Humans have been enjoying weed for 2500 years. Enjoying the effects of cannabis is far from new, but it’s definitely changed and expanded with years of innovation. Careful breeding of plants and new ways to consume have changed the landscape of cannabis. Weed is more potent than ever as growers have cultivated the best of each strain over the centuries while combining genetics for desired effects and strength. The number of strains in existence today alone is mind blowing.
But what is it actually like to get high from weed? It seems like a simple enough question, but the answer can be difficult to put into words that make sense to someone who’s never experienced cannabis. (Not too mention, exactly what method you’re using to consume.) So we’re breaking it down by head, body, and different ways to enjoy what is so many people’s favorite way to feel good.
There’s two most notable ways that people identify the way that weed makes us feel. The feeling in your head and the feeling in your body. Some people associate heady highs with sativa strains which may be a term that you’ve heard, but don’t get hung up on that. Sativa and indica more so refer to the structure of the plant, but on either side of the coin the effects themselves vary.
The cerebral, ‘heady’ feeling is sometimes referred to as a head high. This feeling can range from the impact that smoking has on mood and headspace, or more literally, it can include a tightness or weight behind your eyes in addition to a sensation like wearing a headband. Head highs tend to give the giggles, an uplifting feeling, or spark someone’s creativity. For those sensitive to anxiety, head highs can feel overwhelming. Compared to the relaxing body highs of some strains, heavy cerebral effects can be distinctly intense especially if not prepared or expecting it. There’s nothing to be afraid of, though! By remaining calm, eating some food, drinking some water, those feelings always pass. If you’re really feeling stuck and uncomfortable, have some peppercorns nearby and pop one in your mouth. The natural terpenes in peppercorn helps the high subside.
A strain with a heavy body high can feel a lot like a weighted blanket. Most notable, arms and legs might feel heavier. It’s a sensation that helps someone sink into a couch and let their muscles relax. The high from cannabis that manifests through the body tends to be less of an overwhelming experience than its heady counterpart, but with the potential to be just as powerful.
Body highs are a nice way to ease into getting ready for bed, particularly for someone who may struggle with letting themselves relax enough for sleep to find them. That’s not to say that an effect heavily focused on the body is promised to make you tired, but it lends itself better to playing video games with friends than running a 5k marathon.
The most common standard for enjoying cannabis is to light it up and smoke it. Even in this, there are a myriad of ways to smoke. Of course, those with sensitive lungs may be better off enjoying an edible or drinkable, but for those wanting the quickest impact, smoking is a hard method of consumption to beat.
Cannabis edibles come in a massive variety; they can be in almost any form of food. With legalization, the possibilities have only seemed to explode with everything from infused potato chips to sugar and seasoning salt with THC so any food you add it to can become medicated. Easily, it is the sweets that are most popular (gummy chews, hard candies, chocolates, cookies). In Washington State, edibles are limited to 10mg of THC per individually wrapped serving and no more than 100mg of THC per package.
Whereas a seasoned cannabis consumer may find 40 or more mg to be a pleasant experience, someone new to ingesting weed will definitely want to start out small! Remember that when eating THC, it takes awhile for it to work through your digestive system so the effects might not kick in for up to an hour or so. Different things factor into this such as how much water you’ve had, the last time you ate, and your natural metabolism. Edibles can provide a much more intense body high when it comes to answering what weed is like.
Edibles are a trial and error thing to figure out, so just because it’s been a half hour and nothing is kicking in, DON’T go eating a bunch more thinking it will help. Tinctures are another ingestible with a little quicker reaction time. Tinctures are liquid that can be placed under the tongue with a dropper or a spray. The results don’t tend to be quite as overwhelming with a tincture, but because it enters your system through your saliva glands, the wait for your intestines to absorb it isn’t fully necessary.
Concentrates, which is the overall umbrella term for cannabis extracts, are exactly what they sound like. Cannabis flower is processed utilizing a variety of methods to strip away things like plant matter and sometimes cannabinoids other than THC, leaving behind a product that is highly potent. The oil that results from the process is used for dabs or put into vape cartridges. The experiences that come with each option can be vastly different, so let’s break them down separately.
The different types of cannabis and ways to enjoy it make attempting to pinpoint what it's like a little difficult, but we've given the general overview. Always keep in mind that cannabis can affect everybody differently and it may take a couple tries to figure out what it is that works for you. The best thing to do is stop in and chat directly with a knowledgeable budtender who is ready to make some recommendations for the experience that you're looking for.