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Published
September 20, 2021

How Does it Feel to Be High on Cannabis? How It Works and How Long it Lasts

Everyone heard about cannabis and being “high” but many people have not tried it.

Never tried cannabis or even marijuana infused products like edibles? Ever wondered what it feels like to be high? Should you decide to try it one day or just want to understand what it is without going through the actual experience, we will try to give you an idea of what to expect.

How Does It Feel to Be High? What Does Being High Mean?

Consuming cannabis and infused products can make you feel intoxicated or as it is called “stoned”, “high”, “buzzed’, or any other of a hundred slang terms for it. The reason for it is that cannabis contains a variety of chemical compounds called cannabinoids that can affect your body’s endocannabinoid system in a number of ways. One of the major cannabinoids is THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol, which provides a psychoactive effect, meaning that it alters your behavior, mood, feelings through changes in the levels of neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and norepinephrine. The effect is also influenced by terpenes found in a particular marijuana strain and the way they work in combination with the cannabinoids present in it.

In short, when we talk about being high on cannabis we usually refer to having an altered state of mind due to consumption of THC found in the plant.

The feeling may vary greatly. It depends on the form of consumption, the potency of the flower/vape cartridge and how much you consumed or the amount of THC in your edible. It also greatly depends on you - your tolerance to THC, your metabolism, and even whether you ate or not. 

The typical effects of smoking marijuana flower/extract or ingesting an infused product are euphoria, happiness, and relaxation, both physical and mental, loss of inhibition, altered time and space perception, and more.

Taken in excessive amounts though, the effects may be quite the opposite - from cotton mouth and elevated heartbeat to nausea and paranoia.

Other (positive) effects depend on the strain and its terpene profile, potency, as well as the amount you smoked. These can vary from fits of giggles, energy burst, munchies, and eruption of creativity to drowsiness and couch lock.

It is important to determine what is a reasonable amount for you and always err on the side of caution. You can always consume more.

Read More: Cannabis Shopping Guide: Dosage. How Much Do I Need to Buy?

What Does the High Depend on?

Even the exact same product may affect different people in a different way. Your state, or rather your high depends on a lot of different factors and their combination, including:

- Product type. The high will be different if you are smoking flower, dabbing an extract, vaping or consuming an edible. The time of the onset and the duration also depend on the product type. You will feel the effects of cannabis almost immediately if you smoke or vape them, but with edibles you might not feel anything for an hour. 

- The amount of product. Obviously, the more you take, the more intense the effects will be. Click here to read more on dosage.

- Strain type. In addition to the fact that different strains have different potency, they also have very different effects. Some are calming and relaxing while others are energizing almost to the point of being racy. Learn about the strain you are planning to consume beforehand and do not be shy to ask your budtender for recommendations.

- Terpenes. These play a big role in your high and its nuances. Study the terpene profile of your product and experiment with different ones to see which one suits you best. Some terpenes offer sedation, others help with THC absorption, and so on.

- Tolerance. A lot depends on whether you are regular consumer, or eat and edible once in a while, or maybe it is your first time. 

- Physical state. Your age, gender, and even your metabolism come into play. It is also important whether you ate prior to consumption. 

- Alcohol. Keep in mind that it is inadvisable to mix cannabis and alcohol, since the effects are hard to predict. If you consume marijuana before alcohol, it will slow down the absorption of the former. If you drink, and then smoke cannabis, you might feel overwhelmed and even sick, since alcohol speeds up THC consumption. To read more on the subject, click here. 

Read More: 12 Most Common Questions About Cannabis Consumption

How Long Does the High Last?

This will also depend on the criteria described above.

Edibles for instance, may take over an hour to kick in but the effects may be felt for over 8 hours.

Flower, vape carts and concentrates take just about 5-10 minutes before you feel the effects and the high usually wears off after 2 hours, but again, with high potency and big dose, effects can last for 4 hours and linger for up to 24.

Read More: New Research Shows How Long THC Impairment Lasts

Symptoms of Being Too High. What to Do If You Consumed Too Much Weed?

It is always best to plan, start small, and do not rush to smoke or eat more. But, if you are feeling dizzy, have a hard time concentrating, nauseated, and so on, you might have overdone it. The first thing you need to remember is to keep calm. No one has dies from THC overdose. It is physically impossible. However, the sensations are definitely unpleasant. So, if this happened, you need to stay hydrated, maybe take shower, grab a bite to eat (but do not stuff yourself), find a distraction like talking to a friend. And if that does not help, never hesitate to call EMS.

Read More: 10 Things to Do if You Consumed Too Much Cannabis

Body High vs Head High

Even though the division of strains by their effects into indica and sativa is very limiting (and kind of wrong), most people consider indica to provide relaxing or sedative effects and sativa to be energizing, creative, and stimulating. Indicas and indica leaning hybrids will usually provide more of a body high, which is great if you want to unwind after a tense day, let your muscles relax, or just get some sleep. The common side effect of indica strains, especially if you go a bit heavy on it, are couch lock. Sativas commonly offer a head high, often called cerebral high. This may have an uplifting effect on a person and boost creativity. Consumers frequently pick a strain providing head high when they need to a mundane job, get some inspiration, or even to make their work our routine less routine. In case of the latter, you need to consult your physician on consuming cannabis products and exercising. 

In Conclusion

Marijuana is consumed for recreational and medical purposes throughout the world and more and more studies reveal its potential benefits. To have a joyful experience, start small and find the right amount for you; pick your strain - it might involve some trial and error, so do not be shy to ask your budtender for advice; always remember to consume safely. 

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