If you are planning to try marijuana, it is common to wonder what it feels like to be high. Keep in mind that marijuana affects everyone differently, although there are typically some commonalities. Although your experience, while high, will not be identical to that of anyone else, there is a well-established combination of effects that you may experience.
What Affects How You Feel
The way that you feel while high on marijuana will depend on numerous factors, including the dose, the potency, the strain, how you consume it, the frequency with which you use marijuana, and your physiology. Other factors include your gender, age, and whether you also take drugs or consume alcohol while smoking marijuana.
Some of the more common feelings people experience when high on marijuana include euphoria, relaxation, amusement, giggly, creativity, hunger, and increased sensitivity to light, sound, colour, touch, smell, and taste.
Potential Unpleasant Feelings
There is also a range of unpleasant effects or feelings that you may notice while high on marijuana. These can include a racing heartbeat, psychosis, paranoia, panic, vomiting and nausea, high blood pressure, hallucinations and delusions, confusion, and anxiety.
It is also common for people to get “the munchies” while high. This hunger is likely due to multiple factors, including the impact of THC on brain areas responsible for controlling appetite. Additionally, THC can enhance taste and smell, which could encourage you to start or continue eating. It can also increase ghrelin, which is a hormone connected to hunger.
The good news is that you are less likely to have an adverse reaction to marijuana as long as you limit your dose. The chances of a negative reaction increase if you consume too much or use more potent cannabis. It is also more likely if you are inexperienced.
Changes in the High
Some people will experience changes in the high throughout the experience, commonly referred to as stages for the high. This comes from the way in which the body processes THC, so its concentration in your blood changes.
If you vape or smoke your marijuana, the THC will use your lungs to enter your bloodstream. Within minutes, the concentration of THC in your blood will peak. Over time, your body breaks down the THC, and you excrete it via stools and urine.
More research is needed in this respect, but these changes to the THC concentration are likely while some people notice the euphoric feelings of being high peak after the THC blood concentration has peaked.
Duration of the High
So, you know what the high feels like, but how long does it last? Research indicates that when you vape or smoke marijuana, you will start to feel effects within minutes. They will then peak at 20 to 30 minutes and last an average of two to three hours. By contrast, edibles have a much later onset time of about 30 to 90 minutes, peaking at three hours and lasting less than 24 hours.
Variations by Strain
As mentioned, one of the many factors that influence what it feels like to be high on marijuana is the strain that you choose to use. Every strain is commonly associated with a different grouping of effects, although there is no guarantee that you will experience those effects. Think of the traits or results associated with a strain as what you are likely to notice, not what you will experience.
As a note, you may hear that sativa strains of marijuana are energizing, while indica strains are relaxing. While this is true for many strains, it is not always the case. Do not assume the effects of a strain just because it is indica, sativa, or hybrid. Instead, look at what others have experienced with that particular strain.
Variations by Method of Consumption
One of the other factors that will affect what it feels like to be high on marijuana is how you consume it, as mentioned earlier. Here are some of the variations you are likely to notice based on how you enjoy your cannabis.
Vaping marijuana has slightly different effects than smoking it because you inhale the vapour, instead of inhaling the smoke like you would if you smoked cannabis. Compared to other methods, vaping releases active ingredients in higher concentrations, which can cause a more potent high. A 2018 study found that vaping cannabis leads to stronger effects and higher THC concentrations in the blood compared to smoking, even when the quantities were the same.
You will typically notice the effects of vaping immediately, and they can last for as long as four hours.
Ingesting marijuana via edibles, sprays, or tinctures, tends to change the effects slightly. The THC should be released into your bloodstream over time, which can cause effects that are theoretically less intense. This was confirmed by a 2017 study that compared it to smoking and vaping. Despite this, anecdotal evidence indicates that edibles can deliver a powerful high, which is frequently debilitating, especially for the inexperienced.
This likely comes from the way in which the body processes the THC. When you ingest THC, it gets to your liver more quickly, and the liver breaks it down to a variation of THC that is more potent.
When consuming edibles, expect it to take 30 to 90 minutes, at least, to start feeling the effects. You are unlikely to deal with the impact for more than 24 hours. Keep this first part in mind, since some people who are new to edibles will want to consume more when they do not see instant results. This is a bad idea and can set you up to accidentally consume more than you intended. If you aren’t positive you took enough, wait at least several hours before consuming more. Ideally, you should just wait until the next time you use edibles and increase the dose then.