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THC is one of the most well-known compounds in the cannabis plant. It’s the one everyone knows causes the “high” users feel when they smoke, vape, consume an edible, or take a tincture. If you’ve never used cannabis before, however, your only reference for what happens when you get high might be what you see in movies and television shows. In this article, we’ll take a look at what THC does and the psychoactive effects it might cause. 


Benefits of THC

First things first, THC does more than cause you to get high. It also offers some significant benefits, including:

  • Pain relief 
  • Reducing nausea and vomiting
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Alleviating insomnia 
  • Opening the airways (acting as a bronchodilator) 
  • Protecting brain cells (neuroprotectant effects)

Some studies have also shown that small doses of THC may even help to alleviate anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Psychoactive Effects of THC

You hear that THC makes you high, but what exactly does that mean? Let’s take a closer look at some of the psychoactive effects of THC:

Enhanced Senses

One side effect commonly associated with getting high is the munchies. THC is an appetite stimulant. At the same time, the cannabinoid can also enhance your senses, making things smell and taste better. 

Altered Perception of Time

Cannabis use and THC help you to relax. In some cases, the cannabinoid may relax your mind as well, making time feel as though it’s moving differently or more slowly. 


THC may cause you to become giggly. This side effect isn’t due to a direct effect of the cannabinoid, but rather its influence on your mood, overall. One study found that THC may increase blood flow to certain parts of the brain associated with laughter. 

Lowered Inhibitions

THC can help to reduce anxiety and lower your inhibitions. You might feel more comfortable talking in a group setting, such as a party. If you smoke before sex with your partner, it may also help you feel braver when it comes to trying things you might want to do but don’t have the courage to do normally. Additionally, when you’re more relaxed, you may experience more intense orgasms. 

While these side effects are typically manageable, it is possible to become too high. In such cases, you may feel the more unpleasant psychoactive effects. For instance, you may experience intense paranoia or extreme anxiety that can leave you feeling unable to function. These (and other) effects do go away, but it does take some time. Turn down your lights, cover up with a blanket, do an activity you love, and try to distract yourself. Taking a dose of CBD and making sure to hydrate may also help to bring you down a bit faster. 

The psychoactive effects of cannabis vary based on several factors. The CBD to THC content, the amount you use, and even your own physiology all play a role. If you’re looking to avoid the extreme effects but still want the benefits that the cannabinoid has to offer, consider starting with a low dose and gradually working your way up to get the results you want.