The Difference Between High And Stoned
2 min

The Difference Between High And Stoned

2 min

Whether you're an avid smoker or just enjoy the occasional joint, there are typically two ways you'll describe your experience—feeling high or feeling stoned. You may think those terms describe the same thing, but a difference between the two. Keep reading to find out what it is!

No matter who they are or where they live, stoners love giving weed-related things exciting and unusual names. There's no shortage of terminology; from the thousands of different strains, to the dozens of slang terms for a joint, there are different ways to refer to anything. As you'd expect, when it comes to describing the mental and physical impact of weed, the abundance of phrases is just as vast.

Two of the most frequently used terms to describe the cannabis experience are "high" and "stoned." Although it's common for people to use both interchangeably, the terms represent distinctly different experiences.

Making Sense of the Cannabis Experience

Making Sense Of The Cannabis Experience

To the uninitiated, being "high" and being "stoned" is the same thing. But dig deeper into the biology of cannabis, and you'll see how certain strains impact our minds and bodies differently. You'll also see how the same strain can impact certain people differently as well. As you take a closer look, you'll find there's far more than one way we can experience the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

Vaping, smoking, or eating weed won't make you feel any particular way. Rather, getting high initiates a journey through several different sensations. One may feel high and stoned during the same experience, and another person may feel neither. They're just two of the many ways one can feel when they use cannabis, and the sensations have to be considered separately in turn.

What Does It Feel Like Being High?

What Does It Feel Like Being High?

"High" is a term used in virtually every stoner song and weed meme on Instagram, but the term wasn't plucked out of thin air. Instead, it describes one of the (mostly) psychological sensations that can occur when you smoke, vape or eat weed.

If you had to put "being high" into words, you would likely describe it as an uplifting or energising sensation, supported by intense feelings of euphoria, creativity, and joy. The entire experience typically centres on cerebral sensations, and, depending on how much you smoke, lasts several hours.

People usually describe being high as:

  • Uplifting
  • Energising
  • Euphoric
  • Inspiring
  • Joyful

The "high" feeling is typically associated with sativa strains, although decades of cross-breeding means that genetic correlation isn't guaranteed. That being said, a well-established sativa is still an excellent place to start if "being high" is your preferred experience.

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What Does It Feel Like Being Stoned?

What Does It Feel Like Being Stoned?

Being stoned is the laid-back counterpart sensation to being high. The term is another expression synonymous with stoner culture, but it's far more than just a slang term. A stoned sensation is notably more body-centric, affecting your joints, muscles, and general movement.

When describing a stoned sensation, you'd be likely to note a feeling of deep relaxation and the infamous couch-lock effect—a deep state of pseudo-paralysis that leaves you locked in your sofa or seat. Couch-lock may sound a little intimidating, but when you've had a rough day and need to clear your thoughts, a strain that can get you heavily stoned works wonders!

People usually describe being stoned as:

  • Calming
  • Relaxing
  • Soothing
  • Peaceful
  • Restful

If those sound like feelings you'd like to experience, the best bet is an indica strain, as some variants are better at inducing a stoned feeling than their sativa counterparts. However, as we mentioned in the previous section, there are exceptions that deny the genetic conventions, so ask dispensary / coffeehouse staff or experienced stoners about how the strain made them feel. Along with that, be aware a heavy stoned sensation can easily last several hours too, so you shouldn't plan to do anything too soon after a smoke session.

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Stoned Versus High

Stoned Versus High

Although both terms appear interchangeable, you can now see there's a distinct difference between being high and being stoned in terms of mental and physical experiences. And, while the classic connection between sativas & feeling high and indicas & feeling stoned somewhat applies, it's less clear-cut than it used to be. Instead, we recommend using the classification as a rough indicator when picking your next strain, but don't consider a genetic profile as a 100% guarantee of one outcome or the other.

The beauty of cannabis is its plethora of potential effects it could have, along with the freedom of choice offered by thousands of different strains. Experiment and find one that gives you whichever sensation you're after. Now, the next time someone gets the two terms confused, you'll know exactly how to differentiate them—no research required!

Whether you're chasing a euphoric sensation, or want to spend the afternoon locked into a sofa, we hope you find a strain you enjoy. Remember, there isn't a superior preference, and it ultimately comes down to how you want to feel at the time.

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl has been writing about cannabis, the wellness potential of cannabinoids, and the positive influence of nature for over a decade. Working with several cannabinoid-centric publications, he publishes a variety of digital content, supported by strong technical knowledge and thorough research.
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