Cannabis Science

Is Weed a Stimulant?

weed on a piece of paper

Substances are often characterized by how they affect people as well as their properties. Based on that, weed falls into many different categories. The four main categories are opiates, depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants. Even though weed is said to have painkilling (analgesic) it’s not considered an opiate. Weed is however considered a depressant and hallucinogen. But is weed a stimulant? Here’s what we know.   

Photo: Unsplash

Is Weed a Stimulant?

Weed can be characterized as a stimulant. For context, a stimulant is a substance that speeds up messages that go between the brain and the rest of the body. Besides weed, substances like caffeine and nicotine may also be classified as stimulants.

Stimulants can produce a number of effects on the body. According to American Addiction Centers, on a short term basis stimulants may cause:

  • Improvement in attention
  • Increase in energy, self-esteem, and or sociability
  • Suppressed appetite.
  • An intense feeling of happiness 
  • Increased sexual desire and performance

If after using weed, you have felt any of the effects listed above, you weren’t imagining it. For some people, weed produces similar stimulant effects.

For example, stoners have reported an increase in sexual desire and performance after using weed.

Depending on the strain, some stoners report an increase in energy. Sativa is usually seen as the strain that provides euphoria and an increase in energy. Therefore, Sativa is believed to be the strain that provides more of the stimulating effects of weed.

The most surprising effect is probably appetite suppression. Weed is notorious for giving stoners the munchies which is basically an increase in appetite. However, a cannabinoid called delta 9 tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) may cause suppression in appetite. 

Healthline says THCV is purported to be “appetite-curbing” and “energy-boosting”.

You can check out some of the effects of stimulants in the image below. 

chart highlighting the effects of stimulants and examples of stimulants
he ADF interactive Wheel by Mark Adley and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported License.

Negative Effects of Stimulants 

Unfortunately, not all effects from stimulants are pleasant. As a matter of fact, some of the effects can be life-threatening.  According to American Addiction Centers and Healthline, stimulants can cause:

  • Muscle shakes or tremors.
  • Agitation
  • Very high body temperature
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Heightened blood pressure.
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia 

Some of these negative effects are reported by people who use weed. According to Harvard, cannabinoids can raise the resting heart rate. 

The Recovery Village also reported something similar. They said, “Experts believe that marijuana may mildly increase blood pressure and heart rate”. However, The Recovery Village also noted that the severity of weed’s impact is dose-dependent. That means more weed is linked to a higher increase in blood pressure and heart rate than less. So, if these are symptoms you experience when you use weed, try to cut down on how much you use. 

Another negative effect worth exploring is anxiety. Even though weed can help anxiety with some people, it can also cause people to feel anxious or increase their anxiety. As a matter of fact, a study stated, “Psychosis, dysphoria, and anxiety are associated with higher concentrations of THC…..”

If you’re noticing an increase in anxiety after using marijuana, you can:

  • Opt for weed lower in THC
  • Try delta 8 THC 
  • Be careful of edibles from unknown sources since you won’t know how much THC is in it. 
  • Avoids dabs since they tend to be high in THC

But What If Weed Doesn’t Make Me Feel That Way?

That’s totally normal. Weed affects people in different ways. The effects you feel from weed may be due to your genes. In addition to that, the strain of weed you use or the concentration of certain cannabinoids can also influence the effects you feel. 

 You may be also more prone to the depressant or hallucinogenic effects of weed.

Some of the depressant effects, according to Medical News Today are:

  • Relaxation
  • Sleep 
  • Lowering anxiety
  • Poor concentration
  • Problems with memory

Medical News Today reported some of the hallucinogenic effects are:

  • Heightened sense of perception such as seeing brighter colors
  • Nausea
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased heart rate 

It’s also possible for you to have a mixture of effects. Unfortunately, that may not always be positive. Medical News Today says, “People with depression or related mental health conditions may find that the depressant effects of marijuana make their symptoms worse.” 

In addition to that, American Addiction Center says that stimulants can cause tolerance and dependence.

Therefore, if you’re experiencing adverse effects that are negatively affecting your life, please speak with a health care professional, 


Is weed a stimulant? It definitely can be classified as a stimulant. Some of the effects of weed are similar to the effects of other stimulants. However, everybody is different and so not everyone will have the same effects of weed. In addition to that, certain strains may be less likely to produce stimulant effects.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].