The weed high: a journey through yourself and your environment, and an experience that should not be missed. Using cannabis is a lot like a journey, where you are met with different stages and different events. We do our best to break down the cannabis experience into 7 stages, highlighting how you can expect to feel in all of the different parts.
For most of us, the experience of getting high is a conglomerate of mind-blowing experiences that rushes through us without any respect for time. It might not seem so while you’re going through it, but in retrospect, there seem to be identifiable stages. Yes, going through a weed high is kind of like going for a walk through Cinderella’s castle at Disneyland – or the Haunted House depending on what kind of an experience you’re having.
So for the fun of trying to explain the experience of something as psychedelic as cannabis, we’re going to break it down into stages. We hope that if you are a cannabis user, you’ll identify with some of these moments. And if you’re not, hopefully this article will make it sound like so much fun that you can’t wait to try it!
1: Is it working yet?
When you’re new to smoking cannabis, this can be quite a cause for concern. Whether you’re smoking or eating cannabis, there seems to be a period immediately between smoking and stage two where it feels like nothing is happening. This is especially true when it comes to edibles.
The high is so subtle you’re wondering if it’s working or if you may be happened upon a bad batch. Well, most of us will keep powering through that joint or eat another edible at this point. For some reason, that initial stage doesn’t leave room for the possibility that it might just be taking some time to take effect.
2: Oh God, it’s all happening
Now we’re in the first real stage of the high. It’s quite obvious that something is happening. In fact, it feels like everything is happening. The body is starting to turn into a liquefied mess that doesn’t show any signs of mobility. And the brain – well, you become acutely aware that neurons are firing in your brain about 20 times the speed that they usually would.
It can feel like there is basically no transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2. It’s as though one moment, you were casually strolling through the meanderings of your mind, and suddenly you’re flying through the cosmos.
This is not a moment for tasks that involve your fine motor skills. This is the lay-back-and-watch-while-everything-is-happening stage.
It’s no wonder that THC elicits a sensation of bliss. Did you know there is a chemical in your brain called anandamide, that strangely resembles THC very closely? Anandamide is sometimes called the bliss molecule. This endocannabinoid is literally the reason that we have a CB1 receptor just past that blood-brain barrier that THC fits so snugly into.
Well, the bliss kicks in. You’ve spent minutes that felt like hours in Stage 2 where everything was happening, rummaging through the grey matter that is life. And now – you’ve arrived on the other side, probably pieces of grey matter dangling off you. But you are blissful.
This is probably that moment where someone pulls out a guitar or tells a funny joke. Everybody melts into sublime music or enters a giggling fit.
4: Solving all of life’s problems
I don’t think that Stage 4 is exclusive to cannabis. Basically, every psychedelic experience tapers down into this moment of deep contemplation. The mind becomes so malleable and mouldable that anything is possible. The problems that were so devastating that there was no way out all of a sudden present the most creative solutions.
This is the moment where it seems as though all of life’s problems get solved. You even start wondering if it is in this exact state that some of the world’s problems were actually solved!
It is a moment of stillness that is relished by many cannabis users. That moment of pure serenity and contemplation, free from nervousness, expectation or anxiety. It’s kind of like the orgasm of cannabis!
5: Can’t sit still!
Have you ever met people that smoke weed and then seem to do a million things around the house or run around town doing errands? To be honest, I think it’s weird. But they might just be permanently stuck in Stage 5.
So welcome to Stage 5. The peace and stillness of Stage 4 have up and left, and now you’re on the rebound. You need to move. You realize you’ve been cemented to the same chair for at least an hour. The next natural thing to do is move.
If you’ve been high before and you know which stage is coming next, you’re definitely going for a walk to the store to get some food. If you’re kind of a newbie and have no idea, maybe you’re just walking around your garden to check out the flowers. Maybe you’re playing with your dog. Maybe you’re actually wondering if it’s time to smoke another joint. Anyway, it’s the same in all cases: can’t sit still, need to do something!
This is when some people might start to feel some tension, nervousness, anxiety or paranoia. The sudden onslaught of energy can translate into a mental experience that is quite unpleasant. But I think that most people deal with Stage 5 simply by moving rather than sitting around and thinking about it too much.
6: Revenge of the munchies
For some people, the munchies are something to contend with. It’s as if you know that every time you smoke weed, you’re going to spend 20 minutes trying to convince yourself not to eat everything before you finally give in and just do it. For other people, the pleasure of eating stoned is so much that it’s the part they look forward to the most.
Don’t confuse the munchies with being hungry. It is absolutely not the same. Hunger means your body is looking for nutrition to fuel its cellular processes. Munchies is pure hedonism.
So enjoy deciding what you’re going to eat during this stage. Or maybe you won’t need to decide because you’ll simply devour everything in sight. When I get the munchies, I like to pretend that I’m Goldilocks and have just entered the house of the three bears. All the food belongs to someone else, but I’m going to devour it anyway!
7: Time for another hit
What is it about devouring copious amounts of food that makes the weed high seem to die down a little bit? Perhaps it’s the energy focused on metabolism, or perhaps it’s just the natural order of things. But it seems pretty common among stoners to light up the pipe, bong or joint again once the munchies have disappeared.
There is always this part of you that reconsiders taking this step. You know you’re going to walk directly back into Stage 1 if you smoke again (although it probably won’t last as long). Maybe it’s exciting, or you’re officially drained and don’t want to do it again. But something pulls on you ever so subtly. You know it’s going to be fun.
So, for as much as we’ve tried, this probably isn’t the comprehensive list of weed stages. There are probably stages within stages that everybody who smokes ganja knows is happening, but can’t quite put their finger on it. That’s the beauty of the psychedelic experience: it takes you on a journey, whether you’re ready or not!