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Depressants work by slowing down the messages between the brain and the body by slowing down the activity of the central nervous system. The most commonly used legal depressant is alcohol, whilst Heroin is the most commonly used illegal depressant.
Their effects can vary greatly depending on the amount taken. For example, Cannabis is generally considered a depressant, but in larger amounts it can act like a hallucinogen.
These listed affects of depressants are the sought after effects. Taking depressants in large quantities, frequently or in conjunction with other depressants or other drugs will likely have many other less desirable side effects. For example, when combining depressants, the effects increment exponentially, not linearly and overdose in this manner is quite common.