Sativa is one of the two major taxonomic classifications used to describe cannabis plants, strains, and hybrids. Sativa plants are typically tall and narrow in stature with thin, jagged leaves - an adaptation evolved for humid, tropical climates near the equator. These morphological traits allow greater airflow circulation which helps prevent mold in hot, humid environments.
Today, pure, 100% sativa strains are relatively uncommon due to extensive hybridization over generations of crossbreeding. But prominent sativa ancestry in a strain's lineage still contributes to energizing, uplifting cerebral effects accompanied by soaring creativity and focus. The THC to CBD ratio also tends to be higher in sativa-dominant strains compared to indica varieties.
However, the oversimplified indica vs sativa dichotomy fails to adequately encompass the incredibly diverse array of existing cannabis strains, phenotypes, and effects. Beyond sativa and indica, factors like terpenes and lesser known compounds all contribute a nuanced 'fingerprint' that ultimately influences the experience and medical benefits of a particular strain. While sativa ancestry provides some general guidance to a strain's qualities, personal experimentation and phenotyping offer the most insight.