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Smoking Yourself Sober? Is That Even a Thing?

08/19/2021 All About Cannabis

We’ve all heard about not getting high any longer from high tolerance levels, but smoking yourself sober?  A quick internet search on the topic and you will find not much is written about it.  What is written are posts on forums from more chronic users.  It seems that those who have experienced not getting high due to their high tolerance level are also the ones who have written about smoking yourself sober.  But, c’mon really?! 

More than a feeling?

OK, I’m aging myself but I remember back in the 90s – long before the awesomeness that is medical marijuana and legal recreational weed – when I really started smoking a lot of weed that there would be times that I would smoke a lot and eventually feed sober.  It wasn’t like I couldn’t get high anymore – it was like I wasn’t even high at all.  This happened a few times, maybe as many as 5 or 6, but it was a different feeling than when I would reach my tolerance level (a condition I humorously called “reaching my stoned plateau”).  It was like I hadn’t been smoking at all.

Some folks from the forums had different reasons for this rare feeling for heavy MJ partakers, including that THC is a “mixed kappa agonist”.  Just the phrase sounds research-y enough for me to read on!  Agonists are components that attach to receptors and activate them; while antagonists are components that attach to receptors but do not activate them.  Being a “mixed kappa agonist” means that a component can be both an agonist, then after too much of that component, the receptor will no longer be activated by it.  

The endocannabinoid system at work.

Hmm, you learn something new every day!  But that doesn’t exactly explain the feeling of being sober.  That would explain a high tolerance level and why smoking or taking more weed won’t get you any higher.  Unless …

Other forum participants claim that these components actually start having the opposite effect on the receptors and instead of making you high, they will actually zap your high!  Apparently, the THC levels in the blood have to be really high for this to happen, so it doesn’t happen to everyone.  

Really? [queue eye roll]  

The urban legend continues!

This all could be true.  But the reality is that since there is no wide-scaled, in-depth research going on, there’s no way to know for sure.  So this sounds more like the stuff of urban legends.  And these explanations were found on Reddit, Quora, and other forums on weed-focused blood so – not to disrespect those forum contributors – take it all with a grain of salt.  

With marijuana still scheduled as a hard-core drug, there is very little research going on to test any of these theories.  This all should be changing soon, but until then we’re all kind of guessing on the notion of smoking yourself sober – and a lot of other marijuana mysteries as well.  

What’s more likely

I am no scientist and certainly not doing any serious research on marijuana.  But I am a heavy and longtime user who has experienced this occurrence, as well as high tolerance levels.  So I know that there is something going on.  My best guess?  It’s a mix of high tolerance, being used to the feeling of being high, and the quality of weed being taken.

Remember dime bags from back-in-the-day??

Thinking back on it, I only had these feelings years ago – before medical and recreational marijuana availability.  Then years later – not too long ago – I lived in Colorado and had access to medical marijuana (for pain from knee surgery and the residual effects of two traffic accidents I have had in my life).  Not only is the weed better than what I took in my younger years, but I also took more of it.  My tolerance level shot up but I never had the feeling of smoking myself sober.  

My best guess is that when you smoke a lot of low-grade then you might get to the point where you feel sober.  But now, thinking back on those college years smoking weed with friends listening to Jane’s Addiction, Smashing Pumpkins and The Doors while playing chess and drinking beers … it probably was a feeling from high tolerance that I humorously made into a witty phrase.  Much like I did my “stoned plateau”.  

Jane’s Addiction performing live.

Soon a thing of the past

These questions are fun to ponder but they – and most marijuana-centered urban legends and myths – will be a thing of the past when marijuana is rescheduled and broader, deeper research is more common.  Then we’ll know what these phenomena are and so much more.

Until then, why bother trying to figure out these lingering questions?  We have access to some of the best and most carefully produced marijuana and marijuana products – especially in Colorado.  So just light up and enjoy!

Happy smoking! 



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