Most cannabis enthusiasts know that marijuana plants come in two different basic varieties. There's the tall, narrow Sativa, which often grows in warmer climates and is believed to produce a more energetic effect; and then there's the short, broad Indica, which grows in colder climates and provides a heavier "couch-locked" type of high. Of course, this binary is a bit misleading – it can give you an idea of what you'll get, in many cases. Still, it's the complex combination of hundreds of different cannabinoids and hundreds of terpenes that gives a strain its unique effect.
This equation becomes even more complicated when you take into account the fact that different strains can affect different individuals differently, and can also affect a single person in various ways throughout his or her life. All this is to say that when it comes to Indica strains, the word "best" is extremely subjective. However, certain strains seem to be generally well-loved, and these strains are the ones that will be included in this article.
In 2000, this Indica strain won the High Times Cannabis Cup for Best Indica. This strain has been around since the 1970s when the strain was first created by cannabis breeder DJ Short, who was experimenting at the time with interbreeding different landrace strains (Afghani and Purple Thai, reportedly). Blueberry tastes like… well, blueberry, of course, and provides both relaxation and long-lasting euphoria, and is a bit more uplifting than your average Indica.
Where this Indica strain came from is still a mystery – according to the breeder who the strain is named after, Bubba Kush is descended from an OG Kush hybrid and an unknown Indica strain that came from New Orleans. Regardless of the strain's origins, though, it has achieved a large amount of popularity across the United States. Bubba Kush has the classic "kush" smell with notes of chocolate and coffee and creates a relaxing, often immobilizing (in a good way) high.
As one of the most famous Indica strains of all time, this one certainly deserves a place on this list. This strain is a descendant of Afghani and Thai landrace stains, and gives off a honey-sweet yet musky aroma. Leafly puts ‘relaxation’ as this strain’s dominant effect, combining with a sleepy euphoria for a mellow, stress-busting high.
This is a strain that you're likely to find on many people's lists of top Indica strains. It has a sour citrus flavor that is vaguely reminiscent of OG Kush. Still, the effect is clearly different: Master Kush can provide pain-relieving and relaxing effects like other Indicas, but these effects are not followed as closely by a fuzzy short-term memory. This is likely due to the presence of pinene, a terpene that enhances focus and alertness, and is evidenced by Master Kush's "piney" smell.
This appropriately loud Indica strain is named after a Grateful Dead song, and usually presents with dense, sour-blackberry-smelling, purple-tinged buds. It is a fairly potent strain, usually testing at about 20% THC, and produces an extremely relaxed and sleepy high. Don't plan on doing too much besides relaxing on the couch after a few hits of this one.
This strain is originally the Florida-born child of a Northern California strain and a Hindu Kush plant from Amsterdam. OG Kush, gives off an aroma of fuel, spice, and the classic cannabis skunk smell. This strain serves as a genetic backbone for many modern West Coast cannabis strains and is one of the most popular cannabis strains ever. OG Kush often leaves its users relaxed and happy, but not too sleepy to enjoy it.
Also known as GDP, Granddaddy Purple was introduced to the world by Ken Estes in 2003. Since then, it has been widely beloved by cannabis enthusiasts – and no wonder, since it comes from Purple Urkle and Big Bud, two other excellent strains. GDP takes it's grape and berry flavor from Purple Urkle, and its oversized buds from the aptly-named Big Bud. Try this one out for a relaxed, not-too-sleepy-but-definitely-couch-locked experience.
Afghani creates a gentle, mellow high that many medical patients use to treat insomnia. However, it is a thoroughly enjoyable strain for recreational purposes as well. This strain came from the Middle East (hence the name) and produces an incredible amount of resin. For this reason, Afghani is also extremely popular with breeders.
This Indica strain is a blend of Hindu Kush and Purple Afghani, and at an average of 27% THC, it’s extremely potent. It has an earthy, peppery smell, sometimes with sweeter undertones. It’s relaxing, euphoric, and possibly a bit more uplifting than your average Indica.
Strangely, this strain actually smells like blue cheese (very strongly, in fact), mixed with an undertone of berry. Medical and recreational users alike love this strain for its ability to induce heavy relaxation and euphoria without causing nearly as much sleepiness as many other Indica strains.
The broad categories of "Indica" and "Sativa" can be helpful for narrowing down what type of cannabis you should buy. Still, each of these categories contains an astonishing amount of diversity and variation. The same can be said for humans, too – effects of a particular strain that one user reports may be unnoticed or interpreted differently by another user. However, other the other hand, while both cannabis and human beings can vary greatly, the vast majority of each are fairly similar. So if thousands of users enjoy these strains, there's a good chance that there's something here for you, too.