Is Weed a Stimulant or Depressant? What to Know

While cannabis has become more widely accepted, several weed stereotypes still exist. One of the most common is that cannabis users are lazy stoners, and using cannabis ruins their desire to work or do anything other than lounge around, smoke, and snack all day.

The lazy stoner stereotype has led many to believe that cannabis is a depressant. However, weed can produce other effects, like euphoria, alertness, and increased energy — effects that make it more like a stimulant. So, what category does cannabis fall under: stimulant or depressant? Or is it something else entirely? 

Stimulant vs. Depressant (vs. Hallucinogen)

One of the most common ways to classify drugs and medications is based on the types of effects they produce. Drugs typically fall into one of three categories: stimulants, depressants, or hallucinogens. 

Stimulants are drugs and medications that stimulate or speed up your body’s systems. Examples include amphetamines, methylphenidate (commonly used to treat ADHD), diet aids, caffeine, and cocaine. They increase blood flow, heart rate, and breathing rate. They can also boost energy levels, elevate mood, and even suppress appetite. Side effects may include restlessness, jitteriness, anxiety, or paranoia. 

Depressants, on the other hand, are medications and drugs that depress or slow down your body’s systems. Alcohol is one of the most well-known depressants. Others include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and opioids. These drugs calm the central nervous system and decrease the passage of neurotransmitters between the brain and body (slowing brain function). As a result, they can relax tense muscles, lessen anxiety, promote sleep, and ease spasms. Adverse side effects include dizziness, confusion, memory issues, and difficulty concentrating. 

What About Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens, or psychedelics, affect or alter your perception of reality. These drugs, which include peyote, LSD, and psilocybin, interfere with the communication between chemical (neurotransmitter) networks within the brain. This can lead to changes in sensory perception. For instance, colors may appear brighter, or you may be more touch-sensitive. 

Heightened senses and an altered perception of reality can lead to enjoyable experiences for those who use hallucinogens. Like other drugs, they can also produce negative side effects, such as nausea, paranoia, and powerful, uncomfortable hallucinations (or bad “trips”). 

So, Is Weed a Stimulant or Depressant?

Most drugs fit neatly into the stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogenic categories. When it comes to cannabis, however, it isn’t that easy. That’s because cannabis can technically fall into all three. The exact effects it causes can vary significantly from person to person. On top of that, different strains can produce a range of effects. 

How Is Cannabis a Stimulant?

Like other stimulants, cannabis can temporarily increase your blood pressure and heart rate immediately after use. (Research has also shown that, despite the initial increase, cannabis may help lower blood pressure levels overall.) Some research has shown that cannabis can increase creative energy and focus, and it may even provide some benefits to individuals with ADHD. Cannabis may also induce euphoria and boost your mood. 

Some undesirable side effects of cannabis are similar to those caused by other stimulants. For instance, ingesting too much — or taking too high a dose of THC — can cause some users to become extremely anxious or paranoid. Although these symptoms can be uncomfortable, it is important to note that they do wear off. There are also things you can do to avoid them. 

Depressant Effects of Weed

Cannabis can relax your muscles, ease tension, induce sleepiness, and promote a general sense of calm. These effects don’t make users lazy, though. In fact, they can provide some significant benefits, helping to treat issues such as chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and more.

One thing to note about cannabis as a depressant is that some strains can leave you “couch locked.” In other words, they leave you so relaxed that it can feel difficult, if not nearly impossible, to get up and move around. Not all strains produce this effect, though, and not all users desire it. Additionally, experiencing couch lock doesn’t make you a stereotypical lazy stoner. 

Cannabis as a Hallucinogen

Cannabis can also produce effects similar to those of other hallucinogens. For instance, it can distort your perception of time, and it can enhance your sense of taste or heighten your sensitivity to touch. While it’s rare, cannabis can also sometimes cause users to hallucinate. 

5 Tips for Finding the Right Strain for You

With hundreds of cannabis strains out there, finding the best fit can seem like a daunting task. The following tips can help make the process easier.

1. Consider Your Goals

What’s your reason for using cannabis? Generally, Indica strains are ideal for relaxation, pain relief, and lowering anxiety, while Sativa strains are a better fit for creativity, enhanced focus, and energy. Read product labels, too. They show information such as cannabinoid content and terpene profiles, which can help you determine whether a particular strain is right for your needs. Some brands will also specify what ailments different products might be best suited for treating. 

2. Experiment

Try a few different strains and methods of consumption. You may find success with more than one. Additionally, you may find that certain strains (or products) are best for different situations. 

3. Start Low

To find your ideal dose, start low and go slow. Going this route can help you avoid potentially unwanted or uncomfortable side effects like paranoia or couch lock. Begin with a small amount and gradually increase your dose until you find the amount of a particular strain that produces the desired results. Some people find the most success with microdosing weed

4. Pay Attention to Your Body

Cannabis affects everyone differently. Listen to your body. Ultimately, it will let you know what is or isn’t working. 

5. Speak With an Experienced Budtender

Not sure where to start? Experienced budtenders, like the ones at VidaCann dispensaries, can help point you in the right direction. They’ll go over your needs and goals to help you find what strains and products might provide you with your desired results. 

Visit VidaCann for the Highest-Quality Cannabis Products

Cannabis is a complex plant that can function as a stimulant or a depressant. Depending on the strain, your body, and other factors, it can help you relax and ease pain or stimulate your mind and provide a boost of energy. 

The right products can make all the difference. At VidaCann, you’ll find a wide selection of the highest-quality cannabis in Florida, all sourced from trusted brands. And our budtenders are more than happy to help you find the best products for your unique needs. Check out our selection online or visit your nearest VidaCann dispensary today!

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