Cannabis Effects: What Is A Body High

Intoxicating cannabis effects can look extremely different depending on what kind of strain you use, how you consume it, and your personal physiology and mental headspace.

Often, we categorize THC experiences into two distinct categories: head highs and body highs. Earlier this week, we did a deep dive into what it means to have a head high. Now it’s time to look at the other side of the spectrum. Today, we’ll take a closer look at body highs, find out what they are, and learn the best ways to induce them with cannabis.  

What Does Being High Mean?

Smoking weed gets you high, but what does that really mean? 

The cannabis plant has dozens of different terpenes and cannabinoids, which can potentially be psychoactive. However, when we talk about getting high, there’s one compound, in particular, that’s responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis—THC. 

THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. Without THC, cannabis wouldn’t get you high at all. Here’s how it works. 

Our bodies are partially regulated by a cell signaling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This network of neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter receptors helps us stay balanced by keeping certain bodily functions working smoothly. The endocannabinoid system helps govern our appetites, moods, sleep schedules, and memories. 

When we consume the cannabinoid THC, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system by directly binding to the neurotransmitter receptors in our brains and nervous systems. As a result, our perceptions shift, our appetites increase, our memory becomes a little wonky, our moods change because we’ve altered the inner workings of the endocannabinoid system. In a word: it makes us high. 

What Is A Body High?

Because the endocannabinoid system impacts such a wide array of different functions, altering it with THC can have varied effects. When we talk about a head high from THC, we’re talking about the more cerebral effects THC can potentially have. Often, these include changes in perception of time and space, feelings of increased creativity, uncontrollable laughing fits, or, in some cases, elevated anxiety and paranoia. 

With a body high, you see more physical effects than mental ones. You may feel a general sense of heaviness or even have trouble getting up and moving around. This phenomenon is sometimes known as couch-lock.  

Typically, medicinal users who consume cannabis to treat pain or insomnia prefer the sensations of a body high over a head high.

Indica Vs. Sativa For Body High

Everyone says Indica strains are the best body high weed out there but does that really make a difference

The main difference between indica and sativa strains is the plant’s physical appearance. Cannabis sativa plants tend to have a leaner and taller look, while indicas are usually shorter and denser. 

While we have all been told for years that indicas and sativas have different effects, we don’t actually have much evidence to that point. It’s more likely that an individual strain’s cannabinoid and terpene profiles have more to do with its overall effects than the strain’s visual appearance.  

When asked about the differences between sativas and indicas in an interview, noted cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo stated,

“There are biochemically distinct strains of Cannabis, but the sativa/indica distinction as commonly applied in the lay literature is total nonsense and an exercise in futility. One cannot in any way currently guess the biochemical content of a given Cannabis plant based on its height, branching, or leaf morphology.” 

Best Weed For A Body High?

So if the indica/sativa paradigm isn’t the best way to tell which cannabis strains will produce a body high, how can customers reliably know how their cannabis products will affect them? 

Unfortunately, since everyone experiences THC intoxication a little differently, there isn’t a sure-fire method to ensure a strain will give you a body high without trying it first. However, there are some things to look for when searching for a body high inducing strain.

For example, the terpene myrcene is known for its sedating effects. As a result, cannabis strains with high myrcene percentages like 9 lb hammer or grandaddy purple are likely to have potent body effects.  

Additionally, modern technology allows the cannabis community to collect our experiences as data. Online resources like Leafly or Weedmaps give users an opportunity to report how certain strains made them feel. These sites then compile that information and display it for future users to see what percentage of other cannabis consumers experience a body high with certain strains. While this certainly isn’t foolproof, it can be a good jumping-off point when looking at strains likely to give you a body high.

Do you have a go-to body high strain? Let us know on Twitter!

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