Psychoactive Medications and Their Differences

Paper Info
Page count 4
Word count 1129
Read time 5 min
Topic Health
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US


All psychoactive medications have an impact because of their associations with our endogenous neurotransmitter systems. Agonists and antagonists of a neurotransmitter receptor can be included in drugs. A neurotransmitter system’s function is facilitated by an agonist, while antagonists inhibit neurotransmitter activity. Depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens are the three major types of drugs. Depressant medications cause the brain to function more slowly. They are often used to alleviate fear. They don’t usually make a person sad, but they do impede coordination, focus, and judgment. Stimulant medicines hasten the transmission of signals between the brain and the body. As a result, they commonly increase the heart rate and breathing rate, raise blood pressure, reduce appetite, and dilate the eyes. Hallucinogenic drugs alter reality experiences, altering how a person thinks, senses, and feels about a situation. A person can, for example, see objects that do not happen or have an unrealistic sensory experience. Stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens have different chemical compositions, processing, and uses.


Depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens have different chemical compositions. Benzodiazepines (BDZs), depressants, have a chemical composition of a benzene ring connected to a diazepine, a heterocyclic ring containing seven members (Sanabria et al., 2021). There are multiple types of medications that belong to the BDZ category. The BDZs’ type depends on the elements present in the compound’s basic nucleus. On the other hand, caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine), a stimulant, is a heterocyclic organic-based compound containing a pyrimidine ring bound to an imidazole ring having a purine core called xanthine (DePaula & Farah, 2019). Caffeine is classified as an alkaloid as it is a secondary plant metabolite that contains a heterocyclic nitrogen atom and is generated from purine nucleotides. It can be found in about a hundred plants across thirteen plant kingdom orders, including Coffea species, coca, and Camelia sinensis. Finally, dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a hallucinogen containing tryptamine particles in its chemical structure (Barker, 2018). Benzodiazepines, caffeine, and DMTs contain different components, giving them different chemical compositions.


Depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens have varying manufacturing methods. For instance, the manufacture of BDZs (depressants) differs across different categories of BDZs. The 1, 5-benzodiazepines’ production entails reactions between ketones and phenylendiamines using catalyst through condensation with beta and alpha-saturated carbonyl compounds, while the 1, 4-benzodiazepines derivatives’ preparation methods comprise an aromatic electrophilic replacement of N-substituted anilines (Sanabria et al., 2021). Comparatively, soluble coffee, a stimulant, is made by extracting water-soluble compounds from ground roasted coffee using hot water and high pressure, then drying the coffee (DePaula & Farah, 2019). Lastly, DMT, a hallucinogenic compound, is discharged from the pineal gland of living, free-moving rodents (Barker, 2018).

Drug Ingestion

People ingest BDZs (depressants) through oral administration. On the other hand, caffeine (stimulant) use is a long-standing tradition ingested orally through beverages and caffeine-containing gums (DePaula & Farah, 2019). Chewing the nuts, barks, or leaves of some plants containing this material relieved exhaustion, increased awareness, and improved mood in diverse societies. DMT (hallucinogen) is ingested orally or through vaporization of a hallucinogenic tea called Ayahuasca, containing Banisteriopsis caapi vines and Psychotria viridis (Bilhimer et al., 2018). The degradation of the DMT by the monoamine oxidases in the intestines, renders it orally active. Most of the drugs, including depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens are ingested orally into the human body.


Benzodiazepines’ (depressants) tolerance develops after long-term use, leading to potential addiction, which is the main challenge. BDZ’s tolerance to seductive effects occurs after a comparatively brief duration of use compared to anxiolytic impacts (Samardzic & Svob Strac, 2016). The consumed BDZ dosage also influences the rate at which tolerance develops. On the other hand, tolerance to the caffeine’s (stimulant) overall effects is normally found after prolonged consumption (DePaula & Farah, 2019). The cause for increased tolerance is unknown and varies greatly from person to person, although it has been linked to an elevation in adenosine receptors. Additionally, in genetically sensitive people, immunity to such anxiogenic effects grows with daily caffeine intake in adults. Finally, DMT’s (hallucinogen) tolerance can develop due to the use of higher doses, leading to decreased variations in cardiovascular impacts with recurrent dosing (Bilhimer et al., 2018).

Withdrawal Symptoms and Effects

Patients accustomed to using BDZs (depressants) medications may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia if they stop taking the drugs (Sanabria et al., 2021). On the other hand, sudden interruption of caffeine (stimulant) consumption can cause withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, work challenges, drowsiness, and headache, opposite effects those induced by caffeine consumption (DePaula & Farah, 2019). Such symptoms develop approximately twelve to twenty-four hours after stopping caffeine intake and approach climax twenty to forty-eight hours later. Nevertheless, some patients can develop these symptoms within three to six hours and can persist for seven days. Finally, DMT’s (hallucinogen) withdrawal symptoms include shaking, sweating, and palpations (Garcia-Romeu et al., 2016).

Medical Uses

People use BDZs (hallucinogen) to inhibit nerve impulses in the central nervous system. The BDZs can travel through the brain due to their increased solubility in lipids, causing rapid action via the nerve stimuli transmission mechanism. GABA (the γ-aminobutyric acid) is the primary CNS inhibitory neurotransmitter, containing a reception location in the heteropentameric glycoprotein’s acquiesced neurons (Sanabria et al., 2021). Caffeine, once ingested, has a wide range of pharmacological effects at both primary and peripheral sites. Caffeine primarily serves as an antidote to adenosine A1 and A2A receptors located in the CNS, instead of the four adenosine receptors (A1, A2A, A2B, and A3) (DePaula & Farah, 2019). In humans, the A1 and A2A receptors are regulated at typical plasma caffeine levels, while the A2B and A3 receptors are only triggered in greater quantities. It stimulates psychomotor activities and improves behavioral functions such as disposition and wellness, feeling of energy, and outcomes connected to alertness, mental attention, recollection, information processing speed, and awareness by increasing the outputs from dopaminergic receptors and the activation of multiple neurotransmitters, including norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine (DePaula & Farah, 2019). On the other hand, DMT has been shown to have new receptors, suggesting that it may play a significant role as a neuroregenerative agent. Hallucinogens have been shown to trigger dream-like brain patterning, which is thought to be mediated by 5-HT2A receptor stimulation (Barker, 2018).


Depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens are three types of drugs that can be categorized. Benzodiazepines (BDZs) are central nervous system (CNS) depressants that promote fatigue, dizziness, and anxiolysis. Caffeine (1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) is a heterocyclic organic compound with a pyrimidine ring attached to an imidazole ring with a purine center, xanthine. According to findings of hallucinogenic manifestations observed during the application of DMT, endogenous DMT may be involved in paranoia, natural qualities, and hallucinations such as motivation, perception, and dream states, preservation of waking reality, altered states of thought such as religious and spiritual phenomena, and near death experiences (NDEs).


Barker, S. A. (2018). N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an endogenous hallucinogen: Past, present, and future research to determine its role and function. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12(536), 1-17. Web.

DePaula, J., & Farah, A. (2019). Caffeine consumption through coffee: Content in the beverage, metabolism, health benefits and risks. Beverages, 5(2), 1-50. Web.

Sanabria, E., Cuenca, R. E., Esteso, M. Á., & Maldonado, M. (2021). Benzodiazepines: Their use either as essential medicines or as toxics substances. Toxics, 9(25), 1-18. Web.

Bilhimer, M. H., Schult, R. F., Higgs, K. V., Wiegand, T. J., Gorodetsky, R. M., & Acquisto, N. M. (2018). Acute intoxication following dimethyltryptamine ingestion. Case Reports in Emergency Medicine, 2018. Web.

Samardzic, J., & Svob Strac, D. (2016). Benzodiazepines and anxiety disorders: From laboratory to clinic. New Developments in Anxiety Disorders. Web.

Garcia-Romeu, A., Kersgaard, B., & Addy, P. H. (2016). Clinical applications of hallucinogens: A review. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 24(4), 229-268. Web.

Cite this paper


NerdyBro. (2022, July 26). Psychoactive Medications and Their Differences. Retrieved from


NerdyBro. (2022, July 26). Psychoactive Medications and Their Differences.

Work Cited

"Psychoactive Medications and Their Differences." NerdyBro, 26 July 2022,


NerdyBro. (2022) 'Psychoactive Medications and Their Differences'. 26 July.


NerdyBro. 2022. "Psychoactive Medications and Their Differences." July 26, 2022.

1. NerdyBro. "Psychoactive Medications and Their Differences." July 26, 2022.


NerdyBro. "Psychoactive Medications and Their Differences." July 26, 2022.