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 Sativarequire 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.