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How Long Does a Cannabis High Last?

A cannabis high can last anywhere from 2 to 10 hours, depending on a range of factors.

  • how much you consume
  • how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) it contains
  • your body weight and body fat percentage
  • your metabolism
  • whether or not you’ve eaten
  • your tolerance

Cannabis contains more than 113 chemical compounds called cannabinoids. Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of those cannabinoids, and it’s the ingredient responsible for making you feel high.

Here’s a closer look at the timeline of a delta-9 THC high and tips for cutting things short.

How quickly you feel the effects mostly depends on your method of use:

  • Smoking or vaping. You can begin to feel the effects of cannabis within 2 to 10 minutes. It kicks in quickly because it enters your bloodstream via your lungs within minutes of inhaling it.
  • Eating. Your digestive system metabolizes pot when you eat it, which can take a while. Edibles usually kick in within 30 to 60 minutes, but can sometimes take as long as 2 hours.
  • Dabbing. With this method, a highly concentrated form of marijuana is smoked through a special pipe. Dabs have a higher THC content than other forms of cannabis, so the high kicks in almost instantly.

How long the effects last can vary greatly depending on the dose and potency. The more you use and the higher the THC content, the longer the effects will stick around.

How you consume cannabis also affects when the effects peak and how long they last.

Here’s a breakdown, according to Drugs and Me, a site by the Mental Health Education Foundation:

  • Smoking or vaping. The effects peak around 10 minutes after consumption and typically last 1 to 3 hours, though they can linger for up to 8 hours.
  • Eating. The effects of edibles usually peak around 2 hours after consumption and can last up to 24 hours.
  • Dabbing. Similar to smoking, the effects of dabbing usually last 1 to 3 hours. If using a high THC concentrate, you could feel the effects for an entire day.

Cannabis hits everyone differently, so while your high may only last for a couple of hours, you could potentially feel the comedown or aftereffects for several hours or through the next day. It’s best to go low and slow if you’re new to cannabis.

If you need to cut things short, there are a few things you can try.

Keep in mind that these tips are designed to reduce the effects, not eliminate them altogether. That means you’ll likely still experience lingering effects, including a reduced reaction time, so you’ll still want to avoid driving.

Here are a few pointers based on anecdotal evidence and some research:

  • Take a nap. Sleeping can help you relax if your high has you feeling anxious or paranoid. It also gives your body time to process and eliminate the cannabis. You’ll likely wake up feeling refreshed and more alert after a few winks.
  • Try some black pepper. There’s some evidence that caryophyllene, a compound in peppercorn, increases the sedative effects of THC, which could calm you. Just take a container of black pepper and have a sniff without inhaling it. Chewing on a couple of whole peppercorns also works.
  • Eat some pine nuts. Some research shows that pinene, a compound in pine nuts, has a calming effect and improves clarity. Skip this method if you have a tree nut allergy, though.
  • Try some CBD. Yep, it may sound counterintuitive, but CBD may counteract the effects of THC. Like THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid. The difference is the receptors in your brain that they interact with. THC causes the high you get from cannabis, but CBD has a calming effect that may help dull your high.
  • Have some lemon peel. Lemons, especially the peel, contain compounds that have a calming effect. In theory, ingesting some lemon peel could counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC and help you come down. Try steeping some in hot water for a few minutes, then remove them and take some sips.

If you’re looking for a longer-lasting high, consider sticking with edibles. They take longer to kick in, but the effects will hang around longer, which can be a big help if you’re using cannabis for medical purposes.

You could also re-dose or try a higher THC strain for a longer high, but know that you’ll also have to deal with more intense effects. For a seasoned consumer, this is probably not a big deal, but a newbie may find the effects of a bigger dose to be a bit much.

There are some anecdotal methods for extending your high on the Internet, like eating mango, but there’s no evidence to back any of these.

Some websites recommend drinking alcohol with cannabis to extend your high, but it isn’t the best idea.

Drinking before using cannabis — even just one drink — can heighten the effects of THC. This combo can cause some folks to “green out” and experience some pretty unpleasant symptoms, including:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • increased impairment

This combo doesn’t work great in the other direction, either. Using cannabis before drinking can minimize the effects of alcohol, meaning you’ll feel less drunk than you are. This makes it easy to get overly intoxicated.

Plus, using cannabis and alcohol together may increase your risk of dependence on one or both substances.

Find out how long it takes for weed’s effects to kick in and how long they last. We’ve also got tips for cutting things short or extending them.

How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?

So how long does weed stay in your system? It depends on which system we’re talking about. From a certain perspective, humans appear hard-wired for cannabis. We have an endocannabinoid system throughout our body with receptors that perfectly fit the cannabinoids we ingest when we consume weed. And our bodies process those cannabinoids in a variety of ways, producing byproducts that can linger for a long time.

Overview: How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?

Whether you’re new to cannabis and curious about how long the effects last and how long weed stays in your system, or facing a drug screening of some kind, knowing the specific ways weed interacts with your body and where signs of your using it show up is valuable information.

We’ll answer the perennial question—how long does weed stay in your system?—by taking a look at the four parts of the body that betray the signs of marijuana use.

But before diving in, let’s put the answer as simply as possible.

Remember, it’s technically the psychoactive, high-producing THC that makes your weed illicit, and your use of it illegal. And that illicit chemical is rapidly metabolized by your body when you smoke weed.

The process takes a little longer if you ingest cannabis, but the result is practically the same. You don’t stay high for days at a time because your body quickly processes all the psychoactive compounds you inhaled or ate.

But the byproducts of that process, called ‘metabolites,’ can stay in your fatty tissue for a long time. They’re not active, of course, but they’re telltale signs of previous cannabis use.

So again, how long does weed stay in your system? It depends what the system deals with, THC or its waste metabolite, THC-COOH.

If the system deals with active, or delta-9 THC, weed doesn’t stay around for very long. But if the system deals with eliminating inactive THC-COOH, weed sticks around for a longer time.

How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Blood?

Let’s start with the system that shows signs of weed for the shortest amount of time. That’s your circulatory system, or more specifically, the blood flowing through it.

THC and other active cannabinoids have to make it into your bloodstream to take effect. When you smoke, that happens via your lungs. When you ingest weed, that happens through your stomach.

In other words, your blood is where potent, active cannabinoids make their way to your brain, kicking off the euphoric sensations of being high, or the therapeutic effects in the case of cannabidiol (CBD).

Your body rapidly metabolizes, breaks down those active cannabinoids in the blood. And that’s why signs of weed use don’t stay in your blood for very long.

Hence the reason why companies or law enforcement will take blood tests after workplace or traffic accidents because it would reveal that someone was likely intoxicated with cannabis when the sample was taken.

Specifically, weed (i.e. THC) stays in the blood for one to two days after a single use. If you smoke multiple times or regularly or multiple times daily, weed will stay in your blood for up to a week after your last session.

How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Saliva

Saliva is virtually tied with blood in terms of the time span weed sticks around in it. No wonder a mouth swab drug test looks for the same active THC blood tests do.

Delta-9 THC, the psychoactive kind, coats the inside of your mouth and gets soaked up by your saliva glands after you smoke. If you eat edibles, your exposure is somewhat reduced, but you’re still chewing the decarbed cannabis in your cookie.

This THC doesn’t make it into your bloodstream in any significant quantity. It just stays in your saliva until you swallow enough of it to purge your mouth of the signs of your scandalous cannabis habit.

Therefore, drinking lots of water, brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, and eating fatty foods—THC bonds to fat—can help you get rid of THC in your mouth faster.

Specifically, THC will stay in your saliva for one to two days after your last puff. If you’re worried that you smoke a lot, or if your weed is more potent, traces of THC could linger up to a week, max.

How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Urine

As you can see, your body is naturally eager to absorb and process psychoactive THC and other active cannabinoids. (Drug tests, by the way, are only looking for THC.) So those chemical compounds of weed don’t stay in your system very long.

But the byproducts of THC, which are evidence of prior use, are also fat-soluble. In other words, THC metabolites bond to fatty tissues, and this causes the body to take some time expelling them.

So technically speaking, ‘weed’ doesn’t stay in your urine, THC-COOH does. And it’s totally inactive, meaning you’re not still under the influence of cannabis despite the presence of this chemical in your system.

Since the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in the body is entirely dependent on a person’s particular traits, it’s hard to answer definitively, how long does weed stay in your system?

Suffice to say, the amount of time evidence of cannabis use stays in your urine largely depends on how often you smoke up. Other factors, like your body mass index, your metabolic rate, and how hydrated you are also play a role.

Summing up the research we examined, this table can help you determine the average time weed will stay in your renal system.

  • 1-time use: clean in 5-8 days
  • 2-4 times a week: 11-18 days
  • 5-6 times a week: 33-48 days
  • Daily use: 50-65 days, up to 77

Cleanse Using a Detoxification Program

If you have at least seven days before your test, a detoxification program will speed up the body’s natural cleansing process and completely rid your body of the THC in your system in about a week. These programs also come with home testing kits to verify you are clean.

Cleanse the Same Day

If your test is coming up sooner, certain detox drinks are known to flush your system the same day you drink them keeping you clean for a period of four to six hours.

How Long Does Weed Stay In Your Hair

Although there are plenty of myths and misconceptions circulating about hair drug tests, they’re feared by weed users for good reason.

Evidence of cannabis consumption stays in your hair for longer than any other system in your body. In fact, hair follicle testing can reveal cannabis use up to years prior.

But in terms of common testing procedures, hair follicle tests are typically looking for cannabis use back 90 days.

One rumor is that drug test kit administrators or police will cut off the tips of your hair for a drug test. But that wouldn’t be very conclusive at all.

Instead, hair follicle tests take a head hair from the root to 1.5 inches of hair. Testers discard the rest of the hair.

Human head hair grows, on average, at a rate of about .5 inches per month. So 1.5 inches equals about three months of hair growth. If you took the end of a foot-long hair, you’d be able to detect weed use back two years!

Body hair, which grows more slowly than head hair and isn’t replaced as often by new hairs, may betray prior weed use back even further.

A body hair of the same length could show weed use back 180 to 360 days. At the moment, however, there are no conclusive studies verifying this.

So weed stays in your hair for a long time. But it doesn’t show up in one time or occasional users. Instead, hair testing reveals a chronic habit of marijuana consumption.

For regular cannabis users, this is definitely case for alarm. Once THC makes its way to the follicle and ends up in the hair strand, it’s there forever.

Of course, you could answer how long does weed stay in your system with the answer, not another second. All you have to do is shave off all of your hair.

The Final Answer: How Long Does Weed Stay In Your System?

The short-lived effects of weed don’t prevent evidence of marijuana consumption from lingering in your system. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you’re high for as long as those chemicals exist in your body. But it does mean you’re at risk of failing a drug test.

So how long does weed stay in your system? When it comes to saliva and blood, where active THC resides, weed stays in the body for a week, tops. But with urine, weed stays in your system much longer. And with hair, it’ll stay with you forever. Or at least until you cut that hair off!

The human body is a complex machine. And cannabis interacts with it in complex, dynamic ways we don't yet fully understand.