Is CBD a Depressant or Stimulant?

Est. Reading: 6 minutes

Written by kyle ON January 30, 2023

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, generally known as hemp or cannabis. In the United States, CBD is only approved as a seizure medicine.

The Cannabis sativa plant contains more than 80 compounds known as cannabinoids. CBD is extracted from hemp, a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant that has only trace amounts of THC. CBD has a great impact on various brain chemicals, but these differ from THC's effects.

However, there are four types of drugs: depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, and opiates. If you've wondered if CBD is a depressant or falls into one of those categories, you're not alone.

According to Medical News Today, CBD can have depressant, stimulant, and hallucinogenic effects. Therefore, CBD does not fit into a single category.

Let's have a look at the biphasic nature of Cannabidiol.

What is a Depressant?

Depressants are drugs that have a sedative, relaxing, or calming effect. They are used to treat anxiety, muscle spasms, sleeplessness, and seizures by slowing brain function.

Benzodiazepines ("benzos") such as Valium, Xanax, and Klonopin (commonly used to treat anxiety and sleeplessness), and barbiturates such as Nembutal and Seconal are examples of depressants (which have a strong sedative effect).

Moreover, Alcohol is the most well-known depressant. It causes several depressive side effects, including reduced memory, slowed reaction time, a calming effect, and slurred speech.

While the sedative and soothing effects of depressants might be beneficial in some cases, however, overuse of depressants can lead to major complications.

CBD as a Depressant

According to studies, depressants are substances like Xanax and alcohol that slow down brain function, calm nerves and relax tense muscles. Depressants are commonly used to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, and muscular spasms.

So, is CBD a depressant?

If you feel relaxed, less anxious, and sleepy after consuming CBD, those are depressing effects.

Effects of Depressants

Depressants can cause:

  • Poor concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Slow breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Addiction
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor memory
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty in pronouncing words

Although depressants are not addictive, it is possible to build a tolerance to their effects, which means you may need to take more of the medication to achieve the same results. Furthermore, you can even become dependent on the drug for a particular effect, such as sleep.

What is a Stimulant?

Stimulants are drugs that increase your alertness and energy levels while also providing you with a euphoric and elevated mood.

Cocaine, methamphetamine, Ritalin, and the caffeine in your morning coffee are all examples of stimulants. They are highly prone to creating a habit. Stimulants can also cause a "crash" as the effects wear off.

Stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall are often recommended as treatments for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but they can be highly addictive like many other stimulants.

CBD as a Stimulant

Is CBD a stimulant?

According to studies, CBD sometimes works as a stimulant. Stimulants are drugs that "improve mood, alertness, and energy." Stimulants cause these effects in the brain by interacting with the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.

The Sativa strain is a well-known substance for making people feel energetic, happy, and focused.

Although that sounds great, there are some drawbacks. We want to mention that stimulants are very addictive and can lead to paranoia over time. Although CBD is not highly addictive, substances such as cocaine and methamphetamine cause long-lasting side effects. These substances are highly addictive. CBD is a safe medication when used as a stimulant.

According to studies, stimulants can also alter your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as cause rapid breathing.

Effects of Stimulants

Stimulants can cause:

  • Mood swings
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increase blood flow
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia


What Kind of Drug is CBD?

You may have observed that CBD fits almost every subtype, which is true. Marijuana can be classified into three categories: depressive, stimulant, and hallucinogenic. CBD, on the other hand, cannot be categorized as an opiate because it is not derived from the opium poppy plant or morphine.

Why CBD is a Stimulant?

CBD can be both a depressive and a stimulant because of its ability to enhance brain activity. Cannabis can raise your blood pressure and pulse rate, but it will not make you feel awake.

The type of CBD and the dose determine whether it has a depressing or stimulating effect. CBD that contains THC, some tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), Cannabigerol (CBG), more limonene, and less myrcene may be more stimulating. On the other hand, CBD with higher myrcene, humulene, and cannabinol (CBN) content mixed with THC may have a more sedative effect. However, the effects of CBD are dependent on how your body reacts to CBD and the dosage you are consuming.

Why is CBD a Depressant?

Sometimes, CBD is considered a depressant due to its ability to lower brain and central nervous system activity. For example, CBD can make you sleepy, reduce your blood pressure, and relax your muscles. This can also result in reduced breathing, dizziness, headaches, and a lack of concentration.

CBD Interaction with Antidepressants

CBD has a high risk of interfering with antidepressant medications. Because it acts on the same regions of the brain, allowing antidepressants to change their effects.

Although CBD is generally well tolerated, it may have some negative effects when used with certain antidepressants. This is due to the inhibition of the cytochrome P-450 system, which is responsible for breaking down drugs into smaller parts. CBD is believed to slow down this mechanism, causing antidepressants to stay in the body for longer. Especially with tricyclic antidepressants or oxidase inhibitors.

How CBD Could Help Treat Depression?

The properties of CBD can help with a variety of depressive symptoms, including:

CBD indirectly stimulates CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors, which regulate depression-related neurotransmitters.

CBD stimulates 5-HT1a receptors, which aid in the regulation of serotonin and dopamine levels, promoting emotional stability.

CBD interacts with and stimulates the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), making it more effective in managing psycho-physical balance, reducing stress, and maintaining mental and physical energy.

It has an anxiolytic and antipsychotic effect, which makes it effective in case of anxious-depressive syndrome or psychiatric symptoms.

CBD has a calming effect on both the mental and physical aspects, promoting good sleep and rest and the restoration of natural circadian rhythms.

Its neuroprotective and antioxidant properties promote neural plasticity, which benefits cognitive functions affected by depressive disorders.

In the case of depression related to inflammatory medical conditions that cause pain, the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBD could be beneficial.

How to Use CBD for Depression?

To benefit from CBD's antidepressant properties, it must be used internally, via inhalation or sublingual administration.

Try low or medium-concentration products (5%-10%). Start with small doses (1-2 drops) and gradually increase the dose until the effects become visible. In any case, it is always important to speak with a specialist who can provide personalized advice and follow-up.

Is CBD Addictive?

Although CBD is not addictive, it is not suggested for people who are undergoing detoxification because it can lead to relapse. CBD consumption should always be supervised by a professional, and you should choose a product that meets the legal requirements for being a legal substance for consumption. Not doing so can lead to an addiction.

To summarize, CBD intake provides several health benefits as long as it is consumed responsibly. Improper CBD consumption can cause long-term problems of cannabis addiction.


Does CBD act as a stimulant?

While some people think of CBD as a sedative rather than a stimulant, it appears to have a biphasic nature. This means that people may have different effects or phases, depending on the dosage.

Lower doses of CBD may have a stimulating effect, while higher dosages may have a sedative effect. The higher doses of CBD may increase sleep duration, whereas doses less than 15 milligrams (mg) may have alert (awakens) properties. However, this may vary from person to person and will be determined by how each individual responds to CBD.

Is CBD considered an antidepressant?

CBD contains anti-stress properties and can help with depression by regulating serotonin levels in the brain. Some research suggests that CBD may be beneficial for disorders other than depression, such as anxiety or panic disorder.

Does CBD make you high or sleepy?

CBD is produced from the cannabis plant and does not produce the same "high" or euphoria as marijuana or THC. Unlike the other well-known psychoactive compound, THC, CBD does not make you high and can help in the treatment of a wide range of ailments, including pain, anxiety, and insomnia. However, CBD might make you feel sleepy by improving your sleep cycle.

Bottom Line

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid found in hemp seeds, commonly known as cannabis sativa. When CBD enters the body, it strengthens our endocannabinoid system by activating serotonin receptors and stimulating serotonin segregation.

CBD can be categorized as a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic, depending on the strain (chemotype) used, the dosage, and many other factors.

If you want to prevent CBD's negative effects, lower your THC intake and look for products with more CBD content and less myrcene. You should also avoid using CBD in combination with other depressants, such as alcohol or prescription medicines, as these depressant effects can amplify each other.


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