page 2 of 3
Psychoactive drugs, as opposed to medicinal drugs, have psychological effects, meaning that they change sensory experience, perception, mood, thinking, and behavior. Psychoactive drugs are sometimes called recreational drugs, though some have legitimate medical uses.
Researchers usually classify recreational drugs into four types: stimulants, sedatives, narcotics, and hallucinogens.
Drugs derived from the cannabis plant, such as marijuana and hashish, have features of more than one of these drug types, so researchers sometimes consider cannabis to be a separate, fifth drug type.
|Drug type||Examples||Effects||Negative effects|
|Stimulants||Nicotine, caffeine, cocaine, amphetamines, crystal meth||Increased alertness and energy, excitation, euphoria, confidence||Anxiety, restlessness, irritability, sleeplessness, paranoia, increased aggressiveness, feelings of panic|
|Sedatives||Alcohol, Valium, Xanax, barbiturates, such as Seconal||Euphoria, relaxation, less anxiety||Impaired coordination, depression, lethargy, drowsiness, mood swings|
|Narcotics||Morphine, heroin, opium, codeine, hydrocodone, such as Vicodin||Euphoria, relaxation, less anxiety, less sensitivity to pain||Lethargy, drowsiness, nausea, impaired coordinated, constipation|
|Hallucinogens||LSD, mescaline, psilocybin||Euphoria, changed perception, hallucinations, insightful moments||Nausea, paranoia, anxiety, feelings of panic, mood swings, impaired judgment, jumbled thoughts|
|Cannabis||Marijuana, hashish||Euphoria, relaxation, increased awareness, changed perception||Sluggishness, anxiety, impaired memory|
Psychoactive drugs work by affecting neurotransmitter function. A single drug can affect the function of more than one neurotransmitter. Drugs can:
Take a Study Break!