by Nick Maleki
Maybe cannabis just became legal in your state and you’re diving into the world of recreational marijuana for the first time, or maybe you’re a regular cannabis consumer who never looked too deeply into how certain strains can produce subtle but different effects compared to others. Either way, you may have encountered the terms head high and body high before, and asked yourself if the experience brought on by the same plant could really be that different.
The truth is, head highs and body highs aren’t just cannabis connoisseur slang, they are tangibly different highs produced by different strains or methods of consumption. This guide should serve as a user-friendly tool to help you identify what kind of high is best for you, when it’s best for you and even where it could be best for you.
What Is a Head High?
A head high might sound pretty cut-and-dry based on the name alone, but it has surprisingly deep and versatile effects depending on the kind of person you are. Typically, head highs are associated with more sativa-dominant strains and provide sensations of clarity, focus and energized productivity.
Head highs are typically produced by consuming weed through smoking because the THC is processed through your lungs (instead of through your digestive system as is the case with edibles). They are also more psychoactive, which leads to mild effects in visuals and colors as well.
Who Benefits Most From Head Highs?
First and foremost, for those that enjoy starting the day off with cannabis, this is the high for you. Sativa-dominant strains that produce head highs are the ones to smoke in the morning, as research shows that they can act as an energizing wake agent.
This type of high also does a good job of letting the imagination run wild. To the creatives who are at a standstill with your work — the screenplay writer who’s had “untitled sci-fi” as a project name since he started drafting it, the musician who’s been stuck on the same refrain for months, the novelist who can’t figure out how to wrap a narrative up after killing off three-fourths of the main characters — this high will help break that mental block and open your brain up to new and creative neural networks to help progress those endeavors.
Hikers, bikers and adventurers alike: Head highs can enhance visuals and colors to an extent, and can help turn nature into even more of a real-life cinematic moment.
They work especially well with individuals who have decent agency with their emotions — those who know precisely when cannabis consumption adds to their productivity and mental well-being as opposed to subtracting from it. If you are an individual who gets too stuck in their head with counterproductive or anxious thoughts, head highs have been known to exacerbate those effects. Perhaps you may be more of a body high consumer.
What Are Some Popular Strains Associated With Head Highs?
Jack Herer, Tangie and Blue Dream are all excellent choices when trying to achieve that energetic clarity a head high brings.
What Is a Body High?
A body high, as the name implies, is a high that can help relax your body. Body highs can ease joint pain, loosen tight muscles and help with stress, anxiety, insomnia and low appetite.
Body highs have been known to produce what is known as couch lock, which can stunt any sort of productive activity and render the user sedentary if you overindulge, so it is certainly a high to take as needed or in moderation. Body highs can typically be found in indica-dominant strains, but for the most direct effects, edibles exclusively produce body highs because the THC is processed through your liver as opposed to the lungs (which allows THC to reach the brain more quickly).
Who Benefits Most From Body Highs?
The natural inverse of morning cannabis users are those who enjoy smoking because it helps them to sleep. Body highs are just the thing you’re looking for, as they can greatly facilitate and help maintain a good night’s sleep.
For athletes and gym rats who are looking to treat their muscles and sore joints, body highs are the perfect remedy post-workout. There’s nothing like having a good indica-dominant strain to wipe out all that painful sensation after a solid day of work at the gym.
For anyone who is looking to enhance their meals, body highs will make plain meals into a savory and sensational experience. Body highs tend to make users feel more famished, and food has been described as tasting better by those that enjoy meals this way.
And for beachgoers who want a lazy day at the beach, out in the sun and splashing by the water, body highs can intensely enhance those sensations as well.
Everything has its limits, however. So unless there is chronic pain, moderation tends to work better with this type of high.
What Are the Best Strains Associated With Body Highs?
Max OG, Herijuana and Blueberry Bomb are all great strains that mainly target body highs.
So Which High Should You Lean Toward?
The main difference between head and body highs can essentially be boiled down to whether you experience feelings of creativity and energy or deep relaxation. Head highs can be seen as enhancers, a tool you can use to help break creative blocks or enjoy mundane tasks, whereas body highs can be seen as more of a way to unwind and de-stress. They both have their pros and cons and their time and place, so knowing what kind of cannabis consumer you want to be is important in the decision making process.
Whatever category you fall under, there is definitely a strain or method of consumption that can greatly bolster and reinforce your cannabis experience.
Nick Maleki is a freelance writer and cannabis connoisseur based out of Los Angeles, California.