7 Ways To Boost The Intensity Of Your High
Cannabis delivers a powerful psychoactive high. But sometimes, this effect can become diminished or not feel as potent. Here are our 7 tips for boosting the intensity of your high.
You had everything prepared so well. You got your weed, you had your favourite snacks and fresh water standing by. You had your comfy clothes in your comfy place to sit, ready to revisit your favourite music, movie, or YouTube channel. But when you light up, you don’t feel the high you were hoping for. Maybe it creeps up on you. No. This is more mellow and diminished than you expected. This is a frustrating problem to encounter. Whether the quality of your stash is subpar or your tolerance is through the roof, here are 7 ways to boost the intensity of your high.
1. CHOOSE STRAINS WISELY
Hopefully, you really do have a good source for your weed. This will of course be easier if it’s legal through a dispensary or cannabis club where you live. If you live somewhere where your choices are limited, it may still be possible to at least know the name of the strain you’re offered.
This is enough for you to research the cultivar on our site for some general advice. Here, you can also learn about the unique effects of each strain caused by its unique phytochemical profile, including dominant cannabinoids and terpenes. Varying ratios of these molecules induce anything from light and airy highs to deep body stones. You can even get figures on what THC levels to expect. Of course, these traits will vary depending on who grew the strain, and from which seeds. The best thing to do is to experiment until you find the strain that provides the sensations you desire.
2. STORE WEED WELL
When you get your weed home, where do you store it? If you use a plastic container or the baggy you got the weed in, this may spoil the herb’s potency. Plastic can conduct an electric charge, which will fry the THC-rich trichomes on your flowers. Avoid this with a good glass or steel jar.
There are ones with humidity controls built in, as well as ones with removable humidity packs. If you lack these, a simple solution for curing is to leave a peel of orange, lemon, or lime sealed in with your weed for 2 or 3 hours. This will stop your supply from becoming dry, crumbly, and less potent as a result. A dark, cool place is recommended for preserving the quality of your stash.
3. CHANGE UP YOUR ROUTINE
Maybe you’ve got a good stash and you’re taking care of it. So why is there still a sense of diminishing returns from your weed? By definition, taking anything in excess is bad. If you’re smoking too much cannabis, that can spoil the treat of it. As your body adjusts to having more cannabinoids in its system, your cannabis tolerance improves.
Consider how you can change things up in terms of your cannabis use. Are you in the habit of smoking first thing in the morning? Try abstaining until evening, or at least 4:20pm. Smoke earlier in the day if you smoke too much at night. Don’t smoke with every meal. Observe when you’re smoking and see how you might catch your brain off-guard by changing up the schedule a bit.
4. CHANGE UP YOUR METHODS
Another thing you can adjust is the method by which you’re getting high. Some people like to smoke, but will experience a different sensation when trying different methods. You may prefer the feeling of a high from vaping or a bong hit. This may also be something you dislike. It depends on the individual constitution of each person.
Avoid using your lungs altogether by experimenting with edibles. In general, edibles and dabs are considered two of the most high-potency cannabis products. Proceed with caution.
5. EAT THE RIGHT FOODS
There are a number of pleasant accompaniments to marijuana that will boost its potent impact. A simple cup of black or green tea contains catechin, an antioxidant that binds with your brain’s CB1 receptors. This will help the soothing effects of cannabinoids come on much more efficiently.
Dark chocolate has a similar effect when containing 72% or more cacao. This will not only act as an antioxidant, it will slow down the breakdown of anandamide, the brain chemical named after the Sanskrit word for “bliss”. This will sustain the length of your high.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids will also efficiently synthesise endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. Also, look out for foods with terpenes in them, like THC-boosting myrcene or high-enhancing pinene. Pinene can be found in sage, thyme, and other herbs, while myrcene can be found in mangoes, broccoli, and nuts. If all else fails, a multivitamin is good for you anyway, and improves cellular absorption and the flow of the circulatory system. That will be very helpful for the flow of THC.
You should be looking at how healthy your habits are in general. Your diet can be tweaked to improve the quality of your high. Body fat is where a lot of THC is absorbed and stored. Sometimes this can be slow to release, diminishing the quality of your high. So, a diet and exercise routine that reduces your overall amount of body fat is advisable.
It may mean switching from ice cream to aforementioned dark chocolate. The exercise component is also highly relevant. Not only is exercise good for your overall health, studies suggest it impacts the brain in similar ways to cannabis. It doesn’t just elevate mood, it can actually trigger the release of THC from stored body fat. A 2013 study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that a cardio session raises blood-THC levels by 15%.
7. TAKE A TOLERANCE BREAK
If you have tried all of this and you’re still not getting high, we feel for you. You’ve optimised your circumstances for intensifying that high and it’s still not happening for you. You should start to consider why you’re chasing the high. Cannabis can enhance our lives in many ways, but it won’t resolve a deep-seated emotional issue. Be honest with yourself about your consumption levels. If you have been over-indulging, maybe over-exposure to cannabis is creating diminishing returns.
It is okay to decide to take a tolerance break from cannabis. See if you can last a month, or several, without any cannabis. The longer you leave it, the stronger your next high will hit you. It is estimated that a month is needed for cannabinoids to completely leave your system. If a tolerance break sounds unpleasant, you can find supports to get you through it. See what your life is like without cannabis. If there’s still a responsible place for it in your life, get back in and feel a more powerful high than before.
Users desiring the most potent psychoactive high from cannabis can follow our 7-step guide to making your high more intense.
How does cannabis get you high?
How do marijuana’s psychoactive properties work?
Have you ever looked at your hands? I mean really looked at your hands?
You might think you have, but as the above classic Doonesbury cartoon implies, people who are high on cannabis may perceive mundane objects to be far more fascinating than usual.
How is it that a plant that first emerged on what’s now the Tibetan Plateau can change humans’ perception of reality? The secret lies in a class of compounds called cannabinoids. While cannabis plants are known to produce at least 140 types of cannabinoids, there’s one that’s largely responsible for many of the effects of feeling high. It’s called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
When a person smokes or inhales cannabis, THC “goes into your lungs and gets absorbed … into the blood,” according to Daniele Piomelli, a professor of anatomy & neurobiology, biological chemistry, and pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. Edibles take slightly longer trip through the liver, where enzymes transform THC into a different compound that takes a bit longer to have an effect on people’s perception of reality.
THC that’s inhaled “reaches pretty high levels fairly quickly,” Piomelli told Live Science. Within 20 minutes, the circulatory system is carrying molecules of THC to every tissue in the body, including the brain, where it can alter neural chemistry.
“From the lungs, it’s a pretty straight shot to the brain,” according to Kelly Drew, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The THC molecules that pass the blood-brain barrier will find that they fit snugly into receptors that ordinarily receive compounds called endocannabinoids, which the body produces itself. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in several functions, including stress, food intake, metabolism and pain, according to Piomelli, who also directs the Center for the Study of Cannabis at UC Irvine.
“The endocannabinoid system is the most pervasive, diffused and important modulatory system in the brain because it controls the release of pretty much every neurotransmitter,” Piomelli said. Neurotransmitters are molecules that brain cells, or neurons, use to communicate with each other. One neuron sends a message to the next by releasing neurotransmitters, such as dopamine or serotonin, into an infinitesimal gap that separates one neuron from the next. The gap is called the synapse.
In this 3D illustration of a brain cell, you can see the presynaptic neuron (top), the postsynaptic neuron (bottom) and the gap known as the synapse that exists between them. (Image credit: Shutterstock)
The neuron on the receiving end of the synapse is called the postsynaptic neuron, and it “decides whether to fire based on the input it receives,” Drew told Live Science. These neural signals cascade through intricate circuits of neural connections that function on a tremendous scale; there are about 85 billion neurons in the brain and as many as 100 trillion connections among them.
The presynaptic neuron sends neurotransmitters across the synapse to the postsynaptic neuron, Piomelli said. But the presynaptic neuron can also receive information. When a postsynaptic neuron has fired, it can send a message across the synapse that says, “the neuron I come from has been activated,” stop sending neurotransmitters, Piomelli said. It sends this “stop” message in the form of endocannabinoids that bind to a receptor called cannabinoid 1 (CB1).
“Like a sledgehammer”
When THC enters the brain, the molecules diffuse into the synapses where they “activate CB1 receptors,” Drew said. THC doesn’t cause the most extreme possible response like some synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 or spice, but it does “turn up the volume” and increase the likelihood that the presynaptic neuron it affects will temporarily stop sending neurotransmitters, she said.
“The high is a very simple phenomenon, Piomelli said. “THC comes in like a sledgehammer,” flooding the endocannabinoid system with signals the postsynaptic neurons didn’t send. When presynaptic neurons across the brain get the memo to stop sending neurotransmitters, this alters the normal flow of information among neurons and results in a high.
Scientists have yet to decipher exactly what happens during this euphoria, however.
That’s because, in part, U.S. legal restrictions make it difficult to study cannabis. But from what researchers have gathered so far, THC appears to temporarily “unplug” the default mode network. This is the brain network that allows us to daydream and think about the past and future. When our brains are focused on a specific task, we quiet this network to let our executive function take control.
There’s evidence that THC has a significant effect on the network, but researchers aren’t quite sure how it happens. There are cannabinoid receptors all over the brain, including in “areas that constitute the key nodes of the [default mode network],” Piomelli said. It could be “that THC deactivates the [default mode network] by combining with those receptors,” but it’s also possible that THC quiets the network through an “indirect effect that involves cannabinoid receptors in other brain regions.”
Scientists are still working to find the mechanisms that result in a person feeling high, but there’s some reason to think this effect on the default mode network is a significant piece of the puzzle.
Unplugging the default mode network “takes us into a mental place where the function of the things we experience is less important than the things themselves: our hands are no longer just something we use for touching or grabbing, but something with inner existence and intrinsic value,” Piomelli said. Psychedelics, such as LSD or dried psilocybin-containing mushrooms, do the same thing.
However, people can experience highs differently. “The feeling of becoming fascinated by and ‘connected’ with ordinary things, things we see and use every day, is not universal but does happen, especially when high doses of THC-containing cannabis are used,” Piomelli said.
THC doesn’t just affect the default mode network. It may also, in the short-term, flood the brain with dopamine, the brain’s reward signal, according to a 2017 study in the journal Nature. (Long-term, it may blunt dopamine’s effects, the study found.) That, in part, may explain some of the euphoria associated with a high, and places cannabis in the company of other drugs that people use to feel pleasure.
“Every drug that has rewarding properties affects that system,” Drew said.
The effects of a high from cannabis that’s smoked or inhaled typically last for a few hours, though it can take edibles almost that long to start affecting users. And while cannabis isn’t the dangerous substance it was made out to be in the 20th century, using it comes with some risk. For one, while cannabis is legal for recreational and medical use in some states, it’s still illegal in many parts of the country.
It’s also important to bear in mind that cannabis is a potent pharmacological substance. Cannabis can cross the placenta, so pregnant people should avoid it. And “heavy use in the teenage years can be problematic,” Piomelli said. For instance, cannabis — and especially synthetic cannabinoids like spice — can exacerbate psychosis. “People who are at risk for that should not smoke it,” Drew said.
Finally, cannabis does affect the ability to drive, particularly in occasional users. Drew cautioned that people should not drive for three hours after smoking.
Eventually, the THC will leave the brain; the profusion of blood that brought THC into the brain will carry it to the liver, where it will be destroyed and expelled in urine.
And you’re not gonna believe this, but your hands — they were the same the whole time.
Originally published on Live Science.
IMHO, drugs which do not easily cause overdose deaths (like THC, LSD etc) should/must be legally treated same as alcohol (which is really just another kind of drug (which do not easily cause overdose deaths))!
IMHO, just like prohibition of alcohol had caused so much crime in the past (& that is why it had been forced to be repealed later), prohibition of other similar drugs causing so much easily preventable crime today!
We need to take lesson from our past.
It gives people relief without vice.
This is precisely why it has been vilified for so long. You cannot have such things. Fun, pleasure and relief without vice?
That is blasphemy of the highest order for the “divinely” inspired. In their distorted concept of “dealing with life”, you have to tough it out. Anything which circumvents such rigors in life is sinful.
It reminds one of the famous counter-culture response: “Reality is for people who cannot deal with drugs.”
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Here’s how cannabis jumbles up typical brain processing.