Well-known psychedelics, such as LSD and mescaline produce highly unusual effects that leave users feeling disconnected from their surrounding environment. This sense of disconnection can even bring on hallucinatory states made up of strange and bizarre realities.
Most people who use weed or marijuana don’t experience hallucinations or out-of-body experiences, which leads many to ask “is weed a psychedelic.” When compared to other more commonly used psychedelic hallucinogens, weed may not seem like a member of this drug class, but it is.
In effect, the type of “high” weed produces shares many common characteristics of psychedelic drugs.
Psychedelic Drug Effects
Whereas opiates act as “downers” and stimulants act as “uppers,” psychedelic drugs can produce effects comparable to both opiates and stimulants while also distorting a person’s sense of reality. As the most unpredictable drug class of all, psychedelic hallucinogens most affect a person’s thinking and sensory perceptions.
According to Bryn Mawr College, weed also alters a person’s perceptions and thinking, which accounts for why its classified as a psychedelic drug. Other types of psychedelic drugs include:
While psychedelic drugs carry a lower potential for abuse and addiction than opiates or sedatives, these drugs can still alter fundamental chemical processes in the brain in harmful ways.
Is Weed a Psychedelic? – The Effects of a Weed “High”
Weed’s Effects in the Brain
THC, weed’s active ingredient, accounts for the “high” effects of this drug. TCH interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, an area that runs throughout the brain and central nervous system.
The endocannabinoid system plays a primary role in regulating a range of bodily functions, including:
- Sensory perceptions
- Thinking and reasoning
When ingested, weed stimulates chemical activities within the endocannabinoid system, which in turn disrupts normal functioning within the areas this system regulates. Weed’s psychedelic effects result from how the drug interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
Distortions in Sensory Perception
Weed can having varying effects on the areas of the brain that regulate sensory perception depending on the dose amount. In large enough doses, a person can actually experience hallucinations, but this is more so the exception than the norm.
More often, users experience shifts in perceptions, but not so much that they lose touch with the surrounding environment, according to Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Distortions in sensory perception typically take the form of:
- Raised consciousness in terms of grasping a deeper understanding on life issues
- Sense of time moves slower
- More acute sensory perception
- Enhanced awareness
Ultimately, is weed a psychedelic has more to do with its ability to produce altered states of consciousness than whether or not it can incite hallucinatory experiences. Like other types of psychedelic drugs, using weed on a repeated or long-term basis can change the brain’s overall system in harmful ways.
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