is marijuana an upper or downer

Is Sativa an Upper or Downer?

  • Medical Author: Divya Jacob, Pharm. D.
  • Medical Reviewer: Dr. Pallavi Suyog Uttekar, MD

Cannabis sativa strains are generally uplifting and give you a ‘high.’ Sativa strains mainly consist of a high limonene content that uplifts the mood. There are strains of cannabis, such as Indica, that induce sleepiness. The percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels can have an impact on your sleep cycle. A higher amount of THC can increase the chances of insomnia or restless sleep. Cannabis also consists of terpenoids that give it some peculiar characteristics. The different types of terpenes present in cannabis include:

  • Myrcene: It causes sedation.
  • Limonene: It uplifts the mood.
  • Alpha-pinene: It reduces or eliminates short-term memory impairment.

What is Sativa?

Cannabis is an annual, flowering herb that includes three different species:

  • Cannabis sativa
  • Cannabis indica
  • Cannabis ruderalis

Cannabis sativa or Sativa is tall, pale green color herbs that constitute a group of a substance known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are mainly of two types:

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): This component causes hunger and has intoxicating properties. Besides, it relieves pain and nausea.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD): This component of cannabis doesn’t have any intoxicating properties. It alleviates anxiety, pain, inflammation, and many other conditions.

Cannabis is the most illegally used drug in the world and is associated with various mental health issues. The leaves, seeds, stems, or roots are mainly used for intoxication purposes.

What are the common effects of cannabis?

General effects of cannabis include:

  • Euphoria
  • Feelings of wellbeing
  • Spontaneous laughter and excitement
  • Increased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Quiet and reflective mood

When will cannabis show up on a drug test?

Several tests are used to detect the presence of cannabis. They include:

  • Saliva test: A person can test positive for cannabis for up to 34-48 hours after last use.
  • Urine test: Infrequent users test positive for 1-3 days, moderate users can test positive for 7-21 days, and a heavy user can test positive for a month or longer after the last drug use.
  • Hair test: Cannabis can be detected on a hair test for up to 90 days.
  • Blood test: Cannabis will be visible on a blood test for up to 36 hours.

How long is cannabis expected to stay in the body?

Detectable amounts of THC may remain in the body for days or even weeks after use. THC is absorbed by various body tissues and organs or metabolized by the liver. The metabolites thus formed are immediately removed via urine. However, THC stored in the body tissue is released back into the bloodstream over time, where it is metabolized by the liver. In a chronic user, the excretion rate of THC through urine is less; hence, it builds up in the liver.


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NIH. Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabinoids: What You Need To Know.

Piomelli D, Russo EB. The Cannabis sativa versus Cannabis indica debate: An interview with Ethan Russo, MD. Published online January 1, 2016. doi: 10.1089/can.2015.29003.ebr

ScienceDirect. Cannabis Sativa Subsp. Indica.

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Vaping: e-Cigarette and Marijuana Vape Risks

Vaping or e-cigarettes are smokable products that use refillable or replaceable cartridges or containers that contain a liquid composed of nicotine, chemical flavors, and other compounds. The cartridges used during vaping contains nicotine, therefore vaping is addictive.

In low doses vaping, can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. In higher doses, vaping can cause more serious side effects like popcorn lung, seizures, coma, cancer, and death.

The FDA regulates the manufacturing, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of electronic delivery systems like e-cigarettes.

Marijuana (Cannabis)
Medical Marijuana (Medical Cannabis)

Medical marijuana (medical cannabis) is a medicine that is plant based. There are two species of medical marijuana; 1) Cannabis sativa, and 2) Cannabis indica. Medical marijuana is used to treat pain, nausea, anxiety, MS, insomnia, seizures, and muscle spasms. Medical cannabis is legal in a variety of states in the US. A card or licence is required to purchase medical marijuana in states where it is legal; however, medical cannabis is against Federal law. Medical marijuana comes in a variety of products, for example, gummy bears and other candy, muffins, cookies, drinks, salves, ointments, creams, oils, and wax.

Cannabis sativa strains are generally uplifting and give you a ‘high.’ Sativa strains mainly consist of a high limonene content that uplifts the mood. There are strains of cannabis, such as Indica, that induce sleepiness. The percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels can have an impact on your sleep cycle.

There are 2 main types of marijuana — here’s the difference

If you’re new to marijuana, shopping at a dispensary can be an overwhelming experience.

Typically, a menu board lists a dozen or more varieties, called strains, with names that sound like punch lines from a Seth Rogen movie. From the subdued Blue Dream to the upbeat and euphoric Berry White, the names give almost no indication of the drug’s effect or strength.

Knowing the difference between the two major species of marijuana, sativa and indica, may help newbies pick a product that best fits their medicinal needs. The characteristics of each are, however, hugely speculative and based on user-reported experiences.

Sativa and indica strains originated from different parts of the world. Sativa, with its long, thin leaves, is believed to have grown in a hot, jungle-like geography. The short and bushy-leafed indica evolved in drier conditions.

Ask any “budtender” or black-market dealer and they will tell you the differences in how these two strains affect the body and mind are easy to spot.

Sativa strains produce a rush of energy that leaves people feeling energized and uplifted, according to strain-review site Leafly. It’s a good pick if you’re heading to a Rihanna concert or penning the great American novel, but not ideal for toking before bed.

Indica strains, on the other hand, help you wind down into a relaxed, sedated state. They’re often believed to be responsible for the “couch-lock” phenomenon that lets stoners binge television mindlessly. (Might I suggest Netflix’s “Stranger Things” for such activity?)

These classifications make our lives easier as consumers. Unfortunately, they may be more fiction than fact.

Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and president emeritus at the International Cannabinoid Research Society, described the myths around sativa versus indica strains as “total nonsense.”

“We would all prefer simple nostrums to explain complex systems, but this is futile and even potentially dangerous in the context of a psychoactive drug such as cannabis,” Russo said in an interview with the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research journal earlier this year.

He, and other scientists, believe that marijuana’s terpenoids — a large class of organic compounds produced by plants — are largely responsible for the differences in observed effects. A strain’s myrcene content is more likely what causes couch-lock, while limonene produces a heady high.

These compounds and more appear in varied concentrations in sativa and indica, though they’re rarely reported. Smokers don’t know what they’re getting, short of a lab-grade biochemical analysis on the bud they’re buying (which some providers do offer).

It’s nearly impossible to make any definitive assumptions since research has been limited for so long. The federal government currently classifies marijuana in a category of drugs believed to have no medicinal benefits, placing severe restrictions on research, though those are loosening. In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agreed to increase the number of institutes it certifies to grow marijuana for research.

There’s also something to be said for the placebo effect, science writer Simon Oxenham points out in a recent investigation. When we read this strain will do that, our minds will the suggestion into reality.

The mind works in mysterious ways, as does marijuana.

Learn the difference between sativa and indica strains of marijuana.