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Is Tequila a Stimulant or a Depressant?

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What is Tequila? Is it a Stimulant?

Tequila shots are one of the most popular distilled spirits in the world. However, the famous drink comes with numerous deep-rooted myths. One misconception is that tequila is a stimulant rather than a depressant. 

Most myths attached to tequila are untrue, including the one above. We’ll discuss this further in the article and share the effects of tequila on your mind and body. 

Tequila is a famous alcoholic drink made up of various mood-boosting ingredients like blue agave nectar.

Tequila is one of the most commonly used liquors in cocktail bars and pubs. Its popularity may have much to do with its fun after-effects. 

This liquor is made exclusively in the central region of Mexico. This region is well-suited to growing the blue agave plant. The agave plants grown in Mexico are more flavorful and fragrant, which gives tequila its fruity, sweet, and earthy taste. 

There are five different kinds of tequila. They include:

  1. Blanco (White) Tequila
  2. Gold Tequila 
  3. Reposado (Rested) Tequila 
  4. Añejo (Old) Tequila 
  5. Extra-añejo (Extra old) Tequila 

Tequila has the reputation of being a stimulant. This is due to its sudden mood-boosting properties, but is far from true. According to the tequila profile shared by the USDA: 1

  • More than 99 percent of tequila has high water and Ethyl alcohol content
  • The remaining content of tequila consists of various elements, such as Iron (Fe), Phosphorus (P), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Potassium (K), and other substances   

Studies clearly show that tequila isn’t a stimulant. Since it falls under the category of alcoholic drinks, it counts as a depressant.

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Why Do People Think Tequila is a Stimulant?

Sipping one glass of red wine or champagne can make you feel relaxed. You may experience an adrenaline rush after your first glass of tequila. This has possibly led to the common myth of tequila being a stimulant.

Aside from that, there is no definite proof or anecdotal evidence of tequila being a stimulant.

Tequila also offers 231 Kcal energy.1 Most people may get high or feel overly energetic after ingesting it. However, the euphoric effect doesn’t last long.

Are All Types of Alcohol Depressants?

The short answer to this question is, yes. Certain alcoholic drinks trigger some stimulant effects. However, alcohol is generally categorized as a depressant

Other alcoholic drinks (including red wine) contain ethanol, which slowly increases the activity of your nervous system. This explains the drowsy and dizzy feeling after the consumption. 

Most agave plant-based liquors like tequila and mezcal are considered stimulants. But they have the same depressing effects as any other alcoholic drink on the market. 

Unfortunately, it can also give you one of the worst hangovers of your life if not consumed in moderation. You may experience sleepiness and drowsiness a few minutes after you drink tequila. This shows it has depressive effects on the nervous system. 

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Tequila’s Effects on the Brain and Body

Existing research about tequila doesn’t show any definitive benefits. Moreover, the effects may vary. 

Tequila may also react differently when mixed with another beverage. For example, a cocktail drink mixed with tequila can spike your blood sugar levels. 

One severe concern with tequila consumption is alcohol addiction. It affects your mind, body, emotions, and rationality. Therefore, it’s best to consume tequila and other alcoholic beverages in moderation to prevent substance use disorder.5

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Summary

Tequila is neither a stimulant nor a hallucinogen. The spirits don’t come with active psychedelic ingredients. On the other hand, the depressant effect of tequila produces a sedative effect on brain activity.

Other types of tequila are available in the market with different intensities and effects. Blanco tequila is the mildest and purest form, while extra añejo is the most potent form.

The drink may first appear to boost your energy and mood. However, these effects don’t last long. Furthermore, its typical consumption in the night clubs and “fun” reputation also add to the myth.

A few drinks too many can lead to serious health issues, such as digestive problems and nervous disabilities. If you choose to drink tequila at your local pub, make sure to drink it responsibly and in moderation.

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Updated on June 23, 2022
5 sources cited
  1. Food Data Central Search Results. “Tequila.” U.S. Department of Agriculture Website, 30 Oct. 2020
  2. Robert H. “The Truth About Tequila and Your Bones.” Robert H., Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Health Blog, 25 May. 2016
  3. Elena F., Mercedes G. “Agavins Increase Neurotrophic Factors and Decrease Oxidative Stress in the Brains of High-Fat Diet-Induced Obese Mice.” PubMed Online Library, 2 Aug. 2016
  4. Gerard D., Florence M., Paul T., Daniel C., Elode M., Arnold M., Laurence C., Thomas P. “Tequila, a Neurotrypsin Ortholog, regulates long-term memory formation in Drosophila.” PubMed Online Library, 11 Aug. 2006
  5. Elinore F. “Substance Use Disorder Treatment for People With Co-Occurring Disorders: Treatment Improvement Protocol.” Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D. SAMSHA, 2020

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