'Indica' vs 'Sativa' psychosis risk & terpenes

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by Lavender-Thief, Dec 10, 2022.

  1. Hello

    I'm interested in the pharmacology of cannabis (and other herbs).
    To put things straight from the start, with 'indica' we tend to mean broad leaf cannabis varieties that tend to be sedating. And with 'sativa' we tend to mean smaller leaf varieties of cannabis that tend to be more uplifting.
    In the exact nomenclature we're talking about 'Cannabis sativa' (hemp), Cannabis indica afghanica (indica weed), Cannabis indica indica (sativa weed) and Cannabis ruderalis.
    But I'll just use the common terms of 'indica' and 'sativa' from here on, to prevent further miscommunication.

    Of course to note: we're talking about a complex biochemistry (many cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes), so the truth/reality is probably a bit too complex to create such a dichotomy like 'indica' vs 'sativa'.
    Yet I'd like to dive in a bit on the subject. Even though it's a lot of speculation, instead of an exact science.

    CBD (cannabidiol) which is said to have anti-psychotic properties, and modulate the effects of THC, lowering some of the side effects that THC can give; tends to be rather low in recreational weed strains, but more abundant in medical strains.
    I can't seem to find consensus if CBD (even though rather low in recreational strains) - on average - is higher in sativa or indica.

    So what if we assume terpene contents of cannabis strains:
    The (in cannabis common) terpene myrcene is supposedly associated with a more sedating, stoning, relaxing, body high, 'indica' like effect. Indicas are typically said to contain at least 0.5% of myrcene by weight.
    And the lower myrcene content, and many times higher limonene content, with a more cerebral, uplifting, sometimes energizing, 'sativa' like effect.
    Anecdotally people tend to experience a different high/effect, associated with the smell and/or flavour of a certain cannabis variety/strain. The cannabis industry is making claims that you could basically 'sniff' out and predict the effects of a cannabis strain just by the terpene content alone.

    Linalool (a terpene also found in lavender, which as my profile name suggests is another interest of mine) has anecdotally be found to have anti-psychotic properties.
    I've got an hypothesis - as linalool can cross the blood brain barrier - that linalool could maybe modulate dopamine reception, having anti-psychotic properties as such. As lavender has been found to alter dopamine D3 receptor homeostasis in the olfactory bulb; linalool might have a say in there. but that's a different story for now.
    Linalool isn't as common in cannabis as myrcene, limonene, pinene, beta-caryophyllene and terpinolene are. But it does occur in higher concentrations in some strains, that are predominantly indicas.

    Myrcene as mentioned before, itself, tends to be a calming terpene, which again, has anecdotally been described as having anti-psychotic properties.

    So could the terpenes also explain the differences in side effects?
    I can imagine that someone who is prone to either paranoia or psychosis, will experience a difference according to the strain? Maybe a 'sativa' will aggravate their symptoms more then an 'indica' would?
    Or would say, the CBD content make a bigger difference?
    I've personally experimented with adding essential oil to cannabis, in order to modulate the effects. (as essential oils are predominantly terpenes) But didn't notice that much of a difference.

    Let me hear your thoughts on this subject. :) It's not - yet? - an exact science after all.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. As you said it’s extremely difficult to take a proper scientific analysis of these types of things. Anecdotally, I have noticed that some strains affect me negatively the day after smoking, I can be more irritable, less patient and my thoughts can get a bit wild and intense. Hard to say if I’m just imagining that though but i will usually stop that strain if that happens and go back to something I know “works for me”.
    Thing is, my experiences have only been with indicas as I my focus is on pain and muscle spasm relief, for this reason I can’t comment on the indica vs sativa side of things.
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  3. #3 trojangrower, Dec 10, 2022
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2022
    First off, welcome to Grasscity @Lavender-Thief

    Have you ever heard of Ethan Budd Russo? He's a cannabis researcher that showed how much terpenes affect the moods and perception of the user (and coined the term 'entourage effect' with regard to cannabis). One interview was published in 2016 called 'The Cannabis sativa Versus Cannabis indica Debate: An Interview with Ethan Russo, MD'. This may interest you. The other paper that would interest you was recently published (Nov 2022) called 'The Nose Knows: Aroma, but Not THC Mediates the Subjective Effects of Smoked and Vaporized Cannabis Flower'; this one I attached as a .pdf.
    Hope this helps

    Attached Files:

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  4. What I see is that clients will respond much differently to the various cannabinoid/ terpene profiles. I have seen the high Myrcene flower ( I have strains that push 2%) take people to a very anxious and aggravated state in the past. Others will just melt into the couch.
    IMO…There is nothing about cannabis in general that validates the “ one size fits all “ mantra.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Informative Informative x 2
  5. I think it has more to do with the mental state and biological homeostasis of the user not the composition of the strain itself. I've had great experiences and terrible experiences with the same bag of weed many times.
    • Agree Agree x 1

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