Liquor Laboratory

Is Tequila a Stimulant or a Depressant? (2024 Updated)

Is Tequila a Stimulant or a Depressant

Last Updated on March 9, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Tequila is claimed to be the only distilled spirit that works as a stimulant rather than a depressant, as you’ve surely heard. However, many people are still unsure about this. So, is tequila a stimulant or a depressant? Our team did thorough research and found the answer.

Is Tequila An Upper or A Downer?

Is Tequila An Upper or A Downer?

Most people believe tequila is an upper and not a downer. After all, have you seen anybody unhappy while holding a Margarita or Paloma? 

However, this one’s a myth.

All alcoholic drinks, including tequila, contain ethanol, a known central nervous system (CNS) depressant.

Sure, you may find yourself eager, excited, and exuberant while drinking tequila, but it’s typically attributed to how you consume your drink, the situation you’re in, and the people you’re with.    

What is Tequila?

Tequila is made from a blue agave plant (Agave Tequilana) from Western Mexico.

Its distinct flavor and taste have ensured its popularity across Mexico, and as a result, this distilled spirit is great for cocktails like the Classic Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, and Paloma.

The blue agave plant can be harvested after 7-10 years. The starches within are slowly baked and then turned into sugar.

After that, juices will be removed, and then the yeast will be added for fermentation. As a result, the sugar turns into liquor.

There are varieties of tequila, each distinguished by the region in which agave is planted.

Reposado tequilas are matured in oak barrels for at least two months and sometimes three to nine months.

Old tequilas are matured in oak barrels for 18 months to three years. Unaged gold tequilas are mixed with caramel or other additions. 

Also Read: Reposado Tequila vs Anejo

How Strong is It?

El Tesoro Blanco Tequila

Tequilas typically contain between 38 and 40% alcohol, or 76 and 80 proof. This is comparable to other types of drinks, such as vodka and whiskey

Tequila has earned a reputation for making any party wild and, well, “fun.” If you drink tequila in cocktails, the sugar content of the mixer may elevate your blood sugar levels, changing your mood and energy as well.

The euphoric effect is obvious, even when you consume smaller amounts.

Also Read: Why Tequila Makes You Sick

Is It A Depressant?

Although you may have witnessed individuals drinking tequila becoming happy, loud, and exuberant, tequila can actually be a depressant.

It has the same intoxicating element as wine, beer, vodka, and other distilled spirits.

Ethanol in beer, wine, and red wine has the same effect on the brain.

It’s often believed that tequila has a distinct effect on individuals, so how you drink these alcoholic drinks has different impacts on your behavior.

But does tequila make you angry?

Can Tequila Also Be A Stimulant?

Don Isidro Tequila with shot glass

Tequila’s stimulating influence on the body can only be felt when you lose control for a moment.  

Ethanol is a central nervous system depressant that contains relaxing or sleep-inducing properties. The impact you may feel is dose and environment-dependent. In little doses, ethanol can cause euphoria.

Additionally, alcohol can cause an increase in heart rate and hostility in some individuals, both of which are characteristics of stimulants. 

Most people like the energizing effects of alcohol, while some weirdly prefer the depressing effects.

Researchers believe that persons who get more stimulation than calming effects are more prone to drinking. But will tequila make you horny?

Its Effect on your Brain

When tequila’s pleasant dose of alcohol hits the brain, it quickly affects neurons and receptors. The brain’s “working bees” are neurons, and they carry information and messages throughout your brain.

Alcohol inhibits these neurons’ receptors, giving a sedative effect. A reduction in glutamate activity and a rise in dopamine and serotonin are effects of brain sedation. 

Glutamate is another important substance for normal brain function because it allows nerve cells to function properly. These chemical changes in the brain influence behavior and emotion.

Certain well-known alterations include memory loss, lack of balance/coordination, poor decisions, impulse control, increased aggression, etc. 

Read: What Alcohol Makes You Feel Hornier?

How is Tequila Metabolized?

A small quantity immediately goes into the circulation via oral capillaries when you consume alcohol. When it reaches the stomach, it is rapidly processed.

Further digestion of alcohol occurs in the small intestine and is quickly absorbed into the circulation. Then it is brought to all other body regions, including the brain.

The water content of each tissue determines the distribution of alcohol throughout the body.

The complete process (from the first drink to the brain) can take less than 15 minutes on an empty stomach.

Also Read:

Is Tequila Good For You?

shot glass with lime

Some claim tequila may help with anything from weight reduction to bone strength.

There is no definitive proof that tequila is healthy for you, yet health dangers suggest the reverse.

The main health concern is alcoholism, creating physical, emotional, mental, and relationship issues.

Doctors generally agree that no one should drink tequila for its supposed health benefits. Instead, they should eat enough food, exercise, and drink sensibly.

Some people consume it straight, but it is recommended to consume it in shots.  

Drink it by shots with some salt or lime to reduce the harshness of tequila. A liquor is defined as a 5-ounce glass of wine, 1.5-ounce shot of liquor, or 1.5-ounce cocktail.

FAQs: Is Tequila A Stimulant Or A Depressant?

Is Tequila a hallucinogen?

No, tequila is not a hallucinogen. Tequila does not contain any active psychedelic ingredients [1]. However, drinking a whole bottle or taking a few shot glasses of vodka can make you drunk, but it’ll not make you hallucinate.

Can Tequila keep you awake?

No, tequila does not keep you awake. Ethanol is a depressant. It inhibits and blocks receptors in the brain, resulting in a sedating effect that slows down brain activity [2].

What is in tequila that makes you hallucinate?

There’s no ingredient in tequila that can make you hallucinate. Agave plants cannot cause hallucinations. But of course, massive drinking can make you drunk and messy for a while. 

In Summary

Despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary, tequila is a depressant. While tequila may first appear to boost mood and energy, the way it is typically consumed in shots probably adds more to the myth.

After all, excessive drinking or overindulgence always has negative effects. 


  1. Things You May Never Know About Tequila
  2. Why Alcohol Disrupts Your Sleeps
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