Cannabis Sativa 101

Step inside any dispensary, and one of the first things you’ll likely notice is how the majority of products inside are designated as either Sativa, Indica, or Hybrid. These classifications are a broad indication as to the overall effects and characteristics of the product, and are based on the type of cannabis plant they are derived from.

In this guide, we’ll explain what cannabis sativa is, and the general set of effects one can typically expect when consuming any products made from it. By the end, you’ll have a much better grasp on whether or not sativa products are ideal for your particular needs and preferences.

The Cannabis Sativa Plant

Before we get to the effects and uses of sativa, a little info about the plant itself. 

Sativa plant varieties can range anywhere from 6ft to 25ft high at maturity, but most often stay somewhere in between. Sativa plants have long branches that ascend in length towards the bottom, giving them a conical shape not unlike what you’d see with a Christmas tree. The leaves are long and thin with a lighter green shade, although some may be darker when grown in exceptionally hot environments.

The height and hardness of sativa plants makes them ideal for producing hemp fibers, and they are also used to manufacture hemp oil for cosmetic and health purposes. You’ll often find sativa plant seeds in bird seed as well, due to its high protein content. 

In regards to cultivation, sativa plants have a long period before reaching maturity when compared to indica plant varieties. 

The buds of sativa plants are long and thin, and have less density than indica plants. The stomas of the flowering bud are usually slightly purple when grown in cooler environments, but will sometimes turn dark orange or red in warmer climates.

Sativa Effects and Characteristics

Cannabis products produced from sativa plants are typically known for offering a stimulating and uplifting effect, which is sometimes referred to as a more “cerebral” type of high. The science community remains somewhat mixed as to why, but many theorize that it’s due to the higher content of THC found in most sativa varieties, which is what’s responsible for the psychedelic effects of marijuana. It’s worth noting that sativa varieties also have a substantial CBD content, but the THC amount is much higher in comparison.

The high that results from sativa products often comes with a happy and inspiring feeling, as opposed to the more relaxing and resigned effects known to come from indica varieties. For some, this can include a slight boost in energy, and help with focus as well. Because of this, sativa is generally regarded as the best variety to use during the day, when you still need to be functional, rather than laid back and relaxed.

What Sativa is Best For

Social Settings

The uplifting and energetic effects of sativa strains are better suited for times when you’ll be in social settings, but need the medicinal effects of cannabis as well. With sativa strains, you can receive the benefits of cannabis, while still maintaining the ability to converse and interact with others.

Creative Inspiration

Since sativa strains uplift and inspire, they can be great for the times you need that added inspiration, whether it’s for something you’re working on, or just enjoying television, music, and so on. The sativa characteristics can help you to enjoy your activities with more depth, and encourage flashes of thoughts and inspirations you may not otherwise have had without. 

Sativa strains may also bring about deeper and more critical thoughts about any subject you may be currently engaged in, and even provide added vividness to memories and past experiences — all of which are perfect for inspiring creativeness.

Encouraging Improvements in Mood

For the times when you need a boost to your overall mood—while still retaining functionality and energy—sativa strains are preferred. The energetic and uplifting characteristics can provide just enough to help improve your overall state of mind, especially when you’re in the midst of an undesirable or mundane mindset without any real reason at the time.

Encouraging Appetite

One of the most widely known characteristics of any cannabis strain is the effect it has on your appetite, which is hugely beneficial for those needing a boost to their appetite due to medical or mental reasons. Sativa allows you to have an increased appetite, without a dreary or tired feeling that indica strains can often provide.

Increased Focus

Need to power through a mundane task, or perhaps some studying? Sativa strains are your best bet. The creative inspiration and energy these strains can offer will often help you with focusing on things you may otherwise not be all that into prior.

What Sative is Not Ideal For


Cannabis is a popular medicine for those who need help falling asleep, or staying asleep. If you’re considering using cannabis to help with your sleep, indica strains are a much better route, as sativa strains are more conducive for the daytime.


The higher THC amounts in sativa strains may not be best for those with anxiety issues. CBD products and certain indica strains should be considered instead.


Although most cannabis products are great for relaxing to an extent, sativa strains will often cause you to be more energetic and motivated, rather than the relaxing, more body-oriented high that indica strains generally produce.

Final Thoughts

While sativa strains all share some certain characteristics and effects, it’s not exactly as black & white as some others may convey. Because of this, it’s always best to consider the individual strain itself, rather than just relying on general classifications that much of the cannabis world has given to indica and sativa plants.

At Straiin, we are always more than happy to help you find the cannabis varieties and individual strains that are perfect for your own unique needs. Come by anytime during our open hours, and one of our staff members will be glad to show you the best products for the effects you’re seeking.