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What is Cannabis Sativa? (Beginner’s Guide)

What is Cannabis Sativa and how is it different from Indica? If you’re looking into it, then this article is for you!

As always, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to join me. This is Part 2 of a two-part series showcasing the differences between Sativa and Indica.

Click here to read Part 1 if you’re interested!

We’ll be going into the details about what separates these legendary strains, breaking down some of the stereotypes and myths, and ultimately clearing the air for any doobie-newbies in the house.

You may have heard the name Sativa in your travels before, as it’s a very common term thrown around in the cannabis circles. Sativa is often described as the brighter, leaner other half to the previously mentioned Indica and often referred to as the “daytime” weed because of its energizing properties.

But with so many Hybrid strains on the market, is there much of a difference? We’ll get to that as well, no worries!

Sativa found its roots in Europe and Asia in the hotter climates, but since human intervention got involved it has been known to grow in many more places around the world.

What does Sativa look like?

Until you’ve seen both varieties of cannabis side by side, or have had some experience as a grower, you may have never even noticed that different strains of cannabis (marijuana, if you prefer) actually differ in appearance.

To sum it up in a nutshell, we covered the basics of Indica in the last article which happens to be a shorter and bushier strain of cannabis.

Sativa on the other hand is actually a bit taller and more slender in appearance, not just the plants as a whole but the leaves specifically are longer too.

Sometimes the leaves show off brighter shades of green as well, but maybe I’m partially colorblind as it can be pretty hard to tell.

Health Effects of Sativa

I mentioned briefly that Sativa is considered your daytime grass as opposed to the more nighttime oriented Indica, and that is mainly because Sativa tends to have more uplifting qualities about it.

A Sativa high is also commonly referred to as a “head high”, as it tends to be a bit lighter on the muscle relaxation and tranquilizing effects that Indica is known for.

These days though, Cannabis Sativa has been growing and migrating to new areas around the world and is a different plant than it once was.

In fact, many of the rules that people once lived by when it came to the categorization of cannabis are totally out the window.

Is Sativa still a more effective daytime weed than Indica? The answer is only sometimes, but never always. The simple classification system we have just doesn’t accurately represent what you’ll actually be consuming for your needs.

However, there are still many benefits of Sativa that still hold true, such as:


– Pain Relief

– Anxiety Relief

– Depression Relief

– Improved Sleep

– Reduces Nausea

– More Focus


As you might have noticed, the effects overall aren’t too much different from Indica, and part of that stems (hah, plant joke) from the fact that we’re focusing too much on the strains as consumers.

Much research into the subject suggests that in order to get a more accurate measure of what the different strains entail, we’d have to look further into the Cannabinoids specifically.

That’s a complex subject that deserves its own article as there are over a hundred different kinds of Cannabinoids out there with all varying effects on humans. Some are more or less prominent regardless of whether it’s a Sativa or Indica in question.

And that right there is why you may have consumed an Indica, and it acted like a Sativa in your system or vice versa.

I should also mention the side effects before I go any further:

– Drowsiness

– Dry Mouth

– Memory Loss

– Slower Reflexes and Coordination

– Increased Anxiety or Heart rate


I’ll also mention in this article that you can suffer anxiety-inducing effects from your Cannabis regardless of it having the effect of reducing anxiety at the same time.

Seems confusing on the surface, but the simplest approach is to know your limit.

The effects of consuming Cannabis and Marijuana definitely include dialing back on your anxiety and helping you relax, but much like alcohol if you over-consume, you increase the risk of becoming paranoid for a duration.

Pot Paranoia is the term I like to use, some might say “Pot Scaries” or some other such thing but it’s the same situation we’re taking about here.

What are Hybrids?

I hope this all hasn’t been too confusing up to now, because Hybrids don’t make things any easier.

I guess you could say that Hybrids are basically what defines most modern strains of Cannabis. You’ll notice when you’re at medical shop or dispensary that the different strains of Cannabis are sometimes broken down by percentages.

As an example it could say 65% Indica and 35% Sativa, or any other ratio really depending on the strain.

Does that give you enough information to make an informed purchase? In my opinion, not always. I still very much prefer to go by the specific qualities that may be listed or to ask whoever is running the counter for some further insight.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure of what you’re buying at your local smoke shop.

Other Fun Facts

Ever ask yourself “wait, where does Hemp fit into all of this?”, ’cause it’s a great question!

Hemp actually comes from the Sativa plant as well, and serves a different purpose than just “getting high”.

As it turns out, hemp typically has very low THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) levels and is much higher in CBD (Cannabidiol), enough to counteract and even negate the psychoactive effects of THC.

This means you can still enjoy things like pain and anxiety relief with hemp products, but don’t have to be afraid of potential intoxication.

(If you want to know more about THC and CBD, check out this other article I wrote here.)

Hemp is also considered one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and can be very useful when manufactured as a usable fiber for things like clothes or paper products.

In fact, Hemp would be a wonderful alternative to the millions of trees we cut down every year to make toilet paper and similar products. It’s just a shame that the people in the world aren’t ready for such a renewable resource as it is right now.


I hope with this piece I was able to shed some light on what it is that defines Cannabis Sativa and separates it from the aforementioned Indica.

I know that a lot of the key differences have been lost over time and the lines between the 2 strains have been blurred quite a bit, but that’s why education and research are so important.

If we don’t actually know what is it that we’re dealing with, how can we ever know if it’s good OR bad for us, right?

And again I want to invite you to check out these simple rules if you’re new to Cannabis, or any specific type really. I always try to write with new users in mind, and that means giving boring but hopefully useful advice too:

1. Have someone you can reach out to if you go on a bad trip.

2. Only smoke/consume a small amount of anything if it’s your first time.

3. Write down some quick notes on how it affected you, for reference.

And there you go, with that we’ve wrapped up this little two part series and soon we’ll be onto to other juicy topics here soon.

I wish you all the best, and a safe trip no matter what your preferred poison is!


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