May 13


Is Weed A Stimulant Or Depressant? It’s Actually Both

By Great Canadian Herb

May 13, 2021

Is weed a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen? This is the question that has been debated for decades. Recent research from scientists and medical professionals has concluded that marijuana is not just one of three things – it can be all three.

Marijuana contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis plants. The effects of this compound depend on how much you consume and what your body chemistry is like at the time of ingestion.

This article will detail how THC works with our bodies to produce different effects depending on dosage, strain, and method of ingestion.

What is THC?

THC is a cannabinoid found in cannabis and is prominent in marijuana plants. It is the psychoactive component of weed and can affect your mood, appetite, memory, thinking ability, coordination and sensory perceptions.

THC works by binding to the CB receptors in your body; most notably the CB1 receptors, and those located mostly in the brain, are affected.

A person’s genetic makeup also plays into their reaction to THC because some people have genes that will change how it affects them.

The psychoactivity of THC explained

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug that induces changes in brain function. THC is the compound in marijuana that can alter how you think, feel, and act.

Marijuana can cause anxiety or paranoia with chronic use, and especially in high doses. The interaction of marijuana with the brain is unpredictable because it affects some people drastically different depending on their previous exposures to other drugs, health conditions they may have, age, sex, and personality traits.

THC can also affect a person’s moods, decision-making capabilities, learning skills, attention span, coordination ability, and memory.

The majority of people who use marijuana are looking to get high from it, but it does have significant medical benefits as well.

What are the effects of weed on the body and brain?

Weed affects your body in multiple ways, including inhibiting your movements and motor control and making you feel relaxed. Weed also affects your brain, which is why it can cause any number of mental side effects and feelings.

The most common effect that weed has on the body is to slow down your movements and motor control (a process called psychomotor impairment). While this may not be as pronounced in low doses, it increases with the more you take.

Marijuana’s other major physical side-effects include feeling sleepy, dry mouth, increased appetite, red eyes and increased heart rate.

Weed can have several different effects on the brain, including a slowed sense of time, difficulty retaining and processing information, making it difficult to think or problem-solve, paranoia (a feeling of being watched), hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there), and confusion.

The effects aren’t all negative though; some of the more pleasant effects that marijuana has on a person are an increased sense of relaxation and a state of sedation, happiness, uncontrolled laughter, and euphoria

It is important not to use marijuana before driving or operating heavy machinery as THC has been shown to cause impairment on these tasks.

THC affects each person differently based on their mood, personality type and dosage. Generally speaking, though, THC makes some people feel happy and relaxed while others may experience anxiety or paranoia – but no one ‘feels’ the same every time they use cannabis.

The best way to avoid negative side effects is by using moderation when consuming it – this is especially true for beginners.

Is weed a stimulant?

A stimulant can be described as a chemical that stimulates the central nervous system, leading to increased alertness and happiness, higher blood pressure, and increased heart rate and breathing.

Stimulants are generally taken to improve performance, focus, or as a part of weight loss programs. Some examples of stimulants are nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, amphetamines etc.

Weed is sometimes considered a stimulant because it is a mind-altering drug that alters mood and awareness and can produce some stimulant-like effects; however, it doesn’t have the same effects on everyone.

Some people may experience increased heart rate, paranoia, or anxiety after smoking weed, while others may feel relaxed – it depends on the person.

So although marijuana can be considered a stimulant because it does have some of these qualities, this isn’t always going to happen for everybody, so we wouldn’t call it a clear-cut case.

Is weed a depressant?

When you take a depressant, several things happen to your body, including slowing down your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

Common depressants are alcohol, benzodiazepines and barbiturates (drugs used to help people sleep).

Marijuana is more commonly considered a depressant because it can slow down breathing, cause sleepiness, and decrease an individual’s attention span. Marijuana may also make you feel less anxious or irritable, which is why many people who are dealing with chronic pain may use marijuana as a method for coping with their symptoms.

So weed is considered more of a depressant than a stimulant because its main effect on someone is to cause them to become drowsy. But again, this depends on how much they have smoked/ingested, so we wouldn’t call it definitive either.

Is weed a hallucinogen?

A hallucinogen is something that alters how a person perceives reality. This is different from marijuana in that it induces hallucinations and distortions of sensory perception, consciousness or both. Some common hallucinogens are LSD (acid), PCP (angel dust) and shrooms/psilocybin mushrooms.

Marijuana does not induce the same kind of visual distortion as these other drugs so we would consider it to be more on the depressant end than just a hallucinogen

Some people might say weed is a psychedelic drug because it alters your perceptions, but this is where there can be some debate about what ‘psychedelic’ means.

Common symptoms of hallucinogenic drugs include a distorted sense of time, auditory and visual hallucinations, altered sense of time or space, increased heart rate, and delusions, along with a detachment from your surroundings that can mess with your perception.

Different marijuana strains may produce different psychoactive effects

There are three main types of weed available, and each one can produce varying effects; this is why some strains of marijuana are more popular than others. There are also numerous ways you can ingest cannabis and CBD, which will affect some people differently.


Sativa strains of marijuana are known for producing more of a head high than a body high, and they have a stimulating effect on the mind. This is why they are also popular when trying to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety and aid in cognitive disorders like ADHD or Alzheimer’s disease.

Sativa strains may cause some people to feel energized, euphoric, creative and uplifted. Other people find that sativas make them anxious or paranoid; thus, it is essential to test out different types before settling on one.

Sativa strains are great if you’re looking for an energy boost but want something that’s not too intense. Some people also use them in the morning because sativas have more natural antioxidants, so it helps clear your head when consumed early on before work begins; this is especially true for those who have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).


Indica strains of marijuana are typically less stimulating and provide more of a body buzz.

Indica is perfect for those who want something relaxing before they go to bed; as mentioned earlier, most people have trouble sleeping with high doses of THC, so this strain will help them unwind at night while still providing some pain relief from an injury or chronic condition like arthritis.

Indica strains cause a sedative, numbing effect that is often used to treat insomnia. It’s also good for those who are constantly stressed because the THC in indica strains can provide feelings of tranquillity and relaxation.


Hybrid strains of weed are typically a mix of both indica and sativa strains.

Hybrids are good for those who want to have the best of both worlds because they provide a stimulating high that is energizing without inducing paranoia or anxiety, while also producing a calming effect.

Marijuana hybrids are great for creative endeavors, socializing, and getting things done.

A hybrid is the perfect balance of indica’s couch-lock without ruining your motivation to do anything else. It is a happy medium between the two strains that you can enjoy at any time of day.

Using marijuana with other drugs or alcohol

Taking other drugs or drinking while on marijuana can be dangerous and can increase the effects of both drugs. For example, a person who is high on marijuana may drink alcohol and feel the effects of both substances more intensely.

Drinking while using marijuana can increase nausea, vomiting or dizziness compared to drinking without weed. On the flip side of that, it can also inhibit vomiting, so there is an increased risk of alcohol poisoning.

People who use other stimulants with weed might have an increased risk of cardiovascular issues or psychosis.

It is not recommended to mix these substances, as the side effects of both drugs can be increased.

It is possible to have a bad trip on marijuana by combining it with other hallucinogenic drugs like LSD or PCP. Hallucinations could happen, and there would be an increased risk for panic attacks as well.

Final thoughts on weed as a stimulant, depressant, and hallucinogen

The chemical makeup of your brain and the dosage and strain you take all play a role in how marijuana affects you. For some, weed acts as a stimulant; for others, it’s more depressant-like or hallucinogenic.

Just as with any other substance, using marijuana with another drug increases its effects on your body.

How does weed affect you? Let us know by commenting below this post to get the discussion started!

About the author

As consumers ourselves, we know how important it is to know exactly what it is we are putting in our bodies. Here at Great Canadian Herb you'll find cannabis and CBD education, reviews, buying advice, and much more. As cannabis enthusiasts, we have dedicated our time and resources to relay accurate, easy to understand information on everything in the Canadian cannabis industry.

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