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Are You Stoned or High? What’s the Difference?

When it comes to weed, terminology can be important. You might smoke and be stoned, or you might smoke and be high. Is there a difference?

If you’re unsure how these two states of mind vary, here’s our quick guide to help you out.

Why We Get Stoned or High

Cannabis contains a compound called THC, which has psychoactive properties.

That means it alters our mental state and how we view the world. Of course, different cannabis strains deliver different effects, including more or less intensive highs, making you feel relaxed or euphoric, depending on the bud. The notion of being ‘couch-bound’ or stoned relates to that moment when you cannot get up and are in a deep stage of relaxation.

The words high and stoned have been used ever since cannabis has been used as a recreational drug. There’s also the idea of being ‘buzzed’ which is a slightly briefer but nonetheless distinct sensation. And that’s where we start here.

Are You Buzzed?

Before you get high or become stoned, you may feel a little buzzed. This is when the intoxicating nature of the cannabis first hits you and creates a kind of rush or change in perception. It can last just a few seconds or a few minutes and is usually followed by settling into a more constant high. The intensity of the buzz will depend on several factors, such as the type of cannabis you are using, the method of taking it (smoking, vaping, edibles, dabbing), and your only personal state of mind at the time.

Symptoms of being buzzed are when you get the giggles or feel that initial flush of euphoria. It can happen within minutes of taking a toke from a joint or much longer if you are trying edibles.

The Next Step is Getting High

How quickly and how high you get is influenced by a wide range of factors. Once you feel that initial buzz, the high is certainly the next stage. It’s longer and deeper and can last for up to three or four hours, depending on the strain.

Let’s get one thing straight: the high you feel will be personal. While there may be common ‘symptoms’ for different types of cannabis strain, your experience will be your own, and everyone is different. You may feel highly sociable, or you might become more introspective. You may have a creative fever or simply want to relax and kick back with your feet up watching YouTube. Some people experience heightened anxiety levels, but that is usually down to the potency of the cannabis being taken or because they have overdone things.

While most of the effect of the high is psychological, there will be certain physical manifestations such as red eye and dry mouth (often called cottonmouth).

In general, though, being high relates to a feeling of positivity, with everything moving quickly. That’s why it’s a good time to be creative or discuss weighty matters.

The Final Stage: You May be Stoned

Once everything starts to slow down, you may be approaching a stoned period. It usually means you don’t want to get up and do anything, and occurs when you have taken enough cannabis (or a strong enough strain) to tip you over the edge of a high into a deeper state of intoxication. This is often when you will start to feel lethargic but also hungry, and you might require some snacks to keep the munchies away.

Not everyone who gets high will then end up getting stoned. A lot depends on the type of cannabis strain and the amount you take. If you do enter the stoned stage, there’s not a lot you can do except wait for it to pass.

What Effects Whether You Get Stoned or High?

The type of strain you use will certainly influence how your body reacts. The method that you prefer to administer weed can also have an effect. Dabbing a high THC concentrate may produce an immediate and powerful high, whereas smoking a joint will produce a gradually increasing high that slowly turns into being stoned. Edibles can produce a similar high but will take much, much longer.

The Role of Indica/Sativa Strains

If you’re new to the world of cannabis, you may have heard a little about indica and sativa strains. When it comes to being stoned or high, these actually play an interesting and pivotal role. If you look at different strains, you will often notice they are either one or the other or a mixture of the two.

In short, the difference is generally couched in terms of their effect and whether they deliver a head high or a body high:

  • Sativa Strains: Mostly associated with stimulation, higher energy levels, a sense of creativity and an uplifting experience.
  • Indica Strains: Mostly associated with relaxation, sleep and anxiety relief. In a state of being stoned, users may be ‘couch-locked’ and unwilling to move.

Mixes of indica and sativa strains provide varying levels of these different characteristics depending on the percentages involved. Hundreds of different cannabis strains are available nowadays, and more are being added each year. Everyone has their favorite, whether it’s designed for therapeutic use, to get you high or get you stoned as quickly as possible.

Can You Control Whether You Get Stoned or High?

To a certain extent, you can. It depends on the type of cannabis you choose for a start. Some are better at getting you stoned quickly or helping you to remain high. The amount you use is also important, and even a low-THC strain can get you pretty stoned if you smoke, vape or dab enough of it.

And, of course, personal biology is going to play a role.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.


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