What does stoned mean–and is it different from being high?

what does stoned mean

What does stoned mean, really? Don't stop at Merriam-Webster or Wikipedia if you want the whole answer because the meaning isn't just drunk or stone-dead (and let's not talk about killing people with rocks, please).

According to Weedmaps, the basic definition of stoned (pronounced stəʊnd or stōnd) is experiencing the effects of the intoxication of Cannabis. However, in cannabis culture, "stoned" often refers to the 'heavy' body sensation that sets in.

There's a lot more to that story, as anyone who has tried Cannabis will tell you. As more people learn about the benefits of Cannabis and the plant becomes more mainstream, people have lots of questions about the effects of Cannabis.

People often use the words "stoned" and "high" interchangeably to describe what using is like—you might find them listed as synonyms in a thesaurus. But is being high the same as being stoned? What about being baked, buzzed, or couch-locked? What does it mean to be stoned vs. to be high vs. to be buzzed, etc.?

We get it. Whether you're new to learning how to smoke weed and you're overwhelmed by the lingo, or you're an experienced stoner with your own ideas on this, this post will take you on an English language expedition and explain the differences between being "baked," "buzzed," "couch-locked," "high," and "stoned."

(Jump Link to each section: 'stoned' vs. high,' 'buzzed vs. high,')

Stoned vs High

Stoned vs. High

Many people think that stoned is just another way of saying high. Or the latest trendy way to say buzzed. Although the terms "high" and "stoned" refer to how we feel the effects of Cannabis, each refers explicitly to a unique experience.

Simply put, feeling high is experiencing the euphoric, uplifting, cerebral effects of Cannabis, while feeling stoned is the sensation of sedated and relaxing effects.

Although "stoned" and "high" are often used interchangeably, they refer to opposite effects. High feelings refer to mind effects that often energize the user while feeling stoned refers to body effects that relax the entire muscle and body system.

So what is the difference between being stoned and high? The "couchlock" effect—which makes you just want to sit or lay around without moving and relax, is always associated with being stoned. Those racing thoughts you might first get during a buzz or high stage are usually not sustained during being stoned.

Here's what being stoned feels like: 

  • Body buzz sensation
  • Calm
  • Hungry
  • Lethargic
  • Pleasurably numb
  • Relaxed
  • Sleepy

What about feeling high? How does feeling high differ from feeling stoned?

Once you get past an essential buzz, you're high. You feel that classic surge of energy and improvement in your mood. The high depends on variables such as the potency of the strain, consumption method, and the smoking experience level.

After reaching the initial buzz, how the high feels depends on the person and other factors—it's a little unpredictable. While most people feel happier, more creative, giggly, and more social when high, some experience anxiety and paranoia as the high intensifies. Whether stoned or high, it's worth noting that either can lead to side effects like red eyes, cottonmouth, or lower lids.

What does getting High mean?

Getting high refers to being under the influence of Cannabis. However, more generally, some use it to mean under the influence of drugs. Typically, the more Cannabis you consume, the more "high" you will feel. In other words, it's not simply a matter of 'yes or no, am I high?' Instead, it's a spectrum of states, from a light buzz to a deeply baked state.

That basic feeling of happiness and euphoria you get after smoking cannabis flowers with friends is being high. Your mind is racing, and you get lots of ideas—and you may pursue them with unusual passion! You're high if you get into a deep conversation with your buddy about whether Rainy Day Women is about smoking pot or women in the Bible.

A cannabis high feels incredibly euphoric and results in more mental energy. Cannabis consumers often experience the following:

  • Enhanced creativity
  • Giggly, happy, joyful feelings
  • Energetic mood
  • Ideas inspired to action
  • Sociable, talkative

How does Cannabis work?

Here comes the science! The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the regulatory system that manages numerous systems and functions throughout our bodies that keep everything in balance. Humans produce signaling molecules called endocannabinoids naturally to interact with the ECS. THC acts in the body similarly, binding to the brain's CB1 receptors and producing a cannabis high.

The method of consumption for Cannabis is essential, but for starters, focus on inhalation. After that first toke, a feeling starts to creep in—the buzz. The body feels lighter, but mental activity gets much more intense. Within about 15 to 30 minutes, the peak of the high comes, bringing a strong sense of creativity, joy, and motivation with it.

What makes some smoke-outs leave you energized and others couch-locked? This is related to the chemical components of Cannabis, such as cannabinoids and terpenes.

Terpenes control cannabis flavor and aroma, and they also influence its effects. For example, the terpene limonene is uplifting and energizing, while the terpene myrcene promotes restful sleep and soothes aches and pains in the body. The less-abundant minor cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBN, also affect how it feels to be stoned.

Indica vs Sativa 

People often say that indicas are the ones that stone you while sativas get you high. But is this right?

Not really. The indica vs sativa classification applies to the physical growing characteristics of plants. Such as how tall they grow, where they grow, and how they are grown. However, many strains contain sedating terpenes like myrcene or uplifting terpenes like limonene. So check the terpene profiles of the ones you like best for patterns.

The last and best advice we have for making any strain of Cannabis works better is using a MouthPeace Filter to remove toxins like tar—without losing any of those precious cannabinoids or terpenes. It's the way to get the healthiest, smoothest experience.

What is Stoned?

What does being stoned mean? Many words in our cultural lexicon refer to the different levels of being "high," stoned being one of them. These labels help define and shape cannabis culture.

Some say the etymology of the term "stoned," pronounced stoʊnd, dates back to the Bible. In those days, wrongdoers were pummeled to death with stones as punishment. Others say it goes back to the Italian word, foggy or confused; "stonato."

Stoned first became popular in the US during the 1920's as a way to describe people who had had too much to drink. The meaning persisted and extended to other drug use for decades, although it soon came to include and be dominated by Cannabis. (For example, The Rolling Stone's song "Stoned" was changed to "Stones" in many releases, probably to avoid controversy. (As cannabis use becomes more and more mainstream, expect to hear fewer and fewer words for it.)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, being stoned involves not thinking or generally behaving due to the effects of drugs. The American Heritage Dictionary says you're intoxicated by drugs, especially marijuana, or stone-drunk senseless. So, if you are stoned, does it mean you are abnormal, intoxicated, or even senseless? Eh, no need to go so far. When Stoners talk about being stoned, we're referring to the body high that often comes along with cannabis use

Today, most cannabis users agree that a high falls softly into a stone within a few hours after peak intoxication. The method of consumption also influences the high vs. stoned experience. For example, dabbing high-THC concentrates can produce a notable cerebral rush, unlike edibles, which deliver a lasting, deep body stone—but only after taking much longer to kick in.

In general, stoned refers specifically to those relaxing body effects. Below is an essential word list of other states associated with cannabis consumption. 

  • Baked
  • Blasted
  • Blazed
  • Blitzed
  • Blunted
  • Colocado (Spanish, Portuguese)
  • Couch-locked
  • Faded
  • Lit
  • Mastool (Israeli, borrowed from Arabic)
  • Spaced-out
  • Wiped-out
  • Zoned
  • Zonked

Different Levels Of Being Stoned

What are the different feeling/experience states between stoned, buzzed, high, etc.?

What does being stoned mean?

Here are some example sentences to explain the differences in levels of being stoned and how the words are used:

"I only had a small hit, so really I was just a bit buzzed."

"You can't even get a buzz in around that guy; he won't pass the J ever!"

"She was upset, so she smoked out, got high, and did some painting that night until she felt better."

"Andy is nervous in crowds, so it helps him feel high before a party to socialize and talk more easily."

"Let me tell you, I was so stoned after getting hurt at the gym Saturday, and I needed it!"

"Early on in the night, she was pleasantly high, but she started feeling a little too stoned and a bit sleepy to stay out after a few hours."

"Mark got so baked yesterday that I found nothing but an empty box of doughnuts, all of the chips gone, too, and him sleeping on the sofa!"

Stoned vs Buzzed

Buzzed vs. High

As you've already seen from the discussions above, there are different levels of cannabis impairment. Buzzed is the initial intoxicating feeling experienced after a toke or rip. The slower and more creeping changes like euphoria and giggles characterize a high more than a buzz. 

Baked vs. Stoned

Finally, we arrive at baked: that last, sleepy caboose on the cannabis train. Think of the buzz as the first sign of the high—or as far as you get if you consume just a little-- and baked as the last stop when you consume quite a bit. They are opposite states.

A person who gets to the point of being baked is beyond buzzed, high, and stoned. They are more intoxicated than those three states.

For most people, it's pretty hard to think at this stage. Lots of people try to avoid it altogether. For some, of course, this is the sweet spot!

It's pretty easy to detect someone who is baked. Their eyes are bloodshot, laughing (or at least grinning senselessly), and both couchlock and the munchies are real.


We hope this has been a helpful discussion of what experiences come with being stoned vs. high vs. buzzed. It's not all the same! Are you a fan of that happy, creative high zone or more into chips on the couch while stoned? It's all good from our perspective—be aware and informed about your cannabis use and goals! 


Search our shop