What is couch lock

What is couch lock
Steven Voser

Couch lock: Do you love or hate it? In this article, we explore couch lock, the cannabinoids and terpenes that are believed to cause it, and much more.

Couch lock divides the cannabis community; some smokers love the deep relaxation and sedation that comes with couch lock, while others avoid it like the plague. Whatever your opinion on couch lock, use this post to find out more about what causes it and how to avoid or promote it.

What Is Couch Lock?

What is couch lock

Couch lock is a colloquial term used to describe the strong, almost overwhelming physical sedation caused by some types of cannabis. Some strains can be so physically relaxing that they leave users feeling as if they’re literally locked to the couch and unable to move.

How To Get Couch Lock?

Cannabis lore has it that indica cannabis strains produce a relaxing, sedative “stone” while sativas produce an uplifting, euphoric “high.” And while many cannabis users still swear by this theory, the truth is that the terms indica and sativa don’t tell us anything about the effects a particular cannabis strain might have.

The effects a particular strain causes are dictated by its chemical profile, our own body chemistry when we’re about to light up, as well as the set and setting in which we choose to do so. The terms indica and sativa refer to none of this; instead, they describe the morphology and possible geographic distribution of different cannabis varieties. To understand the effects of cannabis, we need to look at the cannabinoid and terpene concentrations of a particular strain.

What terpene causes couch lock?

Today, many people believe myrcene, a terpene found in cannabis, to be the main culprit behind causing couch lock. Myrcene has a spicy, musky scent and gives cannabis an earthy, spiced flavour reminiscent of cloves, cinnamon, and cardamon. Myrcene is also found in mangos, lemongrass, hops, parsley, bay leaves, and thyme. It is one of the main terpenes found in cannabis and therefore plays a big role in the effects a particular strain has.

While there is a strong consensus among the cannabis community that myrcene is the “couch lock terpene,” it’s important to remember that there is, to date, little scientific evidence to support this claim. Instead, it is more of a theory put forward by people in the cannabis space.

Unfortunately, our understanding of what gives different cannabis strains their unique effects is still somewhat limited. Cannabis contains over 400 different active compounds, and how much of each compound a plant produces can depend on its genetics, environmental factors such as soil and light quality, as well as intervention from a grower. The concentration of terpenes and cannabinoids between cannabis plants can vary greatly not only between different plants but also between different parts of the same plant.

While research into cannabis is constantly developing, we’ve only begun scratching the surface when it comes to understanding the effects of cannabinoids, terpenes, and the other active compounds in cannabis. The way these compounds synergize when we consume cannabis (known as “the entourage effect”) only adds to the complexity.

Below we’ll shine a light on the strains that are renowned for causing couch lock, and we’ll also describe a harvesting technique that may help you harvest buds that produce more relaxing, sedative-like effects.

When to harvest cannabis for couch lock effects?

Cannabis growers go out of their way to give their plants enough light, a healthy growing medium, and the perfect amount of nutrients to stimulate healthy vegetative growth and flowering. There’s also no shortage of “bloom booster” products out there designed to be used during flowering (either as a supplement fertilizer or as a spray designed to be applied directly onto buds) to improve resin production, aromas, etc.

The truth is, however, that there’s really no precise way of knowing the exact effects of a particular strain until it's been dried, cured, and smoked or vaped. One thing you can do to try and increase the sedative effect of your buds and get more of a couch-lock effect, however, is harvesting your buds later than normal.

Most growers harvest their buds once roughly 50% of their trichomes are cloudy/milky and the other 50% are a deep amber color. If you’re looking for buds with a more relaxing, calming, and couch-lock effect, consider harvesting a little later, once roughly 70% of the trichomes have turned amber. When harvested slightly later, cannabis plants tend to have slightly lower THC concentrations and higher concentrations of cannabinol (CBN), which may contribute to the more sedative effects.

Which Strains Induce Couch Lock?

When to harvest cannabis for couch lock effects?

Another great way to ensure your weed has more of a couch-lock effect is to grow the right strain. There are countless cannabis varieties out there, so make sure to shop around for strains that promise relaxing and sedative effects.

Some of our top recommendations for couch lock strains are:

  • Afghan Kush. Originating from the Hindu Kush mountain ranges, Afghan Kush is a renowned indica strain treasured for its potency, heavy yields, and powerful body stone. Thanks to its high THC content (roughly 17%) and terpene profile dominated by myrcene, Afghan Kush will leave you feeling happy, lazy, and very hungry.
  • Northern Lights. A mysterious strain believed to have been bred near Seattle in the early 80s, Northern Lights has become a household name among cannabis lovers. It’s treasured for its potent buds and long-lasting effects that soothe the body and clear the mind. Packed with up to 18% THC and plenty of myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene, Northern Lights will leave you with a heavy, narcotic-like body stone and a clear, relaxed mind that’s perfect for relaxing on the couch to your favorite movie, record, or video game.
  • Sour Diesel. Born and bred in the Golden State, Sour Diesel is a true Cali classic. Thanks to its potency, great yields, and unique aromatic profile, Sour D has won the hearts of cannabis lovers the world over. Riddled with up to 19% THC, caryophyllene, myrcene and limonene (which combine to produce that iconic fuel-like aroma), Sour Diesel delivers a strong body high with a creative, uplifting mental buzz.

How To Beat Couch Lock

When to harvest cannabis for couch lock effects?

Couch lock is great for when you want to kick back and relax. However, it can be a real pain when you need to stay focused, motivated, or social. If you’re dealing with an unwanted case of couch lock, try the following:

  • Stay active. Set and setting can have a huge impact on the way you experience cannabis. To avoid dealing with couch lock, try to stay active rather than relaxing on the couch or in bed.
  • Sugar. A sweet snack or soda can provide you with a quick boost of energy to help you beat a bad case of couch lock.
  • Caffeine. Like a sugary snack, sipping on a cup of fresh coffee or strong black tea can also be invigorating and help you overcome couch lock.
  • CBD. Taking some extra-strength drops can help mitigate the effects of THC and may sober you up if you’re too high and struggling to stay active.
  • Mind your dose. If you’re experiencing couch lock on a regular basis, try reducing your dose. Large doses of THC can have very sedative effects, while smaller doses can be more invigorating and energetic. Make sure to look into microdosing for more information.
  • Talk to your budtender. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where cannabis has been legalized, talk to your budtender to find strains that are more euphoric and uplifting.

Which strains are best for avoiding couch lock?

Just like there are strains that cause couch lock, there are plenty that don’t. If you’re not a fan of weed that glues you to the couch, make sure to try the following strains:

  • Super Silver Haze. This Dutch classic is renowned for delivering a potent, long-lasting euphoria. After just a few tokes of Super Silver Haze, you’ll likely feel uplifted, energized, and social. If you like weed that’s great for smoking in the morning, during the day, or at social gatherings, make sure to check out Super Silver Haze.
  • Jack The Ripper Autoflowering. Jack The Ripper Auto is an autoflowering version of the classic Jack Herer strain. Original bred in the US and named after an iconic cannabis activist, Jack Herer produces a big, uplifting, and high-energy high that hits within minutes of your first toke and can last for hours. Jack The Ripper Autoflowering honours these effects down to a T and presents them in a neat, easy-to-grow auto package.
  • Orange Bud. Bred from 3 iconic landrace strains (Acapulco Gold, Colombian Gold, and Afghani), Orange Bud is a powerhouse strain that’s packed with THC and a unique terpene profile. Like the other strains mentioned here, Orange Bud produces a strong, uplifting high that’s great for early mornings, mid-afternoons, or really anytime you want a quick boost of creative energy.

Couch Lock: Something For You?

Couch lock is a pretty common effect found across a wide variety of cannabis strains. Some people love it, others hate it; whatever your opinion of this heavy-handed stone, the information in this post should guide you to having a more enjoyable cannabis experience.



Steven Voser
Steven Voser

Steven is a long-time veteran of cannabis journalism, having delved into every aspect of the subject. His particular interests lie in cannabis culture, the emerging science of cannabis, and how it is shaping the legal landscape across the globe.