Depression and Marijuana, Is Marijuana A Depressant?

Depression and marijuana usage are frequently related. The likelihood of using marijuana is two times higher if you have depression than if you don’t. In the United States, marijuana usage is increasing generally, but among depressed persons, it is increasing more quickly. Keep reading to learn more about the link between marijuana and depression.

Is Marijuana a Depressant?

Depression and marijuana usage are frequently related. The likelihood of using marijuana is two times higher if you have depression than if you don’t. In the United States, marijuana usage is increasing generally, but among depressed people, it is increasing more quickly. Widespread legalization is probably a contributing factor.

Now that marijuana (cannabis) is legal for both medical and recreational purposes in several jurisdictions, it is more accessible than ever. The substance may appear safer due to its simple, legal access.

Even though many depressed people use marijuana, researchers do not believe the drug is the primary cause of mood illness. Recent studies reveal that individuals with the illness use it to address their symptoms instead. One of the most typical reasons people claim they use drugs is to alleviate such symptoms.

Understanding Depressants

Depressants, by definition, are substances that slow down the central nervous system, comprising the brain and spinal cord. This intricate network of neurons transmits messages throughout the body. These substances reduce the speed at which normal brain and spinal cord activities occur, achieved by elevating the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

Types of Depressant Drugs

There are three primary categories of depressant drugs: barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and sleep medications. Often prescribed to manage conditions like seizures, anxiety, or insomnia, prescription depressant medications such as Xanax and Valium are deemed safe and beneficial when utilized for legitimate medical purposes and taken as directed.

Marijuana Is Not a Typical Depressant

Despite marijuana-inducing effects similar to depressants, it isn’t classified as one. Unlike traditional depressants that influence GABA levels, marijuana’s sedative impact is attributable to its capacity to heighten dopamine levels.

Marijuana’s Impact on Dopamine

A study published in the journal Nature in 2016 found that while initial marijuana use increases dopamine levels, prolonged consumption ultimately reduces the release of this neurotransmitter in the brain. This decrease in dopamine levels leads to feelings of lethargy and low energy, akin to the effects observed with depressants.

Effects of Marijuana

The effects of marijuana can be categorized based on their properties and impacts. Drugs are generally grouped into distinct classifications, each with its own set of effects:

  • Depressants: Drugs like Xanax, alcohol, and barbiturates are considered depressants as they slow down brain function.
  • Stimulants: Substances like cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs for treating ADHD fall under the category of stimulants. They work by increasing alertness and enhancing mood.
  • Hallucinogens: LSD and MDMA are examples of hallucinogens, which influence the brain’s communication cells, leading to alterations in an individual’s perception of reality.
  • Opiates: Opiates such as prescription painkillers, morphine, and heroin cause rapid euphoria and can result in long-term effects on the brain.

Marijuana Depressant Effects

Cannabis significantly influences the nervous system, altering brain function by inducing muscle relaxation and calming nerves. Continuous use may result in a tolerance to THC, necessitating larger doses to achieve similar effects and potentially leading to dependency over time.

Marijuana Stimulant Effects

While traditional stimulants typically elevate blood pressure and heart rate, cannabis can exhibit stimulant-like characteristics by enhancing alertness, energy levels, and mood, particularly shortly after consumption. Prolonged use might result in dependency due to its mood-enhancing properties.

Marijuana Hallucinogenic Aspects

Although cannabis is often linked to hallucinogenic experiences, such occurrences are relatively rare. While not precisely hallucinogenic, cannabis can cause distortions in time perception, a form of altered sensory experience.

In summary, determining whether cannabis acts as a depressant or a stimulant varies from person to person and depends on the strain. Its effects range from relaxation and drowsiness to alertness and increased wakefulness, varying among individuals.

Get Help. Get Better. Get Your Life Back.

Searching for Accredited Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Centers Near You?

Even if therapy failed previously, or are in the middle of a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. When you feel ready or just want someone to speak to about counseling alternatives to change your life call us. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you to wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our hotline today.

FREE 24/7 Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Services Hotline
Can Weed Cause Depression? Depression and marijuana usage are frequently related. The likelihood of using marijuana is two times higher if you have depression than if you don't.
Can Weed Cause Depression? Depression and marijuana usage are frequently related. The likelihood of using marijuana is two times higher if you have depression than if you don’t.

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

A 2014 study presented pain treatment as a potential advantage of medical marijuana in the Hawaii Journal of Medicine & Public Health. Participants in the study claimed that while consuming marijuana, their discomfort decreased by 64%. Many people who used the medicine also reported less anxiety and improved sleep.

A 2012 study investigated the use of cannabis to reduce spasticity in MS patients. On average, participants had a 30 percent reduction in spasticity while undergoing this therapy.

Additional advantages could include relief from:

  • Involuntary movements associated with movement disorders.
  • Nausea, particularly from chemotherapy.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • HIV-related weight loss.

Research is ongoing in these areas to determine use’s short- and long-term effects.

Risks of Taking Anti-Depressants And Weed

It’s tempting to believe that medicinal marijuana is safer than other substances, given the amount of publicity surrounding its possible advantages. However, marijuana has several hazards, mainly when used with other prescribed medications or illegal narcotics. Using marijuana with other medicines, including antidepressants, can be disastrous.

When combined, antidepressants and marijuana might result in heart palpitations, panic attacks, and even hallucinations. 13.2% of adult Americans are said to be using an antidepressant of some form. Furthermore, almost 49% of adult Americans have used marijuana.

You might be experiencing depression if you’ve been experiencing persistent sadness or a loss of interest in past interests. If so, you’re not alone. Globally, 350 million people suffer from depression. The most frequent cause of impairment worldwide is this widespread mental condition. However, many people who suffer from depression do not receive the necessary care.

Currently, a variety of therapies and oral drugs are accessible as treatments. Marijuana for medical purposes is being looked into by researchers as an additional treatment. Here is more information about medicinal marijuana use for treating depression, including some advantages and potential drawbacks.

Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

End the Emotional Pain. Get Your Life Back.

Feeling Depressed, Anxious or Struggling with Mental Health Illness? Get Safe Comfortable Mental Health Dual Diagnosis High-Quality Therapy From Counselors That Care. Begin Your Recovery Now.

Hotline (855) 940-6125

Depression And Marijuana Short-term Effects

Your nervous system is impacted by depressants, which impair the brain activity. Together, these activities can ease stiff muscles and soothe frazzled nerves. Several disorders, such as insomnia, anxiety, or muscle spasms, can be treated using depressants.

Depressants, however, may potentially have adverse immediate consequences, such as:

  • Nausea.
  • Confusion.
  • Reduced motor coordination.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Slowed breathing.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Short-term memory loss.
  • Dizziness.

Weed produces similar positive and negative effects, including:

  • Relaxation.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Muscle relaxation.
  • Short-term memory loss.
  • Dizziness.

Mixing Marijuana with Other Substances

Lacing marijuana with various substances is a common practice, often to intensify its effects or increase profitability. Some dealers might lace marijuana with other psychoactive drugs like cocaine, PCP, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, or ketamine. Here’s a closer look at how these substances can interact when mixed with cannabis.


PCP, a dissociative drug, is sometimes combined with marijuana to enhance its psychoactive effects. This lacing, known by names like wet weed or dusted weed, can lead to severe outcomes such as respiratory issues, seizures, aggression, hallucinations, and even long-term neurological problems.


Marijuana laced with heroin induces extreme lethargy, confusion, reduced heart rate, and breathing. The combined effects can suppress individuals into unconsciousness, posing a high risk of overdose, especially for non-regular users.


Combining marijuana with cocaine results in a mix of sedative and energetic effects. While not commonly sold together, this combination can lead to various harmful psychological and physical symptoms like paranoia, seizures, cardiovascular issues, and hallucinations.


Though smoking LSD-laced marijuana might not have severe side effects due to heat destroying LSD, some dip marijuana in a way that incorporates LSD tabs, creating a potent hallucinogenic effect. LSD, even in minute amounts, can lead to vivid hallucinations and unsettling experiences.


Mixing marijuana with methamphetamine can result in delusions, confusion, hallucinations, and potential seizures, particularly in higher concentrations.


Ketamine, often used as a club drug, can induce dissociative and stimulant effects when combined with marijuana, leading to overheating and severe dehydration.

It’s essential to note that combining marijuana with these substances can lead to unpredictable and potentially harmful outcomes, as the effects vary based on the person and the substances involved.

First-class Facilities & Amenities

World-class High-Quality Mental Health Services & Behavioral Health Substance Abuse Treatment

Rehab Centers Tour

Renowned Mental Health Centers. Serene Private Facilities. Inpatient Rehab Programs Vary.

Mental Health Helpline (855) 940-6125

Proven recovery success experience, backed by a Team w/ History of:


Years of Unified Experience


5-Star Reviews Across Our Centers


Recovery Successes

  • Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
  • Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
  • Coaching, Recovery & Development Events
  • Comfortable Onsite Medical Detox Center

Research on Marijuana Depression

The effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating depression is currently being researched. Scientists say potential advantages could include mood stabilization and the return of “normal” endocannabinoid function.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo are investigating the potential of medical marijuana to alleviate depression brought on by persistent stress. The school’s Research Institute on Addictions (RIA) has been concentrating mainly on endocannabinoids, which are brain chemicals.

These chemical substances are created naturally. They influence behavior, emotions, cognition, and motor control. They also have chemical properties with cannabis.

Scientists have used animals instead of humans in their research. However, they have found that persistent stress may inhibit the brain’s endocannabinoid production. They discovered that this can cause behaviors like depression.

Adding cannabis to the body could aid in reestablishing normal levels and function. This might lessen depressive symptoms. To fully evaluate marijuana’s merits and downsides as a potential therapy for depression, more research is required.

Emotional Instability After Quitting Marijuana

Abrupt cessation of cannabis use can lead to emotional instability as the brain adapts to functioning without the euphoric effects produced by marijuana. Symptoms like depression, alongside feelings of anger or irritability, may arise following the sudden discontinuation of marijuana use.

Understanding Marijuana’s Categorization

Determining whether marijuana or cannabis can be labeled as a stimulant or a depressant isn’t straightforward. The classification varies significantly from person to person and depends on different strains and types of marijuana. According to the University of Maryland, marijuana can be categorized as a depressant, stimulant, or even a hallucinogen. However, it is never classified as an opiate.

Treatments For Major Depressive Disorder: Psychotherapy and medication are frequently used to treat MDD.
Can Smoking Weed Cause Depression? Depression Weed: The effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating depression is currently being researched.

Effects of Marijuana, Depressant Characteristics

Marijuana exhibits characteristics of a depressant, akin to certain medications like barbiturates, which can pose a notable risk of addiction. With prolonged use, depressants, including marijuana, may lead to tolerance, necessitating higher doses for similar effects.

Potential Dependence and Health Risks

Continued marijuana use, especially before bedtime, may lead to dependence, making it challenging to sleep without the drug. Additionally, smoking marijuana or any substance can irritate the airways and heighten the risk of respiratory issues, such as bronchitis or persistent coughing. Understanding the effects of marijuana on the body is crucial to grasp its comprehensive impact.

World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Programs. Complete Integrated Inpatient Rehab with Free Post Discharge Therapy Planning.

CALL (855) 940-6125

End the Emotional Pain Rollercoaster. Gain Stability & Happiness Through Recovery Treatment. Start Mental Health Counseling Today. Get Free No-obligation Guidance by Behaviroal Health Specialists Who Understand Mental Health Recovery.

We Level Up Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The definition of dual diagnosis (also referred to as co-occurring disorders) can differ between institutions. However, it is generally described as the specific treatment of someone who has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Treating dual-diagnosis clients is a critical aspect of our inpatient treatment experience because co-occurring disorders are strongly correlated with instances of substance abuse.

Creating a treatment plan that addresses the physical aspects of withdrawal, the psychological connection with drug use, and managing underlying mental health disorders is part of setting clients up for success.  A thorough mental health analysis identifies possibilities for treatment.  Meeting with mental health counselors and medical care providers means access to behavioral therapy and medication treatment. At our dual diagnosis treatment center, We Level Up can implement the highest quality of care. 

We recognize the fragile complexities of how mental and substance abuse disorders can influence others and sometimes result in a vicious cycle of addiction.  That’s why we offer specialized treatment in dual-diagnosis cases to provide the most excellent chance of true healing and long-lasting recovery.

It can be challenging to accept that you may be living with a mental illness, but once it is properly diagnosed and treated, treating the presenting case of substance abuse can be magnitudes easier. Only a properly trained medical professional can diagnose these underlying conditions.  If you believe you are suffering from a disorder alongside addiction, we urge you to seek a qualified treatment center to begin your journey to recovery. Call We Level Up today.

Experience Transformative Recovery at the We Level Up Treatment Center.

See our authentic success stories. Get inspired. Get the help you deserve.

We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy We Level Up Treatment Centers for Drug Alcohol Rehab Detox Behavioral Mental Health Dual Diagnosis Therapy
Hotline (855) 940-6125
Voluntarily testimonials from the We Level Up Treatment Center network vary. Not intended as a guaranteed treatment or outcome as each person's journey is unique.

Start a New Life

Begin with a free call to a behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

  • Personalized Care
  • Caring Accountable Staff
  • World-class Amenities
  • Licensed & Accredited
  • Renowned w/ 5-Star Reviews

We’ll Call You

Is Marijuana a Depressant FAQs

  1. Does Smoking Weed Cause Depression?

    Can Smoking Weed Make You Depressed? According to several studies, marijuana users who use the drug frequently or heavily are more likely than nonusers to have their depression diagnosed. It doesn’t seem like marijuana causes depression, though.

  2. Does Weed Make Depression Worse?

    Does Marijuana Make You Depressed? Can Weed Make Depression Worse? Marijuana use can exacerbate depression symptoms in some people. If you began using marijuana as a teen, if you use it frequently, or if you use it recreationally rather than medically, your risk is increased.

  3. Can Marijuana Help With Depression?

    Scientific studies and some anecdotal data both point to cannabis’ potential to reduce the symptoms of depression. But because cannabis is also a depressive, it might make you feel more sleepy.

  4. Is Marijuana A Depressant Or Stimulant?

    The solution is not as simple as you may imagine. The results can differ greatly from person to person. Additionally, various weed breeds and varieties might have various effects. According to the University of Maryland, marijuana can be categorized as a depressive, stimulant, or hallucinogen. It is never categorized as an opiate, though.

  5. Can Quitting Weed Cause Depression?

    Emotional instability is another drawback of abruptly stopping cannabis use. These are the results of the brain’s attempt to operate normally without the marijuana-induced highs. When quitting marijuana suddenly, anger or irritability can also surface.

  6. Does Weed Help Anxiety And Depression?

    Many people, especially those with social anxiety disorder, report utilizing marijuana as a coping mechanism for anxiety. THC seems to raise anxiety at greater doses while decreasing it at lower ones. All of the studied doses of CBD seem to reduce anxiety.

Clinical Depression Signs and Symptoms

Search We Level Up FL Depression and Marijuana Resources
  1. Depressant. (n.d.). Is weed a depressant, is weed a depressant-related articles
  2. Di Forti, M. et al. (2019). The contribution of cannabis use to variation in the incidence of psychotic disorder across Europe (EU-GEI): A multicentre case-control study.
  3. Hallucinogen. (n.d.). Marijuana and depression: does marijuana help depression-related articles
  4. Hallucinogens and dissociative drugs. (2015). Does marijuana cause depression-related articles
  5. Marijuana: What are marijuana’s effects? (2019). does marijuana cause depression-related articles
  6. Marijuana: What is marijuana? (2019). Is marijuana a stimulant or depressant-related articles
  7. Marijuana: What is marijuana? (2019). Medical marijuana for depression, is marijuana a stimulant or depressant-related articles
  8. Prescription CNS depressants. (2018). Is Marijuana a Depressant, is marijuana a stimulant or depressant-related articles
  9. Prescription stimulants. (2018). Is Marijuana a Depressant, is marijuana a stimulant or depressant-related articles
  10. Profile: Marijuana. (n.d.). Is Marijuana a Depressant, medical marijuana for depression-related articles