If you’re reading this blog, you probably like cannabis as much as we do and there’s a great likelihood that you are, in fact, high.
But have you ever wondered what this expression actually means and where it comes from? And why do some people say “high as a kite”?
We usually use the term “high” to describe things that are notably tall, or in great distance from the ground. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word “high” originates from Anglian “heh” and West Saxon “heah,” which translates to something being conspicuously tall, basically how we understand the word “high” today.
This term is also used to describe euphoric and intoxicating effects induced by various drugs.
The earliest record of this term’s use to describe intoxication comes from a 1627 translation of a phrase within “Pharsalia,” written by Lucan, a 1st century poet. The translation goes, "He's awash with rich dishes, high with wine."
The term “high” was mass-adopted during the 1930s where it could mean either high on alcohol or high on other drugs. Subsequently it was cemented into the dictionary during the 1960s hippie era as a term for being intoxicated by drugs.
Of course there’s also a spiritual association in various religions that "heaven" is in the sky, hence “high” up—and being intoxicated on sweet ganja can sure feel like being in heaven.
Now, let’s move on to the word “kite.” Obviously, a kite is a toy that elevates into the sky by the force of the wind, and is controlled by a string.
The addition of “as a kite” refers to a powerful and potent intoxication, not just taking a small puff of weed and going on with your day. More importantly, it specifically refers to cannabis consumption; you can't say "you're high as a kite" to describe a heavy wine intoxication.
So why a kite? Perhaps this term was coined because kites are colorful and look pretty dope?
Every year at Bondi Beach, Australia, there is a “Festival of The Winds” taking place, where impressive, luxurious, super-colorful, and well-designed kites fly up in the air, painting the sky with human imagination. We’re not sure if this is how the term in question came about—but if you go to this festival and smoke some good sativa, it will probably all makes sense.
There’s also a wacky theory that during the 1600s, witches took their broomsticks and charged into the sky after imbibing some special herbal remedies. This, of course, should be taken with a grain of salt, because why would witches need broomsticks to fly up in the air? And wouldn’t we then be calling it “high as a… broomstick”?