What is couch lock and how to beat it

What is couch lock and how to beat it

Couch lock! Every seasoned stoner has been there, and every rookie is bound to experience it. But what exactly causes it and how can you beat it?

We’ve all been there:

You just burned down a delicious doobie and sit down on the couch as the effects slowly come on. All of a sudden, it hits you.

First you feel your body become warm, fuzzy, and kinda tingly, like you’ve just taken a long bath. Next thing you know, you feel like you’re body is slowly seeping into the crevices of the couch. By this point you know that not even a nuclear holocaust could get you off your a**.

Welcome to the "couch lock", a condition that can bring down even the most conditioned stoner. But what exactly is couch lock, what causes it, and how can you avoid it in the future?


Couch lock is a colloquial term used by cannabis users to describe a strong physical sedation caused by weed. It usually leaves people feeling extremely relaxed and sedated, so much so that they feel literally “locked” to the couch.


Most cannabis users will claim that Indica strains cause couch lock more than Sativa varieties.However, the real answer to what causes couch lock is a little more complex.

In order to better understand couch lock and what causes it, it helps to look at the chemical makeup of cannabis.

Cannabis contains over 400 active compounds, including cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) terpenes (like limonene and pinene), and more. The unique chemical balance of these compounds is what give different strains of cannabis their different effects.

While cannabis is mainly considered a psychoactive substance, it’s important to remember that is also produces notable physical symptoms such as sedation and relaxation. After all, that’s why many medical marijuana patients use cannabis to treat symptoms like pain, insomnia, and even stress.

No individual cannabinoids and/or terpenes have been isolated as the sole culprit(s) that cause couch lock. Some try lay the blame on myrcene, a terpene and known sedative found in weed (as well as hops, thyme, and other plants). The claim is that high concentrations of myrcene are what gave some strains the power to leave you melting into the couch.

However, test data from entrants to the 2015 Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam showed that myrcene levels were highest in Sativa strains that did not cause any couch lock effects at all.

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough solid research that clearly identifies the root causes of couch lock. In fact, it could well be that couch lock is caused by a unique blend of chemicals, rather than a single one.

The amount of cannabis you consume is also important; most users will feel couch locked after simply consuming too much weed.

Lastly, some cannabis growers also find that harvest time has a clear influence on the effect of their buds. Most growers will note that buds harvested late in the season (identifiable by dark, amber-coloured trichomes produce more sedative effects that could lead to couch lock.


How to beat couch lock

Couch lock can be great when you’re in the mood to lay down and unwind. Unfortunately, it can also strike at times when you want to remain motivated, energetic, or social. If this happens to you, here are some simple tips that might help you get off your a**:

  • Sugar. Sugar is great for a quick boost of energy. Try drinking a sugary soda or eating a snack bar to help boost your blood-glucose levels and give you the kick you need.
  • Caffeine. Caffeine is another great energy booster. Try sipping on a strong cup of coffee/black tea or caffeinated soft drink to see if that’ll help you get up and running.
  • Try CBD. As we mentioned earlier, most cannabis users suffer from couch lock when they’re just too stoned. CBD has been shown to block CB1 receptors and therefore reduce the psychoactive effects of THC.
  • Talk to your budtender. If you’re lucky enough to live in a part of the world where cannabis is sold legally, make sure to talk to your vendor to find a strain which is more uplifting than sedative.
  • Use less. Again, a lot of people experience couch lock when they’re just too high. Hence, try to enjoy your weed in smaller doses to avoid a strong onset of its effects and minimize your chances of ending up glued to the couch.
  • Embrace it! Sometimes the only cure for couch lock is to ride it out. If the above options don’t work, it’s best to just accept couch lock for what it is, remind yourself that it’ll soon pass, and make the most of it by throwing on a good movie. When life gives you lemons, right?