Are you looking for the answer to, "is marijuana a stimulant?" Many people want to know if weed is a stimulant. This article answers the questions, “what is a stimulant?”, “is weed a stimulant?”, and “why is marijuana considered a stimulant?” If you want to know if marijuana is a stimulant, read on!
A stimulant is a drug that speeds up brain activity (stimulates the central nervous system).
In general, stimulants make a person feel more awake, alert, confident, or energetic. Stimulants typically increase arousal, endurance, euphoria, motivation, and productivity. However, stimulants can be addictive, and stimulant abuse can cause anxiety, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, paranoia, and even hallucinations. Some common stimulants include prescription CNS stimulants like Adderall, illegal narcotics like speed, and the most popular drug in the world: caffeine. So, is weed a stimulant?
The answer to the question “Is weed a stimulant?” is a bit complicated. As we discussed in How to Use Weed to Energize and Uplift Your Mind, a purposeful dose of the right cannabis product can make you feel energetic and euphoric. But cannabis is also commonly used as a sleep aid, so it is clearly different than other common stimulants like caffeine. A study titled Marijuana's Effects on Human Cognitive Functions, Psychomotor Functions, and Personality states, “marijuana is complex chemically and not yet fully understood, but it is not a narcotic. Like alcohol, marijuana acts as both stimulant and depressant...” This study was conducted in the 1980s, but cannabis is still considered to be both a stimulant and a depressant. The opposite of a depressant is a stimulant, or a drug that increases CNS activity. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter and glutamate is primary excitatory neurotransmitter, and their balance controls “the brain’s overall level of excitation.” As we discussed in Does Cannabis Help With Stress, high doses of THC inhibit GABA neurons from releasing GABA, which increases glutamate levels. So, cannabis is a stimulant in some situations and at some doses. Additionally, the cannabinoid and terpene profile of the cannabis you consume, your method of consumption, your unique endocannabinoid system, and your genetics all contribute to whether a cannabis product makes you feel stimulated or sedated.
In general, stimulants induce the release of dopamine and glutamate in the brain. Dopamine is associated with “increased alertness and happiness or a state of high mental performance and drive.” Ingesting stimulants, whether caffeine, prescription stimulants, or cannabis, leads to elevated levels of dopamine in the brain. Similarly, ingesting amphetamines, cannabis, or caffeine leads to increased levels of glutamate in the brain. Based on this, we can answer “is weed a stimulant?” definitively. Cannabis is a stimulant because it produces similar effects to other known stimulants. However, the answer is complicated because cannabis is also a depressant (Is Marijuana A Depressant?) and could potentially be classified as a hallucinogen (Is Marijuana A Hallucinogen?) Some cannabis strains are more likely to have stimulating effects than others. Marijuana strains that contain THC and tend to have high levels of terpenes such as alpha-pinene, limonene, and beta-caryophyllene will often have stimulating effects. Now you know the answer to, “is marijuana a stimulant?”
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