Cannabis impacts everyone differently, but a typical “high” involves feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and creativity. It can also cause side effects, like increased heart rate and dry mouth.

Smoking, ingesting, or vaping cannabis can make you high or “stoned.” If you’ve never tried cannabis, you might wonder what it feels like.

Cannabis can have drastically different effects from one person to the next. Some people report feeling happy or relaxed. Others report laughter, altered time and sensory perception, and increased appetite. But cannabis can also cause less-desirable effects.

Keep in mind that cannabis is still illegal in most states. In others, it’s only legal with a prescription. You should only use cannabis when it’s legal.

Cannabis affects each person differently. Some people are very sensitive to cannabis’s effects, while others might not notice them as much.

How you react to cannabis depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the dose, strain, and potency
  • whether you smoke, vape, or ingest it
  • how often you use cannabis
  • your age, gender, and physiology
  • whether you drink alcohol or take other drugs at the same time

While high on cannabis, you might feel:

  • euphoric
  • relaxed
  • amused
  • giggly
  • creative
  • hungry
  • more sensitive to light, color, sound, touch, taste, and smell

However, cannabis use can also lead to unpleasant feelings or experiences. These include:

Negative reactions are more likely when you’re inexperienced or take too much. Strong cannabis can trigger a stronger reaction.

Stages of being high

The active ingredient in cannabis is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). When you smoke or vape cannabis, THC enters your bloodstream via your lungs. Its concentration in the blood peaks within minutes. Eventually, THC is broken down and excreted in urine and stool.

Since your blood concentration of THC changes over time, it’s possible to experience different stages of being high. For example, feelings of euphoria tend to peak sometime after blood concentration of THC has peaked.

More research needs to be done to understand whether the effects of cannabis change over time.

Do different strains cause different highs?

Strains are different breeds of the cannabis plant. There are three main strains of cannabis: indica, sativa, and hybrids.

Users associate indica strains with relaxation, while sativa strains are believed to produce a more active, physical high. Hybrid strains are thought to combine the effects of both indica and sativa strains.

However, these differences in high are not scientifically proven. In addition, some researchers believe they’re unfounded.

According to a 2016 interview with Dr. Ethan Russo, an expert on the human endocannabinoid system, “One cannot in any way currently guess the biochemical content of a given cannabis plant based on its height, branching, or leaf morphology.”

He also stated that: “The differences in observed effects of cannabis are then due to their terpenoid content.” Terpenoids are a substantial group of organic compounds found in plants. They can have a wide variety of effects in humans.

Are the munchies real?

The “munchies” are a scientifically supported effect of cannabis. There’s likely more than one mechanism behind them.

THC affects brain areas that control appetite. It may also increase ghrelin, a hormone associated with hunger. Finally, THC enhances smell and taste, which can cause you to start or continue eating.

Vaping cannabis is different from smoking cannabis. When you vape, you are inhaling vapor instead of smoke.

Vaping releases higher concentrations of cannabis’s active ingredients than other methods. As a result, vaping can produce a stronger high.

As with smoking, you should feel the effects of vaping right away. These effects can last up to four hours.

Results from a 2018 study indicated that vaporizing cannabis produced higher blood THC concentrations and stronger effects than smoking the same amount.

Ingesting cannabis, whether in tinctures, sprays, or food and drink, leads to a different high than smoking. Theoretically, the effects are less intense, as THC is released into the bloodstream over a longer period of time.

For example, in a 2017 study that compared the effects of smoking, vaporizing, and ingesting cannabis, users reported weaker drug effects when cannabis was ingested.

However, there are anecdotal reports of edibles producing a strong and sometimes debilitating high. This might be due to the dose.

Other sources suggest that when ingested, THC reaches the liver faster, where it’s broken down into another psychoactive compound. The high might change depending on the concentration and ratios of THC and its metabolites in the bloodstream. More research needs to be done to understand these differences.

It can take between 30 and 90 minutes before you start to feel the effects of cannabis edibles. Edible highs tend to last longer than a smoking or vaping high. The effects are typically gone within 24 hours.

The duration of a cannabis high depends on a variety of different factors, including the dose and potency. In addition, how you consume cannabis can drastically affect how long you feel high.

A 2017 review identified the following times for the onset, peak, and total duration of a cannabis high.

Method Onset PeakTotal duration
Smoking and vaping Within minutes 20 to 30 minutes 2 to 3 hours
Edibles 30 to 90 minutes 3 hours Within 24 hours

Keep in mind that other differences, such as whether you smoke cannabis using a bong or a joint, can also affect how long the high lasts.

CBD refers to cannabidiol. Like THC, CBD is a compound found in cannabis. However, unlike THC, CBD does not produce feelings of euphoria, or a high.

CBD does interact with the endocannabinoid system. Its effects are similar to those associated with cannabis. It’s been used to treat pain, anxiety, depression, and a number of other conditions.

Cannabis often contains a combination of CBD and THC. Other cannabis products only contain CBD or THC.

Cannabis has both short- and long-term effects in your body. Both depend on how much you take, how you take it, and how often. The negative effects of cannabis can be more pronounced in younger users.

In particular, cannabis can negatively affect:

  • mood
  • sleep
  • attention span
  • learning and memory
  • respiratory health
  • circulatory health
  • digestion
  • immune system
  • mental health

Smoking, vaping, or ingesting cannabis can make you high. A cannabis high is associated with feelings of relaxation and contentment, though negative reactions are also possible.

Smoking and vaping tend to produce a shorter, more intense high than edibles. However, what you experience after taking cannabis depends on a lot of factors, including the dose, potency, and your own previous experience with the drug.

If you’ve never tried cannabis before, proceed with caution.