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7 Best Books to Read High

Smoking weed and reading might be an unlikely pairing, but if you’re up for it, this unique combination can definitely be rewarding for those who want more out of their blazing experience and not be the robot that smoked weed all day. Now you may be wondering, can you read while high? Every stoner is different so the answer will vary depending on your tolerance and how experienced you are with pot. Some cannabis connoisseurs have reported that being faded makes it a little difficult to decipher words on a page while others find that lighting up actually elevates their reading abilities. Marijuana has long since beenintertwined with creative expression, with numerous studies and reports claiming it enhances the process of imagination. Reading while high can provide augmented imagery for cannabis aficionados, allowing them to better visualize vivid scenarios of what’s happening in their book which also helps focus their attention on the text.

The compilation below of the best stoner books are not your run-of-the-mill funny stoner stories that one would expect. If you’re searching for an enticing page-turner that will stimulate your mind as you puff on some ganja, you’ve come to the right place.

Things to Read While High

Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling (fantasy fiction)

Set in England, an orphaned boy named Harry Potter discovers he is a wizard. Following him on his exciting adventures, he and his two best friends attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry while simultaneously battling the evil Lord Voldemort and his wicked followers. This legendary series is easily absorbable and can be enjoyed by anyone no matter their age or background, making them good books for stoners. It is a pleasure to crack open anytime, but even more so while baked because of the way a dank smoke sesh can transport you out of reality straight into a whole other magical world – in this case, Harry Potter’s world.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho (allegorical fiction)

This is the surreal tale of a young shepherd from Andalusia by the name of Santiago. His recurring dreams about treasures and pyramids lead him to embark on a search for them as he learns crucial life lessons along his journey. Not only is this stoner novel short and simple, but it also provides inspiring insight into the extreme importance of following one’s dreams as well as have the ability to invoke some seriously deep thoughts while high.

Crankseries, by Ellen Hopkins (young adult fiction)

This deeply moving and personal trilogy follows the addiction journey of a girl named Kristina, whose narrative was actually inspired by the author’s own daughter’s struggle with her meth demons. Told in brilliantly poetic yet easily digestible verses, these books will be sure to draw in stoned readers and leave them wanting more with the suspense that accumulates with each page turn.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, by Don Miguel Ruiz (spirituality, self-help)

Presenting the spiritual teachings of ancient Toltec shamans in simple language, this brief book lays out elaborate themes that have the potential to change the trajectory of your entire life. The four easy-to-understand agreements that are highlighted within the pages beautifully encapsulates how to get on the right path to become your most authentic self and living the life you truly want to live. Reading this book while faded gives you even further wisdom and insight on how to better implement the practices that are preached, giving you a fresh new perspective. A good high would help you hone in on the little details that your normally busy mind would overlook so you can apply them into your everyday life.

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger (coming-of-age fiction)

This classic novel was a staple on probably every high school English class’ reading list. In a dramatic yet enlightening account, the main character, Holden Caulfield, narrates a wild tale of the events and interactions that followed after his expulsion from his private school. Oozing of teenage angst, the interesting recount from the perspective of a young man gradually coming to terms with growing up and his grapple against death will be hard to put down as well as leave stoned readers deep in thought. This stoner book is simple to follow, with Holden telling the story in his own words, basically thinking out loud so it feels almost as if he is speaking directly to you.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, by Mark Manson (self-help)

A worldwide bestseller, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck goes against conventional self-help advice by encouraging readers to embrace negative thinking, not try, and say “no” more often. The key is to give a f*ck about less and instead focus more on what is actually important. If you read this book while high, the mental stimulation provided from it will be sure to please your brain and offer wisdom and insight that someone else has to share.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm in a Busy World, by Haemin Sunim (spirituality, self-help)

“Is it the world that’s busy, or is it my mind?” Born in Korea and educated in the United States, the author is a well-respected Buddhist meditation teacher whose teachings emphasize the importance of being forgiving toward ourselves and forging a deeper connection with others. Translated from Korean to English, this mindfulness guide leads readers on a path to inner peace and clarity even amidst the formidable demands of everyday life. As cannabis aficionados, we completely understand the need to slow down, which is why this simple yet enlightening read is right up any stoned bookworm’s alley. The book is written in easy-to-consume verses and also includes beautiful graphics within the pages.

What are your picks for the best books to read high? Let us know in the comments below!

Smoking weed and reading might be an unlikely pairing, but if you’re up for it, this unique combination can definitely be rewarding for those who want more out of their blazing experience and not be the robot that smoked weed all day. Now you may be wondering, can you read while high? Every stoner is different so the answer will vary depending on

Cannabis, Reading and Language: What’s It Like to Read High?

Many cannabis users find that a high interferes with their ability to read, others have reported that a high can enhance their reading abilities and their ability to understand foreign languages. In which ways can a high affect our reading and understanding abilities? And under which conditions may cannabis enhance those abilities?

Let me comment on what I consider to be the most important mistakes cannabis users make in the context of reading or language understanding:

1. Dosage too high

If your high becomes too strong, you may have trouble reading because your high can for instance affect your short-term memory too much – you might lose the thread of what you are reading and then miss out on the whole story.

2. Wrong strain, aged cannabis

The cannabis high is not only induced by THC, but also depends in its character on various other substances – this is he well-known entourage effect of cannabis. Some varieties contain higher proportions of the terpenes linalool or myrcene, which are known to be sedatives, and degradation products of terpenes or cannabinoids like the metabolite cannabinol (CBN) in combination with THC may also add to you being drowsy and tired rather than concentrated and able to read or understand spoken language.

The structural formula of CBN, a metabolite of THC which can make a marijuana consumer disoriented and confused.

The facilitation of reading during a high

Many users have reported that marijuana actually helps them in the process of reading. Robert Burruss, a contributor to Lester Grinspoon’s website project marijuana-uses.com, describes his former self as an effective illiterate at the age of 31. While at that time he was able to read single words, pick up the gist of texts and even get the meaning of some sentences, he says he never really quite understood the meaning of full sentences and texts written by others. One day, he sat down, puffed a joint and opened the book Lady Chatterly’s Lover to “look for dirty words”:

“I have no memory of the intervening moments before I learned to read. Perhaps only a few seconds passed. Maybe minutes. I don’t know. All I recall is opening the book at a random place, or perhaps at multiple random places, and the next thing I know is that I’m walking up a stone path with flowers beside it, to the gardener’s cottage, which has a thatched roof. The sky in the mental scene which the written words were creating is grayish, and the air is comfortably warm and slightly humid.

The sort of teleportation which the book and the joint provoked that night . . . that was the first time in my life that mental images had been created by printed words. Until that night I had been unable to comprehend phrases longer than about three words. Until that night I had thought that everyone read that way, by looking at words and phrases and then fabricating an interpretation – highly personal, of course, though I didn’t know it then – of the writer’s intent. The seeing of mental images – and from printed words no less! – was the second great revelation of my life.” [1]

We know from many other reports and studies that a marijuana high often enhances the process of imagination – be it visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory or tactile imagination. Here, the ability to associate visual scenes with sentences seems to have helped the untrained reader Robert Burruss to finally come to a point where he could fully grasp the meaning of whole sentences.

Enhanced imagery during reading has been reported by many other readers, who appreciate the marijuana high for giving them a vivid experience of the stories they read. Many others find that a high can be helpful to focus their attention while they read. Also, a clear “heady” high can enable users to keep their attention on a text without making them tired or losing the thread.

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The enhancement of foreign language understanding

Interestingly, this process of a “sudden switching” from tediously puzzling together the meaning of words to the immediate grasp of a sentence as a whole during a cannabis high has been reported by other users for the understanding of foreign languages.

Chinese Proverb: “If you know, recognize that you know, If you don’t know, then realize that you don’t know: That is knowledge.”

What begins as a tedious process of word translation can suddenly switch to the immediate grasp of sentences as a whole during cannabis use. “T.D.” (anonymous author), a graduate student of Asian languages in his thirties with more than ten years of experience as a cannabis user, reports how a high helped him in the process of translating a foreign language:

“My approach when studying stoned was always to bring as much concentration to bear on whatever aspect of the task I was working on, apply sustained effort until I had reached a conclusion, and then hurriedly write it down before forgetting it. Reaching the end of a sentence, I would then re-read all my notes and attempt to piece the meaning together. (…) On one particular occasion (…) something different happened. For some indeterminate period of time I was straining over a sentence and all at once, in a moment, the entire sentence as a single unit “flashed” in my mind and I read not syllable-by-syllable translated, but “read” the sentence as a coherent meaning unit.

Now it is usually hoped that at some point in the career of a foreign language specialist, this will happen. And, I am sure that there are those for whom this more “intuitive” approach to language comes naturally, and for whom strictly logical and rational thought seems painful and equally alien from everyday functional existence. But for me, going through life without a dominant framework of linear thought seemed to court danger, if not madness. Yet as a result of my experience, I could see in clearly demonstrable terms the facility of such occasionally less logically-stringent states-of-mind, in which the progression of thoughts is no longer logically sequential, but rather arise one after another through thematic association. It was in just such a state of mind where the marijuana which induced it had served as a catalyst to galvanize my comprehension of the language.”

Better auditory abilities

In his study “On being stoned”, the Harvard psychologist Charles Tart found that a very characteristic effect of cannabis is that users can understand the words of songs which are not clear to them when they are straight. Some cannabis users (including myself) have observed that they find that during a high, they suddenly understand spoken foreign language better (if they have some previous understanding of the language).

On the one hand, these enhancements might have to do with the effect of cannabis on our attention. It seems to be one of the most basic effects of marijuana to focus our attention, that is, to help with what cognitive scientists would call “selective attention”, focusing on a certain kind of pattern or object and screening out other present perceptual stimuli. Thus, a high could facilitate our ability to focus on a song text and to screen out otherwise distracting musical stimuli, or to focus on the sound of spoken words of a different language and to screen out other noises and perceptual stimuli such as, for instance, visual distractions.

More importantly however, an enhanced capacity for reading and understanding during a high might be subserved by a more subtle enhancement of our pattern recognition abilities. I have discussed these before in my essay “Marijuana, Pattern Recognition, and What It Means to Be High”.

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Countless users of marijuana have observed that they suddenly see a new gestalt or, in other words, a pattern, during a high. Being high, a young man suddenly realizes that he is walking in a rigid way, and a woman sees a new pattern of insecurity in the behavior of her friend. In a similar way, the complete meaning, the “gestalt” of a sentence in the book Lady Chatterly’s Lover suddenly dawns upon the almost illiterate Robert Burruss while he is high.

In my book “High. Insights on Marijuana” I have tried to explain the enhancement of pattern recognition during a cannabis high on the basis of a “pre-synesthetic effects”. [2] I am convinced that this general effect on our pattern recognition ability has much to do with the enhancements of language understanding discussed above. Yet, it remains an open question whether the cannabis could also directly affect cognitive processes underlying our language processing in a different, more specific way.

At this point, we know that the endocannabinoid system is active in the brain and in many functions that concern higher cognition, but we do not have an understanding of the role it plays in functions such as language understanding. So far, I have not seen any significant research concerning that issue, but I think it might be a promising research focus for cognitive neuro-scientists.

[1] Sebastian Marincolo, “High. Insights on Marijuana”, Indianapolis, Dogear Publishing 2010.

Cannabis often enhances abilities relating to language, especially reading, writing and interpreting foreign languages. It sometimes has an opposite effect. ]]>