Sativa is one of the two main types of cannabis, with the other being indica. The two types differ in appearance, composition, and effect. Indica are short and bushy with wide leaves, while white sativa plants are the opposite, growing tall and thin, reaching 12 feet or more in height. They have narrower leaves that tend to be a lighter green in colour. The main difference between the two plants lies in the chemicals they produce.
Compared to indica, sativa produces less CBD and more THC. Despite having similar chemical structures, CBD and THC produce different effects. Both are psychoactive, but CBD does not produce the “head high” for which THC is known.
THC binds with the CB1 (cannabinoid 1) receptors in the brain and produces a sense of euphoria. It is typically described as uplifting and energizing. It is known for being mentally stimulating and can be used during the day due to its energizing nature. It is often used in conjunction with social affairs, physical activity, and activities that are creative in nature.
In recent years, CBD has become quite popular for medicinal use, but sativas with their higher THC content also have medical applications. Because they possess invigorating qualities, sativa strains are suited to aiding with ADHD and have other beneficial qualities such as:
- relief from chronic pain
- anti- anxiety
- increased focus
- increased creativity
- helps with insomnia (induces sleep)
- helps with glaucoma (reduces intraocular pressure)
THC also increases serotonin, which is a hormone that acts to stabilize our feelings of happiness and well-being. It impacts the entire body and supports appetite, digestion, and sleep. Sativa strains are often responsible for food cravings commonly referred to as “the munchies.” This can be quite beneficial when it applies to users undergoing certain treatments that can cause nausea or loss of appetite, such as chemotherapy.
While THC does promote sleep, some studies have shown that higher levels of THC can reduce how much REM sleep the user experiences. This in turn leads to fewer dreams, something that can be beneficial to those suffering from nightmares due to PTSD and other causes, but which might impair the quality of sleep when used over the long term.
Both THC and CBD can have some side-effects that may prove disconcerting, especially the first time you experience them. Often, this is the result of interactions with other medications. Common temporary side effects include:
- red eyes
- slower reaction times
- increased heart rate
- dry mouth
- coordination problems
- changes in appetite
- weight loss
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