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What Does it Feel Like to be High on Marijuana?

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The feeling that accompanies smoking, vaping or ingesting is usually described as being “high” or “stoned”. If you have never taken weed, you might be curious about how exactly this feels like. 

 While describing the effects of marijuana, it’s important to note the effects of people can be drastically different.

Keep reading as we take you on a trip describing how it feels to be high on weed and detail the different factors that can affect your high.

How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?

Though marijuana contains practically hundreds of compounds, the ones that are the most popular are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

Though a very prominent cannabinoid found in weed, CBD is mostly therapeutic and does not induce a high. It is likely to relieve you of your chronic aches and pains and may even make anxiety and depression go away. But that’s not the discussion of the day. 

When talking about “a high”, THC is the compound that influences this in the most significant way.

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that there are two types of highs. A body high, which is relaxing, tingling, refreshing and sometimes even almost numbing. Then there’s the head high, which is the euphoric high often associated with psychoactive properties.

THC produces a psychoactive head high when ingested, smoked or vaped.

How this works is that it enters the bloodstream, making its way to the brain. It then attaches itself to receptors in the brain which then cause the feeling of “highness” most people experience. 

THC also causes the communication between someone’s brain and the rest of their body to slow down, thereby having a calming effect. 

If you are still wondering what feeling high must feel like, in a nutshell, you will feel:

  • relaxed
  • euphoric
  • happy
  • giggly
  • hungry
  • creative
  • inspired
  • sociable
  • chatty
  • heightened sensitivity to smell, color, touch, sound, taste and light
  • greater enjoyment and amusement
  • sedated

These are the classic effects of a high. It is important to note that several factors like the strain you take, the quantity and your own physiology will affect how you experience weed. We will discuss each factor in the course of this article.

The Stages of Getting High on Weed

Marijuana inebriation is made up of three levels: buzzed, high, and stoned. “”What's the difference you ask?” It is quite simple really. It is simply the stages you go through as your body experiences different levels of THC.

A high may start with a small buzz and build up to a full blown “out of this world” experience, before it gradually recedes. This is because the THC levels in your bloodstream tend to vary over time. During the peak, this is when you will feel the full effect of the marijuana just before it is worked out of your system and secreted.

At the bottom end of a high, you may experience the following:

  • Hunger
  • Sleepiness
  • Anxiety and sometimes mild paranoia

The intensity of a marijuana high is affected by:

Do Different Weed Strains Cause Different Highs?

Yes, marijuana highs may vary based on the strain of cannabis. This is influenced not only by the cannabinoids in the strain but the terpene profile as well. 

Marijuana strains are categorized into three primary types: 

  • Sativa
  • Indica
  • Hybrid

There are as many strains as there are original prototypes and breeders, which add up to hundreds. Each strain has distinctive effects that affect both the body and the mind.

Sativa strains are known to be uplifting and they pair well with activities such as social gatherings and physically taxing activities. Sativa strains bring about a “head high”.

Indica strains on the other hand are relaxing and induce a deep sense of relaxation which could even end up being sedative and lead to deep sleep. Indica strains are what inspire a “body high”.

Hybrid strains are a balanced mix of indica and sativa. They offer a combination of both relaxing and energizing effects. They come in handy in times when it is too late to take an energizing sativa and too early to take a sedating indica strain. 

Method of Consumption

There are quite a number of different ways in which you can consume marijuana. Here are three that are the most common: 

  • Smoking: There are different ways to smoke cannabis such as joints, blunts,and bongs. Vaping is a sophisticated way of smoking cannabis that does not involve any combustion. The effects of smoking are almost instant and you should feel a nice high kick in almost immediately.
  • Edibles: There are a wide range of edibles, which could be foods such as brownies and candy, drinks, spays and tinctures. The edible high differs widely. An edible high takes between 30 minutes and two hours to kick in and you should therefore tread with caution to avoid “overdosing”.
  • Topicals: cannabis topicals come in different shapes and sizes. This includes lotions, creams, bath bombs, patches, and sprays among others. The skin has numerous endocannabinoid receptors that quickly take up the CBD or THC and the therapeutic process begins. 

How Long Does a Marijuana High Last?

The duration of marijuana high depends on several factors including dose and potency. Additionally, the method of consumption will also have a big effect on how long you will feel high. 

A study carried out in 2017 showed the below to be the time of onset, when the high peaked and duration of the  high induced by the different methods of consumption: 

MethodOnsetPeakTotal duration
Smoking and vapingWithin minutes20 to 30 minutes2 to 3 hours
Edibles30 to 90 minutes3 hoursWithin 24 hours

Note that there might be distinct differences in how long the high will last depending on whether you use a bong or smoke a joint. 

What Does it Feel Like to be “Stoned”?

While being high is upbeat, being stoned can be described as dopey, heavy, drowsy sensations. In a high, everything is moving too fast for you excitedly, but when you’re stoned, everything is in slow-mo. 

A stone could be described as the tail end of a high with feelings of lethargy, relaxation and intense hunger. 

Possible Side Effects of Being Very High On Weed

If you have heard tales told of a weed high, you have probably heard of hallucinations, zoning out and other crazy stuff such as imagining horns sticking out of your friends head.

These tales are not too far-fetched. On the extreme end, a marijuana high can elicit some not very pleasant experiences. 

These might include:

  • Panic
  • Temporary psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Red eyes
  • Delayed reaction times
  • Poor limb and muscle coordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Distorted senses

If you are a newbie or infrequent user, you are more likely to experience these unpleasant effects. 

Generally, consuming marijuana will result in a pleasant, relaxed experience. However, NIDA( The National Institute of Drug Abuse) warns that it could induce temporary psychosis, whose effects might include delusions, hallucinations and “loss of personal identity”.

As mentioned earlier, edibles tend to have more extreme effects, mostly because people end up overdosing as they are waiting for the high to kick in.

It is unclear not clear whether these effects are long-term. Researchers are still in the process of determining if there are any long term complications to using marijuana. 

Also note that it is not advisable to mix marijuana with alcohol as this will cause what is known as “greening out.” Whenever you experience side effects after consuming weed you should stop immediately, hydrate, and rest as you wait for the effects to wear out. If the side effects are extreme you should see a doctor immediately.

Tricks to Chill When You Feel Too High

Almost every weed user has found themselves here — you took another cookie before you waited for the effects of the first one to kick in, or you took too many hits off the vape pipe…and now you’re spiraling and not enjoying it at all.

You might simply be very uncomfortable or you might have started getting paranoid and feeling as if the ground has come up by 3 feet. You might even think you are dying and start wondering whether your will is updated. Do not panic. 

Unlike alcohol which can be dangerous if you take 10 times more what is recommended for you, cannabis is pretty safe. Cannabis interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors which are nowhere near the part of your brain that controls breathing. Neither will the ingesting of weed damage the cognitive functions of your body, your liver or your lungs. The most you might get from over consumption of weed could be an elevated heart rate that might be quite scary and unpleasant but is certainly not permanent.  

Even though it won’t kill you, ingesting weed safely will ensure you enjoy your experience and rip the great benefits of a weed high. 

If the train has already left the bus station and you are in the throes of an uncomfortable extreme high, here are some tricks that can tide you over the rough patches: 

Drink Water: Lots and lots of water. Though smoking weed does not cause dehydration, you may certainly end up with an uncomfortable “cotton mouth”. Keep a water glass or water bottle near and sip on it progressively. This will help not only in keeping your mouth moist but also in replenishing any fluid you might have lost and diminishing the effects of the high.

Try Black Peppercorn: Black peppercorn contains a terpene called caryophyllene which not only has anti-anxiety and relaxing properties but also amplifies THC’s more sedative qualities. You could chew it or add it into the water you are drinking. 

Distract Yourself With a Mundane Task: Do not underestimate the power of distraction. Try something easy and repetitive like brushing your teeth or fixing a tyre. If that fails, you could watch something funny or listen to calming music. Whatever you do, ensure it is a safe activity that you do in a comfortable space. 

Go For a Walk: Fresh air has been known to do wonders in resetting the brain. Head outside and stretch your legs, but remember to keep close proximity and ensure that if anything happens to you, you will be safe. If you do not have the option of a walk, pacing the length of your apartment could do the trick. It goes without saying that this should not be done if you are feeling dizzy as you could fall and injure yourself. 

Take a Bath: Is there anything more refreshing than a bath? Soaking has been known to be a great reliever of stress since time immemorial. Whther you are feeling too high or just generally overwhelmed, get into that tub with some soothing scents and you will be glad you did. Therapeutic scents are such as lavender and eucalyptus and if you combine that with soothing music, you have a winner.

Some people generally do not like baths. If you are one of those, a shower would do nicely too. 

Take CBD: It has been found that CBD can be used to counter interact some effects of THC. Its ability to reduce anxiety and calm you down might also be very beneficial when you are going through an intense high. Simply place a few drops of its tincture under your tongue and you should feel the effects in a bit. 

Go to Sleep: Lying down in a dimly lit room may do you a world of good. As long as your brain isn’t playing funny tricks on you and imagining dragons swimming, sleep might actually be the best way to get over the high. 

If the effects of your high stretch to a full blown panic attack, or if you get to the point where your high alarms you, you can reach out to a medical professional for help. 

Conclusion

Everyone wonders what being high feels like. While the effects vary from person to person, it very likely will be an experience you will never forget. From stoned body highs to psychedelic head highs, the effects of marijuana are certainly something to write home about. 

While consuming marijuana, remember that it is still not legal in most states and some other states require a prescription. 

 

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.