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In recent years, interest in CBD and other cannabis derivatives has gone through the roof, largely because of the medicinal qualities these supplements have been shown to possess. However, there is still a good deal of misunderstanding and misinformation about what exactly these substances are and where they come from, especially around the different strains of the source plant, such as Sativa, Indica and other hybrids.
Nevertheless, the potential of cannabis to aid in the treatment and relief of medical conditions such as epilepsy (particularly in children), chronic pain, anxiety and depression is the reason it’s attracting so much attention. Another area where cannabis derivatives are shown to have potential benefits is inflammation. This is encouraging as inflammation is thought to be a contributing factor to almost half of all deaths globally each year. So, any ally in the battle against inflammation is more than welcome.
Of the two main strains of cannabis, sativa is known for its energising effects, making it extremely useful in combating psychological and mental distress such as anxiety. Indica, on the other hand, is considered more relaxing and calming, offering anti-inflammation and analgesic qualities. Let’s take a closer look at how it works.
Understanding Cannabis Indica
The Cannabis indica plant is slightly different to its sister variety, sativa. Native to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Turkey, it’s known for its short and stocky appearance, with a higher CBD to THC ratio than sativa varieties. It has been widely recognised for its relaxing effects, particularly helpful for nausea, pain and inflammation. As such, it is often recommended as best for use at night or just before bedtime.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the two most prevalent compounds found in cannabis plants. THC is the psychoactive ingredient that causes the ‘high’ sensation but is also a controlled substance in the UK. It occurs naturally in some CBD products but is legal if less than 0.3%. That means the high CBD and low THC content of indica make it especially useful for medicinal purposes.
However, it’s not just the CBD and THC that are found in Indica cannabis. They are just two of more than 80 ingredients. Others include terpenes, which give the plant its distinctive smell. Terpenes such as bisabolol are thought to have anti-inflammatory qualities, and others like ocimene can help ease congestion and ward off viruses and bacterial infection.
Other cannabinoids present in indica include cannabigerol and cannabinol, which are believed to have properties which ease the symptoms of neurological conditions, reduce anxiety and can even help with PTSD.
Does indica reduce inflammation?
So, does indica reduce inflammation? There is plenty of anecdotal evidence for the relaxing, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects of Indica. It’s also widely believed in many traditional medicines that it has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, but what about scientific opinion?
It’s important to note that a lot of research into the potential benefits of CBD and other cannabis-related products is in its relative infancy and that clinical acceptance as a form of treatment across the board is probably still quite a way in the future. However, the early signs are positive, and there have been numerous studies carried out that seem to demonstrate the potential of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
For example, one study published in the National Library of Medicine called Anti-inflammatory and analgesic potential of Tamarindus indica claims: ‘T. indica has potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities and hence justifies its use in traditional medicine to treat body pain and other inflammatory-related diseases, including arthritis. It also offers a basis for future clinical studies and possible drug development.’
Another study from 2022 titled Comparative Metabolic Study of Tamarindus indica L.’s Various Organs Based on GC/MS Analysis, In Silico and In Vitro Anti-Inflammatory and Wound Healing Activities found that indica: ‘Showed promising anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties.’
Like other sativa CBD products, indica slows the breakdown of existing cannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system, which regulates the body’s functions and maintains homeostasis. It has also been shown to have an impact on dopamine, opioid and serotonin receptors, all of which help to regulate different functions in the body.
Indica cannabis and inflammatory conditions
As mentioned above, inflammation and its associated health impacts are a major contributing factor to millions of deaths around the world each year. Inflammation in itself is not a bad thing. It is the body’s natural response to the threat of infection or injury. However, if inflammation does not recede over time, it can lead to or exacerbate chronic pain, arthritis and neuroinflammatory conditions.
Indica can help the body’s endocannabinoid system to prevent the breakdown of cannabinoids, which can help to reduce inflammation. This gives it greater control over the regulation of cytokine production (the cells that cause inflammation) and can help reduce unnecessary inflammation and pain. It can also help reduce oxidative stress levels in the body. A 2017 study also indicates that CBD may benefit the symptoms of conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, MS, Alzheimer’s and more.
Types of indica cannabis products for inflammation
Indica is available in a range of preparations including:
- Dried flowers
Due to the relaxing effects, it is recommended to take indica in the evening or at night and always check dosage instructions before use. As always, it is highly recommended to buy from a reputable source where you can be sure of exactly what you are getting and in what quantities.
Indica is a variant strain of the cannabis plant, long used in traditional medicine for its relaxing, anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities. But is indica good for inflammation in a clinical sense? Recent scientific research is in its early stages. Still, it seems to bear out what anecdotal evidence has long been saying: that indica can help to reduce inflammation and pain and may have significant potential benefits for long-term sufferers. However, it must be added that clinical acceptance across the board might be some way off.
Even though the risks from indica are low, always consult your doctor or health care professional before taking any cannabis-related products.