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What is Sativa?

What is Sativa?

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If you’re familiar with cannabis culture, then you have likely heard of sativa. Many enthusiasts will tell you it’s just what you need for a creative boost or to get over an afternoon slump. 

But what exactly is sativa, and what does it mean? What are its effects on your body, and what are the best times and ways to enjoy it? If you’re asking yourself these questions, you are in luck, because today we’re covering everything you need to know about this popular variety of Cannabis.

What Does Sativa Mean?

Wild agricultural hemp grows in the countryside

“Sativa” is a Latin botanical name that means “cultivated.” The term was first used for the species Cannabis sativa in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.

The plant is originally from East Asia but is now grown globally. Cannabis sativa has always been cultivated for its seed oil, compounds, and industrial fiber. In addition to its use for spiritual and religious practices, it is also enjoyed casually.

According to U.S. law, all hemp and marijuana are technically classified as Cannabis sativa L. However strains are commonly categorized as sativa or indica based on the different effects they offer when consumed.

So what are the differences between Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica

What’s the Difference Between Sativa and Indica?

macro of a cannabis bud

Sativa and Indica are putative species of cannabis, meaning they're widely considered to be different but there's very little evidence that they're separate genetic species. As mentioned above- hemp and marijuana are both legally declared Cannabis sativaSo when comparing Sativa vs. Indica, you’re really comparing a typical Sativa strain vs. a typical Indica strain

Strains are like the dog breeds of the cannabis world. There are various dog breeds, like labradors and pugs, but they're all dogs, just with some obvious and important differences between them.

Whether indica or sativa, cannabis contains various compounds known as cannabinoids that offer psychoactive or therapeutic effects. Sativa strains typically have low levels of CBD (cannabidiol) and high levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), while indicas will usually offer high levels of both CBD and THC.

Consequently, what you will hear from most Cannabis circles is that sativa gives a "mind high", i.e., it is an energizing strain, while Indica gives a "body high" and has more calming effects. However, this oversimplifies their differences, so let us look deeper.

Sativa vs. Indica: Possible Effects 

As mentioned earlier, sativa is believed to energize the consumer, while indica has a more calming effect. But their differences go beyond just this. Here are some experiences associated with Sativa and Indica strains- keep in mind cannabis affects everyone differently.

AspectSativa StrainsIndica Strains
Effects on MoodEnergizing, uplifting, euphoricRelaxing, calming, sleepy
Mental effectsHeightened creativity, focus, and mental stimulationMental relaxation, daily stress relief, introspection
Physical effectsStimulating and invigoratingBody relaxation, muscle tension relief, appetite boost
Additional EffectsSociability, productivityRestfulness, may reduce physical discomfort 

Sativa vs. Indica: Terpenes

lemon slice with cannabis bud on top

Terpenes are what give plants their aroma. They are one of the factors that determine the strain of a cannabis plant. 

It has been argued that “sativa” and “indica” labels are largely cultural terms versus having a basis in biology. However, there is also some evidence that the two variants' terpene profiles differ, with sativas having more sweet and herbal notes while indicas have woody terpenes. More than just providing a pleasant scent, terpenes also modulate the effects of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, affecting your overall experience.

Here are a few of the terpenes found in indica-dominant or sativa-dominant strains: 

Sativa Terpene Profiles

  • Terpinolene: Often found in sativa strains, terpinolene contributes to its floral and herbal aroma. It may also have antioxidant and relaxing properties.
  • Beta-caryophyllene: This terpene is known for its spicy, peppery aroma and is found in some sativa strains. It may offer relief for physical discomfort.
  • Limonene: Commonly found in citrus fruits, limonene contributes to the citrusy aroma of some sativa strains. It may promote elevated mood and daily stress relief.
  • Pinene: Sativa strains may contain higher levels of pinene, which contributes to their piney aroma. Pinene is associated with improved focus.

Indica Terpene Profiles

  • Myrcene: Predominantly found in indica strains, myrcene contributes to their earthy, musky aroma. It's known for its relaxing effects, making it a common terpene in strains used for sleep and relief from physical discomfort.
  • Linalool: Indica strains may contain linalool, which gives them a floral, lavender-like scent. Linalool has calming and daily stress-relieving properties, contributing to the relaxing effects of indica strains.
  • Beta-caryophyllene: While also present in sativa strains, beta-caryophyllene is commonly found in indica varieties. It provides a spicy, woody aroma and may offer relief from physical discomfort.
  • Humulene: Some indica strains may contain humulene, contributing to their earthy, woody aroma. Humulene has the potential to relieve physical discomfort and may help manage appetite.
Please note that the effects of the above terpenes are supported by scientific research, but it is not guaranteed that the consumption of any cannabis product will deliver these effects. 

Sativa vs. Indica: Physical Features of Plants

indica vs sativa leaf differences

Botanists classify plants based on physical differences. This can include whether they have roots or not if they bear seeds or spores, and whether they produce fruit/flowers versus just seeds. 

The sativa plant is tall and grows up to 6 feet tall. It has finger-like leaves and takes a longer time to mature for harvest. The indica plant, on the other hand, is short and woody, with wide leaves. It grows faster and creates more buds compared to sativa. 

The Effects of Sativa

happy woman vibing to music

Sativa typically has an invigorating effect on the mind and the body. Let's answer a few frequently asked questions regarding the effects of sativa based on anecdotal reports.

What Does Sativa Do to You?

Sativa strains produce a mental high that can uplift mood, enhance creativity, and promote clarity. Consumers often claim they feel more alert, focused, and euphoric after using sativa strains. The effects can vary depending on the amount consumed, individual tolerance, and strain genetics.

Does Sativa Make You Sleepy?

Unlike Indica strains, which are known for their more sleepy effects, sativa strains typically do not induce drowsiness or sleepiness. In fact, it is often enjoyed for a quick energy boost.

As Jhene Aiko says, “Indica be havin' me stuck, [but sativa] know just how to keep me up.” But of course, everyone processes cannabis differently. 

Does Sativa Make You Hungry?

In general, cannabis can cause "the munchies." However sativa strains are not typically associated with increased appetite. Individual responses to cannabis can vary, and some individuals may experience increased appetite after consuming sativa strains.

Is Sativa an Upper or a Downer?

Sativa strains are generally considered "uppers" because of their energizing and stimulating effects on the mind and body. 

Why Do Sativa and Indica Have Different Effects on You?

The difference between the "head high" associated with sativa strains and the "body high" typically attributed to indica strains is primarily because of different concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and the way they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

Because sativa has high THC levels, it can cause euphoria, while indica can cause relaxation because of the high CBD concentration. The terpenes in sativa, like limonene, are also generally more uplifting compared to terpenes such as myrcene, which are typically more relaxing.

Of course, the typical CBD: THC ratios you find in Indica vs. Sativa only really apply if you’re comparing sativa cannabis flower to indica cannabis flower. In an edible containing Sativa-strain live rosin, for example, the concentration of THC is always 0.3% or lower than its dry weight, and the milligram count of all cannabinoids (both THC and Delta-9) is listed plainly on the package. Also, terpenes in an edible will vary from a raw bud, so always look at the COAs. 

What Is Stronger, Sativa, or Indica?

You cannot objectively say whether sativa or indica is stronger. The effects of any cannabis product depend on various factors, for example, its THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content and an individual's "tolerance." 

The Best Times to Enjoy Sativa Strains

woman stretching in the early morning

Sativa is great for when you need some energy and uplifting. This makes it ideal for occasions when enhanced productivity or focus is desired. Here are some of the best times to enjoy sativa strains:
  • Morning and daytime, it's great for a busy workday, tackling household chores, or embarking on outdoor activities. 
  • When you need to stimulate creativity and enhance artistic expression, it can help you unlock new ideas and inspiration.
  • When you have demanding work projects or study sessions, it may improve your concentration and problem-solving skills.
  • When you are attending social gatherings and activities and need a boost of sociability and a good mood.
  • Incorporate it into your fitness routine for an extra burst of motivation to tackle your workout goals.

The Best Sativa Strains 

There are so many interesting strains of Sativa with unique terpenes and effects. Here are our top 3 sativa strains to try:

Blue Dream


blu dream gummies in someones duffle bag

Blue Dream has a sweet, berry-like aroma and flavor. Its dominant terpenes are myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene. Myrcene gives it its relaxing effects, pinene offers mental clarity, and caryophyllene provides a hint of spice.

Blue Dream is a Sativa-forward strain, which makes it great for a gentle daytime euphoria and creativity boost. You can find this strain's live rosin (a type of terpene-rich, solventless extract) infused with hemp-derived Delta-9 THC in our Blue Dream Gummies.

Super Silver Haze

super silver haze gummies in someones hand

Super Silver Haze has a citrusy aroma thanks to its high concentrations of terpinolene. Terpinolene may enhance your mood while uplifting your spirits and giving you a sense of clarity.

Enjoy a burst of motivation and creativity with the Super Silver Haze live rosin and Delta-9 THC infused in our Blood Orange SSH Gummies

Mimosa Haze

Mimosa Haze* combines the citrusy notes of orange with the tropical flavors of mango because of its terpene profile rich in myrcene, limonene, and terpinolene. Myrcene contributes to its relaxing effects, while limonene and terpinolene offer mood-lifting properties.

Because of its balanced terpene profile, you can use it both during the day and in the evening. Our Mimosa Haze High THCA Flower is a great way to invite gentle uplift and relaxation to your session. 

Due to limited batches, Mimosa Haze may not always be available, however, we do actively seek to have at least one sativa strain in our rotation of THCA flowers.*

Other Notable Sativa Strains to Enjoy

  • Green Crack typically has potent energy-boosting effects and a fruity flavor profile. A favorite for those who want enhanced focus and motivation.
  • Sour Diesel has a pungent diesel aroma and invigorating effects. Prized for its cerebral stimulation and mood-elevating properties.
  • Jack Herer is named after the renowned Cannabis activist, Jack Herer. It has a spicy, earthy flavor profile and energizing effects that promote creativity and mental clarity.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're seeking a gentle mood lift, enhanced creativity, or a boost of energy to tackle the day, there's a Sativa strain waiting to elevate your experience. So, venture forth with an open mind and a sense of curiosity.

Until next time, happy euphoric productivity, and mind your mind.

FDA Disclaimer:
 The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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