Is Cannabis a Hallucinogen?

Jun 15, 2022 | Cannabis Blog

The effects of cannabis have traditionally been difficult to categorize. It can be a stimulant to some, a depressant for others, and a hallucinogen in some cases. A lot depends on the person, the dosage, and the potency of the marijuana product.

Cannabis may help relax you when you are stressed. It may also help you focus when you are feeling out of sync. People choose marijuana for diverse purposes and describe differently their experience with it. Some try various strains to evaluate their effects while others switch between consumption methods to see which one suits them best.

In large doses, cannabis can often be hallucinogenic. This, however, is not always the case and a lot depends on how you experiment with it.

Cannabis Is a Multi-Functional Compound

The reason for the different experiences people have with marijuana is that cannabis is a multi-functional compound: it may relax our mind, excite our brain, and impair our perception of the world. It may also be biphasic, i.e. have one effect at a low dose and its opposite at a high one, which makes it even harder to categorize.

Cannabis as a Depressant

Cannabis may depress and slow down the messaging between our brain and our body. In a sense, with marijuana, the brain works in a more relaxed form. That’s a great way to ease anxieties and stress when the brain is overexcited and overworking.

When cannabis acts as a depressant, its main effects are a feeling of relaxation and gentle sleepiness. Some people choose to take marijuana before bed to help them enjoy a good night’s sleep. It may also help relieve muscle tension, which can be good after strenuous exercise or when you feel so stressed that you are clenching all your muscles too tightly.

Cannabis as a Stimulant

Sometimes, what you really need is something to help you focus and improve your alertness. Cannabis may act as a stimulant and increase brain function. It may increase your heart rate and create a feeling of energy boost that may help you handle a busy and demanding day or task.

The increased heart rate is, of course, a reason why marijuana should be avoided by people with a history of heart problems, as THC may raise your blood pressure and strain your heart. Healthy people who feel they lack concentration or require a creative boost often take cannabis to help their brain regain its alertness.

Cannabis as a Hallucinogen

There have been mentions of cannabis causing hallucinations. That means cannabis consumers see brighter colors, or hear voices. They can become sensitive to noises and sounds which usually do not bother them. Some cannabis consumers have mentioned out-of-body experiences. The psychotropic effects of THC are why people with mental health problems such as schizophrenia should avoid marijuana—at least until the relation between cannabis and mental health has been better studied.

The grand majority of marijuana consumers do not experience hallucinations, though. Anecdotal evidence suggests these affect mostly people who consume large quantities of THC-dense cannabis.

By and large, a typical session of smoking for the average human does not produce the vivid hallucinations that can be had with many illegal drugs. You’re not going to sit on your couch and just see or hear things. There can be a visual element, but it’s no more than a minor distortion of what you see otherwise. Hallucinogen is a scary word, and we’re programmed in a way to think of these as a drug that just by the virtue of taking it, suddenly we’re Alice, and the Wonderland is coming for you. And while there’s very real supporting evidence of it having some characteristics of a hallucinogen, the material effects of those are not something a casual smoker would tell you exist.

What Affects My Experience with Cannabis?

There are several factors that affect how cannabis works with your body and mind.

Your Cannabis Dosage

A lower dosage will usually deliver milder and gentler effects. If you take a large dosage of cannabis, you are more likely to experience the full effects of marijuana.

People who are not accustomed to marijuana should start with a low dosage and see how they react. Chronic users who have developed a high tolerance to cannabis tend to consume larger doses and could ultimately experience hallucinations and other extreme side effects of THC.

The Amount of THC in Your Cannabis

Lately, cannabis growers have been developing marijuana strains brimming with THC. This trend has seen cannabis strains exceeding a THC content of 30%, whereas a few years ago the average THC content hovered around 8-10%.

More THC means your cannabis is more potent. Even a little will go a long way—which is why “dog-walkers” (mini pre-rolls) are increasingly popular—and could produce more disruptive side effects such as hallucinations and a disconnect from the real world.

We suggest you consume your cannabis responsibly and start with a strain with a low or average THC content. If you are unsure about the cannabis strains that best match your needs, talk to our budtenders. They are experienced, knowledgeable, and helpful. They will guide you into making the most appropriate choice for your needs, listen to your worries, and discuss with you any other uncertainties you might feel.

Method of Consumption

The way you consume cannabis can influence the effect it has on your body. There are usually two ways to take in your marijuana: you can smoke it or eat it.

When you smoke marijuana pre-rolls or cannabis flowers, the THC enters your body through the lung capillaries and reaches the bloodstream almost immediately. The effect is fast and strong and lasts for about 2 to 3 hours. After that, your bloodstream slowly eliminates the THC.

Edible THC goes through the stomach and the liver, where it is metabolized into 11-hydroxy-THC, which has a significant impact on the brain and body and is highly bioavailable. Ingestible THC has been shown to be more potent but takes longer to act because of its journey through the stomach. Also, the effects last longer but tend to be gentler.

Some people react better to inhaled THC while others feel better when they take THC edibles or capsules. We suggest you try both consumption methods and see which one works best for your body.

Because each body’s biochemistry is different, cannabis will impact people differently. For example, some consumers who are already experiencing anxiety may benefit from the relaxing effect of THC while others might feel more anxious after taking THC.

The Cannabis Strain You Choose

There are over a thousand marijuana strains in the world. They all belong to the cannabis variety but each has a different cannabinoid and terpenoid profile.

Cannabis contains more than 100 cannabinoids, of which THC and CBD are the most abundant. It also contains hundreds of terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds.

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that all plants carry, including cannabis. They give cannabis strains their characteristic scents: it is each strain’s unique combination of terpenes that gives it its particular aroma.

Think of each strain as a mix-and-match combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins. These explain why some strains feel more relaxing while others are chosen for their creative impact.

You need to match the strain to what your body needs. This will come with trial and error until you find a marijuana strain that works for you without causing any unpleasant side effects such as.

Hillside Natural Wellness Has Your Cannabis

Hillside Natural Wellness is your marijuana dispensary in Anchorage.

We want you to feel welcome and at home when you visit Hillside Natural Wellness. Order your marijuana products online or visit our shop at 8639 Toloff St. Anchorage, AK 99507. Tell our budtenders about any worries you have and we will guide you into the most suitable cannabis strain for your needs.