How long does a weed high last?
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- The science behind how long a high lasts: everyone is different
- How long does a marijuana high last?
- What does being high feel like?
- How much weed does it take to get high?
- How you feel vs. the weed in your system
- How to bring down your high?
- How to increase the length of your high
Cannabis serves a wide variety of purposes in the modern world, with new medicinal uses and products appearing every day. But for the majority of marijuana users who come to the plant recreationally, the goal is still to experience the cannabis high.
Marijuana highs can facilitate a wide variety of sensory and psychological effects, including mild reverie, euphoria, increased sensory awareness, and some therapeutic benefits. But if you’re a new or less experienced user, you’d want to know: How long does a high last? What duration are you committing to when you smoke a bowl, eat an edible, or take a dab?
Marijuana highs can facilitate a wide variety of sensory and psychological effects, including mild reverie, euphoria, increased sensory awareness, and some therapeutic benefits. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The science behind how long a high lasts: everyone is different
Much of your reaction to cannabis, whether it be therapeutic or the duration of the high it produces, will depend on your own biological makeup. Different types or strains of cannabis can produce different effects. One variety may produce a more intense high, or one that lasts longer than another. But the same plant can also produce different effects in others.
Out bodies interact with cannabis by way of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — the series of receptors, lipids, and enzymes that help the body maintain internal balance and regulate several bodily functions. When cannabinoids, compounds indigenous to the cannabis plant such as THC and cannabidiol (CBD) , interact with the body, they produce an effect by binding to cannabinoid receptors, where they are then broken down by enzymes. Our cannabinoid receptors have genetic variations from person to person, which in turn can alter the effects of cannabis , including the duration of intoxication.
How long does a marijuana high last?
So, how long does weed last? There are several factors that determine the answer to this question, but the primary driver on the cannabis high duration is the method of cannabis consumption. Your own biological makeup, along with the chemical makeup of the cannabis you’re ingesting, will also determine how long a cannabis high and potential side effects will last. That being said, the rate of THC blood saturation through to the eventual expungement of THC from the body provides a general window of duration in most people, which varies depending on how cannabis is being ingested.
When smoking cannabis, the onset of the high is nearly immediate and THC levels peak within the first 30 minutes to an hour after inhalation. The high from smoked marijuana can last up to several hours, though the intensity will generally decrease after the first hour or so.
Cannabis edibles are a whole different story. As edibles are absorbed through the digestive system and THC is metabolized through the liver, it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours for the onset of effects. Depending on the amount of THC consumed, the amount of time an edible high can last upwards of 9 hours, with the peak generally lasting from 1 to 3 hours.
When dabbing concentrates , the onset of effects is also nearly immediate, but the duration depends largely on individual tolerance. Those who dab high-THC concentrates often may feel the effects wearing off within 1 to 2 hours, while someone entirely new to dabbing may be wiped out for the day.
When dabbing concentrates, the onset of effects is also nearly immediate, but the duration depends largely on individual tolerance. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What does being high feel like?
The specific qualities of a cannabis high will change over time, regardless of the form you take. Similarly to how long a weed high will last, you can expect the specific qualities of a high to change from person to person, and from cultivar to cultivar. Most cannabis cultivars bring with them a general list of qualities that most people experience from them, from hunger to cerebral stimulation, or creativity to couch lock.
Some cultivars will quash anxiety, while others will increase anxiety. As the high wears down, the more euphoric aspects typically wane and sleepiness replaces them. Again, all of these effects depend on the chemical makeup of a given cultivar, as well as your genes.
How much weed does it take to get high?
The amount of weed needed to feel high also depends on several variables. THC is the intoxicating component of cannabis, and though other cannabinoids play a role in either contributing to or enhancing the cannabis high, the THC percentage of a cannabis product will impact how long you’ll be high when you consume it. However, the method of consumption is an even bigger determining factor. For example, the effects of eating a 50 milligram edible will last longer than smoking a 0.5 gram joint with 20% THC.
THC percentages don’t tell the whole story, but they do provide a general idea of what a user should expect with flower or concentrate products. In the case of edibles, instead of THC percentage, the key factor to potency is the quantity of THC in the product, which is typically measured in milligrams.
How you feel vs. the weed in your system
How long you stay high and how long weed stays in your system are two very different things. As drug tests are looking for THC metabolites, it can take upwards of a month for the compounds to completely leave your system, depending on body mass index (BMI), metabolism, frequency of use, the potency of the product, and genetics.
How to bring down your high?
If you’re experiencing a particularly intense high, it’s important to remember that it shall pass, and cannabis is non-toxic. No deaths from a marijuana overdose have ever been reported. For those who want or need to come down from a particularly intense high as quickly as possible, there are several tactics that may prove effective, such as taking very deep breaths, ingesting black pepper , hydrating, taking a cold shower , and consuming CBD oil , which may be able to counteract the intoxicating effects of THC by way of the entourage effect.
How to increase the length of your high
The higher the amount of THC, the less cannabis needed to achieve a high. If you want to know how to increase the length of your high , you can either smoke weed again, opt for the longer-lasting intoxicating effects of an edible, or consume cannabis products with higher levels of THC.
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How long do you stay high on weed
You just took a rip off a bong so massive the smoke turned gold. As you exhaled, you coughed up both lungs, and if you had a third, you would’ve coughed that one up, too. Before you know it, you’re so stoned you’re wondering if the cat can tell, and as you clutch the carpet to keep from falling off the Earth, you ask yourself: How fucking long is this going to last? Is this forever now?
Or maybe you’re floating on Cloud Nine because you can handle your shit. But, again, you may ask yourself: Fuck, how long is this awesomeness going to last?
Thankfully, how long someone stays lit is one aspect of cannabis science that’s been thoroughly researched. But a high’s duration depends on a lot of factors. Let’s take a look at how those factors come into play, and how long you should expect your high-riding wave to persist.
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The Factors Dictating a Weed High
Metabolism, genetics, and diet all play a role in how long you stay toasty. But since those factors vary person to person, we’ll just acknowledge them here, and move on.
The other relevant factors include your route(s) of consumption, the potency and components of your pot product, and whether you’re supplementing the high with some other product to either enhance or diminish it.
Inhaling weed is the most popular method for ingesting it. It’s also one of the fastest and most efficient ways to get lit. Expect to stay high for about 2 hours after breathing in your weed. Many tokers report feeling residual or “afterglow” effects for up to 6 hours afterward, especially in folks with lower tolerances.
Eating or Drinking
Eating your weed as edibles or chugging it as drinkables usually keeps the high going for 2 to 6 hours. If you’re ingesting the typical homemade edible or drinkable – foodstuffs made from unmodified cannabis resins – expect at least an hour or two before the effects even kick in after eating.
However, not all edibles or drinkables are created equally. A new generation of nano-emulsified weed foods basically mix the cannabinoids into a starchy powder, which allows the effects to kick in quicker, but the high doesn’t last as long, either. Assume that most licensed, commercial weed drinkables use some form of this emulsification technology. It can take up to 30 minutes for these products to start working their magic, with the headiest effects tapering off after 90 minutes.
Additionally, edibles and drinkables work best if you also just ate a meal loaded with fats or oils. Expect a faster onset and longer high if you scarfed a bacon burger along with that weed chocolate.
Lightweights or those who ate a humongous dose of THC could stay lit for up to 8 to 12 hours, so plan accordingly and consume responsibly.
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Generally, topicals aren’t supposed get anyone intoxicated. However, there are anecdotal reports that some topicals — whether creams, lotions, transdermal patches, or what have you — can trigger their own slightly heady effects. If that’s true, it’s because human skin contains its own endocannabinoid network, which feeds directly into the rest of the body’s endocannabinoid system.
Assuming someone could get high from THC-infused topicals, they likely work through the same pathways as edibles (tissue to blood to liver). So, hypothetically, you could stay buzzed for a good 2 to 6 hours.
Obviously, how much THC you consume dictates how long your high will last (along with its intensity). For instance, if you normally get lifted eating just 10mg THC, but you accidentally gorged on 100mg, you may be in for a long, bumpy flight.
But not all weed products are created equally, remember? When it comes to smoking buds, higher THC contents don’t always translate to longer highs. That’s because researchers think that CBD — the plant’s other major cannabinoid — prolongs the THC high. Since most recreational weed strains were bred for maximum THC levels, they usually contain little to no CBD. Meaning, yeah, you can get way more elevated off of smaller puffs, but the feeling won’t last as long.
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Scientists are still figuring out how cannabis gets us high. The consensus is that THC is the primary component of weed that causes intoxication, but, as noted above, CBD also plays a role, as do the plant’s aromatic terpenoids.
Since we don’t really understand how terpenes affect weed highs (if they do at all) we can’t provide any solid numbers here. But keep terpenes in mind, and make a mental note if you tend to get more blasted off products loaded with terps.
Some supplements may affect how long your weed high goes on for. Again, CBD can make it last longer, though it may reduce some of the less commonly desired effects often described as “anxiety” or “paranoia” (believe it or not, some tokers love those psychoactive effects).
For instance, one compound naturally found in weed — an oil called olivetol — is currently marketed as a cure for getting too high. Although no one’s sure how olivetol does this, assuming it even does, olivetol reportedly does not get rid of the weed high altogether. Rather, like CBD, it reduces the intensity to manageable levels. Black pepper or lemon rinds, which are much cheaper and more readily available than olivetol pills, do pretty much the same thing.
If you’ve heard about mangoes extending a high’s duration, just know that’s totally bunk. It’s a myth. Allegedly, a component of mangoes called myrcene, which is also a terpene found in weed, can make a high last much longer than normal. But as the pharmacologist at Prof of Pot determined, there’s way more myrcene in your weed than in a mango. You’re better off just smoking more herb if you’re trying to supplement this way.
There’s also a handy equation for calculating how long your high may last. But let’s be honest here: No one’s gonna whip out their calculator to guesstimate how long it’s going to take them to sober up for that drive home.
Know yourself, know your tolerances and limits, and have some (safe) fun out there.
A high’s duration depends on a lot of factors. And yes, you can, potentially, increase or decrease how long you stay lit.