Why Does Weed Make you Laugh?

Why do you laugh when you're high?
November 26, 2020

One of the best things about weed is its ability to crack you up. The urge to laugh is excruciating to the point that giggling comes naturally no matter what situation you’re in. During college, when my groupmates need to cram on projects, we’ll just light a branch or two and have consistent fits through the night.

Everyone’s had a Laughing High Before

Maybe not everyone automatically cracks up when they’re puffing weed, but it’s safe to say that at least once, weed made us laugh for the most senseless reasons and in some cases, on the most inappropriate occasions. This is only natural as cannabis has the natural tendency to play with our perspectives, reveal the funny side to things, and relax our senses.

A hearty laugh is such a wholesome experience that’s both healthy and socially-enriching. But why does weed make you laugh? Why do you laugh when you’re high? What are the more important reasons behind this plant’s laugh-inducing ability besides psychoactivity? 

Why do you Laugh when you’re High?

Laughter is more complicated than it sounds. There are several things that go hand in hand with laughter, physically, socially, and psychologically. Even neuroscientists haven’t isolated the specific causes of laughter.

Laughter is defined as a motor reflex triggered by our brain’s interpretation of certain humor. Sometimes, even humorless ideas, things, or scenarios can be interpreted by our brain as a laughing matter. Moreover, laughter is a combination of the brain’s multiple areas that are involved in logic, motor function, language, memory, and sense interpretation.

Humor is subjective. One’s humor is developed from a collection of experiences, culture, social contexts, and language. Thus, what might be funny to you might not be funny to her. As for cannabis, the reason why it’s a trigger for laughter is more on the physical side of things. 

Cannabis stimulates the brain for laughter 

Think of cannabis as a setter that prepares your brain for the best laughing session of all time. As the plant’s properties enter your bloodstream, blood flow increases in your right frontal and left temporal lobes, areas of the brain that trigger laughter. Although the study that quoted this mechanism didn’t tag it as conclusive, it’s certainly a start for future explorations. 

Cannabis uplifts mood

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, a compound found in a cannabis plant, is the primary compound that’s responsible for psychoactivity or the experience of getting “high.” THC also binds with brain receptors that can trigger “neural signaling,” a process that enables the brain to send a message to the cells. In this case, because THC is the stimuli, the result is what a weed smoker would usually feel: blissful, relaxed, in a good mood, and so on. 

Cannabis uplifts your mood

Both studies dated 2005 and 2007 suggest that cannabinoids (compounds found in cannabis) may even reduce a patient’s anxiety and depression levels. In another study, researchers found that there is less activity in the brain’s regions associated with humor when a person is within a depressive episode. If that’s the case, then logically speaking, there is a chance for cannabis to relieve depression by stimulating activity in those humor-related brain regions. More importantly, if one’s mood is within a happy spectrum, it’s easier to let out a laugh.

Laughter is contagious

I think we can all agree that laughter is infectious. It’s a joyful burst of action that is best shared with friends, family, or in general social interactions. Like yawning, we laugh or develop an urge to giggle when we see another person laugh, even without us realizing it or even if we didn’t even understand what they were laughing about.

The explanation behind this mirroring act is because of the mirror neurons that are innate in our brain. Mirror neurons fire when we empathize or observe others. Weirdly enough, this may also explain the reason for our “humanitarian” characteristic. 

Knowing that laughter is infectious and cannabis consumption is a social thing, it makes sense that during cannabis smoking sessions, you and your friends will most likely laugh consistently or regularly.

Cannabis slightly alters perspectives

If you’ve ever felt like suppressing a giggle at the most mundane of things during a smoking session, you’re not alone. Most of us would crack up suddenly as a result of almost anything after hitting a puff or two from a rolled weed.

Potter and Dan Joy coined the term “Detached Perspective.” A detached perspective is a phenomenon that makes you see the world in a different way or perspective. Potter and Dan suggest that cannabis can induce a detached perspective or similar sensation.

The detached perspective primarily occurs in the brain’s right hemisphere, and incidentally, this major brain region also houses our comprehension of sarcasm and poetry. Because cannabis improves blood flow in the brain, the stimulation on the brain’s right hemisphere is one likely reason why one develops sudden inspirations and laughter. 

Cannabis relaxes you

In terms of cannabis consumption, after the initial high, a sense of calmness and relaxation flows through your being, and sometimes, you might even want to take a nap. On that level, your inhibition is lowered; you tend to shed some inhibitions and become more inclined to reveal your thoughts. With this state of being on, you are most likely not to suppress laughter.

By acting on the frontal lobe, which houses inhibition, you are less likely to tense up and think too much, leaving you to experience a range of emotions or emotional responses such as crying and laughing.

Should you Smoke Sativa or Indica for Giggles?

In the 18th century, farmers started categorizing cannabis in two major terms; Indica strains, Sativa strains, and hybrids. Farmers differentiate them mostly based on looks. Sativa-dominant strains are mostly willowy, while Indica-dominant ones are short and bushy.

Moreover, consumers view the two types differently. Indica being physically sedating and relaxing while Sativa can often be uplifting, and creativity inducing.

Smoke sativa or indica for giggles

From a contrasting idea introduced in an article by Naftulin on Insider, scientists stressed that Sativa and Indica don’t differ largely in therapeutic or recreational effects. Rather, Indica and Sativa’s main difference lies in their physical disparity.

In fact, the labels “Indica” and “Sativa” would be of greater service to farmers than consumers. For example, the labels Indica and Sativa enable farmers to distinguish which ones are most suited for warm or cold climates and which ones are good for fiber harvest. However, there is a slight difference in terms of components between these labels, but they don’t necessarily matter in terms of effects. 

People should instead look for the amount of each unique component or phyto-compounds (e.g., cannabinoids, terpenes, and so on) in each strain. This is the closest factor that can explain why a certain strain’s effect is different compared to others. One classic example is the amount of THC that a certain strain gives off upon the extraction process. The higher the THC percentage, the higher the potency level. 

With that said, to answer the question on Sativa or Indica for giggles? The simple retort would be; it depends, but ultimately, both Indica and Sativa strains would most likely make you laugh. 

The Strains that Make you Laugh

Ready for a laughing session? Setting up your environment is one good way of having a nice, relaxed “laughing high.” Invite your usual intimate crowd, prep a chill and comfortable environment, let go, and live in the moment. Of course, prepare some of the weed that makes you laugh for the occasion. Below are some of the must-try strains that make you laugh:

Tropicana Cookies Purple comes from Purple Punch, a hybrid of Larry OG and Granddaddy Purple. It has a delicate scent of grapes but is a definite heavy-hitter. The Purple Punch is a holistic experience involving the head and the body in a relaxing way. 

Tropicana Cookies fertilized Purple Punch, and the result couldn’t be any better. The Tropicana Cookies Purple strains retained their Indica genotype and developed some traces of Tangie. This type of strain curation gives off an onset experience of cerebral high with a lingering post-effect of body relaxation.

The effects of the Tropicana Cookies Punch has a natural sequence of events. First, there is an uplifting cerebral buzz, which can be intense, depending on the dosage. However, the intensity is never overbearing. Second, a sense of happiness fills you, followed by a gradual brightening of your mood. This is most likely where the fits of giggles will start.

After a while, around 20 to 30 minutes or so, the effects would travel to your body. You’ll feel the tension fading, your muscles become more relaxed, and a calmness envelops you. At this stage, you are more inclined to take a nap.

The Maple Leaf strain has an attractive combination of sweet and citrusy scents. Smokers of this strain find the sweet note on the first it to be irresistible. After a while, it leaves a lingering buttery taste in the mouth.  

The Maple Leaf strain’s effect is described as “a sedating psychedelic high.” This effect might not be obvious initially. Brace yourself for the delicious effects after a while. Maple Leaf is an Indica-dominant strain. Therefore it’s not fast-acting, but when it hits you, you will want to savor the experience. 

Maple Leaf can be quite heavy on its “sedating” effects; therefore, you need to strike a balance between what you can tolerate and the amount of the weed to be smoked. Achieving balance is the key to get the most of the experience. You are actively conscious and functioning well but more relaxed this time. 

After the initial sedation, as the effects stabilize further, a calming sensation spreads down to your body. You’ll feel any tension in your spine and extremities loosen. The overall result is you’ll feel a tad comfortable and at ease, followed by a sense of wellbeing. Some people might feel a tingling sensation that can then translate to an erotic experience.  

Maple Leaf is ideal for an intimate chill night with friends on a weekend where no one needs to rush home. It’s great for all sorts of get-together really, just make sure that your guests do not need to do any cognitive-demanding tasks such as driving.

A Laughing High Explained!

Without meaning to, weed has established itself as a recreational staple at social events and also in more solitary moments where it’s allowed to be consumed in peace. Most of what we look forward to in weed is its wholesome ability to loosen our nerves and be so relaxed that laughing comes second-nature. Especially now, we could use a laugh or two.

Laughing high is a subjective thing. Given the right setting and situation, a laughing high can happen. Many associate a laughing high with the cannabis plant, but the truth is, cannabis is only a part of the many factors included in a laughing high. Other factors include the right environment, vibe, set of friends, and even the current state of mind.

To get technical, the “laughing high” effect from cannabis stems from what cannabis can do to the human body. Cannabis is a setter for the “laughing high” effect; coupled with friends and awkward stories later, laughing high will become more enjoyable.   

Cannabis makes us laugh because it’s in its nature to: 

  • Stimulate the brain for laughter: Some cannabis properties increase blood flow in regions of the brain where the reflex of laughter and humor happens. This is one of the potential explanations as to why laughing high exists.
  • Uplift one’s mood: Because cannabis uplifts one’s mood, laughing becomes easier and more natural.
  • Alter perspectives: Cannabis makes us see things in another way, and these alternate perspectives are sometimes cue for laughter. What was mundane to you when you’re not high might appeal to your humor when you’re high. 
  • Relax your inhibitions and nerves: Sometimes, when we’re relaxed, our guards are down. This enables us to reveal our true thoughts and even authentic self. For example, you might be like a saint now, but after a hit or two, you might be cracking up like a banshee. 
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