Where’s the high emoji? We explored why there isn’t one, and some creative ways people are getting the message across

(Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Though cannabis normalization has hit a high point (pun intended) in recent years, many users still prefer to not to explicitly refer to cannabis use in text messages. But Apple’s famous emoji keyboard doesn’t make this easy. There is no emoji for the sensation of being high. There’s no cannabis emoji, either.


It’s not because it’s too niche. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 18 percent of Americans used cannabis in 2019, and that number has only grown since cannabis became legal in more states since then.

So there are a good number of us twiddling our thumbs, hoping the elusive “high” emoji to make an appearance in the next keyboard update.

It’s not because of lack of demand, either. Multiple petitions can be found online for the creation of a high emoji. One suggests a remake of the “heart eyes” emoji, with tiny cannabis leaves in each of the hearts, and another advocates for a red-eyed smiley face.

We at GreenState have been frustrated by the lack of cannabis-friendy emojis for a long time. So, we decided to roll up our sleeves and dive into this strange lack of stoner representation.

Here’s what we found.

Why is there no high emoji?

Take a look at your emoji keyboard and you’ll find a dizzy emoji, a starry-eyed emoji, and even a nauseous emoji, but no high emoji. Why?

Apple has never spoken to this issue directly, but a little research into the subject showed us a pretty valid reason. Apple does not promote illegal substances on the emoji keyboard. While cannabis is legal in certain US states and in some parts of the world, it is not a legal substance at the federal level, or for the majority of Apple’s international audience. That’s why you’ll find tobacco and alcohol emojis, but no weed emoji.

While a high emoji wouldn’t exactly promote an illegal substance, it would show the effects of one, which might land them in a legal gray area in certain parts of the world. We assume Apple feels they have enough to worry about without potential legal battles over a red-eyed smiley face looming over their heads, so it may not be until the majority of the world has decriminalized cannabis that they would feel comfortable launching a high emoji.

Stealth emojis for when you’re high

Odds are we’re not getting a high emoji anytime soon. So what are people using instead?

We scoured the internet for different ways to say you’re high through emoticons and found some pretty clever solutions.

1.  ??

The blissful emoji face and dashing away combination is the most popular for a general high. Use this when you’re enjoying a peaceful and relaxing smoke.

2. ?‍?

When experiencing a slightly more wired or paranoid high, some go with the spiral-eyed emoji. It’s also the closest you’ll get to stoner eyes.

3. ??

Some use the wide-eyed emoji with the falling leaf to symbolize being high. This makes us think of the surge of energy that comes with a good Sativa.

4. ??

Feeling baked? There’s no oven emoji, but people are making do with the frying pan and mouthless emoji—or at least, we think that’s the idea here.

Honorable mentions

1. ??

Not exactly a high emoji, but we like the simplicity of this herb and cigarette symbolizing a joint.

2. ☁️?☁️

This smiling emoji surrounded by clouds is a whole vibe.

3. ?⚗️

This emoji combination includes an alembic, which was used in medieval alchemy. It looks similar to a bong, and people have been hard-pressed to find another situation when you’d need this emoji, so it’s been adopted by the cannabis community.

General cannabis emojis

If you just need an emoji for cannabis products and not the sensation of being high, there are some simple solutions for that, too. Here are the most common:

  • Herb emoji ?: For reasons we don’t need to explain, this one is often used in place of the cannabis slang term “herb”
  • Broccoli emoji ?: Broccoli has become synonymous with cannabis because the top of it looks like buds
  • Pineapple emoji?: Thanks to the iconic stoner flick “Pineapple Express“, the pineapple is one of the main emoticons used for cannabis
  • Leaf fluttering emoji ?: They never said what plant this leaf came from!

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