Cannabis indica is an annual plant in the Cannabaceae family. A putative species of the genus Cannabis, it is typically distinguished from Cannabis sativa. Schultes described C. indica as relatively short, conical, and densely branched, whereas C. sativa was described as tall and laxly branched. Anderson described indica plants as having short, broad leaflets whereas those of the sativa species were characterized as relatively long and narrow. 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.
Broad-leafed Cannabis indica plants in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan are traditionally cultivated for the production of hashish. Pharmacologically, indica landraces tend to have a higher cannabidiol (CBD) content than sativa strains. Most commercially available indica strains have been selected for low levels of CBD (which is not psychoactive), with some users reporting more of a "stoned" feeling and less of a "high" from indica when compared to sativa. 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. 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.
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.
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