known to boost appetite while reducing nausea and pain.  In contrast to Cannabis sativa, whose plants are taller, thinner and usually take more time to mature, Cannabis indica is typically shorter, bushier, grows faster and is associated with bigger yields. 

What are some of the best cannabis indica strains to try in 2020?

Medical cannabis users may be particularly familiar with indica strains. Some indicas work miraculously to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Beyond that, they may work as excellent mood boosters for the habitual user who needs a break after a busy, hectic day.  Here are seven of the best indica cannabis strains, a quick overview of their medical and/or recreational uses, effects and cultivation tips you might find handy in your garden

1. Granddaddy Purple

Medical uses: perfect analgesic; also anti-stress and anxiety Effects: relaxing, sleep-inducing, euphoric Side effects: a third of users report cottonmouth  Smell and flavour: pine, herbal, peppery, has a sweetish, berry-like taste A California staple strain created in 2003, Granddaddy Purple is an indica cross of Big Bud and Purple Urkle. Famous for its recognisable purple flowers and white crystal resin, GDP gives the user both mind and body high, delivering a combination of euphoria with relaxation. Preferred by anyone suffering from stress, chronic pain, insomnia, muscle spasms and appetite loss, GDP is gifting cultivators with hefty yields ready for harvesting after 60-day flowering indoors. Although it's classified as indica, it does have some sativa genes in it as well and its average THC contents reach around 18%.

Cultivation: Best to grow indoors, where the process concludes with a flowering time of around 75 days. Aim to cultivate short, stocky plants, which may need additional support if they give heavy buds. Keep temperatures from 70°F to 80 °F (21 °C - 31°C), but note that your GDP darlings will not react well to radical drops in temperatures. So if your daily temperatures are around 70°F (21 °C), it's not advised that night temperatures fall below 60°F (15 °C). Keep humidity around 50%. High humidity may cause the buds or even the entire plant to rot. 

Someone's secret stash

2. 9 lb Hammer

Medical uses: analgesic and sedative, for pain, cramps, insomnia, stress Effects: relaxing, sleep-inducing, couch lock, mild euphoria  Side effects: cottonmouth, dry eyes, a small number of users will also report dizziness Smell and flavour: pine, peppery, herbal, can have hints of incense, lime, grape. Extra caution in the curing process will boost the fruity aromas of this strain. A famous indica cross of Jack the Ripper, Gooberry and Hells OG, 9 Pound Hammer is a potent strain with high THC levels ranging 14-21% and heavy, long-lasting effects. Despite the low CBD levels of only 0.3%, this strain is a perfect match for stress relief and battling with chronic pain.

Larger doses of 9 lb Hammer may give the couch lock effect in users after which, ''calling it a day'' would be the appropriate phrase to use and just head off to bed. Therefore, avoid daytime use of the strain and keep it for the end of the day or long, relaxing weekends. Cultivation: Advisable for growing inside 9 Pound Hammer flowers between 50-60 days and will bless growers with sizeable yields. Without making drastic temperature drops, reduce your 9 Pound Hammer grow room's night temperatures during the flowering stage to 50°F (10°C). An early topping of 9 Pound Hammer plants is advisable during the vegetation phase. Remove extra fan leaves to push more energy into the plant's buds.  For outside growing, anticipate a flowering time of around 8 weeks—harvest hour chimes by the end of September or beginning of October. However, the plant will struggle in colder environments. 9 Pound Hammer wants warmth and medium humidity. 

3. Purple Punch

Medical use: analgesic, anti-stress and anxiety Effects: relaxing, sleep-inducing, couch lock, happy Side effects: cottonmouth, dry eyes, dizziness  Smell and flavour: pine, peppery, citrus A successor of Granddaddy Purple from the union with Larry OG, Purple Punch is a sweet, blueberry grape smelling delight that delivers a punch both to the body and the mind. A hit of Purple Punch is forceful, starting with a robust cerebral sensation that is felt in the eyes, quickly followed by an uplifting feeling of the whole body as if floating in space.

However, the effect culminates with sedation, so this sweet taste strain is most appropriate to take in the evening when it may resolve any battling stress, nausea, insomnia and body aches. It contains up to 20% THC and around 1% CBD. Cultivation: Purple Punch requires prior growing experience, so don't try to grow this weed if it's your first time growing. In that case, opt for something autoflowering. Purple Punch requires a lot of sunshine and warmth, so growing indoors requires replicating such conditions artificially with lots of light and appropriate heating. If you live in a Mediterranean-like climate, you can try and grow Purple Punch outside. While it's a relief mites won't come to the plant, watch out for other pests such as caterpillars. 

Cannabis indica typically appears bushier, shorter, grows faster and has bigger yields.

4. G13

Medical uses: anxiety, stress, analgesic Effects: relaxing, sleep-inducing, happy Side effects: slightly greater chances for cottonmouth, dry eyes and dizzy  Smell and flavour: herbal, peppery, citrus A very potent and robust cannabis indica strain, G13, shortened from Government Indica Strain 13, is a source for many imaginative urban myths and legends alike. Allegedly, in the late 1960s, the FBI and CIA gathered the top of the top marijuana strains from growers all over the globe at a top-secret installation at the University of Mississippi in order to breed super hybrids. When an unnamed technician liberated a single cutting of the strain, it was bred for the masses. While the story is likely false, G13 potency and its ability to deliver amazing effects are very much true. Users may anticipate full-body stone, typical for Indica strain, accompanied by a robust cerebral high, lethargy and laziness.

So, get the munchies ready before degustating G13. Cultivation: G13 requires space for growing, so anticipate this regardless if you grow indoors or outdoors. It needs the space both for its protruding branches but also during flowering when it may need additional support. It's a fairly easy strain to take care of outdoors and has no temperature issues up to 85°F (30°C).  To get the best G13 yield indoors, don't forget to ventilate your grow room, elevate CO2 levels and add enough nutrients because G13 needs a lot of nutrients. You can try out hydroponics settings, although ensure that your equipment is thoroughly sterilized. The hydroponics system's water needs to be around 65 (18) degrees, with air temperatures above 75°F (23.5°C). During the early vegetative stage, retain a 70% humidity level but gradually lower as you navigate the days. The humidity should be around 40% once the flowers appear. Last but not least, retain pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5 in your growing medium, although you may want to start with pH neutral water at the beginning. You may want to track your growing process in a notebook as G13 obviously is not the easiest strain to grow.

5. Blueberry

Medical uses: potent analgesic, anti-stress and anxiety Effects: calming, relaxing, couch lock  Side effects: cottonmouth, dry eyes, slight dizziness Smell and flavour: with a blueberry hint on an inhale and exhale + herbal, peppery and citrus-like A THC-packed strain introduced in the 70s, Blueberry is often described as a "one hit and I quit" kind of strain. It's a great remedy for treating anxiety but has also proven effective with patients suffering from chronic pain. The therapeutic qualities of Blueberry are also welcome among recreational users who need a break at the end of the day. Plan a Blueberry round for when you no longer have any tasks on your daily calendar and for weekend relaxation. 

Cultivation: With moderate to high yield, Blueberry is best to grow outdoors in climates with extended sunshine hours. Crop the plant's top to make it look like a bush and wait for mid-October when the harvest time is due. When grown into such shape, Blueberry strains give extra buds. For indoor growing, anticipate flowering time within 8 to 10 weeks. 

First time homegrowers should choose easy-to-grow strains and learn from the experiences. They say practice makes it perfect.

6. Northern Lights

Medical use: analgesic; for insomnia, stress and anxiety  Effects: relaxing, sleep-inducing, improves the mood Side effects: cottonmouth, dry eyes, a slight fraction of use will report paranoia  Smell and flavour: sweet, spicy, pungent A fusion of sweet and spicy, Northern Lights is one the most popular indica strains of all times, praised for its resilience during growth, fast-flowering and luscious buds. Delivering effects such as relaxing the muscles and calming the mind with peaceful euphoria, Northern Lights is preferred among those who struggle with chronic pain and insomnia, but it can also be used for battling stress and depression. With its relative 16.5% THC content, Northern Lights is equally shared among both medical and recreational users. Cultivation: First, make sure you have the right kind of seeds to grow Northern Lights. You can either purchase Northern Lights seeds online or check with local gardeners if they have well-bred seeds that will adapt well to your local climate.  While several phenotypes of Northern Lights can be found on the market, the estimated indoor flowering time is 45 to 50 days, according to Sensi Seeds.

If you come across a phenotype that presents as an excellent Northern Lights, you would be right to reproduce new seedlings for your future growths.  Since it's a fast-flowering strain, you can implement multi grow strategies over the year-round, both if you are growing indoors and outdoors. Use soil or hydroponics. Implement a natural light strategy for your NL darlings, where you will use indoor light during vegetation and outdoor light during flowering. Basically, if you can move your plants indoors outdoors (also depending on the season), it may soothe your plants well. For instance, if they are ready by spring, take them outside. Ensure your plants receive enough nutrients, i.e., sufficient nitrogen during vegetation and adequate phosphorus and potassium as they move to flower. Sprinkle a little of magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, zinc, manganese… Your Northern Lights will appreciate it. Or just purchase potting soil mixes that will contain all of these nutrients. 

7. Hindu Kush 

Medical use: analgesic, ''sleep pill'', anti-stress Effects: relaxing, sleep-inducing, happy Side effects: cottonmouth, dry eyes, some users might experience paranoia but nothing extreme Smell and flavour: pine, flowers, pungent, sweet, creamy Named after a mountain range stretching between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Hindu Kush is one of the best and purest cannabis indica strains on the planet. The strain, brought to the west in the 1960s and 1970s via the legendary ''Hippy Trails,'' is appreciated for its pungent smell that will fill in the room almost immediately as well as its resinous colour-rich buds. Boosting earthy and floral scent, the Hindu Kish can help patients suffering from chronic pain, stress disorders and create a sense of calm, which is why habitual users also find joy in it. 

Cultivation: the Hindu Kush is ideally grown in warm and dry environments. You may want to grow Hindu Kush inside to mimic such conditions. As plants grow bushy, like miniature Christmas trees, you may want to use a grow room with enough space. The strain flowers in between 7 and 9 weeks, is fairly easy to grow and highly rewarding for its profound effects. If you are the lazy kind of grower, the best thing of all is that you can leave your Hindu Kush indica strains to grow without your 24/7 nose-diving how it's doing. The kush will simply grow. Nevertheless, the least you can do is explore common techniques to improve yields and get the most ounces while you are at it.