Cannabis has been used for centuries for its medicinal and recreational effects. But what does it feel like to be high? This article will take a closer look at the science behind the cannabis high and explore the physical and psychological sensations that come with it. From dry mouth and altered perception of time to relaxation and increased creativity, we’ll examine the effects of cannabis on the body and mind. We’ll also touch on the variations in highs experienced by different individuals and the factors that contribute to these differences.
Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or just curious about the experience, this article is sure to provide valuable insight into the world of getting high on cannabis.
Why does cannabis get you high?
Cannabis gets you high because it contains compounds called cannabinoids, which interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. One of the most well-known is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main psychoactive component in cannabis. When THC is consumed, it binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, causing changes in mood, perception, and cognitive function.
Studies have shown the endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating various physiological and cognitive processes, including mood, appetite, memory, and pain perception. By interacting with this system, THC produces the characteristic effects associated with being high, such as relaxation, altered perception, and changes in mood.
The physical signs of being high
The physical signs of being high on cannabis can include:
- Dry mouth: Cannabis consumption often leads to a decrease in saliva production, causing dryness in the mouth.
- Reddening of the eyes: Blood vessels in the eyes can dilate, resulting in reddening of the eyes.
- Altered perception of time: Perception of time can be altered, causing it to seem to pass more slowly.
- Increased heart rate: Increase in heart rate, which can last for a few hours after consumption.
- Relaxation: Cannabis consumption can cause physical relaxation and a feeling of being “loose.”
- Increased appetite: Increase the desire for food, often referred to as “the munchies.”
- Nausea and vomiting: In some cases, cannabis consumption can cause nausea and vomiting, especially in individuals who are sensitive to the effects of THC.
The severity and duration of these physical symptoms can vary depending on factors such as the method of consumption, the potency of the cannabis product, and the individual’s tolerance.
The mental experience of being high on cannabis
The mental experience of being high can vary depending on various factors, such as the method of consumption, the potency of the product, and the individual’s tolerance. However, some common mental effects include:
- Relaxation: Feelings of relaxation and stress relief. Some people call this getting stoned.
- Altered perception: Alter the perception of colours, sounds, and time.
- Increased creativity: Enhance creativity, leading to new insights and ideas.
- Changes in mood: Cause changes in mood, such as euphoria, increased sociability, or increased paranoia.
- Impairment of short-term memory: Can impair short-term memory, making it difficult to recall recent events or recall information.
- Increased introspection: Can increase introspection, leading to greater self-awareness and introspection.
- Heightened sense of humor: Can enhance the sense of humor and amplify the enjoyment of comedy.
These mental effects can vary greatly depending on the individual and the type of cannabis consumed. Additionally, cannabis can have negative effects on mental health, including increased anxiety, depression, and paranoia, especially in individuals with pre-existing mental health conditions.
What factors affect the intensity of the high?
The intensity of the cannabis high is influenced by several factors, including:
- THC content: The potency of the cannabis product, as determined by its THC content, is one of the primary factors that impact the intensity of the high. Higher THC content generally leads to a stronger high.
- Method of consumption: The method of consumption, such as smoking, vaporizing, or ingesting, can affect the intensity of the high. Ingesting cannabis through edibles, for example, generally produces a stronger and longer-lasting high compared to smoking.
- Dosage: The amount of cannabis consumed also affects the intensity of the high. Taking a higher dose will generally result in a stronger high.
- Tolerance: Individuals who use cannabis regularly may develop a tolerance to THC, which can reduce the intensity of the high.
- Strain: Different cannabis strains have varying levels of THC and CBD, as well as unique terpene profiles, which can affect the intensity and character of the high.
- Terpenes: These are aromatic compounds found in cannabis that give it its distinctive odor and flavor. They can also interact with THC and other cannabinoids to enhance or modulate the high.
- Cannabinoids: In addition to THC, there are many other cannabinoids present in cannabis that can affect the high. For example, CBD can counteract some of the negative effects of THC, such as anxiety, while enhancing other effects, such as relaxation.
- Genetics: Individual differences in genetics, such as variations in the endocannabinoid system, can affect the intensity of the high.
- Setting and mindset: The environment and the individual’s mindset can also impact the intensity of the high. Taking cannabis in a comfortable, relaxed setting can enhance the overall experience, while taking it in an unfamiliar or stressful environment can amplify anxiety and paranoia.
The intensity of the cannabis high is influenced by several factors, including the potency of the product, the method of consumption, the amount consumed, the user’s tolerance, the strain of cannabis, the presence of terpenes, the effects of other cannabinoids, individual differences in genetics, the setting and mindset. These factors interact in complex ways to determine the intensity and character of the high, which can vary greatly from person to person. It’s important to approach cannabis use with caution and start with small doses.