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Is Weed A Hallucinogen?

Marijuana joints and buds on a stone table.

Many people wonder if weed is a hallucinogen. Examples of hallucinogenic drugs include substances such as LSD (acid) and psilocybin mushrooms. However, reports suggest that at high doses, weed can seem slightly hallucinogenic. Cannabis also increases the risk of psychosis. This extreme high is even more likely in teens who use marijuana.

Similarities Between Hallucinogens and Weed

Marijuana is a complex drug that can have many different signs and symptoms. Sometimes it can even cause mild hallucinations. But is marijuana a hallucinogenic drug?

In addition to hallucinations, hallucinogens can also cause:

  • Altered sense of time or space
  • Loss of control over motor skills
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Detachment from self or environment

Weed can have all of these effects as well, which is why many people classify it as a hallucinogen. While hallucinations while using marijuana are possible, they are actually kind of rare and don’t occur in everyone. But symptoms such as time distortion, which occur on weed, are also considered an aspect of a hallucination.

Differences Between Weed and Most Hallucinogens

Some people would argue that marijuana is not a hallucinogen. Rather, people might consider it a depressant. A comparison of the effects of cannabis, psilocybin, DXM, and salvia suggests that smoking marijuana can lead to effects, not unlike classic or atypical hallucinogens. At the same time, the hallucinatory effects of cannabis may be much different than those of other hallucinogens. Cannabis may have a unique pharmacological mechanism of action compared to other hallucinogens.

There are several ways in which cannabis is not like most hallucinogens:

  • Cannabis does not affect serotonin signaling; it acts through endocannabinoid receptors
  • Weed produces effects similar to depressants, including:
    • Relaxation
    • Sleepiness
    • Muscle relaxation
    • Short-term memory loss
    • Dizziness
  • Weed can be considered a stimulant because it can cause:
    • Elevated moods
    • Racing heartbeat
    • Anxiety
    • Paranoia

Marijuana is a complex drug. It has hallucinatory effects, but it also acts as a depressant or stimulant. The important point to keep in mind is what is happening to the kids smoking weed now. Marijuana products today, compared to previous years, are more likely to contain high concentrations of the psychoactive compound THC, and in these higher-potency cannabis products, compared to lower potency weed, psychotic-like symptoms are more likely to occur.

If your teen is using marijuana, and especially if they are experiencing the hallucinatory effects of the drug, know that you are not alone and help is out there. Treatment is available at Next Generation Village. Contact us today to learn more about our personalized and confidential services designed to meet your teen’s drug treatment needs.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


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