Cannabis Science

What Does Sativa Do to You?

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If you’re unfamiliar, Sativa refers to a specific strain of cannabis that stoners say produce a stimulating ‘head high’. Sativa plants are typically characterized by their skinny light green leaves. The plants are usually tall and can take a while to mature. Besides a head high, there are many different effects ascribed to Sativa plants. So, what does Sativa do to you? Here’s what we know. 

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How Does Sativa Affect Me? 

While we use the term Sativa to refer to a specific type of cannabis plant, we want to mention that not everybody in the stoner community uses this term. According to Healthline, the community is phasing out the term strain and opting for chemovars instead. Chemovars or chemical varieties are divided into three categories; types 1-3. Type 1, according to Healthline refers to weed with high THC, type 2 has a more balanced distribution of THC and CBD while type 3 is higher in CBD. 

However, we’ll be talking about Sativa in the traditional sense and how it may affect you. 

While people stoners look to Indica for more calming effects, they usually opt for Sativa for the opposite effect. Stoners reach for Sativa when they’re looking to uplift their mood, and boost their energy and focus as well as creativity. 

Healthline says, “Sativa often produces a “mind high,” or an energizing, anxiety-reducing effect. If you use sativa-dominant strains, you may feel productive and creative, not relaxed and lethargic.” 

Let’s dig deeper into this. 

Lower Depression

There has been research implying weed may help with depressive symptoms. Since Sativa is believed to be a mood uplifter, it could be a temporary fix to a low mood. 

According to Healthline, “The evaluation of medical marijuana for depression is still in its early stages. Right now, researchers share that possible benefits include the restoration of “normal” endocannabinoid function and mood stabilization.”

Weed could reduce pain, stress, and anxiety and by extension uplift your mood. 

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If you’re looking for Sativa strains to add to your bong, that can uplift your mood, Healthline suggests:

  • Strawberry Cough
  • Harlequin GDP
  • Super Lemon Haze

But before you self-medicate with weed for depression, there are some red flags surrounding weed. For example, Healthline also mentioned that regular and heavy smokers were more likely to be diagnosed with depression. However, scientists haven’t concluded that weed caused the depression. In addition to that, if you’re already at a high risk of psychosis, weed may trigger it or schizophrenia. 

There are other ways to help your depression if that’s what you struggle with. We recommend reaching out to a mental health professional for guidance. In addition to that, Healthline recommends journaling and healthy stress-relieving activities. 

Boost Energy

If you’re looking for a boost of energy, Sativa promises to have you bouncing off the walls. We’re kidding but you may have more pep in your step with this strain. As you probably know, for some people, weed acts as a stimulant. If that’s true for you, then you’re more likely to get an energy boost from using certain strains of weed. 

According to Healthline, the following Sativa strains can give you more energy:

  • Sour Diesel
  • Jack Herer
  • Green Crack

However, if you don’t get energy from Sativa strains you’re not alone. According to a Reddit thread, one stoner said, “I’ve never felt “energized” from any sativa. Never couldn’t help myself from cleaning the entire house. None of that.” 

The replies in that thread were mixed and included advice about trying different Sativa strains and taking a weed tolerance break.  Interestingly, people in the thread mentioned strains high in limonene as a solution. Some stoners believe strains high in that terpene can help with anxiety and depression so that’s definitely something to look into. 

Remember, everybody reacts differently to weed so if you’re not getting energy from weed there are other possible solutions. You can opt for a good night’s rest, coffee, or exercise. If lack of energy is really interfering with your daily tasks, see a doctor. The doctor may be able to identify the source of your low energy. 

Increase Creativity 

If you’re in a creative rut, you may be looking for a bit of inspiration. Well, a nice Sativa may be just what you need. Healthline says, “For some, consuming a cannabis sativa product can help shift or unblock creativity, or generate new ideas.”

If you’re trying to get out of a creative block, Healthline suggests consuming:

  • Chocolope
  • Super Silver Haze
  • Durban Poison

However, Harvard Business Review does not think weed makes you more creative despite what many stoners claim. According to them and their research, people who are high simply perceive their ideas as more creative. 

Harvard Business Review said, “high participants experienced more joviality — that is, they felt happier, more cheerful, and, simply put, in a better mood — and this led them to evaluate both their own ideas and those of other participants as more creative than sober participants did.” The third-party participants in the study who weren’t high didn’t perceive the stoners’ ideas as more creative when compared to non-stoners. 

So does that mean you should give up your Sativa edibles? Not necessarily. While Harvard Business Review doesn’t think weed helps or harms the creative process, the choice is yours. If weed makes you feel more creative, great, if not, you can explore other options. 

In addition to that, stoners claim weed can increase focus, If you weren’t able to be creative due to lack of focus, maybe Sativa could help. According to Healthline, “Some report that cannabis sativa strains can help ease a distracted mind and concentrate on the task at hand.”


So, what does Sativa do to you? Many stoners claim that Sativa puts them in a good mood, boosts their energy, and makes them more creative. However, not everyone has that experience. In addition to that, science has not totally confirmed these claims. But, don’t worry if you’re not getting the intended effects, you can always explore other options. If you are getting the intended effects, congrats!


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].