Cannabis Science

Closed Eye Hallucinations from Weed

women sitting against a black and white swirly background

If you’re having closed-eye hallucinations after hitting your bong or your blunt, you’re not alone. But should you be worried? Here’s what we know. 

Photo: Pexels 

What are Closed Eye Hallucinations? 

Usually, when you think of hallucinations, you think of seeing things that seem real but aren’t there. However, it’s possible to have your eyes closed and still hallucinate.

Chances are you’ve had closed-eye hallucinations too!

According to Healthline, closed-eye hallucinations can include “seeing” colors, shapes, and light when your eyes are closed. 

Some common types of closed-eye hallucinations, according to Healthline include:

  • Random objects
  • Swirling patterns and colors
  • Flashes of light and/or darkness

You may also experience a kaleidoscope effect. 

What Causes Closed Eyes Hallucinations?

Well, Healthline says, these hallucinations are related to a process called phosphenes. 

Phospenes occur due to the constant activity between neurons in the brain and your vision. 

Vision Eye Institute says that phosphenes can be heighten by everyday stimuli like coughing,  laughing and standing up too quickly, and applying light pressure to your eyelids.

In addition, Vision Eye Institute says, “Other factors such as low blood pressure or low oxygen intake can increase the visual show even further, and certain substances like LSD can take it off the scale.”

Besides those factors, Healthline says hyponatremia (low blood sodium), Charles Bonnet syndrome, and surgery can cause closed-eye hallucinations. 

Just so you know, Charles Bonnet syndrome is a condition where people have vivid hallucinations after having vision loss, whether partial or full. 

Generally speaking, closed-eye hallucinations are harmless and completely normal. However, if it’s caused by a medical condition, you may need to seek treatment.

Healthline also says, “Talk with a doctor if closed-eye hallucinations are accompanied by other unexplained symptoms, or if you’re experiencing significant cognitive, vision, or mood changes.”

Does Weed Cause Closed Eye Hallucinations?

We know stoners tend to find their eyes closed when high, but are they having closed-eye hallucinations? 

It seems so!

One Reddit user said, “When I’m trying to fall asleep and I’m high sometimes my closed-eye visuals are so intense and colorful that it’s overwhelming and I can’t relax.”

Someone else responded by saying, “This happened to me my first time when i had wayyyy too much.”

Quora users also had similar things to say about experiencing closed-eye hallucinations after using weed. 

One Quora user said, “when i listen to music high off Sativa and close my eyes i see shapes, patterns, colors, and like cartoon characters as the artist of the song… all these are really a unique experience and rlly cool.”

Is there Scientific Evidence that Weed Can Cause Closed Eye Hallucinations? 

Yes, for example, a 2023 article in the Journal of Oral Implantology highlighting the possible effects of marijuana consumption said, “Mild visual hallucinations may occur, particularly when the eyes are closed.”

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to find out why cannabis may cause closed-eye hallucinations specifically. 

Hopefully, more research in this area will come out soon.  

What we do know is that weed may cause other types of hallucinations. 

Can Weed Cause Hallucinations? 

Yes, weed can cause various types of hallucinations since it’s regarded as a hallucinogen. 

According to Healthline, “It’s pretty common to experience mild delusions (paranoia, for example) or brief hallucinations while using cannabis. Usually, though, you’ll generally recognize these hallucinations and delusions for what they are, and they’ll disappear along with the high.”

You may be wondering how weed causes hallucinations in the first place.

Unfortunately, research is still lacking in this area.

But, a 2018 study says research points to an “exogenous CB1 receptor agonism as a potential mechanism for inducing hallucinations.”

Interestingly, this is not typical of other types of substances that cause hallucinations. 

Hallucinations are typically associated with 5HT2A receptor agonism. Some hallucinogenics may be classified as κ-opioid agonists and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists.

However, the 2018 study says, “THC is a partial agonist of cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) and type-2 (CB2) receptors. Neither THC, nor minor cannabinoids, nor the terpenoids present in cannabis plant material have known direct effects at the 5HT2A, κ-opioid, or NMDA receptor.”

Psychosis from Weed

While hallucinations while high can be pretty harmless, sometimes, it’s not.

For some people, weed may increase their risk of developing psychosis. 

Cannabis-induced psychosis is rare but important to mention. Usually, when you’re high, you’re aware your delusions and hallucinations aren’t real but with cannabis-induced psychosis, Healthline says you won’t have that insight and may have more severe symptoms. 

Healthline also says, “Cannabis-induced psychosis disorder (CIPD) generally involves severe hallucinations or delusions that first show up during cannabis use or shortly after.”

Are You at Risk for Cannabis Induced Psychosis? 

Healthline says you have a higher risk of cannabis-induced psychosis if you:

  • Started using weed at an earlier age
  • Use weed frequently
  • Use potent weed
  • Have the AKT1 gene


Closed-eye hallucinations are generally normal and harmless. They occur whether or not you’re high. However, some stoners seem to be more aware of these hallucinations. While others find it difficult to relax when they close their eyes, others enjoy their closed-eye hallucinations. If these hallucinations are bothering you when you’re high you can experiment with different strains. However, if you’re having open-eye hallucinations and delusions that are interfering with your life negatively, see a medical professional, it could be cannabis-induced psychosis.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].