What are the effects of drugs?

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All drugs carry risks and you never know how you’ll react to a drug so it’s a bit of a lottery.

Drugs can be broadly divided into three categories based on their main effects. They may act solely as stimulants, as depressants or as hallucinogens (aka psychedelics).

Quite a few drugs have mixed effects. Many show two effects at the same time, and can then be described either as stimulant hallucinogens (for example, ecstasy) or as depressant hallucinogens (for example, cannabis).

Stimulants make you feel alert and like you have lots of energy and confidence. However, they can put pressure on your heart and there is a risk of heart failure. They include cocaine, speed, ecstasy, and mephedrone.

Depressants make you feel relaxed and chilled out but they can slow down your heart rate and breathing which can be fatal. They include alcohol, tranquillisers, heroin and cannabis.

Hallucinogens can make you view reality in a distorted way – your sense of movement and time can speed up or slow down and you might see vivid distortions, illusions or hallucinations (seeing things that are there). They include LSD and magic mushrooms.

In addition to these 3 broad categories, each particular drug has its own specific effects and risks,

Some drugs are quite new and their harms may not yet be fully known. Sometimes drugs don’t contain what you think they do, for example, PMA and mephedrone have been sold as MDMA/ecstasy. Information on the known effects of drugs is available in the A-Z of drugs.


Cannabis Legalisation in the UK: A Cost-Benefit Analysis [INFOGRAPHIC] by Paul at Cassiobury Court.

Please include attribution to CassioburyCourt.com with this graphic.

cannabis cost benefit analysis uk

A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Cannabis Legalisation