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Did You Get High The First Time You Smoked Marijuana?


youth teen young adult marijuana usage medical marijuanaWhen people ask me about the first time that I smoked marijuana (1993), I always make sure to point out that I didn’t experience any euphoric effects the first time that I smoked marijuana. In fact, I didn’t feel any effects until the fourth time that I smoked marijuana. Since I had never been high prior to consuming marijuana, I didn’t know what to expect.

The first three times I smoked I saw my friends get high as a kite, and I was left asking myself, ‘am I high?’ I certainly didn’t feel any different, but I had clearly smoked the exact same marijuana that my friends did, and as many hits too. I inhaled deep and held it in (something that I would learn was unnecessary later in life), and did everything right. I almost didn’t smoke on that fourth attempt because I didn’t see what the benefit was.

But I will tell you what – that fourth time was a charm! I was smoking out of a pipe with my best friend, which led to an experience that I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life. It was one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve ever had, and I have never looked at the world the same way since. But I have always wondered what was up with my first three attempts, and why I didn’t feel the euphoric effects that I would eventually experience.

I recently read an article by Green Flower Media, which had a very scientific explanation:

This really is an intriguing concept. The ability to get high from cannabis (specifically, from THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis) depends on the availability of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Specifically, the high requires CB₁-receptors, which bind to THC and regulate its psychoactive effect.

Even more specifically, this process requires CB₁-receptors in the areas of the brain related to psychoactivity, stimulus and reward—areas such as the hippocampus and amygdala. If these areas are low in CB₁-receptors, then there may not be enough binding sites to process sufficient THC to produce a noticeably altered state of consciousness.

There are various possibilities to account for why an individual may be lacking in CB₁-receptors. Perhaps presence of certain compounds (such as medications, dietary supplements, or other psychoactive drugs) could cause low CB₁-receptor density, or perhaps pre-existing medical conditions could play a role, or perhaps it’s down to individual genetics, or even a combination of multiple factors.

There’s a lot of factors that go into I’m sure, but the above explanation makes sense. Maybe my CB₁-receptors were just low at the time. I know others that have experienced the same thing as me, having to partake in multiple consumption sessions before feeling any effects. But then there are many others that ‘go to where they needed to go’ on the first try. The brain is a funny thing I suppose. What was it like for you the first time? Did you feel any effects? Or was your experience more like mine?


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Johnny Green


  1. I got very high my first time off of one hit, though I have friends who didn’t get high at all their first few times and now can get baked off of one or two hits. I’ve still only smoked weed about 20 times, over the past year but I’ve noticed that my tolerance has gone way up, I now don’t feel anything from the first 4-5 hits. The other day, though, I had the best high i’ve had so far, it was very hallucinatory, and I thought that I was on the beach with sand dunes in the daytime and people were around me talking to me (I was with one friend in a tennis court at night) for several minutes before I realized where I was, and then I tried to reach out to this fence right in front of me and it started moving away, so I started walking after it. When I stopped walking I eventually realized that I was still 20 feet away from the fence. A bunch of other stuff like that happened, but thats the first time I’ve gotten any serious hallucinatory effects from weed beyond a swirling ceiling or something.

  2. wow, i had always wondered about that because a lot of people say that it took at least 2 times before it worked for them. I know my first time worked like a charm and it was a day I will always remember. Three or four hits off a pinner joint in the woods, I was almost too toasted to climb a fence. After having had psychedelic experiences at this point in my life, I look back on it and it was almost more of a trip as I remember it now. The only time I can say i have had a similar effect is from edibles.

  3. As I recall, I did feel it the first time though I don’t remember it as anything spectacular but the question reminds me of a funny incident that happened a year or so later. There were about eight of us sitting in a circle smoking some righteous Vietnamese weed a soldier friend had sent home to his wife packed into toothpaste tubes. By the time we’d finished the 2nd bowl we were well and truly spaced and happy except for one guy who’d never smoked before. He said said he felt nothing. So we gave him a bowl all to himself and went back to talking and giggling. About 20 minutes later, he spoke up and said “I’m still not feeling anything.” “Really? Hey, wait, you haven’t even lit the bowl!” He stared dumbfounded at the unlit bowl for a few seconds, groaned “Oh wow man!” and then fell over in slow motion as the rest of us burst into gales of hysterical laughter. Good times.

  4. Nathaniel Gurien on

    Thanks for this article! I’ve casually wondered about this for nearly 50 years.

    First time I smoked pot was at Woodstock in 1968. No effect. After several subsequent attempts over a few months, again nothing. So around the Xmas holidays that year, I ‘decided’ that I would smoke a massive amount of hashish and if still nothing, I’d give up trying! I think I was the only one surprised that this did the trick. And the rest is history! Cool.

  5. Similar experience- First time I felt nothing. I didn’t even know how to inhale smoke, the concept was foreign to me, as I had never smoked tobacco before (still haven’t). The second time I did feel the effects mildly, but I don’t think it was a huge high. The 3rd o4 4th time was probably the charm. In general I have to wait 15 min for the effects to really hit me. I remember being so high on multiple occasions (usually when clam baking) that I felt as if I would faint. I live in a beautiful area, and for whatever reason pot really does (as the hippy stereotype goes) make you appreciate nature more. Has to do with perception and colors.

  6. Same reaction as you Johnny. But a retired Army officer I talked to 3 weeks ago had this story. He was in charge of brig security when a shipment of pot, 200+ pounds showed up. The prisoners had all kinds of drugs smuggled in. His CO told him to dispose of it. He burned it in an enclosed space (building?) where the prisoners saw him. They were hollering for him to put a fan at the window to blow the smoke through the fence their way. He told me he got so high he was hallucinating. The ONLY time he was high in his life.

  7. Similar experience– first few times nothing as a matter of fact two friends of mine who tried a second time to get me high ended up getting way too baked. Then that next time it hit, was around 4am with a couple of friends at their apt– we just smoked and starting watching the Lion King on the VCR and it kicked in right at that opening sequence where simba is held up — what an awesome way and time for the high to finally kick in. I was 22 at the time. Been enjoying the wonderful and healing effects of cannabis ever since.

  8. Late bloomer. I was 20 in the Air Force. Surrounded by fellow servicemen we were introduced to Hash, straight from Morocco, by a senior NCO. Very cool, mellow, and got ripped the first time. That Master Sargent will always be in my prayers. 46 years of very intense medical and adult use.

  9. Also took four times for me to feel anything. However at the time it hit me, which was about 30 minutes after smoking, I was just 16 (1970s) and driving my friends to the mall. I had to quickly pull over and get off the road. Thankfully everything worked out fine and we were all Ok. Never did make it to the mall that day. Pulled over into a fast food place and stayed there (and ate of course) until the effects wore off, about 2 hours

  10. First time, not at all. Second time a few days later ( same stuff ) , was so high I got stuck in a tree house for 2 hours begging my friends to go to 7-11 for munchies. Oh, to be 13 again.

  11. No, I did not get high the first time I smoked marijuana. The second and third times, yes. I’ve also heard from numerous other friends and acquaintances that they also did not get high the first time they smoked pot.

  12. The first time I was with my two best friends . My friend Rob his older brother said you guys get in here. He proceeded to light a doobie. We smoked it! And I’ll tell you the three of us had the giggles for what seems like and eternity it was the best feeling I think I ever experienced. Needless to say its been love ever since..?

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