Couchlock and Cannabis: Demystifying the Science Behind the Phenomenon

Imagine this: you’re comfortably nestled on the couch, enjoying a smoke, fully relaxed when suddenly you feel your muscles meld into the couch, utterly eradicating any desire to rise. In simpler terms, you’re too stoned to get off the couch.


This is the phenomenon of couchlock, and at times, it can be quite challenging to overcome.


So, what exactly is couchlock?


The term “stoned” has been in use for a considerable period, dating back to the 1920s. In the early days, before recreational use gained popularity, being “stoned” was a reference to being drunk.


You may wonder about the connection. The explanation is straightforward: being drunk can make people appear scruffy and disheveled – or pelted by stones, in the original biblical sense.


When weed rose to popularity in the 60s, the term “stoned” began to be associated with cannabis, not alcohol, as weed is known to induce profound feelings of relaxation, and occasionally even lethargy that render your body as heavy as a stone. These sensations also explain why it can be difficult to rise from a lying or sitting position.


However, it’s essential to differentiate between being high and being stoned. Being “high” may enhance creativity, induce feelings of happiness, and motivate individuals to be more active and energetic, which is quite the opposite.


Thus, a synonym for being stoned is couchlock – you feel so stoned that you cannot rise from the couch.


What causes couchlock: Indica or Sativa?


To be fair, both indicas and sativas can induce couchlock, although indicas are more likely. That’s because indicas primarily affect the body, whereas sativas target the mind, although both can leave you feeling stoned.


The primary reason couchlock occurs is due to the terpenes in cannabis, more specifically, myrcene. Terpenes are chemical compounds that confer the aroma, flavor, and colors of marijuana.


Myrcene is the terpene that induces muscle relaxation and protects the gastrointestinal system. It’s also scientifically proven to promote sleepiness.


For instance, a study published in the National Library of Medicine found that when mice were administered myrcene, their sleeping time increased by 2.6 times:


“Our study showed that citral, limonene, and myrcene presented sedative as well as motor relaxant effects. Although only at the highest dose, they also produced a potentiation of the pentobarbital-induced sleeping time [in other words, sleeping time was increased] in mice, which was more intense in the presence of citral.

In addition, neither of them showed an anxiolytic effect [chemicals used to reduce anxiety], but rather a slight anxiogenic [chemicals that induce anxiety] type of effect at the higher doses.”


But that’s not all – there’s another player in the game of couchlock – CBN. Cannabinol is a cannabinoid that doesn’t induce any psychoactive effects, but it can sedate both the body and mind. Some edibles and tinctures are specially crafted to isolate CBN for people who use cannabis as a sleep aid.


Research has found that CBN has the same effect as taking 10mg of Diazepam, a medication commonly used to treat anxiety, seizures, and spasms.


So, now that you understand what couchlock is, why not visit us in one of the finest local coffeeshops in Amsterdam and relax?

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