Best Indica: A Guide to the Top Rated Cannabis Strains

Love a lot of THC? Love to sit back and relax? Looking for a cannabis strain that is quick and easy to grow? Look no further than cannabis indica strains. In our guide, we review the 10 best indica strains, from the best flavors to the most potent.


What is Indica Cannabis Strain?

Native to Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, and India, indica plants are a short and busy variety of cannabis plants associated with effects that relax the body. While the first two parts of that previous sentence are without a doubt true, there is some controversy about the effects

Traditionally, where indicas are supposed to relax you and produce a more body-focused high, the sativa variety is supposed to awaken you and produce more of a head high. How much this is true is pretty difficult to say — hint, it’s not true. I don’t notice a notable difference — my overall mood, body chemistry, and time of the day have a much greater influence. Also, as you’ll see, there is pretty much no true 100% indica on this list due to years of indiscriminate breeding. My views and experience align with other experts in this field. This is why it’s becoming more common to move away from the terms indica, hybrid, and sativa in favor of terms like ‘high THC’, ‘high CBD’, and THC/CBD combined. For a while, as a cultivator, I was OK with using those terms when referring to how the plants grow, but I’m now moving away from them in favor of terms like short-flowering cannabis plants and long-flowering cannabis plants.

The Best Indica Strains

  1. Bubba Kush
  2. Northern Lights
  3. Gelato
  4. Scarface OG
  5. Blueberry
  6. Granddaddy Purple
  7. Blue Cheese
  8. Afghan Kush
  9. Critical Kush
  10. Alien Bubba

An Overview of the Best Indica Strains

To put our list together, we made sure to cover the various things indica strains offer. It goes without saying that we did not choose a strain with poor reviews. We also made sure all the strains we picked had great genetics for growing because indicas are easy to grow. 

Bubba Kush

4.5 (1+) from
Bubba Kush
  • Notes of chocolate and coffee
  • Bulkier bud structure
  • Relaxing but balanced high

    Also known as BK and Bubba, Bubba Kush emerged sometime around 1996, quickly making a name for itself thanks to its sweet earthy flavors and balanced effects. Want your weed to make you feel like you’re lounging in a coffee shop? Then you’ll love the subtle but very noticeable coffee and chocolate notes. Bubba Kush’s effects will play into that by producing a balance high that’s relaxing but cerebral and euphoric. Bubba Kush is a cross between the hybrid OG Kush and an unknown Northern Lights indica phenotype.

    Northern Lights

    4.5 (1+) from
    Northern Lights
    • Sweet pine and earthy notes
    • Relaxing effects that can make you feel more sociable
    • Tried-and-true genetics that are great for cultivating

      Northern Lights joins strains like White Widow and Girl Scout Cookies in being one of the most famous strains of all time. Having personally grown this strain before, I can attest to how lovely it is to grow. Flowering in just 45-55 days while staying short but never too bushy — which is nice for preventing mildew and discouraging pests — Northern Lights genetics are supreme. Like many classic strains, Northern Light’s true origins are hard to track down, with some saying it was first cultivated near Seattle, Washington. However, the version most people are familiar with comes from Holland.


      4.5 (1+) from
      • Sweet, creamy, and fruity notes
      • THC, THC, and more THC
      • Balanced hybrid-like effects

        Also known as Larry Bird and Zelato, Gelato is an indica that falls more towards the hybrid side than many of the other strains on our list — think somewhere about 55% indica/45% sativa. Gelato is another legendary strain, which is definitely due to its love for producing THC. This makes it a great strain for beginners to grow as they will probably see 20%+ THC, which traditionally is pretty tricky to nab when first starting. Now, while it’d be admissible to not mention the strain’s ice cream-indulging flavor/aroma, it’d be even more so if we didn’t mention the effects. While there is a lot of THC — which is good for those with higher tolerances — the high isn’t overwhelming, staying more balanced than not from beginning to end.

        Scarface OG

        4.5 (1+) from
        Scarface OG
        • Lots of THC, making it great for major health problems
        • Aesthetically appealing (dark buds with gold hairs)
        • Effects compared to burying yourself in your bed after a long day

          Say hello to your new favorite friend, Scarface OG packs a surgery-sweet punch and high THC levels — we’re talking 24% and up! Don’t let Scarface OG’s unknown origins scare you; its genetics are lovely, producing reliable results in grow rooms that span coast to coast. Many report Scarface OG starts with a strong cerebral high, but it can instantly switch to strong couch-locking effects just a few minutes after partaking — that can take some by surprise, so be careful. One of the newer strains on our list, I’m personally excited to see cultivators perfect this strain to see if they can push the already high amount of THC even further.


          4.5 (1+) from
          • Fewer reported side effects
          • Incredibly fun appearance and aroma
          • A good option for beginners and those who medicate

            A cross that mixes Purple Thai back with the original Thai, Blueberry is one of those strains whose name describes it to a T. Partaking in this delightful strain is a bit like eating a blueberry on a sunny summer’s day. With a sweet indulgent exhale that’s produced by buds with a bluish-purple hue, Blueberry brings peace to the mind, generating a long-lasting euphoria that many say melts the pain away. While blueberry has slightly lower THC levels than most of the strains on the list, this helps it never take you by surprise. That also means fewer side effects are seen with this strain, making it one of my favorites for medicating.

            Granddaddy Purple

            4.5 (1+) from
            Granddaddy Purple
            • The buds are simply gorgeous
            • Lots of potential for high THC under ideal growing conditions
            • A very strong medical strain that some may find too potent

              Granddaddy Purple is one of those strains with too many nicknames to mention, but that’s because it’s such a delightfully fun strain. Looking for a strain to meditate to or just to chill out to some groovy tunes with, look no further. GDP is perfect for getting your thoughts lost in outer space, man. While very similar to our Blueberry strain above in both appearance and effects, GDP’s THC levels can sometimes go a good bit higher, running from 17%-27%. This makes it a pretty interesting strain in regards to medicating, as some want their medical strain to produce a very potent high/euphoria while others don’t.

              Blue Cheese

              4.5 (1+) from
              Blue Cheese
              • Mildly funky with a pleasant berry flavor
              • Good for those that mild to moderate THC
              • High levels of CBG than normal

                Pull up a plate of hot wings because we’ve got a side of some funky Blue Cheese to go along with it. Ok, we have to address the aroma first because it’s blue cheese after all that this strain is gracefully named after — a notorious cheese that delights some while gagging others. While there is some funk here, it’s easily dwarfed by a berry aroma. A very indica-dominant strain (about 80%), Blue Cheese is good for those looking for mild THC levels (15%-20%), especially, since CBG levels can reach up to 2%, which is enough to balance out some of that THC. Looking for more info on Blue Cheese? Then check out our review of Blueberry, the original father of this truly stanky strain — which I mean in the best way possible.

                Afghan Kush

                4.5 (1+) from
                Afghan Kush
                • 90-100% Indica-dominant
                • 20% THC makes it a good middle ground between low-high THC strains
                • A popular strain for making hash

                  If you’re a big hash fan, you’ve likely come across Afghan Kush, a classic strain that has been perfected for centuries by those living near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. With an herbally pepper bite thanks to the terpenes mycenae and caryophyllene, if there was truly a pure 100% indica strain easy to find and buy, there’s a good chance it’s Afghan Kush. 

                  Looking to grow your first cannabis plant? Afghan Kush is a great strain to start with due to it having some of the most consistent genetics and growth patterns around. With this strain producing about 20% THC on average, this is a great next step up if your 15% flower isn’t strong enough. 

                  Critical Kush

                  4.5 (1+) from
                  Critical Kush
                  • Perfect for relaxing after a stressful day
                  • Pleasant high that won’t overwhelm most
                  • Great for cultivation, just don’t rush to harvest

                    As a cross between OG Kush and Critical+, Critical Kush is a pretty pure indica for those looking to get a real feel for what that all entails. Its size makes it a nice strain to grow. However, flowering times vary widely, leaving some growers puzzled as to why their plants aren’t harvestable at 60 days because they are seeing others harvesting a week earlier. So don’t stress out, and don’t rush to harvest this indica too soon. If you’re looking to reduce your stress and love strains with a spicy and earthy taste, this newer but incredibly popular strain is one you have to try.

                    Alien Bubba

                    4.5 (1+) from
                    Alien Bubba
                    • Complex flavor/aroma profile
                    • Strong potential for both day/night use
                    • Consistent THC levels

                      Delivering a reliable 21% THC, Alien Bubba is an Indica-dominant hybrid (70/30) that’s a nice middle ground both heavy and light users can enjoy. One of Alien Bubba’s best qualities is its complex flavor. When exhaling, you’ll feel like you’re sipping a sweet and spicy berry herbal tea. And if you get lucky, you may get one of the phenotypes that produces an additional nutty flavor. 

                      A moderate to high yielder, to get the best out of the end product, you may find you need to push flowering times to 10 weeks. Many will prefer parting in this delightful strain at night, but don’t be surprised if you prefer it during the day to discourage it from putting you to sleep.

                      What to Look for in the Best Indica Strains

                      Whether growing or just enjoying, the best indica strain for one person might not be the best for you. I always recommend making a list of the things you want most from your strains. For example, I like rotating through the same four strains simply for the differences in flavor since I find so many outside factors — like the activity I’m working on at the time — to influence their overall effects. As a cultivator, I don’t pay as much attention to the different THC levels, because my goal is just ensuring all parts of my plants are getting equal light to avoid the much more concerning potency drop off that occurs. 

                      Criteria #1 THC Levels

                      We looked at the 10 strains on this list, with THC levels ranging from 15% all the way up to a daunting 27%. Forget the indica vs. sativa debate because a sativa and indica at 15% are going to feel much more similar than one indica at 15% and another indica at 30% THC. Unless otherwise stated, the indicas we looked at came in between 15-20% THC, making them a good option for those sensitive to THC’s side effects and those new to consuming marijuana. 

                      Indicas are sometimes associated with lower THC and higher CBD levels than sativas, but you won’t have an issue finding high THC/low CBD indica strains — it is almost undoubtedly a myth anyway in today’s age. To further back that, people thought CBD made you tired when actually it’s energizing in mild-to-moderate doses. CBN is what makes you tired, which is degraded THC, which sativa strains supposedly have more of. Then, cannabis sativa is the variety largely used to create non-intoxicating CBD products. I know it’s confusing! 

                      Criteria #2 Terpene Profile

                      Cheese, berry, cream, pine, OK, let’s stop there! We saw various flavors/aromas, and it’s not just the taste and flavor that’s important to pay attention to. These various sensory characteristics will influence the overall effects and benefits you get from cannabis. 

                      The peppery bite some strains have is thanks to caryophyllene, which is great for chilling out to some tunes or a movie. Then, the classic pine flavor that so many strains have can leave you feeling more creative. Notice a floral aroma in your strain, then you may soon feel relaxed thanks to linalool, also found in lavender. Now, there are a lot of terpenes, and the ratio they are in will influence the effects of the others, so never assume (X) terpene will cause (Y) effect

                      Criteria #3 Cultivation  

                      While it’s impossible to assess whether a cannabis plant is a sativa or indica by eye, strains labeled indica are likely to have very similar characteristics. Indica plants are associated with a much shorter flower time and stature, which makes them and hybrids a preferable choice for most indoor and even outdoor cultivators. However, there were some notable differences. 

                      For example, a classic strain like Northern Lights is going to be very reliable thanks to predictable genetics. Newer strains can be all over the place due to seeing more phenotypes. This makes predicting their flowering times and grow patterns difficult, as there has been less time to weed out undesirable genetics. But that can also translate into higher THC levels as we saw with Scarface OG. Many new strains are being bred to produce the highest THC levels with little regard as to whether they continue a strain’s legacy or not.

                      Beginners will likely prefer classic strains when starting so they can focus more on just optimizing their growth setup and skills. Keeping the plant healthy with good light exposure will have a much greater impact on overall THC amounts. 

                      What are the Potential Effects of Indica Strains?

                      Like sativa plants, indica plants are going to produce all those classic effects associated with marijuana. So expect the munchies and side effects like paranoia. You may notice some slight nuances between the two due to the slight variations in their terpene profile. But that’s tricky due to pretty much all these strains having some sativa DNA in them, and you may come across a phenotype that pulls heavily from that side. As well, we saw our indica strains came with different terpene profiles. 

                      Traditionally, indica strains are associated with relaxing the body to the point you become locked into your couch, “couch-lock”. So make sure to always carefully test a new indica flower when you can’t afford that. If you want an uplifting strain, global medical expert Dr. Ethan Russo says to look for high limonene content. Want to be knocked out? Then myrcene is your guy. Again, there are no guarantees that will happen. 

                      What are the Strongest Indica Strains?

                      With the addition of so many new cannabis users from all walks of life, never before has there been so many various products with varying amounts of cannabinoids and terpenes in different ratios. But at the end of the day, many are still chasing stronger highs, i.e., more THC. When looking for the most potent strains, you probably want to focus on newer strains like Scarface OG who is our overall winner with the highest average THC at 24%. Granddaddy Purple wasn’t far behind, with an average of 22% THC with the potential to hit 27%. 

                      To Summarise: What is the Best Indica Flower Strain?

                      We looked at 10 great indica strains, some like Northern Lights, which are classics, and others like Scarface OG, which has the potential to take the spotlight away. Thanks to their shorter flower time and slower growing nature (which is honestly preferable), indica and indica-dominant hybrids are going to be the preferable strains for cultivation. I grew a landrace sativa Acapulco Gold once, and let me tell you, never again! 

                      To truly find your favorite indica strain, you’re going to have to start trying them all out, and the 10 we reviewed here are great places to start. Remember to watch for those THC levels and take some time to learn about different terpene profiles and how they influence a strain’s overall effects and benefits.

                      Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

                      Nicholas McKenzie - Cannabis Research Specialist

                      Nicholas has spent the last ten years teaching gardeners, businesses, and enthusiasts how to succeed in the exciting and ever-changing world of cannabis. Whether he’s in the field getting his hands dirty or in the lab studying cannabinoids and their uses, Nicholas is passionate about bringing well-researched, factual, and concise information to an industry that very much needs it.

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