Pretty much everyone we’ve ever talked to who hasn’t tried weed before asks us, “What does being high feel like?” They’ve seen it portrayed in movies and heard it discussed on the radio and the internet by those who may or may not have any real experience.
But none of that replaces hearing it directly from the horse’s mouth (from long-time stoners, to be exact).
So, that’s what we’ll do in this article: relate what it’s like being high so you can decide if it’s something you want to pursue.
Of course, the best possible way to figure out what being high feels like is to try it for yourself. Just be sure to take it slow — a toke or two will do — so you don’t fly past the enjoyable high into the paranoid and anxious high. That one’s no fun at all.
It’s All About The THC
Before we answer the question, “What does being high feel like?” it’s important for first-time tokers to understand a bit about the mechanics of the process, what causes the high, and what doesn’t cause the high.
Let’s start with the cause: It’s all about the THC.
THC — or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol if you want to be really, obnoxiously pedantic — is a chemical secreted by the glands of the marijuana plant. It’s found in high doses around the reproductive organs, as well as in the resin glands, of the bud or flower of the female pot plant.
Although THC is only one of 85+ chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant, it’s the primary psychoactive ingredient.
What does that mean for you, the cannaenthusiast who doesn’t give a lick about the biochemistry of their bud? It means that the high you’re chasing is caused by THC and THC alone.
So, when you ask, “What does being high feel like?” you’re actually asking, “What does taking THC feel like?”
On the other side of the coin, our brief aside into THC also means that the other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, CBN, and THC-O (a big part of those 85+ chemical compounds we mentioned earlier), can’t get you high.
While they certainly play a role in tempering the experience, they don’t actually cause the high that makes marijuana so famous (or infamous).
If you want to learn more about how THC and the other cannabinoids interact, check out these articles from the HMJ blog:
- Full Spectrum Vs. Broad Spectrum Vs. CBD Isolate: Which CBD Should I Take?
- CBD vs. THC: Everything You Need To Know About These Beneficial Cannabinoids
What Does Being High Feel Like? The Science
In this section, we’ll examine the two most common ways of getting high — smoking weed and eating weed — and reveal what it feels like on each.
What Happens In Your Body When You Smoke Weed?
When you smoke marijuana, the THC travels through your lungs, into your bloodstream, and then to your brain.
NOTE: For the rest of this article, we’ll refer to THC as delta9-THC so you get a better understanding of how weed works in your lungs and stomach.
The delta9-THC is filtered by your lungs to some extent, but still, 50 to 60 percent of the cannabinoid crosses the blood-brain barrier to make you high. That whole process, from start to finish, can be felt almost immediately.
With an average joint, peak concentrations of delta9-THC (a.k.a. the highest you’re going to get) come anywhere from five to 15 minutes after your first inhalation. After that, the effects start to trail off over the next one to two hours.
Got all that? Good. Just in case you’re still scratching your head, here are the important points to remember:
- Smoking introduces delta9-THC into your body.
- The effects of the delta9-THC can be felt almost immediately (at the most, within a few minutes).
- The peak of the high usually occurs around 15 minutes after inhalation and can be gone an hour later.
What Does Being High Feel Like When You Smoke Weed?
- Sensitivity to light, color, sound, touch, taste, and smell
The key thing to keep in mind is that you’ll experience these effects almost immediately, and they’ll be quite intense for 30 minutes or so and then start to taper off.
So, if you’re looking for an intense, quick high, smoking weed is your best bet.
For more information and advice on inhaling for your high, check out these articles from the HMJ blog:
- How To Smoke Weed: Tips For First-Timers
- How To Pack A Bowl: A Beginners Guide To Bowl Smoking
- What’s The Best Way To Smoke Weed: 18 Ways To Burn Down
What Happens In Your Body When You Eat Weed?
When you ingest marijuana in an edible, the delta9-THC travels through your stomach and then to your liver (yes, this is an overly-simplistic explanation, but do you really need to know every single stage of digestion?).
In your liver, the delta9-THC is metabolized (chemistry-speak for “transformed”) into 11-hydroxy-THC. It’s this chemical that makes edibles so much different than smoking.
11-hydroxy-THC has a much more psychedelic effect than delta9-THC. That difference in effect explains why there’s such a contrast between the way you feel after smoking marijuana and the way you feel after ingesting marijuana.
And if you’ve only ever smoked marijuana or only ever ingested marijuana, trust us, there’s a big difference between the two highs.
Another variable that separates edibles from smoking is timing. Remember that you’ll feel the effects of smoking almost immediately and that those effects will dissipate shortly thereafter.
With edibles, the timing is stretched out because the THC has to travel through your digestive system and then through your circulatory system to your brain.
That means that you may have to wait anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes to feel the effects. But once they hit, the effects can last from six to 10 hours.
What Does Being High Feel Like When You Eat Weed?
Like smoking weed, eating weed produces much of the same effects, including:
- Sensitivity to light, color, sound, touch, taste, and smell
And, even though you’re consuming your cannabis in food or drink, you’ll eventually feel hungry whether you’re actually physically full or not. That’s just the way weed works.
The key thing to keep in mind is that the effects will take a while to kick in, they’ll be less intense (it’ll be more of a slow burn, so to speak), and they’ll last for quite some time (hours).
So if you’re looking for a gentle, long-lasting high, eating weed is your best bet. Just be sure you don’t eat raw weed — that won’t get you high and could give you an upset stomach. Always cook your cannabis into something you chew or sip.
For more information and advice on eating for your high, check out these articles from the HMJ blog:
- How To Make Cannabis Coconut Oil In 15 Easy Steps
- How To Make Space Cake: The Complete Guide For Cannabis Lovers
- Weed Wine: What It Is And How To Make It
- How To Make Cannabis Butter: The Ultimate Guide
- Instant Pot Cannabutter: How To Make Marijuana Butter In Your Pressure Cooker
High-Quality Weed Makes A High-Quality High
So, “What does being high feel like?” It depends.
We can give you a rough approximation, but your experience might be very different. That said, don’t be afraid to try. Just take it slow.
One thing we are sure of — and the best advice we can give you — is that high-quality weed makes a high-quality high.
It’s not, and never will be, about the quantity of ganja you consume. It’s about the quality of the bud you start with.
And, as with everything else in the cannacommunity, there’s slang for that. Cannabis quality is divided into four distinct categories:
For more information on these four designations (including how they got their names), check out our article The Differences Between Beasters, Headies, Mids, And Regs.
When you’re shopping for cannabis to help you find out what being high feels like, opt for beasters, or, better yet, headies if you can afford it. Your stash will last longer (because you don’t have to use as much), you’ll get more mileage from a small amount, and the experience will be out of this world.
If you can’t find the first two, mids will do in a pinch, but always shy away from regs (the literal bottom of the barrel) unless you have no other choice.
And, when possible, insist on consuming high-quality organic marijuana and organic marijuana products (like those grown and produced by Honest Marijuana). Why? Because organic marijuana is free of harmful fertilizers, pesticides, and chemicals that will harsh your buzz.
Plus, with a high-quality, organic strain like those grown at Honest Marijuana, you’ll need less weed to experience the effects you’re after. A toke or two from high-quality bud goes a long way.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100% all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.
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