WHAT IS COUCH LOCK?
We’ve all been there; one minute you’re sitting on the couch, enjoying a delicious sample of your favourite strain. The effects are starting to come on, but nothing seems out of the ordinary. Suddenly, your body starts to feel warm and fuzzy; your limbs and head feel heavy, and you start to get the sensation that you’re literally melting into the couch. That’s couch lock.
Couch lock is a colloquial term used by stoners to describe a strong feeling of physical sedation brought on by cannabis, essentially leaving them feeling “locked” to the couch.
Cannabis has strong sedative properties, which is why some people find it provides them with effective relief from insomnia and other sleep issues. These sedative properties are also what cause couch lock, which is essentially just an overly strong feeling of sedation. Cannabis contains over 400 active compounds, including cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) terpenes (like limonene and pinene), and more. The unique chemical balance of these compounds is what give different strains of cannabis their different effects.
While cannabis is mainly considered a psychoactive substance, it’s important to remember that is also produces notable physical symptoms such as sedation and relaxation. After all, that’s why many medical marijuana patients use cannabis to treat symptoms like pain, insomnia, and even stress.
No individual cannabinoids and/or terpenes have been isolated as the sole culprit(s) that cause couch lock. Some try lay the blame on myrcene, a terpene and known sedative found in weed (as well as hops, thyme, and other plants). The claim is that high concentrations of myrcene are what gave some strains the power to leave you melting into the couch. However, test data from entrants to the 2015 Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam showed that myrcene levels were highest in Sativa strains that did not cause any couch lock effects at all.
The amount of cannabis you consume is also important; most users will feel couch locked after simply consuming too much weed. Lastly, some cannabis growers also find that harvest time has a clear influence on the effect of their buds. Most growers will note that buds harvested late in the season (identifiable by dark, amber-coloured trichomes produce more sedative effects that could lead to couch lock.
Overall, there is a lack of research into what gives cannabis its sedative properties in order for us to make a solid conclusion about what causes couch lock.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BEAT COUCH LOCK?
Couch lock can be great when you’re in the mood to lay down and unwind. Unfortunately, it can also strike at times when you want to remain motivated, energetic, or social. If this happens to you, here are some simple tips that might help you beat it.
Sugar is great for a quick boost of energy. Drinking sugary soft drinks loaded with glucose will help boost your insulin levels, and may help you snap out of couch lock quickly.
Caffeine is another great energy booster. Try sipping on a strong cup of coffee/black tea or caffeinated soft drink to see if that’ll help you get up and running.
Most cannabis users suffer from couch lock when they’re just too stoned. CBD has been shown to block CB1 receptors and therefore reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.
Again, a lot of people experience couch lock when they’re just too high. Hence, try to enjoy your weed in smaller doses to avoid a strong onset of its effects and minimize your chances of ending up glued to the couch.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the world where cannabis is sold legally, make sure to talk to your vendor to find a strain which is more uplifting than sedative.
If the above options don’t work, it’s best to just accept couch lock for what it is, remind yourself that it’ll soon pass, and make the most of it by throwing on a good movie. When life gives you lemons, right? So, there you have it; a detailed look at couch lock and some ideas on how to beat it. Remember, there is no clear science on what precisely causes couch lock, and the above techniques aren’t foolproof.