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The Eight Stages of Being Stoned Explained!

Girl in a hammock smoking a joint

I say, pass the Dutchie pon the left-hand side – lyrics that leave us with a longing for a time before a global pandemic forced us into isolation. To a time when we could enjoy the company of friends and par-toke in the splendours of Mary Jane. When we could pass the joint after ritually smoking the first two puffs. Who do we share the experience with? How do we communicate online and explain to one another what our experiences were like? Ever wonder what the stages of being stoned are? We look at the different levels of being high on cannabis, the so-called “Stoned Spectrum”. 

Firstly, not every single person will react the same to a particular strain of cannabis. So, it becomes a bit tricky to settle on a universal experience to put into word and describe the stages of being stoned. Every person has a unique Endocannabinoid System. This system is activated by the cannabinoids in the marijuana we smoke or ingest, and each marijuana strain has a specific set of cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC for short, is the cannabinoid that attaches to the CB1 receptor in the brain and causes the psychedelic high in question.

Smoking vs Eating

A recent study has defined two distinct timelines for the effect that THC has when eating your greens vs smoking them. When we smoke cannabis the effects generally start within a few minutes, with the high lasting two to three hours. When we eat cannabis, on the other hand, the effects could take anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours. The overall experience could last a couple of hours, sometimes with effects lingering for up to 12 hours.

There are a few other variables that could, or not at all, affect your experience. Like smoking in the morning vs smoking at night, when last you had a meal, your state of mind and the physical environment around you.

We have compiled these levels, or stages, based on our own anecdotal evidence which we corroborated with the most generally accepted written documentation. You might skip a level or two, or experience them in a different order – remember your very own endocannabinoid system is as unique as your fingerprints!

The Full Experience

In order to fully experience your cannabis, we recommend taking the opportunity to smell your weed! The Olfactory receptors in your nasal passages are linked to your endocannabinoid system, this could contribute to and increase your overall experience. Ever heard of the Entourage Effect? Well, in short, it is when all the components in cannabis; i.e.: cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, work together in harmony to deliver a holistic mind and body experience.

The Stages of Being Stoned

#1 Puff, Puff Pass
Stages of being stoned - puff puff pass

After the first few hits, the THC crosses the blood-brain barrier and attaches to the CB1 receptors. You start filling with effervescence and experience a noticeable shift in your cognitive perception. All the senses start heightening, music is more melodic, food tastes better, colours are brighter and the cannabis you are smoking smells even more amazing!

#2 Ascending the Summit
Ascending the Summit - balloons freely floating up into the sky

As more THC enters the brain and packs around those CB1 receptors, the feeling of euphoria starts washing over you. All of the cognitive perceptions are slowly intensifying and you become more aware of all the heightened senses. Your body becomes more limber as you ease into a state of total relaxation.

#3 Peaking Pot Head
Stages of being stoned - peaking pot head

When the TCH level in your body reaches maximum concentration, you revel in sheer euphoria and might even experience a feeling of swooning. Some report feelings of slightly levitating whereas others have related the feeling to a roasting marshmallow turning into a gooey sticky mess. Slap some biscuits on me and call me a s’more!

#4 Destressed Dope Head
Destressed dope head, dazed and confused man

Your body starts readjusting to the THC level and you become more aware of the other beings around you. You may start analysing your own actions and have feelings related to insecurity. Perhaps you will zone in on the people around you wondering who the undercover cop is or who can see your ruby red eyes? Do they know you are high? Why is that dude following you? The best way to avoid any anxious or tense feelings is to keep your mind active and busy, watch a movie, get into a game or pick up a paintbrush.

#5 Space Cadet 
Stages of being stoned - space cadet

You have overcome any anxious or tense feelings if you had any at all, you feel mellow, relaxed and busy stimulating your brain with an enjoyable activity. The body feeling and enhanced cognitive perceptions become tangible, you get giggle fits, you ramble on in the conversation and possibly very comfortably locked into your position on the couch. This is a great time to let your mind wander freely, have deep meaningful conversations or brainstorm some creative ideas.

#6 Dank Descend
The  dank descent, an orange arrow pointing down

The THC level in your blood is tapering down, the effects you have been enjoying are gradually lightening, your eyes are bloodshot and you are hungry like a wolf! The desire to fill the pizza-shaped hole in your soul will feel like a quest you were handed by a wise wizard. The dank descend could last for up to an hour, if you are lucky!

#7 Chronic Cooldown
Stages of being stoned, pair of hands rolling a joint

As the THC dissipates from the brain and most of your senses have returned to the stage when we were still Ascending the Summit. This is a great junction to start grinding up some more flowers, pack it in and roll it into a pretty little Hash Puppy. Get ready for the next round, Lettuce Head! 

#8 Total Tranquillity
Total tranquillity, person meditating as the sun rises creating a silhouette with a palm tree

You are not feeling High anymore however your cognitive perception is still slightly altered, your body is more responsive and your awareness is intact. The psychotropic effects of the THC are wearing down but all the other cannabinoids and terpenes are still hard at work in your body and mind. You are physically at ease and have a general feeling of congeniality. Evaluate your experience, make notes of what you like and what you would adjust for the next time. 

Few things are better than a smoking session with your favourite people! Share this with your puffing partner and let us know what your Stages of Being Stoned are!

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