TABLE OF CONTENTS
Is marijuana a depressant or stimulant? Its therapeutic effects have helped millions of patients find relief and calm. However, everyone experiences marijuana slightly differently depending on their tolerance and the product consumed.
Marijuana can be classified as a depressant and a stimulant in some cases. Our guide describes what stimulants and depressants are and how marijuana can be used as both. We also cover the risks and side effects of marijuana and safe marijuana use.
What is Marijuana?
Marijuana has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for millennia. Generally, the dried and cured harvested flowers are consumed in various delivery methods, including inhalation, ingestion, topically, and sublingually.
Marijuana is used for its wide range of therapeutic effects, including relaxing and euphoric effects. Many states have legalized marijuana for medical use for certain qualifying conditions, including chronic pain, cancer, epilepsy, anxiety, PTSD, and more.
What Are the Effects of Marijuana?
Marijuana affects everyone differently, but it can produce a euphoric feeling and relaxation when used appropriately. Other mental and physical effects include delayed time perception, heightened sensory perception, increased appetite, and positive emotions.
In terms of drug classifications, marijuana can be considered a depressant, stimulant, and hallucinogen in some cases.
What Is a Depressant?
A depressant lowers and calms down functional and nervous activity such as anxiety and panic. Depressants can be used for medical purposes but have a risk for abuse. Depressants include alcohol, barbiturates, and Xanax.
What Is a Stimulant?
A stimulant essentially stimulates or energizes you. It can increase your mood and increase alertness. Stimulants include cocaine, Adderall, and methamphetamine. Stimulants are highly addictive psychoactive drugs and can increase blood pressure and heart rate.
What Is a Hallucinogen?
A hallucinogen alters how nerve cells and your brain communicate. Hallucinations refer to false perceptions of reality. As a result, a user can feel an altered sense of reality and experience visual, olfactory, auditory, and tactile hallucinations. Hallucinogens include LSD and MDMA.
Is Marijuana a Depressant or Stimulant?
Is Marijuana a Depressant?
Some strains can slow brain function and the nervous system in some cases. Medical marijuana has been used to calm the mind and release muscle tension.
However, marijuana users may build a tolerance requiring higher doses to reach the same effect. Consider taking a tolerance break to offset the effects of your high tolerance.
Is Marijuana a Stimulant?
Some strains of marijuana are known for their energizing and mood-elevating effects, just like stimulants. However, users may become dependent on the drug and its stimulating effects, just like stimulants.
Is Marijuana a Hallucinogen?
Does marijuana produce hallucinations? Marijuana use has had a bad reputation for its hallucinogenic effects, but hallucinations are pretty rare from marijuana. Marijuana does cause a distorted perception of time, which can be considered a form of a hallucination.
How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Brain Function?
Marijuana's effects vary by person and consumption factors, including the amount consumed, frequency of consumption, and cannabinoid dose. Marijuana’s main compounds include delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
When inhaled, cannabinoids pass through the lungs and into the bloodstream, which are then carried to the brain and affect brain function. In the brain, THC can help release dopamine, increasing your euphoria. THC can also interact with the hippocampus, a part of the brain that affects memories and attention.
Young users are at a higher risk of suffering from long-term issues due to early marijuana use. Some research suggests that early marijuana use alters brain development and can produce long-term effects such as lower IQ, memory loss, and cognitive issues.
Marijuana and Depression
Depression affects hundreds of millions of people around the world. Current treatments for depression and other mental health conditions include prescription drugs and therapies. Medical marijuana is becoming an increasingly popular option in the treatment of depression.
While more research is needed, all signs point to medical marijuana being beneficial in improving endocannabinoid system function and stabilizing a person's mood. Low endocannabinoid levels may lead to symptoms of depression.
Research from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) has found that chronic stress suppresses endocannabinoid production in the brain on animal models. Endocannabinoids are naturally produced in the body and work similarly to the marijuana plant's phytocannabinoids (THC, CBD, and minor cannabinoids).
Research has shown that medical marijuana may help restore balance in our body’s endocannabinoid system to reduce these adverse effects. However, more research is needed into cannabinoid chemicals and their effects. Excessive use of marijuana may worsen a person's depression.
Side Effects and Risks of Marijuana
While marijuana has helped many overcome unbearable mental and physical discomfort, there is still a risk of adverse effects in some instances and with some users. Some people may not initially feel the effects of marijuana right away, and others may feel overwhelmed, triggering panic and anxiety.
High doses of THC tend to have more side effects than lower doses or dosages balanced with CBD. Mild side effects include dry mouth, red eyes, dizziness, confusion, reduced motor control, altered time perception, lowering or raising of appetite, and increased heart rate.
Most short-term side effects of marijuana subside in a few hours, although there are a few ways to reduce the risk of overconsumption. In heavy marijuana users, there is an increased risk of dependence and marijuana addiction.
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