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Published: May 2nd, 2017
Categories: Other subjects
In this article, we’re going to take a look at probably one of the biggest nuisances to cannabis connoisseurs and medical marijuana patients around the world; couch lock.
If you’re new to cannabis, we’ll explain exactly what couch lock is and what causes it. Then, we’ll also share some of our top tips to help you conquer couch lock, whether you’re a cannabis veteran or a newbie.
Couch lock is a colloquial term used by stoners to describe a strong feeling of physical sedation brought on by cannabis, essentially leaving them feeling “locked” to the couch.
We’ve all been there; one minute you’re sitting on the couch, enjoying a delicious sample of your favourite strain. The effects are starting to come on, but nothing seems out of the ordinary. Suddenly, your body starts to feel warm and fuzzy; your limbs and head feel heavy, and you start to get the sensation that you’re literally melting into the couch. At this point, you’re certain that even the immediate threat of an atomic bomb coming down on your house wouldn’t be able to get you off your a**.
That’s couch lock.
Cannabis has strong sedative properties, which is why some people find it provides them with effective relief from insomnia and other sleep issues. These sedative properties are also what cause couch lock, which is essentially just an overly strong feeling of sedation.
There is no consensus on what chemicals in cannabis cause couch lock, but most people put the blame on indica strains, loved for producing strong “body highs.” However, the chemical profiles of indica and sativa strains are generally quite similar, and some sativa strains are just as capable of causing strong sedative effects as indica strains.
In a post on Cannabis.net, Reginald Reefer puts the blame on myrcene, a terpene found in cannabis and a variety of other plants (including hops, lemongrass, and thyme). As a known sedative, he claims that high concentrations of myrcene are what gives some weed the power to leave you planted on the couch for what feels like centuries. However, in an article in High Times, Sirius J dismisses that theory, proving that average myrcene concentrations were much higher in sativa strains (using data from the chemical profiles of entrants into the 2015 Cannabis Cup), which produced more uplifting effects rather than strong sedation.
Overall, there is a lack of research into what gives cannabis its sedative properties in order for us to make a solid conclusion about what causes couch lock. However, the statistics referenced by Sirius J suggest that myrcene may not be the culprit.
Most of the time, you’ll experience couch lock after simply consuming too much cannabis. However, sometimes you’ll get your hands on a specific batch of weed that leaves you seeping into the couch even after consuming just a small amount.
This is because the chemical profile of cannabis varies from plant to plant. Even if you consistently smoke the same strain, chances are you’ll notice some slight variations in the taste, smell, appearance, and effects of different batches of essentially “the same” weed. The differences you might observe between different harvests of the same strain are caused by the genetics of your individual plants.
So, now that you understand what couch lock is, here are 3 tips on how to deal with it when it strikes. While they aren’t foolproof, they’re worth a try when you start to feel your body collapse in on itself.
1. Drink a coke: Drinking sugary soft drinks loaded with glucose will help boost your insulin levels, and may help you snap out of couch lock quickly.
2. Consume caffeine: Like sugar, caffeine is great at boosting energy levels. Whether you prefer coffee, mate tea, or even energy drinks like Red Bull, try to consume a strong dose of caffeine as soon as you feel couch lock kicking in to bring you back to life.
3. Seek out CBD-rich strains: CBD is said to block the CB1 receptors in the brain, which can help to minimize the effects of other cannabinoids, such as THC. If you find that your usual smoke is getting you too stoned or causing couch lock consistently, consider seeking out strains with higher CBD percentages.
So, there you have it; a detailed look at couch lock and some ideas on how to beat it. Remember, there is no clear science on what precisely causes couch lock, and the above techniques aren't foolproof.