Cannabis indica, formally known as Cannabis sativa forma indica, is an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family originating from Afghanistan. It is a putative species of the genus Cannabis. Whether it and Cannabis sativa are truly separate species is a matter of debate. Many uses come from Cannabis indica, such as extraction, cultivation, cloth from the fibers, medical uses, and a plant. Cannabis indica produces large amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The large amounts of THC makes it most commonly used as a drug, whether it be for recreational or medical purposes.
In 1785, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck published a description of a second species of Cannabis, which he named Cannabis indicaas Cannibis that grows in and around India. 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. Loran C. Anderson described C. indica plants as having short, broad leaflets whereas those of C. sativa were characterized as relatively long and narrow. Cannabis indica plants conforming to Schultes’s and Anderson’s descriptions may have been able to flourish across the Indo-Gangetic Plain. This is 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.
Broad-leafed Cannabis indica plants in South Asia are traditionally cultivated for the production of charas, a form of hashish. Pharmacologically, C. indica landraces tend to have a less THC content than C. sativa strains Some users report more of a “stoned” feeling and less of a “high” from C. indica when compared to C. sativa. (The terms sativa and indica, used in this sense, are more appropriately termed “narrow-leaflet” drug type and “wide-leaflet” drug type Cannabis indica (or Cannabis sativa subsp. indica depending on the monotypic or polytipic point of view), respectively. 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 cerebral, creative and energetic high, and even, albeit rarely, comprising hallucinations. Differences in the terpenoid content of the essential oil may account for some of these differences in effect. Common indica strains for recreational or medicinal use include Kush and Northern Lights.