Is Marijuana a Depressant
There are a number of mental health conditions that may qualify you to get a medical marijuana card in Florida. Many patients who struggle with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) try cannabis as an alternative approach.
One frequently asked question about cannabis is whether it can make someone feel more depressed. Patients who visit our offices, such as DocMJ Orlando, understandably have concerns if symptoms of depression like low mood, irritability, and lethargy could be exacerbated by using medical marijuana.
Compared to other controlled substances, cannabis is unique. Because it can be a stimulant, and it can also be a depressant, and even contribute to hallucinogenic effects. Sometimes two people taking the same strain of cannabis can experience different psychoactive effects. This is why more research is underway to understand why that happens.
There are three ways that medical marijuana can affect you. But researching different strains and asking for advice at your local medical dispensary are two steps to reduce unpleasant or unexpected side effects.
If you have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, here are some important things you need to know about cannabis. And how it can help with certain mental health symptoms or possibly make those symptoms worse if you choose the wrong strain(s).
Understanding Chemovars Content in Cannabis
Cannabis cultivators are responsible for “breeding” positive attributes into generations of cannabis crops they grow. They do this by selecting certain phenotypes (or pheno), which is the unique genetic blueprint of each different strain of cannabis plants. Properties that are inherited from both male and female (mother and father) cannabis plants and lineage.
The medical cannabis industry also refers to attributes of cannabis as “chemovars.” You may also see different strains broken down into chemovar types, such as:
- Type I: High THC content
- Type II: THC + CBD content
- Type III: High CBD (cannabidiol) content
Another piece of the genetic code for different strains of cannabis isolates terpene chemovars. There is still so much to learn about terpenes and their wellness benefits. But terpenes are an important part of the cannabis plant, working in conjunction with cannabinoids. This is part of the mystery of the entourage effect when the combination of different cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids can help patients address certain symptoms.
How Can Medical Cannabis Act as a Stimulant?
There are good reasons why Sativa dominant strains of cannabis are top sellers at medical dispensaries. Generally speaking, most cannabis Sativa strains can reduce symptoms of anxiety.
There are “head highs” and “body highs” when it comes to using cannabis. And some hybrid strains can create a psychoactive and physiological experience that is both. However, if you are looking for a mood or energy boost, your best bet is to stick with a 100% Sativa strain or a Sativa dominant hybrid.
Most Sativa strains are known to create a “happy high.” You may have a strange feeling of being unable to dwell or worry about things that were stressing you. Your brain hasn’t forgotten the stressors, but they are temporarily pushed to the background of your brain’s consciousness and operating system.
Some strains of cannabis are notorious for creating feelings of high energy. And if you are an individual who struggles with feelings of lethargy or lack of energy, this can be a great thing. Many people with depression choose Sativa strains of cannabis because they can help treat mental health conditions like low energy.
Some patients may feel that Sativa cannabis works better than prescribed psychoactive drugs. And there may be fewer adverse effects, allowing patients to experience elevated moods and achieve a temporary euphoric feeling. Without withdrawal symptoms common with psychotropic medications.
Strains of Cannabis That Can Provide Stimulating Effects
Every medical dispensary will carry a selection of mood and energy elevating Sativa strains because they are very popular with patients who enjoy how Sativa marijuana affects their overall mood. In fact, the “pick me up” effect of medical marijuana may help individuals recovering from drug abuse.
Some types of Sativa strains may not be the best choice for patients exploring marijuana use to help with symptoms. For example, patients with hypertension can find that certain strains may elevate their blood pressure.
Other marijuana users with specific mental health disorders like schizophrenia may not be approved for medical marijuana because it can negatively impact brain function. This is why consulting with an experienced marijuana doctor (and attending follow-up appointments) is important.
Some examples of Sativa strains are popular with patients who use marijuana to address anxiety disorders and general depressant effects.
Not surprisingly, this strain of cannabis has a strong Strawberry flavor. It is believed to be a cross between the Haze and Strawberry Fields strains. Other breeders think Strawberry Cough originated from Erdbeer or Original Haze, an Indica developed by Kyle Kushman. There is a story where Mr. Kushman developed the strain, growing it beside a large strawberry field on the East Coast.
Some of the common effects of Strawberry Cough are reported to be:
- Fast-acting cheerfulness and sociable mood.
- Elevated energy level.
- Happy, creative with a side of “perma-smile.”
Patients have commented that the inhale’s berry flavor turns into skunky and thick exhales, which may be where the “cough” aspect of the strain name comes from. The cough moniker may also come from the average THC potency of the strain, which is 18%. And it is 80% Sativa and 20% Indica.
Super Lemon Haze
This strain is 80% Sativa and 20% Indica, and it was bred from Super Silver Haze. Super Lemon Haze is a very recognizable strain and easy to find at most dispensaries. It has won many awards, including three consecutive Cannabis Cups. And Super Lemon Haze flower ranges from 18% to 20% THC.
Patients enjoy Super Lemon Haze because it can quickly eliminate fatigue while reducing stress and anxiety. Patients with PTSD, chronic depression, ADHD, or minor pain symptoms and migraines may also choose Super Lemon Haze.
Another popular Sativa dominant bud, Green Crack, is 65% Sativa and 35% Indica. You may also find this strain labeled as “Green Cush” (with a C, not a K) or “Mango Crack” in a medical dispensary. You may detect a hint of mango flavor when consuming fresh Green Crack flower.
Green Crack was developed with a mysteriously unknown Indica and Skunk #1. Many people who are fans of this strain state that it can create a big energy spike and increase alertness, which can allow you to focus better. Green Crack averages around 16% THC content.
Patients have commented that Green Crack helps reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. But it may also cause symptoms of dry eyes and paranoia.
Are Some Types of Medical Cannabis a Depressant?
Patients exploring medical cannabis for symptoms often ask the question: “is marijuana a depressant?” And the answer is that it can be, depending on a number of different factors, including your health, diagnoses, and the strains of cannabis you try.
Certain types of depressants affect people differently. And many types of depressants, including sleep medications and even over-the-counter (OTC) medications, can have sedative effects.
Strains of Cannabis That May Suppress Energy or Mood
If you struggle with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or ADD, you may experience extreme energy (mania). And you may want to choose strains that can help you achieve the opposite effect. Some strains may help you feel calmer and relaxed.
Patients who use marijuana regularly to create a more sedate mood or to assist with pain relief or problems with insomnia may choose an Indica dominant or hybrid strain of cannabis. Some popular types of flower in this category include:
Developed from Colombian Gold, and Swiss landrace strains, Harlequin cannabis has an unusually high level of cannabidiol (CBD). Even though it is a Sativa dominant strain, the high CBD content seems to contribute to more relaxed feelings without experiencing intoxication or sedation.
Raw Harlequin flower has a flavor and scent that ranges from sweet mango to earthy musk. It has low THC content, averaging about 5%. Because the CBD ratio is 5:2, many patients prefer Harlequin for help with inflammation-related symptoms. Including patients suffering from brain and spinal cord injuries.
Girl Scout Cookies
You may find Girl Scout Cookies named GSC in your local dispensary. It is a famous Indica-dominant strain (60% Indica and 40% Sativa). The hybrid strain was developed by breeding OG Kush cannabis with Durban Poison, and it has an average 19% THC level.
Patients who choose Girl Scout Cookies comment that it can help with chronic pain and nausea. The strain may also help stimulate appetite and reduce symptoms of stress. The GSC strain was developed from Thin Mint and Platinum GSC and has a refreshingly sweet cherry, lemon, and mint flavor.
The Gelato cannabis strain is an equal balance of Sativa and Indica (50/50 ratio). But it has a high THC content of 24% and 0% CBD. People often mistake Gelato for a full Indica strain because of how it can impact the central nervous system.
Gelato was developed from Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies and Sunset Sherbert. It tastes and smells like pungent citrus, with a light note of yeast and dough when the fresh flower is inhaled, in terms of psychoactive effects, Gelato can be a fast-acting sedative providing both a body and head buzz.
Will Cannabis Cause Hallucinogenic Effects?
Many types of controlled substances are known to cause hallucinogenic effects, like psychedelic substances, including ketamine and psilocybin. Many people are surprised to learn that certain strains of cannabis may also cause mild to moderate psychedelic effects.
Strains of cannabis that may cause hallucinatory effects include:
- Amnesia Haze
- Durban Poison
- Cosmic Bomb Auto
- Amnesia Mac Ganja
- Ghost Train Haze 1
Patients with certain mental health disorders may have an increased risk of negative side effects when using cannabis. Smoking marijuana strains that have elevated levels of THC (such as cannabis concentrates and other substances may not slow brain function. Instead, it may create an altered sense that results in an uncomfortable experience for the patient.
Ready to Get Your Florida Medical Marijuana Card?
Whether you are looking for mood elevating effects or something more sedating to help calm nerves, there are a variety of medicinal cannabis strains you can explore. To avoid negative effects, consult with a marijuana doctor for advice and recommendations about specific strains that may help.
Patients can find our clinics conveniently near major cities, like Orlando, and across the state of Florida. Schedule your appointment online, and talk to one of our friendly physicians about your symptoms and wellness goals. And take the first step to apply for your Florida medical card.