Drugs and their effects

Although people may be interested in the effects of different drugs, we need to realise that the effects of drugs on the brain (or central nervous system) and the effect seen in the user are often two quite different things.

A useful way to classify the effects of drugs is by how they affect the brain and central nervous system.

Depressants: These drugs slow down (or depress) the central nervous system. They include such drugs as alcohol, cannabis, tranquilisers and heroin. Generally depressants lower blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate and reduce consciousness.Did you know..

Stimulants: These drugs speed up (or stimulate) the central nervous system. They include such drugs as amphetamine, caffeine, nicotine and ecstasy. Generally stimulants increase blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate and stimulate consciousness.

Hallucinogens: These drugs distort the central nervous system. They include such drugs as LSD, mushrooms, cannabis in high doses and ketamine. Generally hallucinogens increase blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate (although this may differ e.g. cannabis and ketamine), as well as alter perceptions and distort the senses.