What does being high or stoned feel like?

Many people who are curious about smoking pot, or who have family members or friends who use cannabis, wonder what does it feel like to be high.

Although the experience is different for everyone, there are certain effects that most users of marijuana have when they smoke, vape or eat pot (marijuana, cannabis, weed). 

The marijuana high is one of the most unpredictable of all drug intoxication effects, despite the fact that it is often considered to be a ‘soft’ drug.

The marijuana high is one of the most unpredictable of all drug intoxication effects.

When people are stoned on marijuana, the experience is strongly affected by factors that have little to do with the drug, and are actually due to the sensitivity of the person taking the drug to their surroundings and their feelings about the people they are with.

The frame of mind of the person using marijuana and the various aspects of the place where they use marijuana that influences the effects are known as set and setting.

Altered Sensory Perceptions

Most people experience changes in their sensory perceptions when they are stoned. While marijuana does not typically produce real hallucinations the way that hallucinogenic drugs like LSD do, people do tend to see the world in a different way when they are high on cannabis than they do normally.

For example, familiar faces and objects can seem unfamiliar or strange, often in a way that amuses the person who is high; colors can appear brighter; aesthetic appreciation can be enhanced, and the mood of the individual can be projected onto everything around them.

When surroundings are perceived in a positive way, this can be enjoyable — the world seems more beautiful — but it can also happen in a negative way, causing the world to seem grim and harsh.

The sensory perceptions of hearing and taste are often the sensory experiences most strongly affected by marijuana. People who have used marijuana will often report a greater appreciation of music and may spend the entire experience listening to music and doing little else.

Enhancement of the sense of taste can result in a specific type of binge eating called the ‘munchies’, in which large amounts of food are consumed, often in odd combinations, such as chocolate with pickles. Sounds familiar? 

Effects on Mood and Mental State

The effects of marijuana on mood vary greatly from one person to another, but generally, emotions are exaggerated in a similar way to the intoxication effects of alcohol.

Situations that normally seem emotionally neutral may appear amusing or ridiculous.

Situations that normally seem emotionally neutral may appear amusing or ridiculous, or conversely and sometimes upsetting. 

Marijuana users will typically attempt to control the emotional stimulation they are exposed to while stoned, but this is not always possible. People often feel slowed down and relaxed when they are high on marijuana. 

Cannabis and creativity

While some people claim that marijuana improves creativity, and there is some evidence that marijuana use is associated with the production of a greater number of novel and creative 'out of the box' ideas. But it is unclear whether people who have these ideas seek out marijuana, or whether the drug increases the novel ideas.

The quality of the creative ideas is often questioned. Research has shown that higher doses result in less creativity than lower doses. Some artists use marijuana in the hope of a shortcut to creative ideas and artistic success.