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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. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/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. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/cannabis-sativa-subsp-indica

Top Is Sativa an Upper or Downer? Related Articles

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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.

Is Weed a Depressant, Stimulant, or Hallucinogen?

What are the main drug types?

Drugs are categorized based on their effects and properties. Each one generally falls into one of four categories:

  • Depressants: These are drugs that slow down your brain function. Examples include alcohol, alprazolam (Xanax), and barbiturates.
  • Stimulants: These drugs elevate your mood and increase your alertness and energy. They’re usually highly addictive and can cause paranoia over time. Examples include cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription medications for ADHD.
  • Hallucinogens: This type of drug alters your perception of reality by changing the way the nerve cells in your brain communicate with each other. Examples include LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA.
  • Opiates: These are powerful painkillers that quickly produce feelings of euphoria. They’re highly addictive and can have lasting effects on your brain. Examples include heroin, morphine, and other prescription painkillers.

So, where does weed, otherwise known as marijuana, fall among these categories? The answer isn’t as tidy as you might think. Its effects can vary widely from person to person. In addition, distinct strains and types of weed can produce different effects.

As a result, weed can be classified as a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogen, according to the University of Maryland. However, it’s never classified as an opiate.

Keep reading to learn more about what makes weed a depressant, stimulant, and hallucinogen.

Depressants affect your nervous system and slow brain function. Together, these actions can help to calm nerves and relax tense muscles. Depressants can help to treat several conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, or muscle spasms.

However, depressants can also have negative short-term effects, such as:

  • nausea
  • confusion
  • reduced motor coordination
  • low blood pressure
  • slowed breathing
  • slurred speech
  • lightheadedness
  • blurred vision
  • short-term memory loss
  • dizziness

Weed produces similar positive and negative effects, including:

  • relaxation
  • sleepiness
  • muscle relaxation
  • short-term memory loss
  • dizziness

While depressants are generally less addictive than other types of drugs, some of them, like barbiturates, carry a much higher risk. Over time, you can also develop a tolerance to depressants, including weed, meaning you need to use more of it to feel the effects that you used to feel.

You can also become dependent on weed for certain things. For example, if you use weed to help you sleep, you may eventually have trouble falling asleep without it.

In addition, smoking anything, whether it’s tobacco or weed, irritates your airways and can increase your risk of respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis or a chronic cough. Learn more about the effects of weed on your body.

Stimulants have the opposite effects that depressants do. They often increase your heart rate and blood pressure, causing rapid breathing in some people. Stimulants can also improve your mood, especially right after you take them.

While depressants often make you feel sleepy or relaxed, stimulants make you feel alert and energetic. They can also help to increase your attention span.

Stimulants can also have negative, and sometimes dangerous, effects, including:

  • increased body temperature
  • paranoia
  • irregular heart beat
  • anxiety
  • seizures
  • heart failure

Weed is sometimes treated as a stimulant because it can cause:

  • elevated moods
  • racing heartbeat
  • anxiety
  • paranoia

Remember, weed affects everyone differently. Some people might feel relaxed and at ease after using it, while others might feel highly alert or anxious.

Weed carries fewer risks than many other stimulants. For example, methamphetamine and cocaine are highly addictive drugs that can have lasting effects on both your brain and body.

As a stimulant, weed carries the same risks it does as a depressant. You can eventually become dependent on it for its mood-elevating effects, and smoking it can lead to respiratory issues.

Weed is perhaps most often stereotyped for its hallucinogenic effects. While hallucinations are possible, they happen rarely and don’t occur in all users. But the symptoms of weed, such as time distortion, are also part of a hallucination.

Hallucinogens are substances that alter your perception of reality, either through changes in your sensory perception or visual or auditory hallucinations.

Keep in mind that hallucinations and paranoia, which is associated with stimulants, are different things. While hallucinations are false perceptions of objects, events, or senses, paranoia involves a false idea that’s usually accompanied by suspicion.

For example, a hallucination might make you see the person walking in front of you as an animal. Paranoia, on the other hand, might make you think the person has been following you in order to harm you.

In addition to hallucinations, hallucinogens can also cause:

  • altered sense of time or space
  • loss of control over motor skills
  • increased heart rate
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • detachment from self or environment

Weed can have all of these additional effects, which is why many people and organizations classify it as a hallucinogen.

Over time, using hallucinogens can lead to speech problems, memory loss, anxiety, and depression. In rare cases, people may be left with psychosis, flashbacks, or a condition called hallucinogen persisting perception disorder.

As a hallucinogen, weed doesn’t do this, but it may cause both anxiety and depression, though it can also relieve these symptoms in some people. Remember, you can also develop a tolerance to or dependence on weed, and smoking it can harm your respiratory system.

Is weed a depressant, a stimulant, or a hallucinogen? We’ll walk you through the different types of drugs as well as their effects and risks. You’ll learn why it’s difficult to place marijuana in a single category and how it behaves like each of these drug categories.