Cannabis indica

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Cannabis indica
File:Row(Purple Kush).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae
Superdivision: Streptophyta
Division: Tracheophyta
Subdivision: Spermatophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Superorder: Rosanae
Order: Rosales
Family: Cannabaceae
Genus: Cannabis
Species: Cannabis sativa
Subspecies: Cannabis sativa ssp. indica
Binomial name
Cannabis indica

Cannabis indica, formally known as Cannabis sativa forma indica, is an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. A putative species of the genus Cannabis, it is typically distinguished from Cannabis sativa.[1][2]


In 1785, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck published a description of a second species of Cannabis, which he named Cannabis indica. Lamarck based his description of the newly named species on plant specimens collected in India. Richard Evans Schultes described C. indica as relatively short, conical, and densely branched, whereas C. sativa was described as tall and laxly branched.[3] Loran C. Anderson described C. indica plants as having short, broad leaflets whereas those of C. sativa were characterized as relatively long and narrow.[4][5] Cannabis indica plants conforming to Schultes's and Anderson's descriptions may have originated from the Hindu Kush mountain range. Because of the often harsh and variable (extremely cold winters, and warm summers) climate of those parts, C. indica is well-suited for cultivation in temperate climates..[citation needed]


Broad-leafed Cannabis indica plants in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are traditionally cultivated for the production of hashish. Pharmacologically, C. indica landraces tend to have a higher cannabidiol (CBD) content than C. sativa strains.[6] Most commercially available indica strains have been selected for low levels of CBD, with some users reporting more of a "stoned" feeling and less of a "high" from C. indica when compared to C. sativa.[7] The Cannabis indica high is often referred to as a "body buzz" and has beneficial properties such as pain relief in addition to being an effective treatment for insomnia and an anxiolytic, as opposed to sativa's more common reports of a "spacey" and mental inebriation, and even, albeit rarely, comprising hallucinations.[8] Differences in the terpenoid content of the essential oil may account for some of these differences in effect.[9][10] Common indica strains for recreational or medicinal use include Kush and Northern Lights.

A recent genetic analysis included both the narrow-leaflet and wide-leaflet drug "biotypes" under C. indica, as well as southern and eastern Asian hemp (fiber/seed) landraces and wild Himalayan populations.[11]

Difference between C. indica and C. sativa

Cannabis indica has a higher ratio of CBD:THC compared to Cannabis sativa.[12][dubious ] Cannabis strains with relatively high CBD:THC ratios are less likely to induce anxiety than vice versa. This may be due to CBD's antagonistic effects at the cannabinoid receptors, compared to THC's partial agonist effect. CBD is also a 5-HT1A receptor (serotonin) agonist, which may also contribute to an anxiolytic-content effect.[13] This likely means the high concentrations of CBD found in Cannabis indica mitigate the anxiogenic effect of THC significantly.[13] The effects of sativa are well known for its cerebral high, while indica is well known for its sedative effects which some prefer for night time use.[13] Both types are used as medical cannabis. Indica plants are normally shorter and stockier than sativas. They have wide, deeply serrated leaves and a compact and dense flower cluster.


In 2011, a team of Canadian researchers announced that they had sequenced a draft genome of the Purple Kush variety of C. indica.[14]

See also


  1. Ernest Small & Arthur Cronquist (1976). "A practical and natural taxonomy for Cannabis". Taxon 25 (4): 405–435. JSTOR 1220524. 
  2. Greg Green. 2005. The Cannabis Breeder’s Bible. Green Candy Press, 15–17.
  3. Richard Evans Schultes, William M. Klein, Timothy Plowman & Tom E. Lockwood (1974). "Cannabis: an example of taxonomic neglect" (PDF). Harvard University Botanical Museum Leaflets 23: 337–367. 
  4. Loran C. Anderson (1980). "Leaf variation among Cannabis species from a controlled garden". Harvard University Botanical Museum Leaflets 28 (1): 61–69. 
  5. Dr. Loran C. Anderson - FSU Biological Science Faculty Emeritus
  6. Karl W. Hillig & Paul G. Mahlberg (2004). "A chemotaxonomic analysis of cannabinoid variation in Cannabis (Cannabaceae)". American Journal of Botany 91 (6): 966–975. PMID 21653452. doi:10.3732/ajb.91.6.966. 
  7. "Sativa vs Indica." AMSTERDAM - THE CHANNELS. Web. 05 Dec. 2010. <>.
  8. "Difference Marijuana Cannabis Sativa and Indica, Sativa or Indica Marijuana Seed Strains.". Amsterdam Marijuana Seeds Seed Bank. 
  9. McPartland, J. M.; Russo, E. B. (2001). "Cannabis and Cannabis extracts: greater than the sum of their parts?". Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics 1 (3/4): 103–132. doi:10.1300/J175v01n03_08. 
  10. Karl W. Hillig (2004). "A chemotaxonomic analysis of terpenoid variation in Cannabis". Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 32 (10): 875–891. doi:10.1016/j.bse.2004.04.004. 
  11. Karl W. Hillig (2005). "Genetic evidence for speciation in Cannabis (Cannabaceae)". Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 52: 161–180. doi:10.1007/s10722-003-4452-y. 
  12. "What are the differences between Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa, and how do they vary in their potential medical utility?". 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 J.E. Joy, S. J. Watson, Jr., and J.A. Benson, Jr, (1999). Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing The Science Base. Washington D.C: National Academy of Sciences Press. ISBN 0-585-05800-8. 
  14. Van Bakel, H.; Stout, J. M.; Cote, A. G.; Tallon, C. M.; Sharpe, A. G.; Hughes, T. R.; Page, J. E. (2011). "The draft genome and transcriptome of Cannabis sativa". Genome Biology 12 (10): R102. PMC 3359589. PMID 22014239. doi:10.1186/gb-2011-12-10-r102.  edit

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