The legalization of cannabis in states like Washington, California, and Colorado means that marijuana enthusiasts are increasingly able to customize their highs. It’s a luxury for any serious cannabis fan who is unable to access product from a trusted source. And thanks to dispensaries, more and more people are becoming knowledgeable about cannabinoids and terpenes.
One of the first questions anyone new to cannabis will likely ask is: what is the difference between a body high, and a head high?
A body high is typically derived from an indica-dominant cannabis strain, like God’s Treat or Purple Kush. The easiest way to remember this is by thinking: indica = in-da-couch. This type of high generally refers to a light-buzzing sensation that consumers will experience throughout their bodies after consuming cannabis. The “in-da-couch” trick is handy because it describes the experience of indica-dominant marijuana strains, that typically leave consumers “couch locked,” or in other words, feeling lazy and sleepy.
This is why body highs, and the indica-dominant strains that produce them, are most commonly smoked during the evening hours, before watching a movie or drifting off to sleep.
The way you consume cannabis will also change the type of high you experience.
If you’re consuming cannabis through your lungs by smoking or vaporizing, you’re more likely to experience a head high. However, if you’re absorbing cannabis through your liver by eating an edible, you’re more likely to experience a body high.
If you’re a medical marijuana patient, indica-dominant cannabis strains that create body highs are useful for treating physical conditions like chronic pain, spasms, headaches and sore muscles. Since body highs typically leave marijuana consumers feeling sleepy, indica-dominant strains are also useful in treating sleeping problems like insomnia.
A head high is typically derived from a Sativa-dominant cannabis strain, like Jack Herer and Green Crack. This type of high generally refers to a more cerebral, psychoactive sensation that will give consumers an active imagination, and depending on dosage, might even slightly distort the look of the world around you.
Head highs are also less draining on one’s energy levels, which is why Sativa-dominant strains are more frequently used during the daytime. Some will use Sativa-dominant strains to achieve a head high that might boost creativity, and allow you to see from different perspectives.
Just as body highs can have downsides, such as creating a lazy, tired disposition, head highs can also have negative side effects. The potential downsides of head highs are typically paranoia and/or anxiety.
If you’re a medical marijuana patient, Sativa-dominant cannabis strains that create head highs are useful for treating mental illnesses, such as depression. Head highs can also be useful for those with ADD/ADHD, or for boosting energy levels, stimulating one’s imagination or increasing focus.
Which high is right for you?
Head highs and body highs each come with their own benefits and setbacks, and ultimately the choice will come down to preference, time of day, and medical conditions. Most people tend to prefer body highs during the evening and nighttime, and head highs during the day.
Those who are curious about the different types of highs are best to pick up both a Sativa-dominant and Indica-dominant strain at their local dispensary and spend a few days testing out each one. Just be aware that many strains contain both Sativaiva and Indica properties, and finding a pure Indica or Sativa strain can be difficult. If you find yourself in this situation, ask your budtender for a strain with the closest possible ratio.