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Perhaps you’re looking for a cannabis experience that alleviates your anxiety and helps you sleep better.

Or, maybe you are looking for a type of cannabis strain that will make you feel euphoric.

What type of effect do indica strains produce? The answer can depend. 

In this guide, we will walk through the differences and best recommendations for upper and downer indica strains.

is indica a upper or downer

What Does ‘Upper’ and ‘Downer’ Mean?

When it comes to the effects of uppers and downers, they live on completely separate sides of the spectrum. 

The terms “upper” and “downer” are stoner speak for the formal terms stimulants and depressants.

Let’s break down the difference between cannabis strains that are stimulants and cannabis strains that are depressants.


Stimulants refer to substances, or in this case, cannabis strains, that elevate your mood and increase your mental focus. 

Some effects of stimulants include: 

  • Increased energy
  • Increased mental alertness
  • Improved mood
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Elevated levels of dopamine in the brain

Cannabis strains with stimulating effects can promote a sense of euphoria when inhaled or ingested.


Cannabis can also act as a depressant. This is a classification for substances that slow down your cognitive function.

Some effects of depressants include: 

  • Anxiety relief
  • Sleepiness
  • Relief from muscles spasms
  • Prevention of seizures

Cannabis strains with depressant effects can help you feel relaxed and aid in sleep.

Is Indica an Upper or Downer? It Depends

So, is indica an upper or downer? There’s really no cut-and-dry answer.

When most cannabis users consider uppers and downers, they are often weighing options between sativa vs. indica strains.

However, indica strains can actually present as an upper or a downer.

A number of factors can influence whether an indica strain presents as an upper or downer for individual users. 

Let’s take a look at some of these factors.

Genetics Play a Role

While there are many different factors that can affect your individual experience with indica strains, your personal sensitivity to cannabis ultimately determines the effects you feel from consumption.

This is because each person has a unique endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Your ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis and other critical biological responses that affect your: 

  • Sleep
  • Mood 
  • Appetite
  • Memory

Due to varying degrees of metabolism, people often react differently to different types of indica strains.

Consumption Volume Matters

When considering the effects of different indica strains, it’s important to note that consumption volume matters. 

Due to terpenes present in cannabis, consuming a large amount of any strain, including those indicated as uppers, is guaranteed to make you sleepy and feel the classic effects of a downer. 

On the other hand, microdosing THC can help relieve anxiety in some people without any symptoms of sleepiness.

Check if the Indica Strain is THC-Dominant or CBD-Dominant

Indica strains are composed of hundreds of different cannabinoids, all working together to produce a unique, synergic effect known as the “entourage effect”.

However, you don’t need to be an expert in every type of cannabinoid to determine what effects you may experience from a certain type of indica strain. 

For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on the two cannabinoids that are the biggest driving forces in the effects of indica strains — THC and CBD.

THC-Dominant Indica Strains

THC-dominant strains typically present as uppers for most cannabis users. This is because THC is ultimately responsible for the infamous “high” that inhaling or ingesting cannabis produces. 

If you are looking for a euphoric experience, indica strains with a high THC potency are the most likely candidates to suit your desires.

Keep in mind that consuming too much of a THC-dominant indica strain can produce feelings of paranoia. Some people can also experience sensitivity to THC and experience paranoia with regular dosing. 

CBD-dominant indica strains may be a better-suited option for people with THC sensitivities.

CBD-Dominant Indica Strains

If you’re looking for a downer, indica strains that are CBD-dominant may be better suited for you. 

CBD-dominant strains typically have a small amount of THC and are widely popular among cannabis consumers that are highly sensitive to THC or are looking for a clear-headed, relaxing experience.

Balanced THC/CBD Indica Strains

Balanced THC/CBD indica strains are a great way to experience the best of both worlds. 

These types of strains can produce mild euphoria without feeling too detached from clear-headedness. 

Balanced THC/CBD indica strains are a great choice for beginners.

If you’re a new consumer looking for an introduction to the feeling of being high, these balanced THC/CBD indica strains are a great place to start.

If You’re Looking for an Indica Downer, Pay Attention to Terpenes

The fragrant compounds produced in the trichome glands in the cannabis flower are terpenes. 

While research is still uncovering the full effects of terpenes, it’s believed that the variety and concentration of terpenes present in a cannabis strain play a large role in determining whether the consumer feels relaxed or stimulated.

Just like any strain of cannabis, indica strains can contain certain terpenes that help you relax and slow your heartbeat more than others. 

If you are looking for an indica downer, look for strains with large amounts of: 

  • Caryophyllene
  • Terpinolene, and
  • Linalool.
is indica a downer

How to Determine Whether You’ll Experience an Indica Strain as an Upper or Downer?

Since everyone can experience indica strains differently, the best way to determine whether an indica strain will present as an upper or a downer for you is to experiment with different strains yourself.

Let’s walk through how to find the best indica strain with the desired effect you are looking for.

Step 1: Try a Self-Proclaimed Upper or Downer Indica Strain

There is a wide variety of indica strains that are self-proclaimed uppers and downers.

While it’s not a guarantee that a strain indicated as an upper or downer will present that way for you, starting with self-proclaimed strains can help narrow down the dozens of different types of indica strains available.

Step 2: Start With a Low Dosage

When trying a new strain, it’s best to start with a low dosage and slowly build up to a higher dosage until you reach your desired effect. 

Remember that consumption volume matters, so too much of any strain is likely to make you feel the effects of a downer.

Best Indica Upper and Downer Strains

So, what are the best upper and downer indica strains out there? The following lists are a great place to start.

Let’s take a look at some popular indica strains with upper and downer properties.

Indica Downers

Here is a list of different types of indica strains that may produce the desired effects of a downer: 

  • Purple Punch
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • Northern Lights
  • Do-Si-Dos
  • Bubba Kush
  • Mendo Breath
  • 9 Pound Hammer
  • Grape Ape
  • Purple Kush
  • God’s Gift
  • Blueberry
  • Pink Kush
  • Ice Cream Cake
  • Zkittlez
  • Platinum OG
  • King Louis
  • Cookies Kush
  • Kosher Kush
  • Purple Urkle
  • Critical Kush

Indica Uppers

If you are looking for an upper, this list of indica strains is a great place to start:

  • Jesus OG
  • Berry White
  • Sweet Tooth
  • Willy’s Wonder
  • White OG
  • True OG
  • Black Jack
  • Aliens On Moonshine
  • Queen Mother Goji
  • Goldberry
  • Garanimals
  • Skydog
  • CBD Shark
  • Shark Attack
  • Satellite OG
  • Marathon OG
  • Watermelon Zkittlez
  • Neptune OG
  • Somango
  • Remedy
is indica an upper or mdowner

Get the Latest Indica Recommendations From the Experts at Hail Mary Jane

Finding the right indica strain for you can feel overwhelming. 

With thousands of brands and different types of indica strains, we are going to guess that you don’t have the time to self-experiment with them all.

This is where our cannabis experts come in. Our experts take the time to try, review, and curate hundreds of cannabis products each year to recommend the best-of-the-best. 

Subscribe to notifications on our website for the latest on the best upper and downer indica strains and other cannabis products.

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