Discover which terpenes are most common in Indica dominant strains
Expand your cannabis knowledge
While the terms Sativa and Indica are slowly becoming more muddled as cannabis strains get cross-bred, they’re still generally used to differentiate between more energizing strains and more sedative strains. What’s really fascinating is the difference in terpene profiles of these two categories. If you’re interested in learning about more Sativa dominant strains and their terpene profiles, click here. But today, we’re talking all about Indica terpenes.
Indica strains are the go-to for anyone looking to wind-down, chill out, or even temporarily relieve occasional aches and pains. While the unique cannabinoid profile of each plant will dictate how strong the effects are, it’s the terpenes that determine what those effects will be. And the terpenes most common in Indica strains are some of the most relaxing and calming.
Whether you’re creating cannabis or non-cannabis products, anything that’s designed to be calming and uplifting can benefit from these terpenes. Plus, these functional ingredients allow you to design specific flavors and aromas that customers will love. Keep reading and discover the top 5 most common Indica terpenes and why your products can benefit from them.
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- “Indica terpenes” are relaxing or sedative terpenes that help create the Indica experience and flavor. The terpenes themselves don’t have any cannabis in them.
- Speaking of cannabis, you can use Indica terpenes in non-cannabis products and still benefit from their flavors and effects.
- While you can find the same terpenes in both Sativa and Indica strains, the ratios are different. Generally, Indica profiles tend to have larger quantities of particular terpenes while Sativa profiles tend to be more complex.
- Five of the terpenes found most prominently in Indica strains are Myrcene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Linalool, Limonene, and Humulene.
What is an Indica Terpene?
As we said earlier, the words Sativa and Indica were used in the past to describe different species of cannabis. Sativa dominant plants tend to be taller with narrower leaves, and have more energizing effects. Think strains like Jack Herer, Durban Poison, or even Sour Diesel. Indica dominant plants, on the other hand, tend to be shorter with broader leaves and have more relaxing properties. We’re talking about heavy-hitter Indica strains like Granddaddy Purple, Bubba Kush, and Northern Lights.
Many cannabis strains fall somewhere in the middle, which is why they’re known as hybrids. With so many strains being cross-bred, these classifications become more and more muddled. However, the general public still uses these terms to classify more energizing strains as Sativa, while more sedative strains are considered Indica.
Whatever the case may be, certain terpenes are more prevalent in Sativa or Indica strains. The psychoactive component of cannabis comes from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), but the particular experience of that strain comes from the unique blend of terpenes each strain possesses.
For example, you may have noticed how some strains give you couch-lock, while others inspire you to clean your whole house. In all of those instances, terpenes are what dictate the “feeling” or “mood” you’ll experience. Plus, they’re also what dictates their unique flavor and aroma.
So, when we say “Indica terpenes” we really just mean terpenes that help create the Indica experience. So, a terpene that’s relaxing, promotes feelings of calm or drowsiness is considered an Indica terpene.
5 Most Common Terpenes in Indica Dominant Strains
It’s important to note that many of the terpenes you’ll find in Indica strains are the exact same terpenes you’ll find in Sativa strains. You might be wondering how the same terpenes create such different experiences across different strains.
It’s all about the terpene profile. The best explanation comes from a study published by Fundación CANNA in 2011. After analyzing the terpene profiles of both Indica and Sativa strains, they found, “‘mostly Indica’ strains were characterized by dominancy of β-myrcene, present in high relative contents, with limonene or α-pinene as second most abundant terpenoid, while ‘mostly Sativa’ strains were characterized by more complex terpene profiles.”
That’s why categorizing terpenes as “Indica” or “Sativa” is a bit misleading. Two strains might have the same terpenes but in wildly different ratios. That’s what would make two strains with the same terpenes have very different effects. So, while you can definitely find Sativa strains that include the terpenes below, they’re found in much higher quantities in Indica strains.
This particular terpene plays a huge role in whether a strain will be considered Indica or Sativa. Generally, if the myrcene concentration is higher than .5 percent it’s considered Indica, while strains with less than that amount are considered Sativa.
Found in mangoes, cardamom, and hops, myrcene is a special terpene because of its role in the entourage effect. This fruity, clove-like terpene boosts the effectiveness of cannabinoids and other terpenes by increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. Even without that, several studies have shown that myrcene is a powerful sedative.
This would explain why Indica strains, which have higher amounts of myrcene, have more calming, drowsy effects. For example, a strain like Grape Ape, which is known for its relaxing mellow and calming effects, generally has anywhere from .5 to 1.5 percent myrcene.
Indica heavy-hitters like Master Kush and Gorilla Glue #4 have higher quantities of this spicy terpene. Found in black pepper, cloves, and oregano, beta-caryophyllene is actually one of the only known terpenes that can directly interact with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
This is, in part, what makes beta-caryophyllene so effective as an anti-inflammatory and mood elevator. The relationship this terpene has with the ECS helps it reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. In another study, mice treated with 50mg/kg of beta-caryophyllene had less anxiety, depression, and compulsive behavior.
If you’re looking for a soothing terpene with more floral notes, look no further than Linalool. You’re probably already familiar with this terpene because it’s so commonly used in products designed to help people relax and fall asleep. This floral, herbal terpene can be found in plants like lavender, mint, and rosewood and is known for its stress-reducing and sedative properties.
Strains like Grandaddy Purple and Fire OG have large amounts of Linalool, giving them both calming, euphoric experiences.
It’s probably no surprise that you can find limonene in lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges. However, you may be shocked to hear that a bright, citrusy terpene like Limonene is common in Indica strains. Believe it or not, but some of your favorite Indicas have large quantities of this terpene.
The temporary mood-elevating properties of Limonene give strains like Do-Si-Do uplifting effects while other terpenes help instill a sense of calm and serenity. Other Indica strains with high quantities of Limonene include Banana OG, Purple Hindu Kush, and Wedding Cake.
Also known as alpha-caryophyllene, this terpene is another one that’s partially responsible for that stereotypical cannabis scent. Found prominently in the hops plant, it’s no shock that this terpene has a distinctly hoppy, herbal scent (think beer). While it’s normally found in smaller quantities, strains like Death Star and Biscotti have a healthy dose of this terpene.
Oil from humulene-dense plants has historically been used for anti-inflammatory and analgesic purposes. Indeed, its ability to decrease inflammation has been compared to prescription steroids like dexamethasone. That’s perhaps why strains with large quantities of humulene, like Vanilla Cake, are often sought after by consumers looking for relief from occasional aches and pains.
Wind Down, Chill Our, and Relax With Indica Terpenes
Our non-cannabis derived terpenes are the perfect option for anyone who wants to take advantage of the terpene profile of specific strains without the use of cannabis. And if you are creating cannabis products, the addition of terpenes will ensure that your customers get the flavor and effects they’re looking for. Consider adding these terpenes to your products today for the relaxing, chill-inducing experience we all so desperately need right now.