Is Cannabis A Depressant?


Cannabis is chemically complex, so it’s difficult to classify it as just one type of drug. Depending on the subspecies and the strain (i.e. the specific combination of cannabinoids and terpenes present), cannabis can be a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogen. Sometimes, it can be all three at the same time.

Classification Of Drugs

Drugs are generally classified into four categories, based on their properties and effects:

Depressants - calm down the nervous system and slow down brain function

Stimulants - boost energy, alertness, and focus and elevates mood

Hallucinogens - change how the cells in the brain communicate, altering one’s perception of reality

Opiates - pain killers that rapidly produce euphoria and have long-lasting effects on the brain

Due to its complex characteristics, cannabis falls under the categories of depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens.

Cannabis As A Depressant

Certain cannabis strains, especially indica, slow down the nervous system. Therefore, using cannabis can calm the mind, relax the body, and lower inhibitions.

The depressant properties of cannabis also help treat some medical conditions such as anxiety, muscle spasms and problematic sleep.

That said, cannabis can also produce adverse side effects as other depressants do, including fatigue, reduced motor coordination, and short-term memory loss.

Additionally, users may develop a tolerance to cannabis when used as a depressant. That means that the amount or potency of consumed cannabis must be increased to feel its desired effects. Dependency is also a risk when users can’t function properly without help from cannabis.

Cannabis As A Stimulant

Cannabis, especially sativa strains, can be considered stimulants because they increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This leads to boosted energy, heightened focus, and feelings of euphoria. Some people use cannabis during the day to help them be more productive. It is also prescribed to aid depression.

However, if consumed irresponsibly, psychoactive (i.e., “high”-inducing) cannabis can cause adverse effects such as paranoia, irregular heartbeats, and seizures. Prolonged use can also lead to dependency and respiratory issues if regularly smoked.

Cannabis As A Hallucinogen

Cannabis is often stereotyped as a hallucinogen or a drug that creates false perceptions of reality by altering sensory perceptions—but consuming cannabis rarely causes hallucinations. For the majority, the most it does is distort one’s sense of time.

However, large amounts of cannabis can cause other hallucinatory effects like a warped sense of space, loss of motor skills, and detachment from the environment, although often temporary.

The Effects Of Cannabis Vary

The different compounds present in cannabis make it challenging to categorize. It can be a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen, based mainly on the number of cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and terpenes present in each strain. For example, strains with high THC are often stimulants, while those with more CBD are usually depressants. Additionally, certain terpenes like myrcene can contribute to the high-inducing, sedative, or psychoactive effects of cannabis.

How To Choose The Best Cannabis

Choosing the best cannabis to vape depends on a variety of factors, such as:

Desired Effects

Know what you want out of consuming cannabis and understand the elements that contribute to achieving that purpose. For example, if you wish to increase your productivity, use a THC-high strain; if you’re looking to relax, try to get something with low THC or high CBD.


The effects of cannabis largely depend on one’s physiology. For example, people often assume that hunger and cannabis go hand-in-hand, but some CBD-rich strains don’t affect appetite.

Additionally, the effects of CBD may differ if you’re taking other medications. Check with your doctor if you are, or else you may experience adverse side effects. Choose a strain fit for your tolerance, and if you’re trying something new, test the waters before finishing a whole bud.


Of course, you must choose the type of cannabis that is compatible with the medium you’re consuming it in, whether it’s a dry herb vaporizer pen, a joint, or space brownies.

Light It Up Responsibly

To get the most out of cannabis, it’s essential to understand how it can affect your mind and body and use this information to optimize your experience. That way, you’re always benefiting from or enjoying it and are never putting yourself in harm’s way.


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