stages of smoking weed

The 7 Stages Of Being High

There’s nothing more relaxing, enjoyable, and glorious than sharing some quality weed amongst friends and being high. It’s a great time to bond, unwind, and relieve the stress of a long workday or workweek. And if you’ve made it to the end of a milestone (the end of a workday or workweek does count!), you deserve to get righteously stoned. Everyone knows that.

And when you think about it, celebrating, relaxing, bonding, , is so much better with weed. Certainly better than with alcohol. With weed, you never end up puking and you never end up with a hangover.

You can get as high as you want, sleep like a baby, and then get up for work the next day, refreshed and ready to focus.

On top of all that, alcohol is just empty calories that go straight to your thighs or your gut. Weed, on the other hand, revs up your metabolism and can actually help you burn calories. Oh weed, how we do love you so!

Really, what’s not to love about weed and getting high? Weed is a unique drug that takes you down a winding path. You start off in one place and are then transported through a psychedelic trip to a whole new world.

Oh, and let’s not forget about how weed increases your creativity. You always get your best ideas when you’re stoned. It literally broadens your mind, man! And who isn’t into broadening their horizons and thinking in new ways? No one I know.

In this article, the cannabis experts at Honest Marijuana take you on a guided tour through the seven stages of being high.

Whether you’ve been on this journey before or you’re planning on taking your first trip very soon, the descriptions on this list will give you new insight into the THC experience. From euphoria to deep thoughts, everyone can relate to these seven stages of being super, super high. Enjoy the ride!

The 7 Stages Of Being High

The wonderful thing about cannabis is that it’s largely an individual experience. Yes, there are some commonalities, but the way you react to two or three tokes will be different than the way your friend reacts.

That said, on your trip to THC town, you may pass through only four stages. Or, if you’re really lucky, you may pass through nine or more stages. It all depends on your unique body chemistry.

Regardless, we’re pretty sure you’ll experience these seven stages at some point (maybe not all in a row) during your trip.

Stage 1: What The Eff Just Happened?

Ten seconds ago, you had just taken one too many hits off the dragon-shaped bong being passed around. You could barely see out of your swollen eyes, your lungs were burning, and you were desperately trying not to cough (but, of course, you were).

You were sure your friends were judging you as you hacked up half your lung. Five seconds ago, you were even questioning where your life was going…and then it hit.

The tetrahydrocannabinol crossed the blood-brain barrier, settled snugly into the CB1 receptor, powered up your neurons, and sent you flying in a blue dream. One moment you were fine (other than the coughing), and then—“Whoa!”—you were gone.

It grabs a hold just that fast and is what we’ve dubbed the “what-the-eff-just-happened moment”. It’s one of our favorite parts of getting high.

Stage 2: Euphoria

After the “what-the-eff-just-happened moment”, you’re on your way to getting extremely, unbelievably, what-did-I-even-just-do-to-my-body stoned. Some time during this stage of things, you’ll be overcome with a powerful, almost palpable, sense of euphoria.

You’ll probably lean close to your friend and squeal, “Dude, I’m so high!” (We always do.) Then you’ll erupt into a fit of laughter that lasts much longer than it probably should.

You’ll collapse back into (yes, into, not onto) the couch and just melt away. Your limbs will feel like they weigh 592 pounds. (Yes, 592 pounds exactly. We’ve run tests.) You won’t be able to move, but you won’t even care.

All of your worries will have disappeared. You’ll be primed and ready to put on The Disco Biscuits and stare into space for the rest of your life. Everything will be right with the world.

Stage 3: Deep Contemplation

After you come to grips with the mind-numbing euphoria that has turned your brain to jelly, you start to become hyper-aware of your tiny place in the universe. Welcome to stage 3! We call it the deep contemplation stage.

During this stage, you’re thinking about things that you’ve never even thought to think about (like why in the world the Kardashians are still famous). You’re considering things you’ve never even thought to consider (like why cats are so much better than dogs).

During stage three, there are so many things to analyze and to understand (we like to pick apart Christopher Nolan’s movie Inception). You are just a small spec on the grand landscape of the universe (yet you can see the truth in the saying “it’s turtles all the way down”). Your mortality is undeniable and death will eventually be your fate (this is just true so we’ve got nothing smart to say about it).

You start to become overwhelmed by these far out thoughts. You find yourself engaging with your friends in deep discussions about the infinite fabric of the universe and the very nature of reality.

You are a genius. Everyone knows that.

Stage 3.5: The Big Ohhh

This stage doesn’t always happen (which is why there are only seven and not eight in the title). But when you get lucky (pun intended) enough to experience the big ohhh (or just O) on marijuana, you’ll never want to do it sober again.

Doing the deed is already outstanding all by itself, but just imagine what you’ll feel with a healthy dose of THC in your system. Mind blown! That’s right, we said blown.

For an even more euphoric experience, we suggest incorporating a bit of cannabis lube into the proceedings to heighten her pleasure (remember boys, what’s good for her is good for you). It takes a while to really get going (20-40 minutes), but you can use the time to try other things.

If you’re going to engage in the big ohhh, be sure to do it (again, pun intended) before the next stage sets in. There’s nothing worse than being paranoid during intercourse.

Stage 4: Paranoia

After a round of deep thoughts (or other deep activities) in stage three, you start to feel decidedly anxious. It’s time for stage four to kick you in the teeth.

During stage four, it’s time to peel yourself off the couch and venture outside (we know, it’s a big place, man or woman up) in search of supplies. But not just any supplies. We’re not talking about bread and water here.

We’re talking about sugary snacks and chips. We never have a list, but we always seem to end up with the same thing: Caramel Bugles, Funions, Blow Pops, and Mountain Dew.

You haven’t lived until you’ve downed a bowl of Bugles and Funions drenched in Mountain Dew like some sort of unholy breakfast cereal. Trust us, it’s an experience.

What are the Blow Pops for? Well, one, they’re just a damn lot of fun. And, two, they take your mind off the bowl of goo you just devoured like it was Lucky Charms. Okay, wait, we’re getting off track (lack of focus is a sub-stage of “what the eff just happened”). Back to stage four.

During your quest for refined sugars and salt, everyone—and we mean everyone—is suddenly out to get you. And to make things worse, everyone—and we mean everyone—is a cop.

That ninety-year-old woman hobbling across the street in front of you? Yep, she’s an undercover DEA agent. That eight-year-old with the too-big backpack and the Poekmon hat turned backward? CIA. The baby being breastfed by its mother on the park bench? Mossad assassin.

Oh, and that guy in the aviator sunglasses and suit coat with the cut-short hairdo, he’s probably FBI, right? Wrong! He’s an alien from Alpha Centauri. But that’s a discussion for another stage.

As you’re driving to the store, you hear sirens and immediately you know the popo are coming for you. You’re convinced that the ninety-year-old woman, the eight-year-old kid, and the baby at its mother’s breast are going to leap into action, wrestle you to the ground, and lock you away in a dark dungeon for the rest of your life.

And yes, dungeons do exist. We’re writing this article from one right now.

Much to your surprise, though, the sirens are just part of the background on your rap CD. It’s then that you realize you hate rap (and for good reason). And your car doesn’t even have a CD player. Wait a minute, this isn’t even your car!

When you finally arrive at the store (after returning the car you evidently stole), you’re like a kid in a candy store (which, I guess, at this point, you literally would be).

Every aisle holds new wonders and you’re soon piling tons of snacks onto the counter, all the while thinking to yourself (and sometimes out loud), “This guy knows I’m fucked up. Don’t make eye contact. Just give him your money and get the hell out. $329.76? For three bags of Funions, an extra-large bag of Caramel Bugles, ten watermelon Blow Pops, a 2-liter of Mountain Dew Code Red, and a 2-liter of regular Mountain Dew? That sounds about right. Yes! I made it out without getting caught. Squirrel!”

As with the trip to the store, the trip home is filled with conspiracies and officers and agents of every conceivable law-enforcement agency on the planet…and they’re all out to get you.

During stage four, the world is a very scary place, and you just want to get back to your couch and your Disco Biscuits album.

Stage 5: The Munchies

When you finally make it back to your house…well, let’s face it, the car. You are suddenly so insatiably famished you feel like you could eat an elephant (which would probably be healthier than the stuff you bought at the gas station).

You start indiscriminately ripping open bags of Cheetos and Sour Straws, mixing them together, and stuffing your face. Mmmm, sweet and cheesy!

Your body has somehow transmogrified into a garbage disposal that refuses to hold anything inside. No amount food and drink could ever silence your stomach’s cry to be filled. More spicy pickles and whipped cream, please. So, you just keep stuffing it all in until there is nothing left to cram into your facehole.

Oh, wait, you’re out of supplies? Damn the supplies! They never mattered anyway. You beeline for the fridge, empty its contents into the sink, and eat it all with a large soup spoon.

When the fridge is empty (Does anyone know why we always go to the fridge first? That’s one of those things to ponder in stage three.), you turn to the cupboards. You assemble a bizarre peanut butter, fluff, popcorn sandwich and eat it without care.

Everything is so delicious you wonder how the whole world isn’t obese. Then you remember that a large portion of it is. Bummer!

Stage 6: Repeat All Of The Above

Now that you’ve stuffed your face like a little ripened piglet, it’s obviously time to repeat the whole process over again. One trip through the stages of being high is never enough. Everyone knows that. It would almost be a crime not to have another go.

Where there is weed, there is a way. So, you pack a few more bowls to share amongst your friends and start the whole process all over again.

Your friends promise to Venmo you (pay you back digitally) tomorrow. You know they won’t. That’s okay. You like to share. Weed brings people together. Once again, everything is right with the world and you are a simple vessel of happiness.

Stage 7: Fading

After a long day of being high, continuously smoking, eating, and basically doing nothing valuable with your waking hours, you start to get extremely sleepy. All of the life has been drained out of you.

Though you probably didn’t do much in the way of physical activity, that means very little where coming down off a high is concerned. Your body is so worn out you may as well have run a marathon.

Despite the fatigue, you feel content and happy. You had a great day with your friends and your beloved bong. Today was all about the chill. Tomorrow will be more productive. You’re cool with that. You’re great with that. You’re thrilled with that.

Tomorrow will be more productive…unless you decide to skip work and get high again. You’d be cool with that too! Then, as your thoughts wind down toward nothingness, you crawl into bed, probably without brushing your teeth, and pass the fuck out.

Being High: A Spectrum Of Consciousness

As should be painfully obvious just by reading the title of this article and skimming its contents, you should be prepared to experience various levels of consciousness when you partake of the wacky weed.

  • Sober
  • Buzzed
  • High
  • Stoned
  • Tripping

Like many of the terms created and co-opted by cannabis culture, inexperienced outsiders have overused these words — or just plain used them incorrectly.

It’s gotten so bad that these words are now smooshed together in everyone’s mind. They’ve become synonyms for one another.

Buzzed means high. High means high. Stoned means high. And tripping means high.

But back when the world was fresh and new (we’re talking the 1960s), these words described distinct waypoints on every psychedelic trip. You may not reach each station every time. But with the right weed and a serious commitment to the cause, you might, just might, go all the way.

Let’s discuss the cannabis spectrum of consciousness in a bit more detail.


Sober means “unaffected by .” For the sake of this article, you’d write “marijuana” in that blank.

Sober is everything that happens before stage one on this list and is what most of us experience every day, so, yeah, it’s no fun at all. Let’s move on.


The “buzzed” point on the cannabis spectrum of consciousness occurs at the end of stage one on the way into stage two of this list.

For the lucky few, it may occur after just one hit. For most of us, though, it will probably take more than a few tokes to reach this point.

With a good buzz going, you’ll feel more relaxed and at-one with the world. Colors will be brighter, music more melodic, and flavors more intense (although you won’t have hit the munchie stage yet).

If you consume just enough pot to stay buzzed, you’ll still be able to function at a fairly high level without getting distracted — squirrel! — and may even be more motivated to attack the mind-numbingly mundane tasks that make being sober such a nuisance.

The “high” point on the cannabis spectrum of consciousness occurs during stage two of this list.

At the beginning of being high, you’ll continue to feel happy, energetic, and optimistic (leftovers from the earlier buzzed point on your journey), but being high will add new feelings of elation and euphoria.

Some cannanauts report experiencing a burst of motivation and energy when they’re high that inspires them to accomplish great things.

Not everyone paints the Mona Lisa (really, what’s so great about that painting anyway?) or writes The DaVinci Code (a true modern-day masterpiece), but you may be moved to devise a new way to organize your sock drawer and that’s a small little victory in itself.

If you’re OCD like we are, crave a bit more control over your marijuana experience, and want to get off the psychedelic express at the high station, we recommend partaking of a sativa (like Sour Diesel) or a sativa-dominant hybrid strain (like Chem Dog).

Sativas tend to make people high without pushing them into stoned territory. Your results may vary. Experiment with different strains and different amounts to find the results that are just right for you.


The “stoned” point on the cannabis spectrum of consciousness occurs at the end of stage two and into stage three of this list.

In contrast to being high, getting stoned will make you feel blissfully relaxed, calm, and lethargic.

Depending on a whole host of variables — including weed quality, amount taken, your metabolism, your anxiety level, and others — you may either progress through being high into being stoned, or you may skip being high altogether and go directly to being stoned.

Indicas have a tendency to do this — bypass the high stage completely — so if you’re looking for immediate couch lock, we suggest partaking of a strain like Northern Lights or Granddaddy Purple.

When considering the stoned point on our spectrum of consciousness, it’s important to remember that not everyone experiences both stages (high and stoned).

For some individuals, the train stops at being high. For others, the train travels through high into stoned. For yet others, the train may skip all other stations on its express ride to stoned.

You may be able to exercise a bit of control over your experience, but, most times, you just never know how these things are going to hit you.

But stoned isn’t the last stop on our spectrum of consciousness. One more point remains: the elusive tripping.


The “tripping” point (or trippin’ for those of you with lazy tongues) on the cannabis spectrum of consciousness occurs toward the end of stage three on this list.

If you’ve ever reached the tripping point while smoking weed, count yourself lucky. It’s not easy to achieve and it doesn’t happen very often.

According to experienced cannanauts, tripping off of cannabis is like a tamer version of a mushroom or LSD trip.

Physical energy levels skyrocket along with mental activity, which may manifest itself as manic behavior in some individuals.

In response to said mental and physical stimulation, some people may experience auditory and visual hallucinations including, but in no way limited to:

  • Endless fractal tunnels
  • Melting surfaces
  • Celestial bodies that speak or play music
  • 1000 lifetimes flashing before your eyes
  • Cthulhu emerging from the watery depths

There are no restrictions on what you might experience while tripping — all boundaries of time, space, and ego are eliminated — so be prepared for a hell of a ride.

After tripping, you can expect to return to reality at stage four of this list — paranoia — and progress through munchies, another trip, and falling stone-cold asleep.

Whether your canna-trip stops at buzzed, continues to high, pushes on to stoned, or makes it all the way to tripping, be sure to enjoy what’s going on around and within you and revel in the novel experiences before sober overtakes you again.

Name Your Own Stage Of Being High

As we mentioned, one of the many nice things about getting high is the creativity it brings with it. We put our weed-high-induced creativity to work putting together this list of the seven stages of being high. Now it’s time to exercise your creativity for everyone to see.

Create a stage of your own, rename one of our stages, or add a sub-stage to the mix. Want to disagree with our description of your average high? Fine with us. Just remember, the internet is eternal and never forgets. So be nice.

Want to compliment us on our righteous written creation? The correct way to do that is to send money. Everyone knows that. Rest assured, we’ll use it to buy more Caramel Bugles, Funions, Blow Pops, and Mountain Dew.

Want to know what to expect on your trip to THC town? The experts at Honest Marijuana take you on a guided tour of the seven stages of being high.

What does it feel like to be high on cannabis?

For years, people have associated cannabis with recreational use and “getting high.” Though many people may talk about the effects of cannabis, it is important to understand that different people may have very varied reactions to cannabis use.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cannabis is the “most commonly used illicit drug” in the United States. In fact, a 2015 drug abuse and use survey stated that over 22 million people used cannabis in a single month.

Keep reading for more information on what it feels like to be high on cannabis, what causes it, and the factors that can affect how a person may respond to cannabis in its various forms.

Share on Pinterest Cannabis use can produce sensations of relaxation and euphoria.

Cannabis contains hundreds of compounds. Scientists and researchers are particularly interested in two of these chemical compounds: cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC produces the high when a person smokes, ingests, or vapes it. It enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the brain. It then attaches to receptors in the brain, which causes the high to occur in most people.

THC also slows down communication between the brain and rest of the body, which gives cannabis its calming effect.

Proponents of recreational cannabis use often talk about the positive effects of being high. These sensations can include:

  • a feeling of relaxation
  • euphoria
  • laughter or giggles
  • hunger
  • greater amusement and enjoyment
  • greater sensitivity to color, touch, smell, light, taste, and sound
  • a feeling of being more creative

Cannabis can cause the body to become dependent on the good feelings it produces.

Over time, a person’s body may greatly reduce the number of endocrines it creates because the chemicals within cannabis replace the naturally occurring chemicals present in the body. However, this is still just a theory, as there has been no research yet.

THC levels in the blood vary over time. Generally, they will build until they peak, and once they peak, they start to work their way out of the blood through a person’s urine or stool.

As THC levels rise and fall, a person may experience different effects from cannabis. During the peak, a person is most likely to experience the euphoric effect. As the THC concentrations in the blood begin to fall, however, a person may experience:

  • hunger
  • sleepiness
  • anxiety or mild paranoia

The speed at which a person goes through these stages, and which stages they experience, will depend on several factors, including:

  • the method of use, such as vaping, smoking, or ingesting
  • strain
  • potency
  • dose
  • sex
  • age
  • physiology
  • frequency of use
  • use of alcohol or other drugs while using cannabis

The term “strain” refers to the subspecies of the cannabis plant. There are three main strains of cannabis: Cannabis indica, Cannabis sativa, and a hybrid of the two.

In general, frequent users of cannabis believe that Cannabis indica strains produce a sensation of relaxation, while Cannabis sativa strains produce more of the euphoric high, which is better for creativity and social interaction. A hybrid strain may cause both effects, to varying degrees.

However, according to an interview with Dr. Ethan Russo, an established expert on the human endocannabinoid system, there is no evidence to suggest that the different strains actually produce different effects.

Instead, he explained that the differences are based on how a person reacts to the individual plant and the amount of terpenoids within the particular plant the person is using. More research is needed in this area, however.

There are several different ways of using cannabis. The three most common methods of use are:

  • smoking
  • vaping
  • using edibles, such as brownies or candies

THC absorption differs depending on the method a person uses. For example, when a person smokes or vapes cannabis, the effects of being high occur almost immediately. The THC enters the lungs and bloodstream, and the user very quickly reaches their peak high.

When a person ingests cannabis in the form of edibles, however, it has to travel through the digestive tract, which slows down the process of absorption into the blood. Therefore, it takes longer for the effects of the edibles to kick in. Take care not to take too much while waiting for an effect.

In 2016, a review of studies identified the following time frames for smoking, vaping, and using edibles:

Smoking or vaping Edibles
Onset Within a few minutes 30–90 minutes
Peak 20–30 minutes 3 hours
Total time 2–3 hours Around 24 hours

CBD and THC are two of many different compounds present in cannabis. CBD and THC both interact with cannabinoid receptors, but only THC causes the high that people associate with recreational cannabis use. Learn more about the similarities and differences here.

CBD does not cause a high. Manufacturers often extract CBD from the cannabis plant for medicinal use. Healthcare professionals have used CBD to treat pain, anxiety, and several other medical conditions.

THC is present in the bud of the cannabis plant, which is why people tend to use these parts in recreational joints and edibles.

If a person smokes, vapes, or consumes too much cannabis, they may experience unpleasant effects. These might include:

  • panic
  • psychosis
  • confusion
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • delusions
  • hallucinations
  • nausea and vomiting
  • red eyes
  • delayed reaction times
  • reduced muscle and limb coordination
  • increased heart rate
  • distorted senses

People who do not use cannabis regularly are more likely to experience these unpleasant effects from being high.

It is unclear whether or not there are long-term side effects of using cannabis. Researchers must determine what, if any, long-term complications of cannabis use exist.

Generally, there are minimal side effects when using cannabis to get high. According to Americans for Safe Access, a person would need to smoke the equivalent of 1,500 pounds of cannabis in 15 minutes to overdose. However, this is untested and more or less impossible.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse warn that a person who has used too much cannabis may experience acute psychosis, the effects of which can include hallucinations, delusions, and loss of personal identity.

A person is also more likely to become very high on cannabis if they use edibles. This is because when a person consumes edibles, the cannabis has to pass through the digestive system before it enters the bloodstream.

The result of this is a delay of the onset of the high associated with cannabis. This delay can cause a person to eat more than needed as they wait for the effects to kick in.

The American Addiction Centers also warn that some people who deal cannabis may mix it with additional drugs. They cite the following potential side effects:

  • hyperactivity or aggressiveness
  • cardiac arrest
  • stroke
  • seizures
  • high blood pressure
  • headache
  • chest pain
  • hyperactivity
  • aggressive behavior
  • irregular heartbeat

It is important to note that these additional side effects would be the result of the drugs added to the cannabis. Pure cannabis should not cause these more severe side effects.

Marijuana use can affect different people in different ways, and being 'high' can feel different to different people. Learn about what being high on marijuana might feel like here.