Are you wondering about the classification of cannabis drugs? The effects vary depending on the user. It can be a depressant, a stimulant, or a hallucinogen.
Investigation of possible classifications of cannabis drugs
Photo by Matteo Badini
Depressants, also known as the “downer”, put you to sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and prevent seizures. They can bring about concentration and coordination.
They don’t necessarily make a person feel depressed, but rather act on the central nervous system and slow down the messages between the brain and the body. (1) Examples are alcohol, benzodiazepines, GHB and kava. (2)
Stimulants improve your mood and increase your alertness and energy, unlike depressants. This class of drugs speeds up the messages between the brain and the body. (3) Examples include amphetamines, cocaine and crack, caffeine, nicotine and ecstasy. (4)
Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that cause hallucinations or profound distortions in a person’s perception of reality. Often times, under the influence of hallucinogens, people report rapid, intense emotional fluctuations and see pictures, hear sounds, and feel sensations that appear real but are not real. (5) Examples include LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), PCP (phencyclidine), magic mushrooms (psilocybin), ketamine, and seeds of the bindweed. (6)
Is it a Depressant, Stimulant, or Hallucinogen?
Cannabis is characterized by having properties of all three classifications.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. THC is a cannabinoid that makes people feel “high”. Psychoactive substances are substances that, when absorbed or administered into one’s own system, influence mental processes such as recognizing or influencing. (7) Cannabinoids aid the process of homeostasis in the human body by activating the body’s endocannabinoid system.
It works differently for different people.
Cannabis slows down central nervous system activity, making some users feel relaxed, calm, sleepy, less anxious, along with some degree of dizziness and short-term memory loss. It can be viewed as a depressant. (8th)
Like stimulants, cannabis induces a sense of joy in some. Experiences such as elevated mood, racing heartbeat, anxiety, and paranoia are common. (8) Cannabis is also known for its appetite-stimulating effects, which prevent nausea and vomiting in advanced-stage diseases such as cancer and AIDS. (9)
Most user experience case reports describing hallucinations after acute cannabis exposure involve individuals with current psychosis or a family history of psychosis, populations known to have an atypical response to cannabis. A growing literature continues to examine the relationship between cannabis use and the development of psychosis in individuals with an underlying susceptibility to psychosis. (10)
Cannabis as a drug and addiction
Photo by Tobias Tully
Contrary to popular belief, people can become addicted to cannabis. Prolonged, frequent, and heavy use of cannabis can lead to physical dependence and addiction.
Some people can develop tolerance to the effects of cannabis. Tolerance is characterized by the fact that larger doses of a drug are required to maintain the same effects. Tolerance may develop after a few doses. For some people, tolerance can eventually lead to physical dependence and / or addiction.
Addiction can develop at any age, but teenagers are particularly at risk because their brains are still developing. (11)
Therefore, the use of cannabis as a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogen should be reviewed. This can help prevent tolerance and addiction from developing.