It can be a little confusing to read about cannabis these days, but only because there’s so much more we know about it and how it affects us. We’re still learning how some cannabinoids impact our endocannabinoid system, not to mention the many terpenes and other chemicals in our smoke or edibles. Then there’s how you smoke, what you smoke, and where you smoke. All of these factors will determine how your high will feel, and how long it might last. Smoking in a tense situation might make you feel more anxious, for example, whereas smoking in a hot tub might increase the feeling of a body high. There are seven factors when it comes to how you’ll feel when high, and knowing what those are will help you make better decisions when it’s time to partake.

Cannabinoid Profile

First off, the cannabinoid profile of a strain will determine much of what the high will be like. The biggest difference will be between THC and CBD, as THC produces the high most people associate with pot while CBD is now legal across the country because it tends to affect the body more than the mind. But there are dozens of cannabinoids in various strengths in each strain of cannabis, and each one plays a role in how the high feels. This can take a little bit of experimentation, but a good budtender can also help narrow down your options. Plus, you can blend strains to maximize benefits, like adding CBD to THC to take the “edge” off the high for those prone to anxiety.

The Terpene Factor

Terpenes are the other consideration in a strain, as they are responsible for the aroma and flavor. We’re still learning how they work on our bodies when ingested or smoked. There’s evidence they may play a small role in the overall character of a strain, and while they might not have a major impact, we do know that certain terpenes have an effect on our bodies. Linalool is found in lavender and some strains of cannabis, for example, and lavender is widely used as an aromatic calmative. The science on terpenes is ongoing.


Perhaps a greater impact would be where you smoke and how you’re feeling beforehand. Are you feeling calm? Are you in a peaceful environment? Then your session is likely to be pretty chill. Alternately, if you’re in a loud, stressful environment and you were already anxious, it’s possible that even the most chill weed is going to enhance the feeling of anxiety, rather than suppress it. While the impact on our endocannabinoid system is real, we have to add the impact from our surroundings for a total effect. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and ensure a beneficial session.

Dosage and Delivery

Dosage and delivery are two more major considerations, especially when it comes to how fast and how long a high will last. Edibles can last a lot longer, but the dosage can be harder to determine. Vaping will give the most accurate dosage, whereas joints might be a middle ground between edibles and vaping. Consider that concentrates will be more potent than joints, and even different types of concentrates (oil, wax, shatter, etc.) can have profiles with a heavier initial hit followed by a more mellow high. Taken in combination with the strain, you can see there are a lot of factors that interplay between each other to deliver a specific feeling.

Age and Tolerance

These two factors round out our list of seven. Research has shown that youth may have an advantage when it comes to tolerating the effects of cannabis, which could mean as one ages the resistance to anxiety and other effects could drop. It’s why sometimes someone who hasn’t smoked since their teens may feel stronger effects — although weed has also become stronger in the last couple of decades. Tolerance is also affected by one’s personal body chemistry, and can’t simply be determined by something like body size. A person’s body chemistry also includes their endocannabinoid system, setting the stage for all the body and brain impact a strain will have on that person. It takes time to know one’s tolerance levels, but it’s important to know what they are.

Considering all of the factors above will help you make an informed decision when it comes to partaking of cannabis. You might want to try it for health reasons, or recreation. There’s never been a better time to try, as long as you know what you’re doing.


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