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Indica Vs. Sativa: What’s The Difference?

indica vs. sativa

When you visit our menu, you’ll find three strain categories of medical marijuana: indica, sativa, and hybrid. We commonly get questions about the differences between indica vs. sativa when new medical marijuana users contact us, so let’s take a look at the differences between indica, sativa, and hybrid strains.

Indica is thought to have its beginnings in the Hindu Kush region, a dry mountain range near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Sativa naturally grows in humid tropical areas closer to the equator. Hybrid, like it’s name suggests, is a mixture of indica and sativa strains to create a hybrid of the two. Indica and sativa differ in several ways, including their effects and medicinal benefits as well as appearance, fragrance, and taste.


Indica Vs. Sativa Effects: Physical and Cerebral

Note: Keep in mind that marijuana effects everyone differently. These are typical effects indica and sativa has on most users. Your experience and tolerance may differ when exploring these strains.

Indica strains tend to be more relaxing than sativa. Their sedative qualities make evenings the best time for many to use indica. In fact, a lot of indica fans use right before bed to help them get a good night’s sleep. The strain is often referred to as having full-body physical effects.

Sativas are perceived as more stimulating and uplifting. Users often enjoy these strains during the day, finding the invigorating qualities helpful during activities like doing chores or while working on creative projects. Sativa is typically considered to be cerebral in its effects.


Medicinal Benefits

Because of their differing effects and benefits, indica and sativa strains are used to relieve different kinds of symptoms.
Indica is often effective in treating:

  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Spasms and seizures
  • Headaches and migraines

Sativa, on the other hand, tends to aid:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Mood disorders
  • ADD


Physical Differences

Indica and sativa are distinctly different in their appearance.

Appearance: Indica plants are short, broad-leafed, and typically have a deep purple color, whereas sativa plants grow very tall, have thin leaves and tend to have a reddish hue.

Flavor: While breeding may produce a variety of tastes, indicas commonly have a fruity flavor. Sativas, on the other hand, are more earthy in flavor.

Fragrance: Indicas have a strong sour or sweet aroma while sativa cannabis smells grassy.


A Note About Indica Vs. Sativa Edibles

Every once in awhile you come across an edible product that specifies the dominant strain (indica or sativa dominant). There isn’t much beyond anecdotal evidence that these strains can be differentiated in the edible form.

An informal experiment by between edibles made with different strains had mixed results. Five out of eight testers guessed strains correctly, indicating that one was more sedating than the other. However, the article notes that tolerance levels among individuals could influence the physical impact. The author did some self-testing and failed to distinguish one strain used from the other correctly.

6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality

Cannabis flower quality

Good cannabis flower quality is the quintessential way to enjoy cannabis. When you smoke flower you access its flavorful terpenes, cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, and all the other compounds in their most pure form. Many old school cannabis connoisseurs prefer flower over any other form of cannabis because it’s a great way to access the full spectrum benefits of all the healing qualities of cannabis in its most unadulterated form: the smell is more distinct, the taste is more pleasant, and some even say the high is “cleaner”.
Flower is the most affordable and most common way to purchase cannabis medicine. Although there is no other true way to test flower than to smoke it, knowing what to look for during a visual inspection of the buds will give you a good idea as to the type of strain and the conditions in which it was grown. (This is also one of the main reasons Kaya Collective always takes great photos of our flower for you, our patients!)
Evaluating flower is easy. Just use your senses! Here are 6 ways to inspect your buds:


Image via Leafly

1. Smell

Well-grown, quality cannabis buds should have a pungent, identifiable smell indicating high terpene content. Alternatively, inferior quality buds may smell like dried sawdust.

Trust the power of your nose! If it smells good and your body responds well to it, then its probably good!

2. Color

Evaluating Cannabis Flower Quality bud color - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality

Quality cannabis buds should be generally green in color though the shade can range from lighter green to darker green. Good quality top-shelf buds may have hints of purple, pink, or dark blue. However, if the majority of the bud is red, brown, tan, white or yellow in color, it came from a poorly grown plant or may have been improperly dried.


GDP Headband indica sativa strains 620x400 - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality

3. Bud Structure

Indica and sativa buds will have distinct growing patterns you should be able to see. Indica buds should be tight and dense, while sativa buds are often more light and fluffy. Hybrid strains often share structural traits of both indicas and sativas.

Just because the buds are small doesn’t mean they are poor quality! Remember that cannabis is a flower, and flowers grow differently from strain to strain.

4. Trim

Evaluating Cannabis Flower Quality bud trim - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality
Following the harvest, cannabis buds must be trimmed in order to eliminate the leaves surrounding the bud. Quality, top shelf cannabis buds should be neatly hand-trimmed as opposed to machine-trimmed. Trimming machines mangle buds and disrupt the fragile trichomes where all the good tasting and wonderfully healing terpenes live. Stay away from untrimmed buds with excessive leaves as your “smoke” will be lower quality.

5. Trichomes

Kaya Bruce Lee OG - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality
Our Bruce Lee OG has beautiful crystal trichomes full of potent terpenes!


The goal of properly grown cannabis is to produce buds densely packed with ripe trichomes, as this is where the highly potent cannabinoids and terpenes are located. Trichome quality is easy to distinguish with a good eye. Take a look! How ‘frosty’ is your flower? Quality buds will be covered in trichomes that sparkle like shiny crystals, whereas poor quality buds will be lackluster.


Evaluating Cannabis Flower Quality bud mold - 6 Easy Ways to Evaluate Cannabis Flower Quality

6. Mold & Pests

It should go without saying that quality cannabis buds are free of mold and pests. Mold manifests itself as white powdery mildew or grey fuzzy mold.

Insects like mites, gnats, and aphids can leave fecal matter, eggs and even dead friends behind on your buds.





Learning how to evaluate your flower is the best way to get acquainted with the big wide wonderful world of cannabis!

The Entourage Effect: The Value of Whole Plant Medicine

Entourage Effect - The Entourage Effect: The Value of Whole Plant Medicine

Generally, cannabis studies focus on THC- and CBD-only medical solutions. That is, until “The Entourage Effect” came around. New research, however, is finding that CBD, THC and a host of other cannabinoids actually work better synergistically. As it turns out, CBD- and THC-only medicines aren’t effective in treating many medical conditions. The synergistic approach to medical marijuana, which utilizes a variety of cannabinoids and terpenes, is referred to as whole-plant medicine or “The Entourage Effect.”

How Whole-Plant Medicine Works

Whole-plant medicine is inhaled as smoke or vapor. The cannabis plant’s aroma is produced by terpene molecules, which also have terpenes-info-common-terpenesdistinctive effects on the brain, blocking certain cannabinoid receptors while stimulating cannabinoids to bind to other receptor sites. Researchers are concluding that terpenes have therapeutic effects on their own while influencing how the brain responds to cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.
A terpene called myrcene is found to enable freer passage of helpful chemicals. Another terpene, pinene, helps counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, such as cognition and memory. Together, myrcene and pinene plus the caryophyllene terpene help abate anxiety. It is believed that a combination of other terpenes with the CBG cannabinoid might be effective in the treatment of MRSA.

THC-Only Medicines

The most commonly known synthetic THC medicines are Marinol and Cesamet. Though legally prescribed to ease nausea related to cancer treatment, they are not always very effective. A survey of 953 patients by the International Association for Cannabis Medicines found that 98.2% preferred infused or inhaled cannabis over synthetic THC.

CBD-Only Medicines

Non-psychoactive CBD-only medicine is gaining attention. Charlotte’s Web, a CBD-only strain delivered as CBD-rich oil, is effective in calming epileptic spasms in many, but not all, patients. A few states have made it legal to treat seizures with CBD-only medicines, while THC remains illegal.

The Importance of Whole-Plant Diversity

Although most cannabis is bred for high THC content today, research about the effectiveness of whole plant, or the entourage effect, medicine is expanding. Chemical diversity will likely lead to new strains that combine levels of THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes. This whole-plant approach has great potential for bringing superior relief to patients with a variety of medical conditions.

Ways To Consume Marijuana Without Smoking

No Smoking - Ways To Consume Marijuana Without Smoking

Although smoking gets quick results, it’s not the healthiest way to consume medical cannabis. Even though it’s not considered as harmful as cigarettes, smoking cannabis can affect the lungs and lead to respiratory issues. As a result, more and more patients are turning to other ways to consume marijuana.

Next to smoking, vaporizing is the most popular alternative. Vaporizers heat cannabis at lower temperatures than required for traditional smoking, releasing medicinal qualities without the elements which are considered harmful in smoking. Because a mild vapor, not smoke, is released when exhaled, the odor is much less pungent and therefore more discrete.
There are many kinds of vaporizers available, from pricier tabletop devices to less expensive portable pens. When buying a vaporizer consider your priorities. If you want a workhorse that lasts longer you’d probably do well to get a tabletop model. If you’re looking for something small and portable, you’ll have plenty of brands and cannabis products to choose from.

Edibles come in a variety of forms including candy and baked goods. Cannabis is infused in edibles in the form of oils or butter extracted from marijuana. The effects of this form are slow to be felt — it generally takes one to two hours — but longer lasting. Because of this, it’s easy to over medicate on edibles. It’s recommended that patients eat with caution, consuming a small dose at first (10mg) and setting it aside for an hour or two before deciding if it’s wise to eat more.

The most common drink for consuming cannabis is tea, although cannabis sodas are now available in some areas. With tea, patients can add milk and spices for flavor. Some include hard liquor in the mix. The effects can be felt up to several hours.
Cannabis tea is made by pouring boiling water over leaves and stems, either in a teapot or cup. Let it steep for a minimum of thirty minutes. Adding milk, alcohol, butter or oil is recommended as THC is not water soluble. As mentioned above, some patients add milk and spices; experiment to find the flavor that’s just right for you.

Tinctures or tonics made from cannabis can be added to food or liquids, or you can place drops under the tongue. This form is the most popular and commonly used from of non-smoking administration. The health benefits are numerous and they are often used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-nausea and seizure control medication.
Tinctures are made by soaking medical marijuana flower tops and leaves in alcohol. After letting the concoction steep for awhile, a strainer is used to separate the solids from the liquid. The liquid is then dosed under the tongue or mixed with oil as cannabinoids are fat soluble. Typically, dosing is dependent on the product received. High concentrates start at a drop the size of a grain of rice three times a day as you titrate up to a full mL daily. Pre-mixed oils tend to start at a half a mL twice a day as you titrate up as needed.

Cannabis-infused lotions, balms, sprays and ointments are applied directly on the skin. This form, which does not produce psychoactive effects, is known to be an effective anti-inflammatory and painkiller. Patients have used cannabis topicals to treat everything from chapped skin, sunburns and eczema to arthritis, sore muscles and tendonitis.
Transdermal patches and gel pens are also available, and they are available with CBD or THC. Patches adhere to the skin and are used for effective pain relief. Patients who use patches often also keep a gel pen on hand to help with any breakthrough pain.

At Kaya, we have a variety of products for our members who would like to try another way of consuming marijuana other than smoking. Check out our menu for a breakdown of our edibles, tinctures, topicals, and more!

See Our Menu

Cannabis Juicing: A Way to Better Health

Cannabis Juicing Medical Marijuana

Juicing raw cannabis has become a “thing,” and with good reason. Like many vegetables and fruits, cannabis loses much of its healthful nutrients and enzymes when heated. By juicing raw cannabis leaves and buds, people are finding a powerful combatant to fight many chronic ailments including irritable bowel syndrome, glaucoma, and migraine headaches.

According to Dr. William L. Courtney, a dietary raw cannabis specialist, raw marijuana is a powerful and essential vegetable with many health benefits. This can be linked to the fact that it features 85 unique cannabinoids packed with nutrients and antioxidants.

Cannabis juicing can “help our bodies’ regulatory system be more effective. The bottom line is it’s a dietary essential that helps all 210 cell types function more effectively. I don’t even refer to it as medicine anymore, strictly as a dietary essential, he explained.


Juicing Facts


Raw cannabis has no psychoactive effects.

Cannabis juicing is a great alternative or supplement to traditional prescribed medications. It’s also a good option for children and patients who don’t want a medicinal high.

Higher doses can be tolerated.

Because it doesn’t produce a high, cannabis juicing makes it possible to take in higher doses of cannabinoids, the plant’s medical components.

Cannabis juicing requires access to fresh plants.

This means you must be able to harvest from your own plants every day. Fresh is best, so keep in mind that cannabis prepared for smoking isn’t suitable for juicing.

You should drink juiced raw cannabis throughout the day.

Dr. Courtney recommends cannabis juicing fifteen leaves and two large raw buds every day. This will yield enough to drink some with three meals a day. You can also refrigerate juice in a well-sealed container for up to three days.

Juicing is versatile.

By itself, raw cannabis has a bitter taste, so it is best when combined with another liquid. Carrot juice is a popular option, but experiment to find your favorite. Since raw cannabis is fat soluble, some patients prefer to juice with high-fat liquids such as yogurt, ice cream, hemp, or coconut milk.