When you smoke weed, a lot of different things happen inside your body. The outward effects vary from person to person. While most of marijuana’s effects are short-term, lasting a maximum of eight to 12 hours, a few of its effects are long-term and can take a while to surface.

The various methods of ingesting marijuana change how it is metabolized by your body, and can therefore also play a role in how the weed impacts your body. Smoking is the most popular way to consume cannabis, and it’s also one of the fastest-acting, inducing rapid changes in your brain and body. Other methods of ingesting cannabis, like via edibles or tinctures, may have slower or more potent effects. If you have ever wondered what’s happening inside you while you’re getting high, consider the following.

What Exactly is Marijuana?

The dried and ground or shredded pieces of the cannabis plant make up marijuana. Generally, high-quality weed includes pieces from the flower, while lower-quality weed may also include parts of the plant’s stems and seeds.

CBD and THC are the two primary compounds found in marijuana. THC is associated with the psychoactive high most people associate with marijuana, while CBD has more of a relaxing effect and is often used to treat chronic pain, some cancers, and other health problems. Depending on the CBD and THC levels, marijuana is often classified into different strains. Out of the three prominent strains, Indica has higher CBD content, while Sativa has higher THC levels, and hybrid strains contain a combination of the two.

There are multiple ways to ingest cannabis, including:

  • Vaping or smoking
  • Cannabis-infused cooking oils
  • Cannabis beverages like teas and juices
  • Edibles like brownies, cookies, and lollipops
  • Topical marijuana products

In addition to smoking, edibles and drinks are two of the most common methods of consuming marijuana. Typically, eating and drinking cannabis delay the high, as it must travel through your digestive system before the THC can enter your bloodstream. When you consume cannabis through edibles, you will likely have to wait 30 minutes to two hours before feeling anything. That said, the high from edibles lasts much longer than that of smoking or vaping—up to eight hours.

The Different Highs

Cannabis connoisseurs will likely be aware of the more nuanced difference between Sativa and Indica, beyond varying THC and CBD levels. If you walk into a dispensary, you will probably hear budtenders describe Sativa as activating, uplifting and euphoric, and Indica as calming and sedating.

When you consider purchasing marijuana, be sure you know what kind of experience you’re seeking. This will influence whether you lean towards a Sativa- or Indica-dominant strain, or maybe a pure strain, which is 100% one species or the other. For instance, Purple Kush is a 100 percent Indica strain, whereas White Widow is 60 to 40 percent split between the two strains.

The Body on Marijuana

While the psychoactive effects of marijuana are well-documented, weed also affects your body. Most people call these physical sensations a “body high,” although it’s worth noting that these physical experiences also stem from marijuana’s effect on the brain.

When you consume marijuana, the THC interferes with the functioning of your body’s endocannabinoid system, slowing communication between the cells that make up your nervous system. Eventually, this can result in relaxation, coupled with a feeling of euphoria and an altered perception of color, time, and space. Cannabis users describing the body high of marijuana often state that they feel weightless and uninhibited.

Best Ways to Get High

Regardless of your motivation—pain relief, relaxation, or a fun Friday night—treating yourself to marijuana is highly personal. What works for another person might not work for you, and everyone’s physical and mental experience will be different.

For instance, inhalation (vaping or smoking) is ideal for users looking for a near-instant high. On the other hand, oral methods like edibles and tinctures are preferable for those looking for slower-onset, longer-lasting effects. Cannabis topicals like creams and ointments generally do not produce a high but can be used to decrease pain or inflammation at the application site. Thanks to cannabis legalization in Canada in 2018, users can now easily access cannabis from any licensed marijuana dispensaries in Canada.

Choose the Right High For You

With medical and recreational cannabis use now legal in all provinces and territories in Canada, more products containing marijuana are hitting the market. The various methods of consuming marijuana impact your body differently. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s crucial you find the right consumption methods for you based on your preferences and your desired experience.