Although there are a multitude of different strains of cannabis found throughout the world, two types are most prevalent: sativa and indica. One provides a dose of energy and excitement while the other is used for restfulness and relaxation. Which is which? What is right for you?
We'll look at Indica in a future blog post. For now, let's dive into sativa - the energizing and focus-driving type.
Plant History and Description
The latin word sativa was used to mean the cultivation of fruit, or flowering from seeds. Coined by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753 in relation to cannabis, sativa was a highly consumed plant in Europe, as indica was not widely available (it originated in India). However, all cannabis plants were all known as sativa until 1785 when French botanist and academic Jean-Baptiste Lamarck proposed the idea that there were two different types of cannabis. Sativa, which was known to cultivate in the western continents, and indica, which grew in the wild throughout India.
Commonly known as hashish or hemp, sativa grows quickly to 6 to 12 feet tall in some cases and is found in the wild throughout tropical and humid parts of the world, such as Africa, Central America and Western Asia.
The strain grows as both female and male plants. Male plants typically grow taller, but females are more plentiful. There are also cases where the plants are monoecious (having both male and female reproductive organs), which can make the plant sterile.
Leaves are palmate, which means its leaflets radiate outwards from the end of the petiole, similar to fingers growing from the palm of a hand. These palmate leaves divide into three to seven toothed leaflets, allowing airflow throughout the plant and creating a healthier plant that better defends against fungus.
Sativa seeds can not only be eaten cooked or raw, but they are also a source of textile fiber. Stem tissues are even used to make bioplastics.
The "Head High"
Sativa strains create a stimulating effect known commonly as a head high. These effects can help reduce stress or anxiety while increasing focus and creativity. Terms or feelings associated with a positive head high are happiness, energy, inspiration and imagination.
Sativa cannabis is often associated with the entertainment and arts industry, as many musicians and artists clain their inspiration came while feeling the effects of marijuana. This is likely due to the user's visual and auditory capacity broadening to create a more enjoyable experience.
Sativa includes little cannabidoil, or CBD, if any at all. CBD is what creates a body high and is found in abundance in indica strains. Tetrahydrocannabinoil, or THC, is what creates a head high and is present in high percentages in sativa.
When to Use & Possible Side Effects
Sativa's stimulating benefits have been used in medication for centuries. Doctors today prescribe sativa strains to help treat depression, fatigue and stress. Sativa is recommended for daytime treatment, as the stimulant often boosts creativity and focus. It often provides an energy boost to help people feel motivation and desire.
Since sativa provides a stimulating return, it is not recommended before bedtime. If taken at the wrong time of day, it can disrupt sleep and result in insomnia. In some cases, paranoia or anxiety may be experienced as side effects of sativa. In these rare cases, users should consider an alternate strain that offers a reduced risk of negative side effects while still providing the desired outcome.
Have More Questions?
There is a lot to learn with marijuana usage. We'll be taking a closer look at indica strains shortly. In the meantime, check out our education section to learn about proper dosages, how to acquire a medical card and other frequently asked questions about both medical and recreational cannabis!