Classification of Marijuana as a Drug

Marijuana is considered as a very unique drug. Other varieties, including heroin and cocaine, are clear drugs, given that heroin is classified as an opioid, while cocaine is considered as a stimulant, marijuana does not easily fit into a specific drug category. One reason for this is because marijuana has the capacity to depress, impair and even excite the central nervous system, making it quite challenging to categorize. 

Hallucinogenic Effects

Hallucinogens are drugs which can cause distortions in the perception of the reality of a person. These substances are usually man-made, which are also present in mushrooms and specific plants. Hallucinogens also include PCP and LSD. 

It has been studied that huge doses of marijuana can end up with feelings of hallucination, delusions, as well as a loss of personal sense of identity. These effects are basically temporary. Still, marijuana may also exacerbate certain symptoms of schizophrenia among people who are dealing with this mental illness. Marijuana is also found to cause certain symptoms which are similar to the ones produced by other forms of hallucinogens. This may include nausea, dry mouth, detachment from self, and loss of control on motor skills. 

Studies show that a teenager boy who has used weed at least once a week was facing an increased risk for feeling hallucinations and paranoia. These symptoms even continued even after they stopped smoking marijuana. 

Depressant Effects

Marijuana is often classified as a depressant because of its capacity to slow down the messages which travel between the brain and the body. It can also effectively calm nerves, lower inhibitions, and relax tense muscles. 

Depressants that are prescribed by doctors generally fall into three classifications: benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sedative-hypnotics. These drugs work by depressing the central nervous system. Doctors usually prescribe depressants to sufferers of sleep and anxiety problems. Just like other depressants, cannabis can also result in sleepiness, relaxation, dizziness and short-term memory loss. 

It was found that college students who often used cannabis with the goal of coping with social anxiety experience a temporary reduction in anxiety. Still, it has caused other problems which impact their academic success, such as decreased productivity and procrastination. 

Stimulant Effects

The purpose of stimulants is to increase attention, alertness and heart rate. This classification of drugs also includes methamphetamines, amphetamines, and cocaine. Medical professionals usually prescribe stimulants to individuals who are dealing with ADHD. 

Even though studies have associated marijuana to an increased possibility for experiencing depression, a lot of people still use the drug in order to improve their mood even further, as well as in treating symptoms of depression. However, abuse of this drug because of its stimulant properties can also increase the tolerance of a person which can eventually result in marijuana addiction. 

Marijuana Classification

In general, marijuana is categorized as a depressant with both hallucinogenic and stimulant effects. Still, it is more than just being a depressant, stimulant or hallucinogen. In fact, a lot of people respond to marijuana use in a number of ways. For some, this drug can cause feelings of anxiety. For others, however, it may result in feelings of drowsiness or contentment. When chronically used, marijuana may even result in delusions. 

The way in which the body of a person responds to marijuana highly depends on factors including age, genetics, as well as the history of marijuana consumption. The level of THC in the drug, administration method and dosage are also very important factors as to how a certain person may react to marijuana. 

This substance may also cause a number of short-term complications on the health. This includes changes in mood, and impaired body movement. Cannabis can also result in long-term health problems, including brain development issues. 


In general, there are four drug categories. They are usually based on their effects and properties. They are usually classified as depressants, opiates, hallucinogens or stimulants. Cannabis does not easily fall into any of these categories. Despite the fact that cannabis contains hallucinogenic, stimulant and depressant properties, there is still a huge variation as to the effect that it offers from one person to another. 

As of this point, cannabis classification is still a controversial question. In the recent years, a number of states and countries have already legalized cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes. Federal law is expected to catch up, but marijuana is still categorized under Schedule 1 drugs. 

However, marijuana rescheduling is now pressing. The favorability towards marijuana legalization has increased. There are also a number of petitions to push the removal of pot under Schedule 1, though DFA has their own reasons of not accepting the petition. One reason is that they believe that this substance still meets the criteria for it to be classified under Schedule 1. Despite this, research and studies about both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana still continue, making it controversial these days.

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