Cartoon: What does getting high feel like? November 02 2014, 0 Comments

You considering trying pot but are curious: What will it feel like?  The answer to this question is that there is no answer.  At least not a short one.  But there is background and context from which you can deduce an answer.  The objective of this blog post is to give you that background and context.

First, it helps to explain why there’s not a simple answer.  A good analogy is a kiss.  If someone who never had a kiss before asked you what it felt like, it would be really hard to answer.  Why?  Because it not only depends, but it actually depends on almost everything: Who they’re kissing, what lead up to the kiss, how long the kiss is, and that’s not even including the person’s individual preference for physical contact. 

For pot, it also depends on almost everything – or at least 5 things in particular:

  • What your mood is. Are you stressed?  Relaxed?  Happy?  Sad?  Though pot generally makes you feel good, the actual experience will depend a lot on where your starting point is.
  • What you’re doing at the time. If you’re hanging out with friends or watching TV or playing a video game, your experience is going to be different.  Here’s a list of things you can do online.  Generally, there’s no wrong thing you could do, except for anything where you can put people in danger (driving a car, working with heavy machinery, etc.)


  • What type of weed you’re using. There are two main categories of marijuana with different effects, but within each category, there are thousands of slightly different strains.    
  • How you’re using the weed. The experience of using a bong or a vaporizer or an edible is going to be slightly different.  Further, the type of bong, vaporizer, or edible could have an impact as well.
  • What your brain chemistry is like. You don’t have to be a brain scientist to appreciate that everyone likes different things differently.  Some people love running marathons.  Most (sane) people hate them. 



The same goes for pot.  Independent of all the other variables, some will like it more than others, and even how people like (or dislike) it will vary significantly. 

So we have 5 things the pot experience depends on.  If each of those 5 things has 5 big variations, we’re talking about 5 * 5 * 5 *5 * 5 = 3,125 different answers to the question of what using pot feels like.

Ok, so it’s really hard to answer the question.  Can we give some general guidelines?  Yes, well, we can try…

There are three general and common side effects of pot…

Momentary happierness.  Pot makes you happier than you would otherwise be.  If you’re on a scale between super sad and super happy, pot will push you to some degree towards the happy end.  If you’re depressed, it will make you less depressed.  If you’re already happy, it will make you happier. 

Note the modifier “momentary”.  Though a nice property of pot is that there are no/minimal after-effects (no “hung over” feeling), once the pot leaves your system, you also lose that happierness.  The key here is that marijuana isn’t going to make you happier all the time – unless you’re always high (and for most functioning adults, that’s not an option.) 

Surrealness.  When you’re high, the THC is changing – temporarily – the chemical reactions in your brain.  As a result, things can feel different than they normally would, and how you perceive them will be different as well.  It’s not an “acid” type experience you see on TV and movies where the whole world turns into a psychedelic rainbow-or-scary adventure.   The surrealness of pot is much more low key.  Food may taste better, but it will still taste like food.  Your comforter may feel softer but you’ll still know it’s a comforter.  The conversations you have may be deeper but you’ll still be aware of what you’re talking about. 


Eating a piece of cake while high - it's not like this:

It's more like this:


Calmness.  Pot relaxes you.  Even the Sativa strain, which is commonly associated with energy and excitement, will relax you.  By relaxed, I don’t mean you’ll want to fall asleep (though you might).  But things that would normally keep your mind nervous or anxious will be softened.  Pot won’t get you to inner piece, but it will push a few feet in that direction. 

So all the above seems good.  So why then do some people get paranoid when they use pot?  Paranoia is rare, but it often happens the first time you use marijuana – because it’s a new experience, and a part of your brain (your inner dialog part) can have a hard time making heads or tails of how it feels.     

This also isn’t “crazy phsyc-ward” paranoia.  Rather, it’s more of a “I feel weird and I don’t quite understand it” paranoia-light. 

The best way to avert paranoia-light is simply to be aware of the common side effects of pot (outlined above) and then be open and relaxed regarding where the experience takes you. 

This is a high level guide that applies to most people, though of course your particular experience will vary (among 3000+ varieties.)  Many people who try pot the first time don’t like it and never use it again.  Most people try it and experience some combination of the good feelings described above.  In the end, you’ll only know how it will impact you if you try it.