What Does It Feel Like to Be High? – The Science of Being High

The feeling of being high is a mysterious phenomenon. It’s not known for certain what causes it, but the effects are real and there have been many instances where it has affected people’s lives.

What Happens to Your Brain During‘High’

Your brain is working harder than usual when you’re high. Brain scans have shown that it’s actually using up a greater amount of glucose, which causes you to feel ‘wired’. During the process, it is also releasing a hormone called Dopamine which is responsible for making you feel ‘happy’.

This is because Dopamine improves memory and problem solving. But there’s more… When you’re high, it helps your brain to think more effectively. The level of communication with other parts of your brain, is increased which causes you to think differently. You’ll also feel more creative and agile. 

The Effects of High on the Body

Many people are surprised to find out that the feeling of being high doesn’t always go along with other aspects of one’s life. Those in the habit of taking drugs tend to focus on that aspect of their lives for about half the time they are high, and then move on to the physical, mental, and emotional parts of their lives.

People often experience the following physical symptoms after they have been high:

Increased heart rate and blood pressure. Excessive sweating. Increased heartbeat and irregular breathing. Excessive hunger and munchies. Agitation. Depression. Diarrhea. Sleepiness. Headaches. Insomnia. Sensitivity to the environment. Low blood sugar, sometimes resulting in extreme or sudden hunger. Body temperature and sweating.

Changes in Thinking and Cognition

Changes in thinking and cognition are probably the most common psychological manifestations of drug use. Once you’re high, you can’t help but feel extremely happy and have an incredible sense of clarity and well-being.

The thought of your parents’ disapproval or the prospect of disappointing them suddenly seems insignificant, and you can see far into the future without experiencing the worry of the present. The most powerful experience occurs when you go from feeling incredibly happy to feeling like God, which is a state of mind that has never been experienced in this way before.

Changes in Mood One of the most important characteristics of being high is the change in mood that comes about. People often feel very happy, but there are also other feelings, such as serenity and detachment.

Changes in Vision

Have you ever noticed how when you’re high, things seem to spin around your head like a kaleidoscope? Your eyes are your window to your mental state. Your pupils dilate when you’re high, increasing the amount of light your eyes can absorb, allowing you to see everything around you with an expanded, coherent vision. In effect, your eyes act as a magnifying glass, helping you to see fine details.

Your vision also changes to a greater degree than usual, in a way that makes your everyday surroundings seem slightly surreal. Your depth perception is distorted, making you see objects in a distorted manner. This effect is especially noticeable in slower-moving objects. For example, you might perceive a brown truck to be in the shape of an old table.

Pupil Dilation and Accommodation

An interesting paradox lies with pupils, which can only dilate when they are sufficiently relaxed. When you’re high, everything seems to spin faster and faster, and your eyes tend to dilate. Even the simplest task becomes hard work and the world around you seems to accelerate as your body and brain work overtime.

You can still see without too much strain if you close your eyes for a few minutes, but on the other hand, because your pupils are so dilated, you can’t tell what you’re looking at or what’s in front of you. Reduced Temperature Being high can make you feel cold.

The same phenomenon is also described by people who are sleep deprived or high on other drugs such as cocaine and meth.

Body Temperature Increase

Breath Shortness of Breath Palpitations Sweat Hallucinations Feeling Asleep Giggles Distractions Difficulty Reading Euphoria Desire Passing Out Being High Can Have Health Consequences Long-term use of hard drugs can lead to an array of health problems that include seizures, cardiovascular diseases, psychosis, and memory loss.

Heroin can also induce an overdose of the drug when taken in massive amounts. Therefore, it is strongly advised to exercise extreme caution when it comes to getting high, especially if you have not done so before.

It’s also essential to be aware that certain substances like marijuana, hashish, and MDMA (ecstasy) are illegal in some countries. In some countries, it is illegal to possess even one gram of such substances.

Why Do People Get High?

How is it possible that something you eat can make you feel different? Most of us are unaware that plants have the capacity to create substances that we use in the form of food and beverages. There are many other ways that substances from plants have been used by humans, but the way we consume them has changed.

Many people still eat foods that have been grown by humans. However, most often, they get a chemical nutrient that is not necessarily the same. Such plants that humans can easily obtain contain highly concentrated forms of minerals, vitamins, and different chemicals. For example, most greens contain vitamin B, and other beneficial compounds that are vital to the human body.

However, many plant foods are often picked when they’re green, before they have formed a concentrated form.


In this article, we’ve compiled some studies and experiments about the effects of being high, even for non-users. There is no way to know for certain why a certain person experiences a certain feeling.

In addition, there are also plenty of controversies, counterarguments, and hypotheses surrounding the subject. However, the evidence we have gathered points toward this being a physiological phenomenon caused by the endocannabinoid system.