Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 7, 2023

If you’ve never smoked weed or tried cannabis edibles before but are curious about it, you might be wondering what does weed feel like, or better yet, what does being high feel like, and what sensations you will feel once you try it for the first time. Of course, the most important experience is the individual experience, meaning that you’ll know best after you try it for yourself, but before that, it may be helpful to read some in-depth info.

In this article, we’ll cover the sensations caused by weed as true-to-fact as we can, and we’ll talk about the different effects of cannabis caused by different strains and compounds in weed.

How Weed Behaves in the Body

You may not have known this, but there is a widespread biological system in the human body called the endocannabinoid system that has been under a lot of research in the last two decades. The endocannabinoid system is thought to be involved in many important processes in the body, including immune response, communication between cells, and mood, among others.

Having said that, the cannabis plant contains naturally occurring compounds called cannabinoids that make it so special in its effects. These cannabinoids attach to the receptors in the endocannabinoid system and this is how you start feeling the effects of marijuana.

Everyone’s experience is slightly different and depends on things like:

  • The dose you take – the higher the dose, the higher the “high” as well as the risk of side effects;
  • The strain – some cannabis strains are more potent than others;
  • The mode of ingestion – whether you smoke, vape, or ingest it through edibles. Ingesting it will make the effects last longer; smoking it will make you feel the effects quicker;
  • How often you use it – if you’re a stoner, you might have bigger tolerance than occasional users or beginners;
  • Your age – younger individuals are more sensitive to drug use;
  • Your unique physiology – you might react completely different to the same strain or dose from someone else;
  • Whether you have alcohol with weed – alcohol tends to enhance the effects of THC, putting you at risk of unpleasant side effects.

What Physical Sensations Will I Feel?

Depending on the strain, you may feel a body buzz, like you’re physically more energetic and agile, or you may feel more lethargic and couch-locked. Some strains also cause enhanced sensory perception.

What Mental Sensations Will I Feel?

Similarly, different strains offer different mental effects, so you may find yourself feeling more chatty, creative, highly focused, and euphoric, or you may feel calm, content, sleepy, and serene.

Is There a Difference Between Strains?

There are more than 1000 strains of cannabis with different terpenoid content giving them a variety of flavors and scents, so it’s natural to be confused. However, the general classification is that there are three main strains of cannabis: Indica, Sativa, and hybrids, and they all offer different physiological effects.

So, depending on what you’re looking for, whether you want to use weed for recreational purposes or medical conditions, you should know their basic characteristics before you decide which one to take.

Generally, Indica is known for its deeply relaxing effects. It tends to decrease your energy, making you feel calm and relaxed, like you want to sink into your couch. Indica is also known for alleviating pain effectively, as well as reducing nausea and increasing appetite, which is why Indica-dominant hybrid strains are often recommended for medicinal use. Due to its highly relaxing effects, Indica is best taken in the evening.

Sativa, on the other hand, produces an energizing high. It’s often described as a cerebral, “mind high”, because it makes you feel more awakened. You may feel more creative and productive when you take Sativa, as opposed to relaxed or drowsy. Sativa is known for its uplifting effects, which is why it’s often recommended for anxiety. Needless to say, Sativa’s stimulating properties make it better to use during the daytime.

Finally, hybrid strains are a cross between different Sativa and Indica strains. Each of them is very unique, with its own unique effects and potency, depending on the dominant strain. Some hybrid strains are created for producing specific effects, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes.

THC vs. CBD Effects

Out of the hundreds of cannabinoids present in the marijuana plant, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are the most researched ones, and most well-known. They have a very similar structure and they both interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the human body, but they have very different effects.

THC is psychoactive, makes you feel euphoric, and produces the “high” feeling you get from marijuana use. THC-dominant strains are usually recommended for pain relief, nausea, muscle spasms, insomnia, and anxiety. However, higher THC levels are also known to produce intense feelings of anxiety and paranoia, so you should be very mindful of the dosage, especially if you’re a beginner.

CBD is not psychoactive and it doesn’t produce the same effects as THC. It’s non-intoxicating and it’s usually recommended for medicinal purposes in the form of extracts or oils. Strains high in CBD are often prescribed as medical marijuana by healthcare professionals. CBD is known to help with pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, migraines, and IBS, and is better tolerated in larger doses than THC.

Sativa strains usually contain more THC than CBD, while Indica strains usually have a ratio close to 1:1, but are slightly higher in CBD.

Experiencing Side Effects

The most common but harmless side effect of cannabis use is the so-called “cotton mouth”, which is when your mouth feels dry, and your eyes feel heavy and/or dry. You can relieve this by having a bottle of water near you.

If you take higher doses or a strain that’s very potent, you may also feel heightened anxiety or paranoia, and feel your heart rate increasing. If this happens, try to calm down and find a quiet, comfortable corner, and remember that it’s temporary and you’ll feel better the next day.

If you’re not an experienced user, we advise you to be careful and start with a low dose until you’ve built up some tolerance. Some marijuana highs can hit you pretty hard if you’re not prepared, so it’s best to avoid those unpleasant experiences.

What About the Munchies?

We’ll say this straight up – the munchies are real. The reason behind marijuana causing the munchies is thought to be due to the THC content. A study by Yale University has discovered that when you smoke weed, the neurons that signal satiety get mixed up when they come into contact with cannabinoids, resulting in an increased sense of hunger. So, when you get high, expect to feel like you can eat everything you have in your fridge, and make sure to stock up on your favorite treats.

Final Thoughts

Weed interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body by binding to its receptors. How you feel the effects of weed depends on many things, such as the strain and potency of the weed, as well as your sensitivity and experience.

Weed is mostly consumed through smoking, vaping, or edibles, all of which take different times to feel the effects. Side effects are mostly felt at larger doses or if the weed strain is too potent.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.