how high are you

How High Are You Right Now? A Guide for Gauging Your Current Level of Stoned

As it turns out, “How high are you right now?” is a pretty loaded question. There’s an enormous number of factors that can and do affect your high, including — as Healthline notes — the dosage and strain in question, the delivery method, your individual tolerance, your age, your physiology and more. And once you get there, it’s not just a question of “How high are you?” but a question of “What type of high are you?” Highness is a spectrum, and these are just a few of the shades — and some ideas for what to do with (or about) them. 

Level 1: The Stealth High

This is a low-key, one-hit kind of sensation — a high that’s there, but just barely (and pleasantly) so. When your head’s spinning from work, family drama or just day-to-day stress, this is the subtle high that puts your feet back on the ground and helps steady you as you go about your business. The going, though, is just a little smoother.

What to do: Clean out all 2,000 emails in your inbox; read a musty paperback; take another pull of Phantom.

Level 2: The Simple Euphoria

In the song “Illegal Smile,” John Prine sings, “Fortunately I have the key to escape reality/And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile/It don’t cost very much, but it lasts a long while.” And while he told Performing Songwriter that his classic — now a stone-cold stoner anthem — wasn’t actually about cannabis, his actual reason for writing it sums up this high perfectly: “I had this view of the world where I can find myself smiling at stuff nobody else was smiling at.” Ah, simple euphoria.  

What to do: Take an easygoing hike; try cooking a new recipe; have a really long catch-up on the front porch.

Level 3: The Air Walk

You’re cresting. You’re not just buzzed, you are buzz-ing. The Air Walk is a body high that you feel from the crown of your head down to the tips of your pinky toes. When you’re air-walking, the bathroom scale lies no matter what it says, because you definitely weigh negative 10 pounds. You almost definitely got lifted here on the wings of sativa.  

What to do: Put on the vinyl and dance; go for a run in the rain; deep clean the house.

Level 4: The Dalai Lama

If The Air Walk is a body high, the Dalai Lama is the ultimate head high. On this end of the spectrum, you’re not tired, but you are supremely relaxed, with a sense of clarity that would make a mountain stream jealous. Either you’re in the perfect headspace for meditation, or you feel like you’re already meditating. 

What to do: Apologize for something petty; find a fig tree and sit under it; try a little yoga.

Level 5: The Drift Off to Dreamland

In college, there was always someone who called indica “in-da-couch,” a misnomer, as many indica strains actually have a focusing effect. Sometimes, though, a high does make you want to sink into the cushions until you fall into another dimension, and we’d argue that — with the right timing — that’s a wonderful thing. Instead of beating yourself up over feeling sleepy, let go and embrace that sense of decompression like a warm hug. You deserve it. 

What to do: Sip a glass of wine as slowly as you can; work out the knots on a foam roller; take a 100% guilt-free nap.

Level 6: The Full Ascension

Some call this one “blissed out,” but it can also feel like you have super-senses. The keyword here is “vivid,” sometimes bordering on the trippy, and it’s a total, full-body sensation that makes sound and vision feel like a spiritual experience. Life becomes a 4K nature documentary, color becomes hypercolor and sound becomes the front row of a Bowie concert in 1974.

What to do: Take a friend to your spot — the one with the incredible view (but let them drive); put on your best headphones and visualize the music; paint, or even better, fingerpaint.   

When You’re One Level Too High

This hierarchy of highness is, of course, just for fun, but there are times when a new strain, too many pulls, an unfamiliar edible, or even just an empty stomach can make for an experience that’s less fun. If that happens, first try a simple shift in focus to a rote or familiar activity, watch a favorite movie, and get some light stretches in. 

Always, always, always stay well hydrated, and offset highs that get a little too intense with healthful food. Medical News Today particularly recommends pine nuts, lemons and peppercorns. If you feel out of control, seek a safe space with friends, or come down with a hot shower, brisk walk or soothing nap. You’ll be back down to Level 1 (and then Level 0) in no time.

Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance lifestyle, fashion, health and food writer with more than a decade of experience. He’s been fortunate enough to collaborate and publish with companies such as FOCL, Vitagenne, Livestrong, Reign Together, Out East Rosé, SFGate, The Seattle Times and more.


Healthline – Sensation of a Marijuana High: Smoking, Edibles and Vaping

Vice – The Real Difference Between Body Highs and Head Highs

Medical News Today – 8 Ways to Get ‘Unhigh’

Performing Songwriter – Behind the Songs of John Prine

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