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Stimulants (also known as psychostimulants, central nervous stimulants, and colloquially as "uppers") are a class of psychoactive substances that activate the nervous system to increase alertness, arousal, and motor activity.[citation needed] Stimulants represent one of the three major classes of psychoactive substances: the other two are depressants (also known as "downers"), and hallucinogens. Primary effects include wakefulness, focus enhancement, appetite suppression, thought acceleration, ego inflation, and euphoria.

Stimulants exert their effects through a number of pharmacological mechanisms, the most prominent of which are increasing concentrations of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine by either promoting release (e.g. amphetamine, methamphetamine) or by blocking reuptake (e.g. cocaine, methylphenidate). Prominent examples of dopaminergic stimulants include amphetamine, cocaine, methylphenidate, and methamphetamine. Some stimulants also have an additional significant effect on serotonin, such as MDMA, MDA, and methylone. These substances are sometimes separately categorized and referred to as entactogens.

Since their discovery in the early 20th century, stimulants have been adopted throughout the world as prescription medicines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity and illicitly as recreational substances.

In addition to intended therapeutic use, many stimulants have abuse potential ranging from moderate to high. They can also induce tolerance, and possibly physical dependence, although not by the same mechanism(s) as opioids or depressants. The toxicity of stimulants can vary widely based on the individual properties of each chemical. It is strongly advised to use harm reduction practices when using these substances.



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Stimulants may be divided into different subgroups based on shared chemical and pharmacological features. Prominent groups include amphetamines, phenidates, and cathinones.

Subjective effects

The effects listed below are based upon the subjective effects index and personal experiences of PsychonautWiki contributors. These effects should be taken with a grain of salt and will rarely (if ever) occur all at once, but heavier doses will increase the chances of inducing a full range of effects. Likewise, adverse effects become much more likely on higher doses and may include serious injury or death. These effects are listed and defined in detail within their own dedicated articles below:

Alongside of these a variety of non-essential secondary effects are often present. These generally include but are not limited to:

After effects

The effects which occur during the offset of a stimulant experience generally feel negative and uncomfortable in comparison to the effects which occurred during its peak. This is often referred to as a "comedown" and occurs because of neurotransmitter depletion. Its effects commonly include:

Experience reports

Experience reports can be found here:


The compounds listed below have been included on the basis of possessing varying degrees of stimulant effects. Some of them have a minimal stimulant effect while others may have a strong one. Many of these substances possess other qualities including entactogenic or nootropic effects.

See also

External links


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