Weed 101: What Are Sativa Strains and Which Are the Best to Try?
If you have things to do and don’t like feeling super-glued to the couch for six hours, then you’re likely someone who’ll benefit from the mental and physical energy of sativas. But which strains should you start with?
Published on December 10, 2019

If you’re looking for a strain of cannabis to try that will give you an energetic, uplifting high, your best bet is to start with strains that are classified as sativas. Although grouping strains of weed into the groups indica, sativa, and hybrid isn’t completely based on science — ultimately creating some disagreements regarding what's a sativa or how much of a strain displays sativa characteristics — it does give consumers a starting point to learn about and discuss the different strains available and their varying effects.

So, if you have things to do and don’t like feeling super-glued to the couch for six hours, then you’re likely someone who’ll benefit from the mental and physical energy of sativas. Their often citrusy, fruity, earthy terpene profiles will send you on a journey of super-charged efficiency if you channel the high right, which can lead to seriously creative outcomes. Care to know more? Then read on.

What Exactly Are Sativa Strains?

In a nutshell, sativa strains of weed are cultivated from cannabis plants that grow in a tall, conical shape and have leaves with long, narrow leaflets. The effects of sativas are said to be more awake, creative, and clear-headed than other strains of pot. 

In contrast, indica strains are cultivated from cannabis plants that have leaves with shorter, broader leaflets and grow in a more compact and bushy shape. The high you get from indicas is said to be a more sedentary, whole-body buzz that can sometimes lead to couch-lock — thus, the joke “indacouch.” 

Hybrids, which account for the majority of all commercial strains on the market, combine the effects of indicas and sativa strains in varying proportions. In a dispensary, you’ll find indica hybrids that are heavier in sedating effects; sativa hybrids that lean more toward heightened energy; and 50-50 hybrids that are a blend of both. 


Some Popular Sativa Strains

Over the years, many sativa-dominant strains have risen the ranks of becoming some of the best strains in the world. Although they tend to grow taller, yield less, and take longer to flower, their popularity with smokers has led many cultivators to grow and breed many top-shelf sativas. In no particular order, here are several you’re likely to find at a cannabis dispensary.

Blue Dream: Blue Dream is a favorite with growers because of its high yields while consumers appreciate the fruity flavors and clear, energetic (yet relaxing) high. Blue Dream is a cross of Blueberry and Haze that produces large, productive plants that mature after about 10 weeks of flowering time. Blue Dream’s genetics are about 60 percent sativa and 40 percent indica. THC levels range from 16-20 percent. 


Jack Herer photo via Weedmaps

Jack Herer: Named after the legendary cannabis activist, Jack Herer is a strain that is just barely sativa-dominant, coming in at about 55 percent sativa and 45 percent indica. A cross of Haze, Northern Lights #5, and Shiva Skunk, Jack Herer was originally bred by Sensi Seeds. Although the existence of a few different phenotypes available on the market cause some variation in effect and flavor, Jack Herer generally gives the uplifting, euphoric high that sativa strains are known for. THC levels average in the range of 15-19 percent.

A.J. Herrington
A.J. Herrington is a freelance writer focusing on cannabis news, business, and culture and has written for publications including High Times, Sensi, and HEMP. When he's not banging away at the keyboard, you'll probably find him tending to his plants in the garden.
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