Is Sativa Good for Studying and Focus?

girl studying in a library

You're no stranger to the rolling pressure of assignments, exams, or the general need to concentrate intensely to cover new material - we've all been there. That's why you might be curious about new, innovative ways to boost your focus and study effectively. Sativa-leaning cannabis has been garnering attention as a potential aid for such situations, with evidence suggesting that cannabis could help boost brain health and serve as a study aid for some students.

However, like most things, users should approach sativa cannabis with understanding and consideration for its potential benefits and drawbacks. This article will guide you on how to utilize sativa-leaning strains for studying and improving your concentration responsibly.

Key Takeaways

  • Sativa cannabis refers to products that produce energizing and uplifting effects, compared to more relaxed indica strains.
  • Research has yet to conclusively examine sativas’ effects on studying, but using too much can induce paranoia and distractedness.
  • Sativa products with higher levels of CBD and lower THC are best suited for use as study tools.

What is Sativa?

“Sativa” refers to one of the primary varieties of the cannabis plant, distinguished from its counterparts: indica and ruderalis. It is renowned for its tall and thin plant structure, with narrow leaves that are lighter in color. 

However, the distinctions go beyond aesthetics, as colloquially, cannabis consumers use the word “sativa” to refer to strains with uplifting and cerebral effects, often enhancing creativity, upbeat energy, and a sense of euphoria. This contrasts with indica strains, which typically induce a more relaxing and sedative experience. The unique characteristics of sativa make it a potentially helpful aid in tasks that require focus and concentration, such as studying.

sativa gummies with oranges


Benefits of Cannabis for Studying

While little research has specifically examined cannabis’ varying components and their ability to improve studying and focus, the following are a few potential effects one may experience when using sativa-leaning cannabis strains.

More energy

Surges of energy may accompany cannabis consumption of sativa, with some strains even potent enough to power users through a marathon. Sativa-dominant options, such as Green Crack and Super Silver Haze, are often lauded for their energizing effects. In contrast, strains inclined more towards indica characteristics, such as Bubba Kush and Wedding Cake, often provide a more soothing experience. 

However, a strain's energizing or relaxing effects aren't solely determined by its sativa or indica label. Instead, these impacts are closely tied to the strain's cannabinoid and terpene profile at processing. For instance, a strain low in myrcene but high in limonene is likely to be more invigorating, whereas a strain high in myrcene bolstered while terpenes such as linalool and humulene may offer more calming effects.

Increased focus

High-cannabidiol (CBD) cannabis strains may enhance your focus, but the impact may vary significantly from person to person. Notably, individuals might experience a sense of fatigue, particularly when consuming higher doses, and CBD frequently serves as a natural aid for sleep. 

Typically, sativa strains have less CBD content than indica varieties, but those with some (but not much) CBD present often produce improved concentration.

Heightened creativity

Many anecdotal reports claim that the use of marijuana while studying has generated a large amount of word-of-mouth enthusiasm. Sativa-leaning strains are often attributed to accompanying and enhancing creative tasks. When homework or studying requires a certain amount of creativity, a sativa product may be an optimal assistant.

Potential Drawbacks and Risks


Many individuals find the high induced by cannabis is more a way to unwind than focus. If cannabis usage typically leads you to feel drowsy, then it might not blend well with your study agenda.


Some people may experience anxiety or even a sense of paranoia when consuming high-THC strains, making it hard to stay focused and carry out assignments. In addition, THC-rich sativa strains can potentially induce a rapid heartbeat in some individuals, leading to restlessness and excessive movement that could make studying difficult.

Short-term memory impairment

Harvard Health Publishing, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, shared some insightful information about cannabis' interplay with learning and memory. The researchers highlighted that cannabis could cause temporary issues with cognitive functions, memory retention, decision-making abilities, and physical activities that require deliberate thought. 

Cannabis-induced interruption of thought processes and memory was cited as a potential hurdle to effective learning when under the influence of THC. THC — the principal psychoactive compound secreted by the cannabis plant — can undermine short-term memory by fixing itself onto cannabinoid receptors in crucial areas of the brain. These regions include the hippocampus, amygdala, and cerebral cortex, which are instrumental in holding onto immediate thoughts and forming long-term memories. 

Nevertheless, there are ways to mitigate the negative impacts of THC on short-term memory. One approach is to use strains that contain a more balanced THC content coupled with higher concentrations of CBD. Terpenes like pinene might also be beneficial in this regard.

Choosing the Right Sativa for Studying

When utilizing therapeutic cannabis products to enhance academic performance, a core guideline to follow would be to limit THC usage and increase CBD intake. In one study, researchers found that users consuming cannabis rich in CBD exhibited no impairment of memory despite strains having high levels of THC. A more recent investigation found that CBD edibles enhanced cerebral blood flow to the hippocampus and other vital brain areas responsible for short-term memory processing

If you're a consumer looking to improve focus on academic or self-learning pursuits while using cannabis, sativa strains with high levels of CBD are your best bet. For more unique guidance, your doctor or a cannabis expert can advise you on which medical cannabis products will be most compatible with your unique endocannabinoid system.

The Bottom Line: Does Sativa Improve Focus When Studying?

While some people might find that cannabis aids in their studying efficiency, for others, it can potentially be a hindrance. The determining factor is often the THC content in your cannabis; higher levels of this substance can lead to less effective study practices. Sativa naturally contains higher levels of THC, but a well-bred product may be the perfect tool for maximizing focus.

Disclaimer: None of what is published on is intended to be professional medical advice. Consult your health practitioner regarding any medical treatment or diagnosis.


Morgan, C. J. A., Schäfer, G., Freeman, T. P., & Curran, H. V. (2010). Impact of cannabidiol on the acute memory and psychotomimetic effects of smoked cannabis: naturalistic study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 197(4), 285–290.

Bloomfield, M., Green, S. F., Hindocha, C., Yamamori, Y., Yim, J. L., Jones, A., Walker, H. R., Tokarczuk, P., Statton, B., Howes, O., Curran, H. V., & Freeman, T. P. (2020). The effects of acute cannabidiol on cerebral blood flow and its relationship to memory: An arterial spin labelling magnetic resonance imaging study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 34(9), 981–989.

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