Why Does Weed Affect People Differently?


Have you ever observed that you and your friend have different reactions to the same weed?

Perhaps your friend recently recommended a new marijuana product to you—a different edible, additional strain, or something else you’re unfamiliar with. But after trying it, your friend’s positive recommendations hit like false promises. You felt terrible and maybe even got into an anxiety state.

So, what could have happened?

For some people, weed can cause a rewarding high. But for others, it might produce severe psychiatric side effects. In the 1960s, Rafael Mechoulam, an Israeli chemist, found that cannabis affects people differently.

Several factors, including genetics, can change the way weed affects you after smoking or consuming it. Here’s why.

How Weed Works on the Body

Marijuana can be either smoked or ingested. When an individual smokes marijuana, THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), along with other chemicals, enters the body and into your lungs.

Your lungs contain millions of alveoli where the exchange of gases takes place. Thanks to alveoli’s enormous surface area, the exchange of gases occurs rapidly, making THC and other compounds easy to enter the bloodstream. Eventually, the compounds enter the brain where it binds to the cannabinoid receptors.

On the other hand, when eating marijuana supplements or edibles, marijuana enters the stomach from where it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. The blood further carries it to the liver and the rest of the body. The entire process is slower than compared to lungs. For this reason, the levels of THC in the body are more extended when you eat marijuana, but the effects last longer.

Either way, the THC binds to the endocannabinoid system and overwhelms it, preventing the natural chemicals from functioning correctly. This process throws the whole system off balance and makes you experience the high commonly linked to THC.

THC Levels Vary Considerably

Generally, cannabis products can be made using both flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. Depending on the process through which they are made, the products will contain wildly different THC and CBD levels

Fresh or dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant contain up to 30 percent THC, whereas cannabis oil’s THC potency is just three percent. It is because cannabis oil is made by dissolving cannabis extract in oil.

Chemically concentrated extracts like wax, shatter, and hash boasts nearly 90 percent THC potency. While the THC content in foods and drinks, tinctures, and creams vary and depend on the amount of extract added.

High-THC strains are popular in Canada as cannabis users look for the most potent products when buying weed online legally. For some, high-THC translates to the most intoxicating effects, while it is merely a remedy to fall asleep for others.

Other Factors For Weed’s Effects

Various factors impact how weeds affect a particular someone. A few of these factors include:

  • The THC potency of the chosen strain
  • The levels of terpenes and other cannabinoids in the strain
  • Method of consumption — vaping, edibles, smoking, dabbing, etc.
  • The amount of cannabis you consume

Despite these factors, it is also possible that two people using the same amount of the same cannabis strain, at the same time, experience different effects. There are several reasons why this can be happening.


Genetics is one of the most important reasons why some people handle weed better than others. Every individual has a unique genetic make-up. Studies prove that some individuals are better fit for cannabis than others.

Genetics affect how cannabis works in the body by altering the number of receptors available for a particular THC to bind to. A 2017 study found that rs2023239, a gene, enhanced the expression of CB1 receptors in cells.


The most apparent reason why a few people handle weed better than others is because of the amount. Though two people might have shared a joint equally, they likely vary how much they consumed.

For instance, some individuals inhale deeply than others or hold their smoke in for longer. This increases the amount of THC that enters their bloodstream and hence increases their dose. However, it is better not to hold the smoke in for more extended periods to boost your high as it can also raise your risk of developing respiratory ailments.


Like any other substance, using marijuana heavily and regularly makes your body get used to it eventually. This means you will have to use more marijuana to get the same effects as time passes by. This is known as developing a tolerance.

Though having a high THC tolerance isn’t a bad thing, it means you will find it challenging to get as buzzed as you want to. To reset your ability to get high, consider taking a tolerance break.

Some People Handle Weed Better Than Others

Experiences, expectations, genetics, and attitudes all impact how weed affects people. If you find cannabis’ effects overpowering, you might want to choose a less potent strain to make the effects more manageable. In case you are using cannabis for medical purposes, start with a high CBD/ low THC strain that offers fewer psychoactive effects. Lastly, remember to always enjoy the weed experience in accordance with the local laws.