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If you’re familiar with the classification of drugs, you’ll know that these substances tend to fall into just a few categories: stimulants, depressants, or hallucinogens, primarily. But, what about cannabis? 

Is marijuana a stimulant or a depressant? Or, is it a hallucinogen? 

Today, we’re taking a closer look into cannabis’ effects, and whether you can consider the plant a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen. Let’s find out. 

Understanding the Main Drug Types

Before we talk about where cannabis’s classification falls, let’s first establish what the main drug types are and what they mean. 


As the name implies, stimulant drugs are substances that stimulate the brain and body.

These types of drugs tend to produce effects like increased alertness and energy, feelings of euphoria, and being more awake. However, they can also cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can create feelings of anxiety or paranoia.

In terms of prescription medications, some examples of stimulants would be Adderall or Ritalin; illicit drugs would be substances like cocaine and meth. 

On a more casual level, caffeine is also considered a stimulant, as is nicotine.  


On the flip side, a depressant is going to decrease stimulation or arousal in several parts of the brain.

These substances tend to have a more calming or sedative effect, used to treat anxiety, sleep, or seizure disorders. Depressants work to slow down the body’s functions, reducing levels of physical and mental activity.

Your most common form of depressant is alcohol, but certain medications like Xanax or Valium are also types of depressants. Opioids such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone also have depressant-like effects, as do most sleep aids.  


Finally, we have hallucinogens. Hallucinogens are a class of psychoactive substances that work to cause perceptual changes. This can include hallucinations, heightened states of consciousness, and more.

Typically, hallucinogens are broken down into three categories: psychedelics, dissociatives, and deliriants.

In case you’re curious, some of the most forms of hallucinogens include LSD, psilocybin, PCP, and DMT. Synthetic drugs, also known as “designer drugs,” may also have some hallucinogenic properties.

As you can see, these types of drugs are not your typical medication, and most — if not all — are illegal on some level due to their effects.  

What are the Main Effects of Cannabis? 

Now that we’ve covered the primary drug types, let’s talk about the main effects of cannabis. This way, we can finally answer the question, “Is marijuana a stimulant or a depressant?” 

Every person is going to have a different reaction to cannabis — plain and simple. However, here are some of the main effects that most people experience after consumption: 

      • Relaxation: It’s incredibly common for people to feel a sense of heavy relaxation after enjoying cannabis. This can be great for those who have had a high-stress day or suffer from anxiety. 
      • Increased Heart Rate: While you may become relaxed after a few minutes, it’s also very common for the heart rate to increase after consuming cannabis. 
      • Feelings of Bliss and Euphoria: Cannabis is well-known for providing feelings of strong euphoria — and likely a bit of giggliness. 
      • Altered Perceptions: Some people may find that their perception of time and space is intensified or altered a bit. Colors may also appear more vivid, or noises clearer than usual. 
      • Pain Relief: Many cannabis consumers seek marijuana for its powerful pain-relieving, soothing properties. This can be great for those with chronic pain, muscle spasms, and more. 
      • Impaired Memory and Cognition: Unfortunately, cannabis consumption can affect your short-term memory, as well as certain cognitive functions. Though, these effects should fade as your high does. 

    So, Is Marijuana a Stimulant?

    If you look at all of these effects and say, “Wait a minute: cannabis seems to have a little bit of everything,” you’d be correct! That’s why when people ask “Is marijuana a stimulant?” The answer isn’t super straightforward.

    Technically, yes, marijuana offers stimulant-like properties. However, it isn’t just a stimulant entirely.

    In terms of stimulant-like effects, cannabis can increase the heart rate quite a bit, which is a typical stimulant property. It can also boost your mood and enhance sensory perception.

    As a whole, the cannabis plant can increase activity in the body and brain, promoting strong feelings of bliss and euphoria. You may also find that it helps increase levels of energy and creativity — though this will highly depend on the strain.

    So, when people ask, is marijuana a stimulant? You can’t really say yes or no. It’s not fully a stimulant, because, as you’ll see, it also has depressant-like properties. 

    But, it does have some characteristics of a stimulant, that’s for sure.

    Is Marijuana a Depressant?

    Is marijuana a stimulant or a depressant? Well, it’s a bit of both. Let’s talk about the ways that marijuana may be considered a depressant.

    In general, most people tend to consider marijuana as a depressant, plain and simple. This is because the plant is known to cause strong feelings of relaxation and sedation. You may also experience slowed reaction times.

    It’s also worth noting that cannabis may increase your appetite and relax the muscles, while also altering your coordination and motor skills.

    Again, these specific effects will vary depending on the strain, and your individual reactions. But, many people do find marijuana to be more similar to a depressant than that of a stimulant. 

    Is Marijuana a Hallucinogen?

    Because of the way that cannabis works with the brain, many people do consider marijuana to be a mild hallucinogen.

    When taken in high doses specifically, cannabis can cause altered sensory perceptions (like more pronounced smells and tastes, as well as more vibrant colors and music), as well as altered thinking or perception of time.

    While it isn’t common, mild hallucinations may occur when you consume super high doses of cannabis. However, this is very rare, and most people do not ever see or hear things that aren’t there when enjoying marijuana.

    Of course, marijuana isn’t as powerful as other hallucinogens, it can still create similar effects that people may or may not enjoy. 

    The Benefits of Marijuana as a Stimulant and Depressant

    The beauty of marijuana is its versatility. Some strains can help you feel more awake and creative while stimulating the mind and body; other strains may help you calm down from head to toe, reducing those high-stress levels we’re all plagued with.

    If you know you’re interested in experiencing more calming results, you’ll want to find strains with high levels of calming terpenes like caryophyllene, limonene, and linalool. (These tend to be most present in indica or indica-dominant strains.)

    You can learn more about the terpenes for anxiety, depression, and overall zen by clicking here.

    On the flip side, more stimulating terpenes include humulene, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene. These terpenes are more common in sativa strains. 

    Learn about the best terpenes for focus and energy here.

    However, do keep in mind that some people who are pre-disposed to anxiety or paranoia may find that sativa strains are simply too stimulating, causing a high heart rate and blood pressure. (So, make sure that you’re not feeling anxious or on edge before consuming these types of strains, otherwise, you may find yourself feeling a bit worse after toking.)

    What’s best about marijuana having both stimulant and depressant properties is the fact that you can make it work for you. Some days you may be feeling more down, while other days you need some tranquility. 

    Regardless of what you need, cannabis and its many strains have the perfect results for you — whether that’s calming, stimulating, or somewhere in between. 

    Getting the Full Benefits of Cannabis With Your MMJ Card

    So, is marijuana a stimulant or a depressant? It’s a little bit of both!

    The best way to experience the widespread benefits of cannabis is by getting a medical marijuana card. Having an MMJ card allows you to gain access to the highest-quality (legal) products on the market — and at the lowest prices, too.

    Plus, when you have a medical card, you can purchase more marijuana than the average adult-use consumer. This way, you can try out several different strains to see which options produce the effects you’re looking for.

    If you’re interested in marijuana as a depressant, stimulant, or even hallucinogen, we’ve got you covered. 

    Click here or the button below to get your MMJ card 100% online in under 15 minutes.  

    Weed is cheaper with a medical card.

    Get your MMJ card completely online from the comfort of home, and save tons of money on your favorite plant when you book with Elevate Holistics.

    Get Your MMJ Card Right From Home

    Elevate Holistics’ process is quick, affordable, and done entirely online. It’s never been so easy.

    About the author

    Ally Hilbert is the Content and SEO Manager here at Elevate Holistics, working to publish and run Elevate’s blogs and landing pages, as well as conduct keyword research, competitor analysis, and more. After having brain surgery at the age of 17, Ally became fascinated with medical cannabis and its benefits, and, at 18, had her first CBD-related piece published. Today, she’s been writing about cannabis for the past six years, and simply can’t think of a better company to get to do it for. When she’s not writing or editing, Ally’s side-by-side with her pup Sadie in Seattle.
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