Every individual will experience cannabis differently. Your reaction to cannabis can vary wildly from your friend and/or family, even if the same product type and potency are consumed. When it comes to the cannabis experience, many factors, physical and otherwise, can affect your high. Understanding the different factors that can mediate your cannabis experience before you consume can help you prevent adverse outcomes and ensure a positive experience.
Here are five factors that can affect your cannabis high and experience.
5 Factors That Affect Your Cannabis High
The method of cannabis consumption will heavily affect your cannabis experience, including its onset time, how long it lasts, and potency. Smoking and will produce effects almost immediately, with the experience itself lasting anywhere from one to multiple hours, depending on the strain and potency.
However, ingestible cannabis products can take half an hour to numerous hours to activate and last for the same time.
When cannabis is ingested, the body metabolizes the THC into a metabolite known as 11-Hydroxy-THC, which can bypass the blood-brain barrier more quickly to produce its psychoactive effects. 11-Hydroxy-THC also takes longer to break down, explaining why consuming ingestible cannabis can create a longer-lasting psychoactive experience than other consumption methods.
Potency of the Product
The potency of your cannabis product will directly impact your cannabis high and experience. Products with a high THC content will produce a more potent psychoactive experience than products with a lower potency.
Additionally, while the differences between THC vs CBD are large, research suggests that CBD can mitigate THC’s more undesirable side effects to make the experience more manageable. Consuming a cannabis product with an equal ratio of THC to CBD will likely deliver a milder experience than a THC-dominant product.
To ensure that you’re purchasing a cannabis product that’s right for you, make sure you know how to read and understand cannabis packaging when you’re making your purchase. Alternatively, you can also ask your budtender for assistance if you’re shopping at a dispensary
Metabolism and Physical Factors
The functioning of the endocannabinoid system, an endogenous bodily system that regulates everything from energy and libido to mood and hunger through cannabinoids, will vary depending on a variety of physical factors. A person’s age, biological sex, and weight can all influence how an individual reacts to cannabis.
Additionally, an individual’s metabolism, fitness and activity level and overall physical health can also directly mediate the experience as these biological structures are responsible for processing and metabolizing cannabis
An individual’s experience with cannabis, or their cannabis tolerance, can affect how much or how little cannabis a user needs to feel the effects. An experienced user will have a higher cannabis tolerance and will likely require more to feel the effects. Conversely, a novice or beginner cannabis user will only need a small dose to feel the same experience.
New users should remember and follow the mantra of “starting low and going slow.” Always begin your cannabis consumption with a low dose and slowly wait for the effects to kick in before dosing again.
In their guidance to lowering risks when consuming cannabis, Health Canada advises cannabis users to avoid mixing cannabis and other substances like alcohol and other drugs. Health Canada notes that “using cannabis at the same time as drinking alcohol and/or using other drugs can cause more severe levels of impairment and adverse effects. Other drugs include pain medications (opioids) and tranquillizers (benzodiazepines).”
What Affects Your Cannabis Experience? More Than Meets the Eye
When it comes to consuming cannabis, there is no standard or universal experience. Everyone’s reaction will be different based on a variety of factors, both internal and external, so it’s important to remember to start low and go slow with any kind of cannabis consumption, regardless of your experience.