Cannabis Sativa Uses and Effects

Similar to wine, you have a variety of different blends and flavors to choose from. Medical cannabis has three primary types:

  • Sativa
  • Indica
  • Hybrid

Each of the names and strains you see falls under one of these categories. The sativa and indica nomenclature helps cultivators signify the growing conditions of a particular strain and its physical qualities. While many, if not most, marijuana strains fall under the hybrid category technically, true hybrid status is reserved for strains that are a result of a genetic crossing of sativa and indica.

What Is Cannabis Sativa?

Cannabis Sativa is a product of the equatorial climate which explains its tall (up to 20 feet), slender-leafed plants. These large plants produce a much higher yield of powerful weed than Indica plants.

Sativa strains invariably have a high density of THC. And, depending on the respective strain’s balance with CBD, Sativa can pack a wallop. Effects are cerebral, tripping, and possibly paranoiac. The THC density assures creativity and energy and/or euphoria and joy.

Sativa flavors and aromas favor vary across the phenotype, but true Sativas are usually diesels and hazes which assures you diesel aromas with under-tastes of fruit. But, you won’t find the strong, cushy, and sweet fruit touches of the Indica strains.

You will find Sativa invigorating and great for socializing. It’s meant for daytime use, and the milder strains should not hinder creative work and mental focus. This uplift helps those suffering from anxiety and depression putting them at ease with feelings of well-being. And, medical practitioners have recommended it for ADD/ADHD and HIV/AIDS.

Benefits of Cannabis Sativa

Sativa strains are most often thought of as energizing and mood-lifting.

For the most part, plants which fall under the Sativa label will be high in THC and low in CBD. That makes them ideal for those who are looking for a mood lift but without the balancing effects of CBD there are often mental side effects as well.

If you’re prone to anxiety, for instance, you’ll want to be careful about going with a strain which is high THC and low CBD.

As a general rule, Sativa strains are considered to be THC-dominant. The actual breakdown of the primary cannabinoids varies from strain to strain, however.

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How to Identify Cannabis Sativa

You can identify sativa cannabis in a few ways:

By looking at its buds

The buds (female flowers) are more “feathery” and longer than cannabis indicas. The sativa strain flowers are also fluffier and lankier than indica buds or flowers. Unlike the tight, chunky flowers indica strains tend to have, sativa flower is typically very loose and stretched out. Many individuals refer to them as “Grinch Fingers.”

By smelling its aroma

Sativa strains have a larger quantity of myrcene, terpinolene and other monoterpenes, causing them to have a delicate and floral aroma. They can be very pungent smelling, but overall their aromas range from fruity and sweet to earthy with diesel fuel undertones. Various favored strains have similar peppery and sweet aromas classic to sativa, such as:

By seeing how it’s grown

Marijuana sativa is a tall plant. Compared to other types, it is a lighter shade of green and is often tinged with purple. The sativa plant, which is better for outdoor growing, can grow up to 20 feet in a single season. Sativas proliferate in height once they start flowering. They may continue shooting up during this time by as much as 200 to 300 percent. Most varieties achieve a height of between eight and 12 feet.

It has long, narrow blades of leaves and provides more scattered foliage than other varieties. Because of this, air can flow in between and around the plant, leading to less fungus risk and healthier growth in tropical, humid conditions, where most of the sativa strains first came from. Sativas originally come from Southeast Asia, Mexico, Colombia and Thailand.

Compared to indica strains, sativa plants have lower yields, but the product is far more potent. Sativa strains have lower amounts of chlorophyll than indicas, which means they take much longer to mature than indica strains and need more light. After flowering begins, they mature in 10 to 16 weeks.

By feeling its effects

If you talk to a budtender about the effects of sativa, they will likely use some of the following phrases when describing this type:

  • Invigorating
  • Uplifting
  • High
  • Cerebral
  • Energizing
  • Like a cup of coffee
  • Clear-headed

Best-Selling and Most Popular Sativa Strains

Sativa strains’ motivating and mood-boosting effects are very popular among recreational and medical consumers. Sativas are valued for their potency and ability to induce creativity and focus.

Strain popularity is subjective and depends on a person’s preference and medical condition, but there are plenty of popular and best-selling sativa strains worth mentioning for a beginner or long-time user.

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is rumored to be a cross between a Chemdog 91 female and pollen from a Super Skunk strain. Since the 90s, Sour Diesel has had a fuel and citrus-forward aroma. This potent sativa energizes users and increases creativity and focus.

Amnesia Haze

Amnesia Haze’s origins can be traced back to landrace sativa strains. This Cannabis Cup winner has tangy citrus and earthy aromas.

Lemon Haze

Lemon Haze’s golden yellow pistils and leaves foreshadow its fruity and lemony aroma and flavor. Its happy and uplifting feelings are preferred for medical users suffering from stress, depression, anxiety, pain, or fatigue.


Chocolope, also known as D-Line, delivers an invigorating dose of earthy and coffee-like flavors. Chocolope produces hazy and cerebral effects.

Durban Poison

Durban Poison is a legendary strain from the South African port city of Durban. It has a sweet smell and energizing effects.

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