Smoking weed usually results in giggles, fun conversations, creative thoughts and much-needed peace of mind. Doesn’t sound wrong, does it? So it’s not surprising that some people get disappointed when they don’t feel anything at all. Not getting high after smoking a joint is thankfully rare. It is especially common among beginners who are taking their first hit. But it can also happen to experienced users. Find out what happens to your body when smoking weed, and the main reasons why you sometimes don’t get high.
What does it mean to get high from weed?
The word “high” describes the state that occurs after consuming or smoking THC. For millennia, people have been growing and using cannabis to get into this special state of mind. Although different strains of cannabis produce different effects, the underlying high remains the same. It is characterized by an upbeat mood, deep thoughts, hunger and increased creativity. In everyone, however, this is different. But while we cannot say for sure how you will feel after smoking cannabis, millions of cannabis enthusiasts across the board point to similar effects.
How does a cannabis high manifest itself in the body?
When smoking cannabis with a joint or vaporizer, the THC enters the bloodstream through small vesicles in the lungs. From there it reaches the systemic circulation and crosses the blood-brain barrier. After THC reaches the brain, it produces a high through interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Specifically, THC binds to a group of receptors known as CB1. This increases dopamine levels and catalyzes the typical psychotropic effect of marijuana. This process is slightly different when you ingest marijuana with edibles. When you ingest THC orally, it passes through the digestive system, then finds its way to the liver. The liver then converts the molecule into a more powerful compound called 11-hydroxy-THC, which produces a long-lasting and psychedelic high.
10 reasons why you don’t get high on weed
But how is it that sometimes you don’t get high from smoking or eating weed? There are several reasons for this. We have listed the 10 most common causes below.
1. It’s your first time using weed
Many beginners feel a different kind of high or no high at all when they first smoke weed. Several factors can play a role in such an experience. For starters, there is a chance that beginners may not smoke the right way during the first few sessions, especially without guidance from a more experienced cannabis user. According to some theories, the way your body works may also play a role. If you’ve been smoking pot for a long time, you start to create more cannabinoid receptors to meet the demands of all that THC. In beginners, the smaller number of cannabinoid receptors means that THC has far fewer receptors to bind to and produce effects.
2. Not knowing what to expect
If you don’t know what to expect, the effects may also turn out differently the first few times you smoke weed. Without previous smoking experience, you may not notice the subtle effects of THC. Many people who smoke pot for the first time take only a few puffs and, in doing so, expect to get super high. Instead, such mini puffs have barely noticeable effects (especially if the THC content of the cannabis strain is not very high). Although many greenies experience this as a failed attempt, it is essential that you really focus on the small changes in your mood, thoughts and feelings. They may seem like minimal changes, but this is an ideal way to get acquainted with cannabis. Take your time and “taste” the experience little by little. This is much better than being overwhelmed and feeling uncomfortable.
3. Not inhaling properly
Not inhaling the smoke properly also often slows down the high in people who are smoking weed for the first time. If you’ve never smoked before, expect a sharp feeling in your throat. Coughing is almost standard. For these reasons, many beginners blow out the smoke immediately after inhaling. This way you may experience a slight high, but you won’t feel the true essence of the weed with this. Instead, inhale properly and let the smoke go all the way into your lungs. You don’t have to hold it in, but make sure you inhale deeply before exhaling again. This will ensure that all those THC molecules get into your bloodstream and you don’t waste a single puff.
4. Poor quality weed
There are two categories of beginners: those who have experienced friends to guide them, and those who go on adventures alone. The former category is often treated to good weed from the start. The latter, who have no companions, often buy and smoke poor quality cannabis.
5. Not enough weed
Uncertainty is common among beginners. As a result, it is common for novice smokers to use too little weed the first few times. Moreover, you also need to know what you are smoking. For example, smokers in America usually smoke a pure joint, which increases the chance of getting a high. In contrast, many European blowers add tobacco to their joint. Adding tobacco can make joints look much more impressive than they really are, and users get high from the nicotine hit rather than the THC. Although we recommend that you take your time, if you have not felt high the first few times, you can carefully try putting a little more weed in your joints.
6. The weed contains more CBD than THC
In recent years, growers have developed many cannabis strains that contain much higher amounts of CBD, or cannabidiol. This molecule does not have an intoxicating effect, but is milder and makes you more alert. Some strains have equal amounts of THC and CBD, while others have a high CBD content and almost no THC. If you don’t feel a high, check the cannabinoid profile of the strain you’re using. Does your weed contain enough THC to achieve the desired result?
7. Wrong method of consumption
More complex consumption methods can make it a lot harder to get high at first. Sure, they’re appealing, but a complex desktop vaporizer or dab rig can sometimes be a bit complicated the first time, and a mistake is easily made. When you first start using weed, we recommend smoking a simple joint. Light it up, take a deep breath and you’ll experience everything the THC has to offer. Then you can slowly enter the world of bongs, bubblers and pipes. There is a bit more involved in these smoking methods, but they are still quite simple. Once you are familiar with these methods, you can move on to edibles, dabbing and vaping.
8. High tolerance
It’s not just beginners who sometimes have trouble getting high. Advanced smokers also sometimes fail to experience the full effects of THC. After a period of regular use, the amount of CB1 receptors in our body increases. After chronic exposure to THC, however, this begins to decrease. Thus, weed users can become partially immune to the psychotropic cannabinoid. This means that you need more and more weed to feel the same effects. Fortunately, it only takes a short break to get your CB1 receptors’ expression back on track. It usually takes two days to two weeks before you can feel properly high again.
9. Endocannabinoid Deficiency
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is a physiological condition in which the body produces few endocannabinoids. These molecules are like chemical couriers and help many other systems function, from the digestive system to the nervous system. Everyone has their own “endocannabinoid character,” or the amount of endocannabinoids your body makes. Cannabinoids like THC have the same molecular structure as endocannabinoids, and this allows them to bind to the same receptors. THC can return a person’s endocannabinoid to baseline levels when there is endocannabinoid deficiency. This means that much more weed is needed to feel the psychotropic effects.
10. Hormones can block the high
Endogenous hormones can also change the way weed affects your body. Just as we produce different levels of endocannabinoids, we also synthesize different levels of hormones. Pregnenolone is produced by the adrenal glands and serves as a building block for steroid hormones, such as estrogen and DHEA. However, high endogenous levels of this hormone can weaken the high by blocking the effect of THC on CB1 receptors. Therefore, a marijuana user with high pregnenolone levels may need higher doses of THC to feel similar effects.
What can you do if you don’t get high from weed?
Don’t worry if you don’t get high the first few times you smoke weed! It’s more common than you think. Just try a few more times and let your body get used to the weed. Maybe by the third or fourth time you’ll notice a breakthrough. Sometimes it’s also just a matter of your unique physiology. Decreased endocannabinoid levels or higher levels of certain hormones may mean you need more THC than your fellow smokers. But remember: in the end, everyone can find his or her perfect dose.