levels of high weed

3 Levels of High

3 Levels of a Marijuana High

What is getting high?

Buzzed, High, & Stoned on Weed

What is getting high on marijuana? It has been happening for Centuries. Here we take a look at what we call the 3 Levels of HIGH on Cannabis. We specify marijuana for obvious reasons.

Once you have read these descriptions, we hope you’ll agree and see (in your own experience) how we have come to these conclusions.

Below you will find our description of basically what happens when you smoke marijuana, and what happens when you continue to indulge. Some believe there are more than 3 levels of getting high, and they have every reason as marijuana affects everyone a little differently.

The apparatus you choose to smoke your pot in will vary.

While this can influence the rate at which you attain these levels, it does not negate the fact that you go through each one to experience the next (no matter how briefly).


Use: “catching a buzz” or the invitation “wanna catch a buzz?” (It CAN BE elusive, so you have to ‘catch’ one when you can)

Practice: Limited to taking only two or possibly three hits (tokes, inhales, etc.- depends on weed too).

Effect: The BUZZ is the first level experienced in getting high on pot. You catch a nice, calm, enjoyable, floaty, buzz. First time users may claim to be stoned.

This buzz practice is good for the daily user who begins their day with a buzz (not to be confused with “wake & bake” – see Stoned).

Catching a Buzz is not enough to get burnt out, and yet you have not truly reached the Level of High (so to speak). You can revisit your joint or pipe later and refresh your buzz by taking a couple more hits. This can be continued through-out the day with zero (if any) ill or negative effects.

Explanation: Depending upon the potency of your pot, any one of these effects could be enhanced or non-existent in your personal experience. It may take only one hit on the bong with your Hawaiian to catch a buzz, or it could take more than 10 hits of a joint to catch the same buzz based upon the quality of your weed and your friends.

Warning: These examples take into account the use of good to excellent grade reefer. A nice buzz can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours. The effects of getting high on marijuana can be different from one person to the next. Marijuana is NOT a physically addictive drug.

The Marijuana HIGH

Use: “getting high”, “let’s get high”

Practice: This level is generally reached when you smoke a joint or a couple of bowls with friends. Attainment can be reached with 4 to 8 hits of decent weed. It goes beyond a buzz, but you are not stoned either.

Effect: When you have continued from the Buzz level, you will quickly get funnier, and can become internal with your wild and sporadic thoughts. You may experience phases of paranoia at this level, I do not. That comes from (potentially) breaking a law to do it, or having to cover it up or hide it to begin with (IMO).

You generally feel really good, may want to do something fun, fast & exciting. You will like the taste of food and drink, and can still perform awesomely & completely enjoy your partner sexually. Now that’s a side-effect! Audio and Video experiences seem enhanced to you. Focus & creativity are generally increased as well.

Warning: People have reported witnessing uncontrollably laughter at nothing or anything at all. Having them explain the source of their laughter is futile. Laughing to tears is possible when paying attention to deep, meaningless conversation and humor.

Existing addictions like video games, alcohol, sex or adrenaline rushes of any type seem magnified and craved for, when high. Red, sometimes bloodshot eyes can be experienced while at this level of high (standard eye drops can mask this appearance). It seems more fun to you when your friends are NOT high with you – but it’s not fun or funny to them. Great marijuana can keep you really high for hours with minimum burn out. Some marijuana can leave you with dry mouth, also referred to as “cotton mouth”.

STONED on Marijuana

Use: “Let’s get stoned”, “Getting stoned” or “They’re really stoned”

Practice: When you continue to get high (continue to smoke after you are already high), you reach a certain plateau (destination). This Zone is happily referred to by many as “Stoned”. To some, catching a buzz or getting high just isn’t enough. they like to be stoned.

Effect: When a person is stoned, they may exhibit any or all of the following behaviors;

All of the symptoms of the Buzz and the High are still present and usually increased when Stoned. It’s also more fun in groups.

Friendly, talkative, sexual, less inhibited, courageous (?), daring, and sometimes even stupid (example: the movie JackAss).

Individuals are often mistaken in photographs for having their eyes closed, when (in reality) they were really just stoned.

Warning: Extreme bouts of snack splurging are a noticeable side effect of being stoned on marijuana. While eye drops can help with the red eye experienced when getting high, they cannot help with the squinty eyes of a stoner. This often occurs after smoking really good reefer, or smoking so much Pot that you are glued to whatever seat you are in (the couch is a fine example). This squinty-eyed side-effect has no known cure as of the time of this publishing.

Some individuals may display a lack of motivation or activity at this level (lethargic). A burn-out may occur when coming down from the high (feeling) itself.

Bad weed or extreme burn-out may cause sleepiness in some at this level. Some people experience a nice body buzz besides their cerebral high. Many individuals (but not all), are NOT recommended to operate heavy equipment, run machinery or grocery shop in this condition.

What is getting high? Getting High on Marijuana. The 3 levels of getting high on Cannabis. What we feel like getting high on weed.

Which Weed Strains Are Highest in THC?

It’s hard to pinpoint which marijuana strain is highest in THC because strains aren’t an exact science. They can vary across sources, and new ones are popping up constantly.

Then there’s the issue of THC and CBD, two of the most well-known compounds in marijuana.

THC is the psychoactive compound responsible for the high marijuana produces. When people say that a particular strain of weed is very strong, it’s likely a high-THC strain.

High-THC strains will produce strong psychoactive effects and may be beneficial for:

  • reducing nausea
  • increasing appetite
  • reducing pain
  • decreasing inflammation
  • improving muscle control problems

We’ve rounded up the strains that tend to have the most THC, according to Leafly’s strain explorer.

They’re broken down into three groups, depending on their effects:

  • sativas (energetic)
  • indicas (relaxing)
  • hybrids (a combination)

Keep in mind that there’s some debate around whether sativa and indica strains are all that different from each other.

Sativas usually have higher levels of THC and lower levels of CBD. They tend to produce a stimulating or invigorating effect, making them better for daytime use.

Lemon Meringue

This sativa strain is around 21 percent THC. It is considered to have an uplifting effect. People tend to use it for:

Users of this strain report feeling:

  • happy
  • uplifted
  • energetic

Some also say it boosts creativity.

Laughing Buddha

Laughing Buddha is an award-winning sativa strain that’s 21 percent THC. And its name is fitting. Users report it has the power to make you feel happy and cause giggling, even when you’re feeling depressed.

It’s sought out by people dealing with:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • pain

Along with feelings of happiness, it can also make you feel euphoric and energetic.


Hawaiian is apparently the strain of choice for those looking to feel happy and relaxed, much like when you’re on vacay. It’s 22 percent THC. Users report feeling equally relaxed and uplifted.

As with other high-THC sativa strains, people use Hawaiian in an attempt to relieve stress and anxiety, as well as depression, pain, and fatigue.

Feelings associated with this strain include:

  • happiness
  • creativity
  • relaxation
  • energy
  • euphoria

Thai is a popular strain with 22 percent THC that’s associated with feeling uplifted and focused.

Users say it helps relieve:

  • pain, including headaches
  • stress
  • depression symptoms

Based on user reviews, this strain is reported to leave you feeling happy, energetic, and relaxed.

Silver Haze

Silver Haze packs a lot of punch at 23 percent THC. Incidentally, the THC is where this strain gets its name. It has a copious amount of glistening THC glands that cover the buds.

People use Silver Haze for:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • poor appetite
  • pain

User reviews say it produces feelings of:

  • happiness
  • euphoria
  • relaxation

Memory Loss

This one is technically a hybrid, but it’s still mostly sativa. The name is fitting, given that this strain is 26 to 31 percent THC. It’s fast acting and capable of producing some intense mental effects.

People use this strain mainly for:

  • stress
  • depression symptoms
  • fatigue
  • nausea

Indica strains tend to have more CBD than THC, though this isn’t always the case. As a result, you won’t find as many pure indica strains with percentages of THC.

While sativa strains are said to produce more invigorating effects, indica strains are linked to relaxing effects that make them best for night-time use (or days where you don’t have a ton on your plate).

They’re typically recommended for folks dealing with:

  • sleep issues
  • pain
  • nausea
  • low appetite

Kosher Kush

Kosher Kush originated as a clone-only strain in Los Angeles. It’s 21 percent THC and associated with major relaxation and pain relief.

It has a tendency to put you to sleep, which may be why people often seek it out to treat insomnia.

It may also help with:

  • stress
  • anxiety
  • depression

According to user reviews, you can expect to feel:

  • relaxed
  • sedated
  • happy
  • euphoric
  • hungry

Triangle Kush

This strain has an average THC level of 23 percent. It seems to be a favorite with creative types and artists for boosting creativity.

People also seek it out to relieve:

  • chronic pain
  • stress
  • depression symptoms

Users report feeling especially:

  • creative
  • euphoric
  • chilled out after using it

Hybrids are the result of crossbreeding sativa and indica strains, often resulting in what may be considered to be the best of both worlds.

The effects of specific hybrid strains depend on the ratio of indica to sativa, and combination of strains that make up the hybrid.

Death Star

Death Star is an indica-dominant hybrid that comes in at 21 percent THC. Its effects are said to come on slowly at first. But eventually they lead to a powerful state of relaxation and euphoria.

Users attest to its ability to relieve:

  • stress
  • anxiety symptoms
  • depression symptoms
  • insomnia

Ghost OG

If you’re looking for a balance between mind and body effects, this indica-dominant strain may be the way to go.

It contains up to 23 percent THC and is sought out by people looking to manage:

  • stress
  • pain
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • anxiety

Users report that it produces a calming, sleepy effect.

GMO Cookies

With up to 24 percent THC, this indica-dominant strain, sometimes called Garlic Gookies, has a sedative effect and can make you incredibly sleepy.

Medicinally speaking, it’s mainly used to relieve:

  • chronic pain
  • stress
  • anxiety symptoms
  • insomnia

White Tahoe Cookies

Another indica-dominant strain, this one offers 23 percent THC. Some dispensaries say the THC level can be as high as 30 percent.

People use it for:

  • pain
  • inflammation
  • stress
  • insomnia

Word around user forums is that it also has a mild aphrodisiac effect and can make you feel relaxed, euphoric, happy, and sleepy.

Banana OG

Yet another indica-dominant hybrid, Banana OG clocks in at 23 percent THC. It’s referred to as a “creeper” because using too much can leave you in a major stupor before surprising you with intense munchies and sleepiness.

People use it for:

  • muscle pain
  • poor appetite
  • insomnia

Its other reported effects include:

  • relaxation
  • euphoria
  • hunger

Lemon Kush

This is a 50/50 hybrid that averages around 22 percent THC.

People mostly use it for relaxation, feeling euphoric, and boosting appetite.

Other reported effects include:

  • increased creativity
  • happiness
  • stress relief
  • hunger

Gorilla Glue

Another 50/50 hybrid, Gorilla Glue — also called GG for legal reasons — hits hard at 23 percent THC.

This potent strain is known for its cerebral and physical effects that come on quickly and last longer than those of other strains.

It’s used mostly for its relaxing and sedating effect, which is helpful for stress relief and insomnia. People also use it for pain, including menstrual cramps, according to online reviews.

The White

Coming in at around 23 percent THC, The White is a potent indica-dominant hybrid.

Many user reviews mention its ability to relieve:

  • pain
  • insomnia
  • nausea
  • stress
  • depression symptoms

Its effects include:

  • relaxation
  • sedation
  • feelings of euphoria and happiness

Bruce Banner

At around 25 percent THC, this hybrid hits strong and fast, eventually settling into a state of euphoria and heightened creativity according to users.

It’s used to relieve:

  • stress
  • depression symptoms
  • pain

THC can cause temporary side effects, which can be more pronounced in higher doses or if you’re new to marijuana.

  • increased heart rate
  • decreased blood pressure
  • dry mouth
  • coordination problems
  • slower reaction times
  • short-term memory loss
  • panic
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations

Experts still don’t know the full health impact of high-THC strains that have popped up in recent years. Some research suggests a potential link between high-THC marijuana and long-term mental health effects, including psychosis, especially in regular users and young people.

You may also have a higher risk for addiction when exposed to higher THC levels, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

If you’re going to use cannabis, especially high-THC strains, consider these harm reduction tips:

  • Start off with a low THC strain and gradually work your way up to avoid severe side effects.
  • Look into nonsmoking methods, such as edibles or oils, to protect your lungs.
  • If you do smoke, avoid deep inhalation and holding your breath to limit exposure to harmful by-products in the smoke.
  • Limit your use of marijuana, especially high-THC strains, to lower your risk for long-term health risks, including addiction.
  • Don’t drive for at least 6 hours after using cannabis — longer if you’re still feeling its effects.
  • Avoid marijuana entirely if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Though many states have legalized cannabis for medical and recreational purposes, it isn’t legal everywhere and is still considered illegal under federal law.

It’s important to know the laws for your state before you attempt to purchase or use marijuana to avoid facing legal consequences.

Check your local law if you’re not in the United States, as laws may be different.

High-THC strains are among the more potent marijuana products you can find. While they can be useful for treating certain health conditions, they also tend to have strong psychological effects.

If you’re new to marijuana, consider starting with low-THC strains and working your way up. Even if you’re a seasoned consumer, go slow when using high-THC products.

Last medically reviewed on October 29, 2019

Looking for high-THC strains? We've rounded up 17 sativas, indicas, and hybrids containing at least 20 percent THC.