Here’s everything we think you should know about sativa cannabis strains.

Most of the dispensary shoppers who come into our Vail location are familiar with the two major classifications of the cannabis plant: cannabis indica and cannabis sativa. Beyond that, most people’s knowledge is a little, well, hazy.

This helpful guide to sativa-dominant strains covers everything from the sativa effects you can expect after consumption to a list of the best sativa strains. Ready to expand your sativa strain knowledge and learn which strains of sativa are right for you? Let’s dig in!

What Are Sativa Strains?

Let’s start with the basics. What is sativa?

On a biological level, there aren’t many differences between indica and pure sativa strains.

Both categories are crossbred from cannabis plants to create specific flavors, scents, and effects, so there’s no real biological answer to the question, “What is a sativa?” As a classification, sativa simply describes the effects of sativa weed.

What Are the Effects of Sativa?

While sativa and indica plants are similar, the difference is how these plants affect your endocannabinoid system when they’re consumed.

A sativa high should be an enlivening, energizing experience. Does sativa make you sleepy or hyper? Ideally, it should do neither. The best sativa strains reduce stress and anxiety and help you focus and express your creativity in enjoyable ways. You should feel elevated, not hyper, and experience a lovely, cerebral high.

But the sativa effect is hardly universal, and not all sativas will make you feel the same. To find the best sativa strain to achieve your desired effect, you’ll need to look closely at sativa’s secret decoder system: fragrant compounds known as terpenes.

Terpenes: The Aromatic Secret to Decoding Sativa Strains

While looking for the best sativa strain to purchase, many of our customers instinctively opt for the highest THC sativa they can find, but that’s not always the way to go. High THC content certainly indicates a strong sativa strain, but it doesn’t tell you how you’ll be affected. The highest THC sativa strain will certainly get you high, but not necessarily in the way you want.

To determine how a sativa will impact you, look at the terpene content in your strain of choice. Terpenes don’t just give cannabis flower its scent and flavor, they also determine the experience you’ll get from strong strains of sativa. Here are some of the most common sativa terpenes to keep an eye out for:

Pinene: relaxing and uplifting, this terpene is one to reach for when you’re looking for depth and focus.

Limonene: elevating and mood-boosting, this terpene creates a blissed-out, energized experience that’s perfect for getting creative.

Beta-Caryophyllene: calm and soothing but still energetic; this terpene has anti-inflammatory and mood-boosting properties.

Limonene: mood-boosting in a mellow, low-key way, this terpene supports appetite and helps users stay on the sunny side.

Humulene: perfect for a post-workout indulgence, this anti-inflammatory terpene is known for soothing minor aches and pains.

Taking a closer look at the terpenes your strain contains will help you determine good sativa strains to create the experience you seek.


How Many Sativa Strains Are There?

Since classification is so subjective and the number of new sativa strains grows every day, it’s difficult to say exactly how many sativa strain names belong on the sativa strain list. But it’s fun to guess!

There are over 700 known cannabis strains. If we assume about a third are indica, a third sativa, and a third hybrids, that means there are around 250 names on the sativa strains list. So you have some exploring to do!

Cannabis Sativa Strain on a Purple and pink background

What Sativa Strains Are for Energy?

If you’re looking for some extra juice, sativas are your friend! Here are the best sativa strains for energy:

What Sativa Strains Are for Creativity?

Looking to dream big, play around, or break through a creative barrier? Our budtenders’ picks for the best sativa strains for creativity will get you there:

What Sativa Strains Are Used to Elevate Mood?

Does sativa make you laugh? In the right company (or paired with the right YoTtube videos), these strains are practically guaranteed to summon a giggle:

What Sativa Strains Are for Focus?

Does sativa help you focus? You bet. Just take a dose of one of our budtenders’ favorite focus strains and get cracking:

What Are the Best Sativa Strains for Anxiety?

Sativa is the best strain for anxiety and focus. If you find you’re more often on the anxiety side of that equation, these strains can help:

What Are the Best Sativa Strains?

Our customers often ask us to recommend the top sativa strains, but it’s kind of an impossible question! That’s like asking for the best songs ever written. Sure, we could give you a list, but it’s ultimately a subjective opinion.

To find the sativa strain that’s best for you, check the terpene content, consult our list of recommendations, or head to your nearest HCH dispensary and get recommendations from your friendly neighborhood budtender.

Two friends wearing sunglasses and laughing

Will Sativa Cause the Munchies?

Does sativa make you hungry? Nope! Sativa strains are high in a cannabinoid called THCV, which suppresses appetite. You’ll have more energy to cook and the inspiration to combine unusual flavor combinations, but even the most potent sativa strains won’t make you hungry like indica does.

Will Sativa Keep Me Up at Night?

Will sativa keep me awake? Not exactly. High THC sativa strains won’t help you wind down, but they won’t keep you up like a cup of coffee might.

Does sativa make you sleepy? Definitely not. Strong sativa strains are known for their productive, creative, and energizing effects, so they aren’t your best option if you need some shut-eye.

Best Time of Day To Smoke Sativa Cannabis?

Because of their enlivening effects, sativa is known as the best strain for productivity and active relaxation.

It’s the strain you want to smoke to get an extra boost of focus, help dream up your next creative idea, or simply feel more plugged in to the physical experience of an activity like hiking or dancing with friends.

Smoke sativa any time of day you want to experience those elevating effects, and put a little extra pep in your step.

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