If you’re a cannabis enthusiast, you probably already know that smoking the herb can make time seem slower. Although, you may not know that there is actually some science behind this, and you may also be unaware of what exactly this means for marijuana users. This article is here to break it all down for you:

Some folks get a little weirded out by marijuana’s time-changing effects, and some people love it and say it is the primary reason as to why they took up and maintained the habit in the first place. It is true to say though, that everybody’s experience with being stoned is distinct, and so it really is down to the individual and whether or not they like time seeming slower. Regardless of your preferences about having your perception of time altered, knowing why this happens is some pretty interesting knowledge.

Yale University research

Yale University in the USA released a study in 2012 which searched to ‘characterise the acute effects of THC and frequent weed use on seconds-range perception.’ Essentially, they wanted to find out why time slows down for smokers.  In the study, those who took part were given 0.015-0.5mg of THC intravenously and were put into a few placebo-controlled studies in which they were told to guess how long certain tasks took to complete. The results were in line with the scientist’s hypotheses – that THC induced effects characterised by time overestimation and underproduction.

One fascinating outcome of this research was to do with heavy cannabis users. Although scientists concluded that time perception is not expressively dose-dependent, they did discover that participants who smoked weed more than twice a week didn’t show as much overestimation and underproduction on tests as people who didn’t use the drug all that much. These results were noted as a kind of ‘tolerance’ that heavy users had built-up over time.


It has to be said that science simply doesn’t have a final answer on why this phenomenon occurs, though speculation dictates that it may be down to brain chemistry. Rapid THC intake causes neurotransmitters, like glutamate, to rapidly be produced. Neurotransmitters are partly responsible for how we notice time, causing us to feel as though its moving much quicker than it really is.

Time appearing to slow down doesn’t really have any catastrophic side-effects, except that you may over or undercook something. While certain everyday task may be challenging when you’re stoned, its mostly sort of a benefit. Being high and having time slowed down means that you feel as though you have plenty of time to have fun and socialise, if that’s what you’re doing. It can make conversations feel incredibly long, which is often a good thing when you’re high.

Despite the fact that nobody can definitively say why this happens, we can say for sure that it definitely does and, because of this, us stoners need to make sure we are cautious when making judgements when we’re high. It is also vital to ensure that nobody else is ever put at risk at the result of your high, so don’t drive or operate any heavy machinery. Happy smoking!

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3581701/.

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