Head High vs. Body High: What’s the Difference?

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If you're new to weed, even the most common cannabis lingo can seem like an entirely different language. Not only do you have to learn the definitions of basic weed words like indica and sativa, you also have to pick up on phrases and facts as well! Memorizing all that, on top of figuring out which end of the bong is up, makes any initiation into cannabis culture seem like it comes with an impossible learning curve. And if you haven't spent a significant amount of time hanging out with stoners and/or smoking lots of weed, you probably don't know the different kinds of highs (or that there even are different kinds of highs)! No worries though, since Leafbuyer is here to make sure you know the difference between a head high and a body high.

While no dispensary worker worth their salt will make fun of you for not knowing your weed terms and slang, it still feels good to know what you want before going into your first cannabis purchase. That's why it's important to know the kinds of cannabis highs and their effects. From your head to your shoulders to even your knees and toes, Leafbuyer has you covered! Just pick a strain, read up, and get ready to know exactly where and why you feel your weed high.

Getting High off Weed

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Before jumping headfirst into the different kinds of highs, let's take a moment and start at the beginning: understanding how getting high off weed actually works. You don't need to know all the science behind cannabis intoxication to sound informed so let's go over the basics instead and save everyone the time (and possibly the headache too). To put it simply, when you consume cannabis via smoking, vaping, or edibles, you're introducing cannabinoids into your system. We humans, along with most mammals, have cannabinoid receptors in our brains. These receptors attach to the influx of cannabinoids from consuming cannabis which, in turn, creates the weed high stoners know and love!

There are exceptions to this, primarily when it comes to the consumption of CBD instead of THC. Since CBD is taking the cannabis market by storm, you probably already know that CBD does not possess psychoactive cannabinoids, unlike most recreational weeds which are more THC-heavy. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids but only THC makes you feel like the people in stoner comedies. This distinction is important because the ratio of these two cannabinoids in whatever strain you're smoking does have an effect on your head and body buzz. In fact, indica strains tend to have more CBD than sativa strains. Which brings us to the main issue: the effects of a head high vs. body high.

Head High Effects

Sativa strains are packed with the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, and are where most cannabis enthusiasts find their main source of a good head high. Some even describe the feeling from consuming sativa strains as “energetic” since the effects are not felt in the body so much as in your head. This may sound scary but it's no more frightening than couch lock (which we'll get into soon, for the uninitiated). Head highs from weed are described in many ways: cerebral, euphoric, uplifting, creative, energetic, and even spacey. In other words, strains with a strong head high reportedly make people feel happy. People say entertainment like video games, music, and even sitting outdoors chatting with friends, should feel enhanced after consuming THC-laden cannabis.

Unfortunately, head highs also come with the possibility of negative side effects like paranoia and anxiety. The feeling that someone is watching you that comes after you've consumed cannabis is primarily because of the effects in your head. After all, your body as a whole can't really feel paranoia — your mind, on the other hand, definitely can. This is the reason many people prefer hybrids or indica strains to pure sativas, though you'll still find plenty of pot-lovers who prefer an energetic head high.

Body High Effects

When you hear people refer to a body high, they're basically describing the sensation one gets after consuming an indica-influenced strain. People say a body high makes you feel heavy and maybe even slightly tingly. Some consumers report feeling as though they're spinning or unable to stop leaning a certain direction. These uncontrollable effects are more prevalent in newcomers to cannabis who simply consumed too much weed without building up a tolerance first. If you don't overdo a body high, consumers report feeling relaxed and maybe slightly lazy. If you remember the earlier reference to couch lock, this is where it becomes relevant. Only with a body buzz will you feel as though you're so relaxed you can't move or so comfy on your couch you're locked into place. Even with strong edibles, you shouldn't experience literal paralysis with weed alone. Instead, many feel so comfortable and lazy they just don’t want to get up. A strong body high might also come with an overwhelming urge to eat everything in sight before drifting off into a peaceful sleep.

These effects on the body reflect the CBD percentage found in most indica strains. CBD on its own reportedly makes the consumer feel relaxed and is also used by consumers for a multitude of issues. Cannabis consumers who just want to unwind, relax, and get stoned tend to lean more toward indica strains for this reason. Remember to keep in mind that indicas do have THC in them, meaning the body high will still present with psychoactive or “head” effects. In my experience, indica strains are just so mellow they tend to cancel out the more unpleasant THC-heavy effects. But you're not going to find an indica without a head high — you'll need to find a non-psychoactive strain for that! Until then, treat your cannabis consumption with respect since you can still very much experience an overwhelming head high from a THC-heavy indica (even with the CBD to balance it out).

The Combined Effect

Some out there will argue that pure indica and sativa strains are more or less a myth. While this may be true for some cannabis plants, experienced (and moral) growers usually try their best to provide you with a strain that matches the profile of the original strain. In theory, a real, evenly-balanced hybrid strain that presents with both indica and sativa effects should give you the best experience of a head high vs. body high.

In hybrid strains with ratios other than 50/50, the head high vs. body high balance will vary (as will the effects). You may, for instance, smoke an indica-dominant hybrid and feel mostly relaxed with just enough cerebral euphoria to keep you awake. On the other hand, a sativa-dominant hybrid strain could leave you with a mellow body high light enough to not affect your desire to get stuff done. Many consumers say sativa-dominant hybrids are great for daytime consumption and chatting with friends. While indica-dominant hybrids reportedly make great additions to camping trips, beach days, and other activities which don't require too much energy.

Head High vs. Body High: Which High is Better?

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As with most things in life, deciding which weed high is better is entirely up to the individual. And since each strain, cannabis grower, and product distributor is different, you may find that even a solid strain like Blue Dream can present with wildly different effects. Make sure to choose a trustworthy cannabis provider to get the best products with the most accurate head high vs. body high stats. If you're going to go through the trouble of finding your perfect head and body high balance, it's better if you know exactly what you're consuming.

If you're a beginner with weed, it's going to take some trial and error for you to find the sweet spot for your personal preferences. With so many awesome products on the market, it isn't easy to decide where to start. Instead of worrying about choosing the perfect strain off the bat, rely on the expertise of the dispensary worker helping you with your order. They're the expert when it comes to matching customers to the weed they want, after all. And unless you're very lucky, chances are you're not going to find the perfect product on the first try. You'll just have to sample weed across a wide range of head to body highs to help get some perspective.

And once you find a ratio of head high vs. body high that works for you, stick to it! You're the only one who can decide what kind of weed high you want, and before you make that decision you have to smoke some weed. Better visit your local dispensary and get started on developing those personal preferences since no one else is going to do it for you!

The content on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for advice given by a health-care physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. Click here to read the full disclaimer.