Sativas are one of the three major types of cannabis strains (the others being indicas and hybrids). Sativas are considered to be daytime strains. People who use sativas can expect an energizing, uplifting, “head-based” high. Of course, there are many different types of sativa strains available. The type of sativa strain you consume will ultimately determine the nature of your high. But if you’re looking for a strain that can help you with your focus, productivity, and creativity, the sativas are a great place to start. You can identify sativa strains on dispensary menus and cannabis directories by looking for a Orange label next to the strain photo and description.
Medical Benefits of Sativas
Medical patients typically use sativas to treat
- chronic pain
- mood disorders
Recreational Use of Sativas
Common sativa-based activities include
- creative activities (painting, drawing, writing, dancing)
Fun Facts About Cannabis Sativa
- The plant species cannabis sativa is believed to have originated in eastern Asia. It was first classified in 1753 by the Swiss botanist Carl Linnaeus.
- Sativa plants prefer warm climates and can be recognized by their tall stature, narrow leaves, and long flowering cycles.
- Some cannabis sativa plants can grow as high as 20 feet tall.
- Cannabis sativa has been used throughout history for industrial fiber, food, seed oil, and for recreational, medicinal, and spiritual purposes.
Cannabis Sativa and the Hemp Plant
You may already be familiar with the hemp plant.
In fact, the words “hemp”, “cannabis”, and “marijuana” are often used interchangeably.
But how is the hemp plant related to medical and recreational cannabis? Why are hemp products legal to buy and use in all 50 states while medical/recreational cannabis remains illegal on the federal level?
A popular theory is that hemp and cannabis are the male and female plant of the same species. However, this is incorrect.
To be clear, “hemp” and certain strains “cannabis” do belong to the same plant species: cannabis sativa.
The difference is in how the two strains are bred:
- When cannabis sativa is bred to develop high concentrations of THC, we refer to it as “cannabis.”
- When cannabis sativa is bred to develop low, trace amounts of THC, we call it “hemp.” This is the strain of cannabis sativa that’s used for industrial purposes like clothing, construction, oils, food, etc.
Do “Sativa” Strains Actually Come From Cannabis Sativa?
Here’s an open secret among cannabis industry professionals and cannabis connoisseurs: there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that all cannabis sativa strains give you an uplifting, energetic high.
In her article about the differences between sativa and indica strains, Leafly editor Bailey Rahn makes the argument that the strains we commonly refer to as “sativas” are actually descended from the plant species cannabis indica ssp indica.
Rahn goes on to say that the original cannabis sativa plant was (and technically still is) the non-psychoactive hemp plant.
If you’re feeling confused at this point, that’s completely understandable.
However, as a cannabis consumer, you should know that the general description of sativas (“energizing, cerebral high”) still applies as far as the industry is concerned.
But if you truly want to know how a sativa is going to affect you, you should look at its percentage of THC, the presence of other cannabinoids (especially CBD), and terpene profile.