Before smoking, ingesting, or consuming any substance, it’s vital to understand the basic nature of how that substance interacts with the body. Various types of substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and cannabis interact with the human body in a multitude of ways, some good and some bad.

Are you thinking about smoking cannabis, but you aren’t sure how it will affect the body? Maybe you’re already a regular user, but just want to expand your knowledge of this magical plant? Regardless of your reason, this article explores whether marijuana is a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen as well as the various ways cannabis, and its cannabinoids, interact with the body.  

How Does Weed Affect the Body? 

is marijuana a stimulant

Before you can decide whether cannabis is a stimulant, it’s vital to understand how the substance interacts with the body and if there is any variation in those effects from person to person. When it comes to cannabis, there are a wide variety of effects that you can experience, some good and some bad. Two main cannabinoids responsible for providing the various effects found in cannabis are known as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabinol (CBD). 

Cannabis terpenes are also partly responsible for the overall effects of a particular strain since terpenes, like limonene and myrcene, can enhance certain mind and body effects. 

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THC is the cannabinoid responsible for producing the psychoactive effects present in cannabis while CBD is responsible for the pain relief and medical side. THC concentration is more dominant than CBD as most strains only contain a minuscule amount of CBD in comparison, unless specifically cultivated for it. 

THC reacts similarly to the cannabinoid receptors already present in our brains responsible for controlling coordination, pleasure, thinking, memory, and perception. CBD, on the other hand, does not provide any cerebral or noticeable physical effects aside from pain relief. 


Like most substances, there are always risks associated with using them and cannabis is no different. Marijuana does increase your heart rate and blood pressure while being capable of either exacerbating or contributing to the relapse of schizophrenic symptoms. THC also impairs basic motor functions, so driving a car while high is not recommended and can result in serious injury or even death. 

There are also long-term problems attributed to cannabis consumption that can cause memory and cognitive impairment, especially when used at a young age. 

What Are the Different Drug Classifications?

When it comes to deciding what drug classification cannabis should be placed under, let’s take a look at the various classification types and the requirements for each one. To start, there are multiple drug classifications that a substance could fall under, but we’re going to focus on four of the most well known:

  • Stimulants – Stimulants are substances that increase your level of alertness and energy. These substances are known to be highly addictive and can lead to paranoia over long-term use. Examples of these substances include cocaine and prescription ADHD medication.  
  • Depressants – This drug classification encompasses substances that slow down your brain function and includes substances like alcohol and Xanax.
  • Hallucinogens – These types of substances impair your concept of reality and overall perception. Hallucinogens accomplish this by altering the way the nerve cells in your body communicate. Some examples of these are magic mushrooms and LSD. 
  • Opiates – One of the most well-known drug classifications and the most highly abused, opiates are extremely strong and effective pain killers. These substances are highly addictive and can have lasting effects on your mental and physical health. Examples include heroin, morphine, and various other prescription painkillers. 

Is Weed A Stimulant, Depressant, or Hallucinogen? 

is marijuana a stimulant

Weed is a unique substance and, therefore, a unique case. Cannabis can be viewed as a depressant, stimulant, and hallucinogen depending on the strain. Let’s take a look at weed through the lens of the various drug classifications to better understand the effect weed has on the body. 

Weed as a depressant

Depressants are substances that slow down your nervous system and brain function. Typically, depressants are used to help calm nerves and release the tension on muscles. They are commonly used to help curb insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms, or pain, among many other uses. 

Cannabis is a substance that, depending on the variety, can produce effects like relaxation, sleepiness, heaviness, chronic pain relief, and muscle relaxation. Over time, like other depressants, you can develop a tolerance to the substance which will require you to consume more of the substance to receive the same effect. 

Read Also [5 Tips On How To Grind Weed Without A Grinder]

Weed as a stimulant

Stimulants, on the other hand, speed up mental processes and imbue a sense of vitality and energy to the system. These substances can also speed up the heart rate and increase blood pressure as a result. But, one of the best traits associated with stimulants is their ability to improve mood and energy. 

Cannabis is no different. There are various weed strains out there that increase your sense of focus, energy, creativity, and mood, but can lead to bouts of paranoia at higher doses or lower tolerance levels. But, cannabis affects everyone differently so one person might experience paranoia while another might experience a refreshing sense of energy and creativity. 

Weed as a hallucinogen

Most commonly stereotyped for its hallucinogenic effects, cannabis rarely ever produces any type of hallucinations or virtual/auditory distortions. Hallucinogens are substances that alter your perception or reality whether that is through sensory, auditory, or visual means. Some strains are so potent they can trigger some hallucinatory properties, but, for the most part, the psychedelic tendencies of cannabis come down to a person’s disposition and tolerance level.

Now, cannabis can blur your perception of time or can enhance your perception of various senses, but rarely will you ever experience any hallucinogenic properties similar to tripping on acid or magic mushrooms.  

Final Thoughts

Cannabis offers a variety of unique psychological and physiological effects that can vary in intensity from person to person. Different strains offer effects that can lean more towards the stimulant side or the depressant side, but the bottom line is that cannabis incorporates a combination of effects that can boost energy levels or curb insomnia. Unlike most other substances out there, cannabis is neither stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen but all of them simultaneously. 

Make sure to do your research on individual cannabis strains to ensure you find the best one suited to your needs. Looking for some high-quality cannabis strains to experiment with? Head to 420DC and get access to the hottest and most reliable cannabis delivery services and smoke shops in DC. Don’t forget to mention 420DC and receive a special offer!

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