There are a lot of factors that go into personal preferences when it comes to enjoying cannabis, but there are also many factors outside of simple likes that can affect your high.
Experienced cannabis users already know that not every high is the same as the other, even when smoking the same strain. The same Indica strain that left you melted on the couch last week could make you peppy and energetic next week.
Some people want the type of cannabis high that will help them relax by the pool. Others look for a cannabis high that will aid them in focusing on working from home. Others seek a high that will support them in dancing all night to their newly found Spotify playlist. No matter what kind of cannabis high you seek, there are ways to ensure that you get that just the right one.
By understanding the circumstances that can affect your high, you can empower yourself to have better experiences with a variety of strains and narrow down what works best for you.
While the same strain can produce different highs depending on the context, it’s still the best predictor of the type of high you’ll feel. We’ll leave out some of the more specific strains here and instead focus on the two major families: the Indica and Sativa strains and hybrids that try and mix the best of both worlds. Without going too far down the rabbit hole, Indica strains tend to create a heavier high that might leave you glued to the couch, while Sativa strains are known to be uplifting and inspiring your inner creativity. Hybrid strains try to mix between these two extremes, leading to many of today’s modern and most popular strains. The best way to plan your high is to read up on the different strains and choose according to the type of high you’re after. However, don’t forget to take the rest of this list into consideration because it can play a big role in how your high shapes out to be regardless of the strain.
The amount you take is going to make a big difference.
This seems pretty simple when it comes to smoking cannabis. You know how many hits you take on a pipe or bong, how many puffs you take from a pre-roll, or how many times you hit a vape pen or dab rig. When you feel as high as you want to feel, you simply stop smoking more.
However, proper dosage is a lot more difficult to determine when it comes to other forms of cannabis. It’s especially hard to know the proper dosage for each individual in edible form, for example. A recommended dosage will be listed on the package and can vary quite a bit from product to product.
Set & setting
Your environment plays a crucial role in the effect of your cannabis high and should not be taken lightly. Sometimes, if you smoke the same strain on two different days, you can have very different experiences.
Next time this happens, ask yourself—what was your mood and environment like before you smoked? Were you relaxed, happy, comfortable? Tense, anxious, or uneasy? At ease with the people in your company? Out in nature, or in a crowd?
There’s more than one way to ingest cannabis, and each produces a different type of high. Whether you’re smoking, vaping or eating an edible, you can expect each high, including its onset time and intensity to differ. Each mode of delivery yields a different result because of the way your body interacts with the active ingredients in each scenario. For example, edibles take much longer to get you high, but they tend to produce longer and more intense highs. However, smoking or vaping produces shorter highs but gives you a lot more control over the quantity of cannabis you’re consuming.
How experienced a person is with the plant can dictate how well he or she adapts to it. Tolerance is personal, changing from user to user and making it likely that two people have different dosing levels even if they share similar body types and levels of experience with the plant. The more you consume cannabis, the more you’ll get a feel for your tolerance level.
You hate to admit it, but just like with alcohol, your tolerance for a marijuana high seems to have gone down with the decades. It may not be your imagination. As we age, our bodies go through changes, not only in looks but in chemical composition. Our bodies make less of crucial vitamins, minerals, and other essential compounds. This can affect how you tolerate the chemicals in alcohol and weed. More than likely, you may get a weed high quicker and have more unpleasant side-effects. The key to being able to continue to enjoy your high is to go easy on the dose. Less is more. You may also want to consider choosing strains with lower levels of THC and higher amounts of CBD.
Sensitivity to terpenes
Terpenes are oily, smelly compounds found in a wide range of plants – and hundreds of terpenes are present in marijuana, giving each strain its characteristic taste and smell. If you’re prone to allergies, or otherwise have a sensitive nose, these compounds can produce a wide range of side effects: according to one study, “chemically sensitive patients can be targeted by terpenes and terpenoids, resulting in a triggering of symptoms and pathology” ranging from changes in pulse, blood pressure, peak bronchial flow, to other signs and symptoms. So, if you feel yourself sneezing and feeling flushed after a session, while your friends remain seemingly unscathed, your reaction to terpenes could be to blame.
Currently, the cannabinoid profile of a strain is one of the best and most accessible ways to determine how a high will affect you. For example, some people really enjoy the effects of cannabis’ most famous cannabinoid, THC, while others find its effects too stimulating or may have bad reactions from it, like anxiety.
There are other cannabinoids to consider as well, such as CBD and more. Cannabinoid profiles can be diverse and vary widely from strain to strain, but they can also be a powerful tool in assessing how a strain will affect your high.
But it’s necessary to first know how each cannabinoid makes you feel, and this usually requires some experimenting. Once you know which ones work best for you, knowing the composition of a strain will put the power in your hands and will allow you to have the type of high you want.
thc sbd ratioHowever, the buck doesn’t quite stop there—other factors can come into play, such as the CBD : THC ratio of the strain, as THC can enhance CBD. Therefore, it is possible to have an unpleasant experience with one strain that is high in THC, but an enjoyable experience with another, simply because the ratio of the two compounds is different.
As with most things in life, what you get from cannabis depends on what you put in: if you’re starting your session with underlying stress and anxiety, that feeling will be amplified, not quelled, by getting high. Conversely, if you’re expecting to have your socks knocked off by a product, only to find yourself with a more sedate buzz, you’ll interpret it as weak or disappointing.
The authors of a 2005 study published in the journal Addiction and Research Theory put it best:
“being knowledgeable, thoughtful and well-prepared for using drugs, pretty well any drug, minimizes the risks and dangerousness of the experience, and maximizes positive aspects of the experience.”
Enjoy Your Weed High
All of these factors play a part in how your cannabis high affects you. Getting too high from cannabis can be uncomfortable, so take it easy if you are unsure how a strain or product will affect you. Taking all of the above into consideration will ensure that you will have a good time and by doing so, you will be empowered to have the type of cannabis high you want—whether that be relief, medical benefits, enjoyment, creativity, or whatever other effects you seek.