If you’re here at all, you probably have a really good idea of what you’re looking for. You’re not a first timer about to eat a box of cookies over the sink and then pass out.
Anyway, no, you’re here to find out which are truly the best sativa strains. You know the ones—they have you outside mowing the lawn for five hours, or…whatever. The point is, you’re up, you’re happy, you’re filled with euphoric energy and ready for more.
These sativa strains put the “sativa” in Cannabis sativa and give you the cerebral focus that allows you to be get buzzed yet stay productive. Most of these cannabis strains are actually sativa-dominant hybrids, but all of them will blast you into that head effects stratosphere, guaranteed.
Absolutely invigorating, Sour Diesel is one to reach for when you want to be running on happy juice for hours. It’s also a flavor sensation for even the pickiest cannabis consumer, with a complex palate of aromas and tastes that will keep you satisfied. Where the noob might be happy with something that’s just plain sweet, Sour Diesel really takes it up many levels, mixing sour, fuel, citrus, spice, and skunk notes for a powerful punch.
When you consider Sour D’s parentage that complex flavor makes sense, since it was bred in the famed Emerald Triangle of California in the 1990s from Chemdawg and Super Skunk. What you might not be expecting is how it hits you so seriously and leaves you with a dream-like buzz in both the cerebral and physical spheres.
Sour Diesel has been on the High Times best strains list forever, and the strain has won numerous Cannabis Cups. Medical marijuana patients love Sour Diesel for treating mood symptoms such as anxiety and depression as well as chronic pain, and recreational users love this strain as a happy, feel-good, all-day wake and bake.
Growers on both the costs of the US can see Sour Diesel thrive indoors and outdoors. In just about 10 weeks the plants will be ready to harvest, its branches heavy with resin-heavy buds. At about 22% THC levels and 18 to 25 ounces of yield per plant, this is a real winner all around.
Also recommended: Sour Tsunami, Sour Jack
Ah, we’ve all heard of classic Jamaican weed. Typically, this is what people are referring to—a long-lasting, fast-hitting 90% sativa-dominant child of Jamaican landrace.
Jamaican Dream offers that eye-opening morning buzz like you get from seriously good coffee. It smells and tastes that way, too, along with other fruity, tropical notes such as citrus and pineapple, with a spicy, peppery aftertaste.
Ideal for all-day use, Jamaican Dream is perfect for creative pursuits and staying focused. For those coping with fatigue or depression, this is a great strain, with lightweight euphoria bringing and elevated mood with it. This makes it one of the best wake-and-bake strains going.
Known for its massive yields, Jamaican Dream is a well-proportioned, fast-growing plant that responds well to trimming and can produce up to 16 ounces per square meter indoors from these resinous buds in a short 8 weeks. It’s easy to grow, share, and love all day, so we recommend Jamaican Dream.
Also recommended: Panama Red, Acapulco Gold
We’ve seen so much talk about how people new to cannabis should avoid Amnesia Haze. Not so! Approach this 80% sativa-dominant hybrid slowly, perhaps, but never avoid.
Amnesia Haze is among the most common marijuana strains on the market today from California to the Netherlands, and there’s a reason people in an LA dispensary love it as much as they do in a coffee shop in Holland. It is, quite simply, one of the smoothest yet most powerful sources of mellow energy there is.
Amnesia Haze is a classic sativa whose genetics trace back to Jamaican and South Asian landrace strains. Many others on this list and our other strain lists—like best strains of all time, most powerful, you name it—branch right back to Amnesia Haze.
Amnesia Haze boasts a citrusy, earthy flavor and aroma which reliably uplift the mood. Amnesia Haze offers some of the best of the sativa world: feelings of heightened motivation and focus, plus a powerful head high with intense psychotropic effects dropping into a mellow body buzz.
Amnesia Haze has won two first place Cannabis Cups in 2004 and 2012, the latter for best sativa, and High Times has it in the top 25 all-time best strains. With THC content levels of 24%, you can see why.
Also recommended: Strawberry Amnesia, Super Silver Haze
Those mornings when you can barely get out of bed or keep your eyes open? When you’re so tired it hurts? Those are Green Crack mornings.
The legend has it that Snoop Dogg called this strain Green Crack after how much you’re likely to crave it after you try it. We certainly find that part true. But like the rest of Team Green Crack, we can vouch for it being 100% cannabis, with none of the horrible stuff you might be worried about based on the name.
Use Green Crack well and you will never be disappointed. It is hands down the best sativa for fighting fatigue and boosting energy. If you’ve seen some negative reviews of this strain, take a closer look: people have found that Green Crack is not relaxing.
Duh! It’s not Northern Lights. It’s not supposed to be! This is your go-to for a cerebral jolt into action, not that sofa drift we also know and love. Cedar, skunk, mango, and pineapple aromas make this strain popular and tasty.
Now, if you’re looking to grow, realize that Amnesia Haze will demand either skill or patience, but it is more than worth the wait and effort. Outdoor growers on the West Coast in particular love Green Crack plants which are so easy to grow, stay under 200 cm in height, respond well to training, and have such a short veg cycle.
These big, lime green colas that produce high yields. Indoors you can expect at least 500 grams per square meters, with 600 to 700 coming outside. With a kind 25% THC, Green Crack is certainly a winner strain to grow.
Also recommended: Green Candy, Green Queen
Put your hands in the air if you love government conspiracies! See, we knew you wouldn’t—because they’re watching us. Okay, maybe not, but G-13 Haze is a strain of urban legend mostly because of a government conspiracy.
The story goes that G-13 is the first government-engineered strain of marijuana. And like the Six Million Dollar Man, or something, it was supposed to be more like better, faster, stronger indica strains (slower, maybe).
These days we say the original potency of G-13 has been diluted by decades of cross-breeding. Add the Haze to the mix and you get the uplifting 80-20 sativa we know today, with some powerful body buzz happening underneath.
So, what do we love about G-13 Haze specifically? It is maybe the best blend of hard-hitting sativa cerebral effects and sativa high that we all love plus that deep body medical stone that it’s hard to find in these strains. The result is a powerful daytime medicine like no other.
Do you wake up with pain but need to get and stay working? Does the work you do cause you pain no matter what? Or maybe you just really want to focus all day on things that matter to you, but feel totally happy, energized, and keyed into your senses? We get that—and this is the ideal strain.
Also recommended: Moby Dick, Lemon Jack
Does it feel like a stupid cliché to say that Purple Haze is the go-to for joyful creativity? If so, too late. This truly does offer a high quality psychedelic experience for even the most discerning stoner. And despite the uplifting overall feelings even connoisseurs will get from Purple Haze, you can also expect disorienting time stretch and sensory input in the best possible ways.
The genetics of this delicious sativa-dominant strain come from Colombian Haze and Purple Thai. “Purple” surely belongs in the name, with brilliant purple buds covered with orange hairs flowering forth in only 8 to 9 weeks.
Carrying forward this theme are the smell and taste of Purple Haze, both of which will remind you of earth, flowers, and sweet spice, grape, and blueberries. With healthy THC levels ranging from 16 to 20 percent and a sativa-indica ratio of 80-20, this is a strain that both a novice and an experienced user can love.
Choose Purple Haze for when you want to break through on a creative project or do something totally new. It’s also perfect for a night of social interactions where you really want to take things to the next level—in a trusted setting.
Also recommended: Super Lemon Haze, Maui Wowie, Blue Dream
Smells and tastes like fresh strawberries, and Strawberry Cough has a fabulous expanding effect in the lungs. It can make you cough even if you’re very used to toking up, and it forces that sweet strawberry smoke or vapor even deeper into your lungs.
The result is a delicious and intense ride, an uplifting sativa euphoria that leaves you filled with joy rather than social anxiety. The THC levels in Strawberry Cough can be formidable, from 25 to 36 percent. The love child of indica Strawberry Fields and a pure Haze, Strawberry Cough offers excellent, strong flavor without sacrificing any potency.
For growers, these are pretty and semi-demanding, but they respond well to SCROG and topping. Bag appeal can grow in cooler temperatures when richer shades of purple come out in the buds.
The bottom line with Strawberry Cough is that it is a fabulous source of racing, creative thoughts without anxiety. You’ll get powerful waves of joy instead, and lots of stress relief. Strawberry Cough is ideal for mood issues and treating symptoms of anxiety, depression, and nausea.
Also recommended: Tangie, Cherry Crush
It is impossible to create a list like this without a great landrace sativa, and it’s not easy to make a better case than Durban Poison. With genetics tracing back to Southern Africa, Durban Poison grew as one of the few naturally occurring sativa strains.
Like Green Crack, Durban Poison is a morning powerhouse if you’re experiencing fatigue, pain, or other issues that are keeping you from being at your best. Durban Poison is the morning coffee for those who need WAY more than coffee.
Durban Poison offers piney, sweet flavors and smells that accompany an uplifting, heady yet productive high. Notes of earth, spice, licorice, anise, and wood follow up for a unique finish.
As you might guess based on its massive natural success, Durban Poison is fairly easy to grow, making it a favorite among home and commercial growers alike. One of the few beginner-friendly sativas there is, Durban Poison cannabis plants do well either indoors or outdoors and are ready to harvest in 8 to 10 weeks with THC levels as high as 24 percent.
If you need ALL of the coffee or just want to power through something terrible, Durban Poison is your strain.
Also recommended: Casey Jones, Chernobyl
Fact: no list of best or popular strains is complete without Jack Herer. Additional fact: always try strains named for famous cannabis activists.
Named for Jack Herer, the “Emperor of Hemp,” this strain is among the few officially accepted medical cannabis varieties in the Netherlands. At least one member of our team swears by it as her go-to for serious nausea issues every day.
But Jack Herer is more than a medical marijuana workhorse. It’s a recreational joy, too, with nutty, creamy, sweet flavors and a smooth, energetic smoke lending both relaxing Skunk benefits and uplifting Haze qualities. Jack Herer has swept more Cannabis Cup awards than any other strain—and no wonder.
It’s also among the purest sativa experiences out there today, without being overwhelming or unpleasant. It’s no exaggeration to say that Jack Herer has spawned dozens of strains—many serious classics in their own right.
This is an anytime classic staple that pretty much everyone should try.
Also recommended: J1, Jack the Ripper
Candyland is the gentle sativa that lifts you up but lets you relax. If you can’t handle sativas, try this one. A cross between a Bay Area Platinum Cookies strain and the old-school indica Granddaddy Purple, Candyland twists up those indica genetics until they turn up just enough.
Aptly named, Candyland is a very sweet-tasting, candy-like strain full of terpenes, with earthy hints of spice and fruity sweetness. This doesn’t do the flavor justice, though! Consider that Candyland won the gold medal in 2012 at the Denver KushCon with 50,000 in attendance—and also the 2018 ERRL Cup’s top prize. The ERRL Cup in particular is a sign of flavor chasers, and Candyland is ideal if you’re one of them.
Candyland is a mentally stimulating strain without so much paranoia or anxiety as you might find in other sativas, and lots of happy relaxation. In the medical marijuana community, patients often use Candyland for back pain, arthritis, and appetite problems caused by chemotherapy or eating disorders. Starting with euphoria, the Candyland experience lasts in an uplifted yet relaxed, mellow feeling.
Candyland is chemically unique as well, with high THC levels ranging from 14% all the way to 24%, no detectable amounts of CBD, CBN, CBG or THCV, and relatively high levels of the non-intoxicating, pain-alleviating cannabinoid cannabichromene (CBC). This means you’ll get more pain relief and less inducement to sleep—the perfect “wake and bake” strain, especially for those who can’t handle as much energy as some of the other sativas bring.
Also recommended: Candy Jack, White Buffalo
Each of these sativa strains is so unique, and we really do love them all! It was painful leaving some of our favorites off this list, too, but we hope you can see why we made each selection.
As you consider each of the best sativa strains, weigh their benefits, qualities, and traits against exactly what you are looking for. We hope this list helps you find the best sativa strain for you, and who knows—maybe we’ll even discover a few more than force us to adjust.