High Without Cannabis
3 min

How To Get High Without Using Cannabis

3 min

Due to the endocannabinoid system, our bodies are equipped to receive signals from various compounds found anywhere from the leaves of a plant to a slice of cheese. Just like cannabis, these compounds can induce a variety of effects on our bodies; anywhere from inducing states of euphoria and deep calm, to fighting off illness.

While cannabis is enjoyed the world over for its versatile and relaxing high, there are many other herbs out there that can be used to similar effect. We take a look at a few alternatives to cannabis, and how they affect the human body.


Thought to be used by hunter-gatherers in South Africa for millennia, Kanna or " Sceletium tortuosum" is traditionally used as a mood enhancer. The name itself means "something to chew", and it is commonly ingested in this way.

The psychoactive effects of this plant are plentiful, causing a range of effects depending on how much is used. This can be anything from euphoria, inebriation and stimulation to sedation. It is also known to boost the effect of other psychoactive substances such as cannabis.

Sceletium tortuosum - KannaView Products

Concentrations of kanna's active compounds appear to change from season to season. Therefore it is typically harvested in summer and spring as the active alkaloids are thought to be produced at highest concentrations during this time.

While it was traditionally fermented or dried before consumption, common methods of consumption now include making tinctures, gel caps and herbal teas.

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A native South African plant, wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus), otherwise known as "Lion's tail" is a tall growing evergreen commonly found in rocky offshoots around grasslands. While a particular pretty plant with its golden orange flowers growing in clusters around the stalk, it also contains numerous properties. Making it a highly regarded plant with South African peoples as a herbal remedy.

But wild dagga also has very similar effects to cannabis, although much milder. It has very obvious effects of sedating and relaxing the body, and can also induce states of euphoria . Smokers report slight mood enhancements and giddiness with heightened visual perception and mental calm.

Used by traditional South Africans such as the Zulu and Khoikhoi for a very long time, it remains a recreational drug as well as a medicine to this day. It is legal in most countries, and it's even possible for you to cultivate your own! A highly drought tolerant plant that provides a source of nectar for birds and butterflies, it prefers a Mediterranean or subtropical climate.

Leonotis LeonurusView Product



Ever wondered why chocolate makes you feel so good? It's not just the great taste. Chocolate contains a bunch of chemical compounds that work with the endocannabinoid system. Most notable is the FAAH enzyme. FAAH helps to break down anandamide, but other compounds found in chocolate also increase anandamide levels in the body.

These compounds work in a similar way to CBD and other cannabinoids, while the breakdown of anandamide works just like THC. This is what gives us the happy and relaxing feeling we get from chocolate. Although providing a much milder effect than cannabis, the way chocolate interacts with the endocannabinoid system is more considerable than one might think.

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Research using lab mice running on a wheel shows that running generates higher levels of endorphins and endocannabinoids in the body. The study noted that the mice appear less anxious and were more able to tolerate higher levels pain. This is considered to explain the feeling of a "runner's high".

While the mice experienced no difference in behaviour when their endorphin receptors were blocked, when their endocannabinoid system was blocked the results showed static anxiety and pain tolerance. Could the endocannabinoid system be an explanation for the runner's high?

The study conducted by the Central Institute of Mental Health at the University of Heidelberg medical school in Germany showed that mice who ran three miles a day displayed less anxious behaviour.

Scientists believe these qualities are quite possibly attributed to humans because "We evolved to hunt fast moving animals and to escape from equally fast predators." Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Marcelo Gleiser says "Such prolonged runs are tiring and painful. If we get a reward from working hard, our chances of running longer and faster are increased. And, with them, our chances of survival."

So if you're looking for a clean and natural high, go for a run! You are an efficiently evolved runner, and your body will reward you for your run by releasing endorphins and endocannabinoids into your system. What's more, it will keep you in good shape while you're at it!



Scientists found that oxytocin releases the endocannabinoid anandamide when you display feelings of love and compassion. Similar to THC, anandamide attaches to your cannabinoid receptors and activates them, helping to stimulate motivation and pleasure. What's more, oxytocin plays an important role in social interactions from bonding to childbirth, sexual attraction and reproduction.

Thus a little bit of love goes a long way in stimulating your brain and providing you with the uplifting buzz you might experience with your favourite strain of cannabis.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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