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May 31, 2022

Head High vs Body High. What’s the Difference?

Consumption of marijuana provides a variety of effects that are often described as body high and head high.

Before we take a closer look at the effects of cannabis consumption, let us go over the basics.

Where does the High Come from? Cannabinoids, Flavonoids, Terpenes

The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of two cannabinoid receptors and maintains and affects sleep cycles, moods, memory, appetite, and fertility. The cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis - they interact with our body’s ECS introducing various effects.
The euphoric feeling that we often refer to as “high” or “buzz” comes mostly from the psychoactive cannabinoid - THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol. But it is not that simple. The way your high feels depends on numerous features of the plant, namely its content of other cannabinoids - e.g. CBD would counteract the effects of THC - as well as terpene and flavonoid content. Terpenes are mainly responsible for the smell and flavor of the plant and are found in most plants, not just cannabis. Flavonoids are mostly responsible for color. But, cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids provide an entourage effect with variety of effects and benefits.

Body High vs Head High

What is a Head High like? Effects, Negatives

Head high or cerebral high effects your mind, your perception, often cited as a boost of creative energy. 

Cannabis and infused products providing body high may lead to increased heart rate, meaning that pure sativas, especially in high doses may cause anxiety or ‘feeling racy’. 

Strains that cause more a mind high are often picked for livening up a conversation, doing mundane tasks, inspiration, and more.

What is a Body High like? Effects, Negatives

The name body high also speaks for itself. It affects your body. People looking for relaxation as well as other physical effects often choose indica strains. It is a better choice for stress relief, sleep management and the like.

One of the most common manifestations would be couch lock. It does depend on the dosage but indica strains may “ground” you for half a day if you are not careful. 

What is Combination High?

This refers to a high that you get from hybrid or more balanced strains. They may offer both, body and head high, which are not too pronounced but at the same time they usually do not have that many side effects. 

How do sativa and indica affect you differently?

The debate around the sativa / indica distinction has been going on for ages. Originally the terms referred to the strain’s lineage not effects. But the current simplified perception of most consumers is that sativa is basically an upper providing energizing buzz, i.e. head high while leaving your motor function alone, thus being more suitable for daytime use and indica is more of a downer, that relaxes your body and offers a blissful, euphoric body high, hence more appropriate for evening / night-time use. But the fact is that most strains / products are not pure sativas or indicas, it is not as clear cut as it may sound. The majority of strains are hybrids, most leaning towards indica or sativa effects where their properties are not as pronounced but their negatives are also negated. 

Do different strains affect people differently?

Absolutely. Most budtenders know their products very well and are always happy to answer the most common question - “what are the effects of the strain?”. Plus dispensaries like Silver Stem have their own qualification from the grow team as well as cannabinoid and terpene information will give you a general idea of what to expect from the strain. 

Does the high depend on consumption method

It does. The most popular ways of marijuana consumption are through smoking, vaping and dabbing, where the THC is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lungs and ingesting edibles where the THC is converted in the liver. This in turn provides for different types of high - consuming flower or cannabis extracts will cause more of a head high, and consuming edibles tends to lead to a body high. 

As with most things cannabis, there are numerous factors to consider, plus the fact that much research is still needed, we hope you found the answers to your questions.

Visit one of Silver Stem’s Colorado dispensaries - our budtenders will be happy to find the perfect strain just for you!

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