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A Brief Overview of Cannabis Sativa Strains

What is Cannabis Sativa?

Cannabis Sativa is a species of the Cannabaceae family (hemp) that grows tall with narrow leaves. Cannabis Sativa strains originated in the equatorial countries of Colombia, Mexico, Thailand, and South East Asia and thrive in warmer weather.

Fully grown Sativa plants can stretch to extraordinary heights of up to 20 feet when grown outside, and have much longer vegetation periods than their Indica cousins. Once the plant begins to flower, it can take anywhere from ten to sixteen weeks to fully mature. Most landrace (pure) strains of Cannabis Sativa require a combined growing and flowering period of close to six months.

Since vegetation periods are so long, these plants typically produce a much higher yield than Indica strains (3 ounces to 1 pound per plant), but possess a lower THC percentage than Indica on average (around 12-16%). Because most landrace Sativa strains have this long flowering period, it is often times hard to grow them indoors. For that reason, many Sativa are crossbred with their indica cousins to reduce their height and flowering time, making them viable for indoor growing.

Identifying Cannabis Sativa by Scent

Cannabis Sativa are known to be extremely pungent smelling, with aromas ranging from sweet and fruity, to earthy with undertones of diesel fuel. Many of our favorite sativa strains such as Cherry AK, Green Crack, Trainwreck, Jack Herer, and J-1 all have a similar sweet and peppery smell that is classic of sativa.

Some strains like Trainwreck will be more peppery, while Cherry AK is extremely sweet smelling. Although these strains will all provide similar effects, the distinction lies in these differences in smell, formally known as their ‘terpene profiles’. Once you are familiar with all the different terpenes that are present in cannabis, it is fairly easy to detect what strain you are smoking based on scent alone. Cannabis Sativa are easily detectable to the trained nose.

Equatorial Origins Affect Growth of Sativa

The flowers of Cannabis Sativa strains are typically longer, lankier and fluffier than indica flowers. Unlike the chunky, tight flowers that are typical of indica strains, sativa flowers stretch out and are often times very loose. We have heard of people refer to sativa flowers as ‘Grinch Fingers’, and we feel this name describes their appearance perfectly.

Sativa strain’s tall, lanky appearance can be attributed to the climates in which they typically grow. In the regions close to the equator, the length of day rarely changes throughout the year, so sativa have become adept to growing and flowering in short, uniform photoperiods. This means that sativa strains gain height all through their growing and flowering phases.

This causes the flowers to start at the nodes (point where leaves grow from the stem) and expand along the length of the stem and branches as they grow upwards. In Cannabis Indica strains, the flowers cluster around the nodes because the plant is done growing once it transitions to its flowering period. This is why indica flowers are typically small and dense, compared to the light and spindly flowers of sativa.

You can see exactly what we mean by taking a look at pictures of some of the classic sativa, such as, Lambsbread(pictured below), Trainwreck, Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, and Durban Poison.

Effects & Benefits of Cannabis Sativa

Cannabis Sativastrains are known to produce an uplifting and cerebral high that is typically very energizing and stimulating. They will make you laugh uncontrollably, engage in in-depth conversations about the meaning of life, and enjoy simple things like walking through the park.


These strains typically cause you to analyze the human experience and think creatively, which makes Cannabis Sativa very popular among philosophers, artists and musicians. Some Sativa even have been found to enhance lights and sounds, making music, movies, and the rest of your surroundings more vibrant than ever before.

Patients looking for the perfect morning medication or daytime relief could benefit from accompanying their breakfast or lunch with a vaporizer packed with Strawberry Diesel or Cherry AK. Both of these strains are known to give you a long lasting, clear-head (sometimes cerebral) that will leave you uplifted and energetic. Because of its uplifting effects, many people who suffer from depression tend to benefit from daytime use of sativa. Many people believe that sativa strains help increase focus, reduce nausea, stimulate appetite, relieve headaches & migraines, relax muscles, relieve pain, and can even act as an expectorant.

The Many Uses of Cannabis Sativa

There are a number of common uses associated with the cannabis sativa plant beyond it’s psychoactive properties associated with human consumption. It’s seeds have been used to make hempseed oil, which has been used for years in cooking, lamps, bird feed, paint, ointments, tinctures, and is known to be a great source of nutrients. Additionally, the fibers from the stalk of the sativa plant have been used in the production of clothing, paper, bags, clothing, textiles, and many other useful construction materials.

The hemp fiber is known to be stronger and longer-lasting than cotton or any other substance currently used to make the same products. It is no wonder why it has been used by civilizations for the last 12,000 years. Nonetheless, it is federally illegal in the United States and most of the world. However, the USA used cannabis from 1850 to 1937 to treat more than 100 distinct diseases and conditions. Similar use has been recorded in China, India, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. What changes took place in the cannabis plant since the 30’s that caused it to lose all of it’s accepted medical uses?