Two weeks for before taking a trip to Amsterdam, my best friend asked me “what is it like to get high?” At 26 years old, she’s never tried weed. She was excited to have her first experience in a city famous for its variety of weed. Neither of us had been to Amsterdam, but we imagined dispensaries decorated like pastry shops and fancy coffee shops where customers smoked pot while painting masterpieces. What could be more exciting that two new experiences at once? But I could not answer her question. I recalled the several different types of high I had experienced in my life and did not what to tell her.
- My first experience with marijuana was anything but pleasant. I sat on the floor listening to the people around me talk, but I could not hear what they were saying. I was too distracted by the shocking sensation. I felt like I was holding onto an electric fence and could not let go.
- One time, I laid on the couch watching cooking shows for hours enthralled by the imagination these brilliant chefs had. I cuddle with a blanket, rubbing it against my face. I stared at my friend sitting next to me and desperately longed to cuddle with a human body.
- I thought about the time when I could not motivate myself to get out of bed. I was depressed by a recent heartbreak and had not eaten in days. A good friend promised me that smoking would give me the energy I needed get up. I doubted her, but an hour later found myself laughing and smiling and laughing at the littlest jokes. I cleaned my whole house that evening and then cooked a fancy dinner.
- One time, after a bout of writer’s block, I suddenly recalled memories I had long forgotten. Memories of my father brushing out my wet hair after I shower when I was four years old, and memories about a teenage babysitter who told me to always look for a good place to hide everywhere I go. I spent the next three days using these memories to write the first part of a book I would later publish.
- The last time I smoked weed, I sat across from a good friend of mine and just stared at his face. We imaged we were telepathically having a conversation, and we had never understood each other more clearly. Without saying a word, without the slightest touch, we understood our unconditionally love for one another.
With the varying types of weed and reasons for using it, how could I ever give my friend a satisfying answer? Every time I have been high, I have experienced something different.
I have only ever used marijuana recreationally and socially, but I have friends with debilitating diseases who tell me that, for them, getting high is not euphoric at all. For them, it is a way to feel more in control.
Each type of weed and each body reacts differently.
Types of High by Strain
Indica strains are known for being physically relaxing–perfect for after a stressful day at work or cuddling up with a special someone to watch a movie before bed.
The Relaxing Weeds: Grand Daddy Purple, White Widdow
The Nerve-Calming Weeds: Grape Ape, Northern Lights
Sativas tend to be more energizing. They are better suited for social gatherings and creative projects.
The Creative Weeds: Blue Dream, Durban Poison
The Energetic Weeds: Super Lemon Haze, Sour Diesel
Hybrids are a mix of the two different strains designed to give you a bit of both worlds, for people who want creative and relaxed or calm but social.
The Pain-relieving Weeds: Pineapple Skunk, President OG
The Appetite Boosting Weeds: Mendo Purps, New Freezeland Orange
When the THC from in bloodstream reaches your brain, it attaches itself the areas associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception. The effects of this can vary from rapid movement of thoughts, to the visual interpretation of music, to increased sex-drive, to increase physical abilities, to a slowed sense of time.
For some marijuana users, getting high is about achieving a specific goal (like concentration on homework for several hours), but for others, the joy is not knowing what to expect.
The Medical High
My neighbor, Jodie, is 41 years old. She has two young boys around the ages of 6 and 10 and Parkinson’s disease. For the last five years, I have watched her deteriorate. As she loses function, her boys gain independence and strength. She used to drive her oldest boy to school, but she can no longer drive because of her uncontrollable shaking. Her arms and legs have grown thin. Although it takes her 10-15 minutes to walk to the bus stop just a block away, she meets them every day at 4 pm to greet them and ask them about school.
As she sits on her front steps watching her husband play basketball with them, she laments her inability to play a more physically active role in their lives. As we watch the oldest boy cut off his father and attempt a goal, she explains how she once demonized the only thing that brings her relief. Jody occasionally smokes marijuana to calm the shaking of her muscles–when she is having trouble eating or the shakes keep her awake at night. For her, being high is not about the out-of-body experience, the giggles, or the creative mind. For Jody, being high means not having to think so hard about how to hold a spoon in her hand and steady her head. It’s about telling her son how much she loves him without struggling to speak.
Most people use marijuana because the high makes them feel detached from reality in a pleasant way. Paranoia, hallucinations, and Anxiety are also occasional side effects.
I once consumed a special brownie while exploring the city with a friend. What started as laughing, giggling ended in a hallucination at the bus stop. I watched a man waiting for the bus turn around and yell sexually-explicit obscenities at me. I wrinkled my nose and forehead in anger and whispered words of hate under my breath. My friend turned to me and asked what was wrong. I blinked, I realized the man never said a word to me.
No one wants to experience a bad high, but it is always best to be prepared for the worst. Before you get high, make sure you are in a safe place with people around who can help to calm you. This little step will contribute to ensuring a better experience.
No one can tell you what it feels like to be high. Even if we select the strain most conducive to the high we want, other outside factors still impact that high.
Our highs are defined by physical sensations (which are much or predictable), thoughts, and moods. This means the quality of your day at work or something that has been worrying you may play a role in how your high feels. Some studies even show that your expectation about the weed will affect the intensity of its high.
Too many factors are at stake to provide a clear answer. However, there are the top sensations or feelings marijuana users claim they feel when they get high:
- Spacing in and out again of concentration and thoughts
- Bodily tingling or warming
- Skewed perception of time moving fast or slow
- Easy movements and bodily relaxation
- Joy, euphoria, contentedness, care-free attitude
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
- Increased energy
- Increase mental creativity
- Increased sensory awareness–touch, smell, taste
What does it feel like when you get High?
We would love to know more about what our readers feel when they get high. What did you smoke? What outside factors may have influenced it? Leave us a comment below describing the most recent high you felt.