Strains & products

7 high-energy cannabis strains to help you get active and fight fatigue

Published on January 31, 2023
(Gillian Levine for Leafly)

The 7 most energizing weed strains with reviews from real Leafly users

Not everyone who smokes cannabis wants to stay locked on their couch. Energizing weed strains can provide a burst of motivation, allowing you to keep active and crush the fatigue keeping you down. Or maybe you just prefer a good energizing weed strain in lieu of a morning cup of coffee, or to pair with hiking or exercise. Finding the perfect strain for you often requires a good deal of experimentation, but this list should give you a good jumping-off point. 

Some things to remember as you explore these energizing weed strains:

  • THC-dominant strains are highly euphoric, but many of these varieties can actually cause sleepiness and a foggy head. The high-THC strains that appear in the list below are reported to be uplifting and inspiring, most likely due to differences in their chemical makeup beyond THC.
  • High-CBD strains or balanced CBD/THC strains contain much lower levels of THC, meaning they will provide only a gentle high (or no detectable high whatsoever). If you’re going for clear-headed relief of stress rather than an intense burst of energy, choose a strain with little to no THC.

As you browse our list of the most energizing weed strains, keep an eye on their listed terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis, flowers, fruits, and other plants, that determine the aroma and flavor of a strain and may potentially be linked to various effects and benefits. Knowing which terpene you like can help narrow down to high-energy strains you’re sure to enjoy.

#1 Durban Poison

Durban Poison from Whitethorn Valley Farm - via Farm Cut (David Downs/Leafly)
Durban Poison from Whitethorn Valley Farm – via Farm Cut (David Downs/Leafly)

Primary Terpene: Terpinolene

Potency: 19% THC

Featured Review: Durban Poison is like the “espresso” of cannabis. The raciest sativa I know of, it’s a stimulating and clearheaded high with no trace of numbing or “stoning.” It wakes you up, cuts through the bleary fog and leaves you clearheaded and bright, gives you energy to go and seize the day. Gives tons of energy and also an intense emotional euphoria… where everything is vibrating and you can’t take the smile off your face. – M……..t

#2 XJ-13

XJ-13 (David Downs/Leafly)
(David Downs/Leafly)

Primary Terpene: Terpinolene

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Potency: 20% THC

Featured Review: My absolute favorite strain on the planet in terms of coping with my anxiety and depression. Makes me uplifted, energetic, happy, creative, etc. Perfect for smoking with friends and for going out. – b……..h

#3 Red Headed Stranger

Primary Terpene: Myrcene

Potency: 23%-27%

Featured Review: When I ask for something “that I can clean the house or hike with the dogs with” this hits the mark. I can also knit, write music, and organize. Wet high functioning (pun unintended). This is my go-to daytime, early evening pick. – d……..c

#4 Tropicana Cookies

(David Downs/Leafly)
(David Downs/Leafly)

Primary Terpene: Caryophyllene

Potency: 16% THC

Featured Review: This strain blows you away on all fronts. First: The buds are a deep, dark purple with beautiful green and orange hairs. Second: It smells exactly as if you had spent half an hour taking the peels off of oranges and then you shoved your face in them and took a giant whiff. Third: You take your whiff, and now you’re on to your puff. The smoke is thick and smooth both on the inhale and exhale. It tastes exactly like it smells. You almost instantly start to feel a comforting energy brewing in your head, where your creative juices begin to gush with inspiration and imagination. –S……..w

#5 Gelonade

Gelonade, one of the few things we can all agree on. (David Downs/Leafly)
Gelonade, one of the few things we can all agree on. (David Downs/Leafly)

Primary Terpene: Terpinolene

Potency: 24% THC

Featured Review: Honestly this strain drained me of all my anxiety and pain. Gave me a surprising amount of energy while keeping me high for hours. 10/10 and my god the taste! –C……..3

#6 Island Sweet Skunk

Primary Terpene: Myrcene

Potency: 18% THC

Featured Review: Island Sweet Skunk will never, ever, put you to sleep. Plan on being active because it’s impossible to sit still on it. Sweet Island Skunk will put you on the couch. These 2 are completely different strains. –C……..x

#7 Sour Diesel (in all its forms)

sour diesel marijuana strain
Sour Diesel.(Michael/AdobeStock)

Primary Terpene: Caryophyllene

Potency: 19% THC

Featured Review: “Another of my personal favorites. Extremely cerebral whenever I consumed it, but, as many others have pointed out, there really is no “couch-lock.” It makes your frontal lobe act in ways you could never have imagined. It’s almost like Sour Diesel is a key, a key that opens up whole realms of your mind that you were once ignorant of. A++ Will smoke again.” – D……..o

What kind of weed gives you energy?

Chong's Chemdawg Reserve (David Downs/Leafly)
Chong’s Chemdawg Reserve (David Downs/Leafly)

While we know now that cannabis strains have a lot more nuance than just indica, sativa, or hybrid classifications, energizing strains tend to come from those deemed sativa or sativa-dominant. Sativa strains are deemed so because of their botanical qualities, such as longer, thinner leaves and longer grow cycles, not necessarily their psychoactive characteristics. Sativas also tend to have high amounts of terpenes that can increase happy, energizing, and creative feelings.

Keep in mind that many people can feel energized from strains deemed “indicas” and feel bogged down by a sativa—terpene and cannabinoid content are the best indicators of how energizing a strain will be. The strains deemed most energizing on out list have different dominant terpenes, but terpinolene in particular.

What’s the most energetic sativa strain?

Mattole Valley Organics Jack Herer; via Flore dispensary. Sativa fo the divas. (David Downs/Leafly)
Mattole Valley Organics Jack Herer; via Flore dispensary. Sativa fo the divas. (David Downs/Leafly)

No one cannabis strain can do it all, admittedly. But some come pretty close. Generations back, most energizing strains were landrace strains from South America and Southeast Asia, such as Colombian Gold and Thai. As cannabis disseminated and growers and breeder began creating new cannabis strains and genetics, strains like Jack Herer, Sour Diesel, and Durban Poison have gained a reputation for their heady, zingy highs that inspire activity and socialization; the latter two were on our top-selling strains list of 2022. Most of the strains on our list can be traced back to landrace strains like Colombian Gold or classic sativa strains like Haze.

If you want to experiment with energizing strains, you can view our complete database section here.

Tips on using weed for energy

THCV acts like a stimulant, increasing energy and promoting fitness and exercise, while decreasing appetite, which can help with healthier habits. Courtesy of Rare Cannabinoid Company.

In much of stoner media, we see characters smoking weed and slowing down or staying in one place; no one’s really doing chores or working out, are they? But high-energy cannabis is a great motivational and catalyzing tool if you consume it with the right intentions. If you have errands to run, puffing on XJ-13 or Tropicana Cookies will help you stay peppy as you roam around, and make the experience more fun.

If you want to get in a gym session, Durban Poison or Sour Diesel will help you stay focused and push your limits. We don’t recommend mixing energizing weed with other substances or cannabis strains that might counteract their effects. Some people react to sativa-dominant strains with anxiety; start low and go slow to avoid any adverse effects.

Choose strains that don’t cause dry mouth

As much as we all love cannabis, it has some adverse effects. Namely, the dreaded cottonmouth, also called dry mouth and xerostomia. Leafly contributor Emma Stone determined in an article that cottonmouth is likely due to the THC content in a strain, so there’s no way to determine which strain will or won’t give you dry mouth. We recommend checking each strain page for its side-effects. XJ-13, for example, has dry mouth listed as one of its negative effects, but Gelonade does not. 

Mix up your consumption methods

Smoking is far from the only way to put a cannabis pep in your step. Most vape companies in today’s markets produce strain-specific cartridges and concentrates made from whole plant extracts that preserve each strain’s unique terpene profiles. There’s some debate as to whether cannabis edibles can be made to be strain-specific, but most companies now offer a sativa-based or energizing version of a standard gummy, tablet, or tincture.

Remember that an edible high won’t feel as acute as smoking or vaporizing. We recommend microdosing your energizing cannabis strain or product initially to gauge how it will affect you.

Avoid stimulants

cannabis and coffee
Sorry, this combo doesn’t work for everyone. (tomkawila/AdobeStock)

If you’re a coffee or tea lover, you may need to rethink your caffeine routine when consuming cannabis that stimulates and energizes you. Some research indicates mixing caffeine and cannabis can impair memory in rats, but there’s little evidence to suggest the combination can impair human cognitive function. It’s best to slowly incorporate caffeine into your cannabis routine to avoid overstimulating yourself. 

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Amelia Williams
Amelia Williams
New York-based freelance cannabis journalist Amelia Williams is a graduate of San Francisco State University's journalism program, and a former budtender. Williams has contributed to the San Francisco Chronicle's GreenState, MG Magazine, Culture Magazine, and Cannabis Now, Kirkus Reviews, and The Bold Italic.
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