By Luke Sholl


It may come on unexpectedly. It might happen after working your way through several joints. It can even occur after enjoying an uplifting sativa. No matter how it happens, you will know it when it does. We don’t mean to make couch lock sound sinister, because, in reality, it is the furthest thing from it. In fact, couch lock is similar to being wrapped in a warm blanket that soothes and calms every muscle in your body.

We’re sure many of you will be well-versed in the cannabis slang for being “locked” in place. Some users liken the experience to feeling as though your body is melting into the sofa, filling the gaps in the cushions. Others recall a sensation that is like looking down at your body from above—although the mind may be active, the body is unresponsive.

However it feels, you will belong to one of two camps when it does happen. Couch lock is either desired, or it isn't. If you belong to the former camp, then you will probably have a good idea of how to invoke the bodily reaction. If you are from the latter, and prefer to overcome couch lock quickly or avoid it altogether, you have a slightly more difficult task on your hands. That is, unless you know a little about how couch lock occurs in the first place, and how to get it over with as quickly as possible.


To understand whether it is possible to avoid couch lock, we first need to know how the phenomenon occurs.

Ready for the science?

Sorry to disappoint, but unfortunately, we don’t know what causes couch lock. However, based on (a lot) of anecdotal accounts, we can narrow down the possibilities. Broken down into their constituent parts, cannabis strains are made up of hundreds of active compounds. These include cannabinoids (CBD, THC, etc.), flavonoids, terpenes, and several other smaller molecules.

On their own, it may be possible to test each one to identify whether it can induce couch lock. However, all these compounds have their effects amplified when in the presence of each other. Factor in that every individual smoker’s DNA is slightly different, and suddenly, pinpointing the critical instigator of couch lock is like looking for a needle in a warehouse full of cannabis plants.

Some reports suggest the terpene myrcene may be responsible for the sedative effect. Unfortunately, strains that include low levels of myrcene also induce couch lock, so the verdict remains inconclusive. However the specifics work, what is generally well-known is which strains cause the heaviest couch lock—and this is your best weapon against the polarising side effect.

Avoid Couch Lock


Too much of any strain is likely to push your mental and physical senses to the limit, and therefore may induce couch lock. However, based on popular opinion, some strains are known to be bigger perpetrators than others.

Typically, indicas are the main culprit, so avoid super-potent strains like Fat Banana, Purple Queen, Royal Cookies, Critical Kush, Sherbet Queen, and Sweet ZZ. Couch lock isn’t the only attribute each of these strains has, but it is a prominent one. If, of course, couch lock is desired, then you just found your indica hitlist. The only watch-out here is falling into a false sense of security and assuming potent sativas will leave you free of physical fatigue. As we’ve alluded to, the specific mechanism for couch lock is not an exact science. Many sativas have been known to inflict couch lock, especially after a heavy session.


If couch lock can be summarised as a feeling of complete and total relaxation, then only remedies that achieve the opposite will help break the trance.

If you feel yourself slipping into an immobile state, then quick action is your greatest ally. Try drinking sugary drinks or making yourself a strong coffee. The energy provided by either should help kickstart your body and mitigate the couch lock sensation. If you also have a case of the munchies setting in, take it as an opportunity to chow down on a Mars bar or something similar.

A second option is to try and smoke your way out of trouble. However, we don’t mean more of the weed that got you in this situation in the first place. Instead, try smoking a high-CBD strain. The compound has a unique ability that allows it to subdue some of the psychotropic effects of other cannabinoids.

Finally, if all else fails, then your most viable option is to ride it out. We know it doesn't sound like much of a strategy, but couch lock isn't permanent, nor is it life-threatening. Sometimes, you need to let these things run their course.

The best piece of advice we can give is to take a mental note of when the feeling came about. Which strain did you smoke, and how much? This way, in the future, you can reduce the impact of couch lock by having an estimate of when it will start to set in. Remember though; couch lock appears to be largely strain-specific, so what works for one type of cannabis may not keep couch lock at bay with another.

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