It is no secret that certain cannabinoids contained within the cannabis plant possess intoxicating effects. THC is the most noteworthy of such cannabinoids, however, there are other cannabinoids that also possess intoxicating qualities. It is important for cannabis consumers and patients to know how long the ‘high’ from cannabis lasts.
Below are general time frames to expect depending on consumption method, although there are many factors involved as discussed in depth later in this article:
- Inhaled cannabis effects generally last 1 to 4 hours
- Ingested (eaten) cannabis effects generally last 2 to 10 hours
The motivation behind knowing how long the effects of consuming cannabis last depends on individual situations. For consumers that drive, knowing how long a cannabis high lasts is directly tied to knowing when it is safe to operate a motor vehicle. Knowing how long a high lasts as it pertains to work hours is important, as are certain various other life tasks.
Duration Of Cannabis Effects Depends On Many Factors
When it comes to knowing the duration of cannabis’ effects on an individual, unfortunately, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. The cannabis plant is very dynamic, and human biology is very complicated, so how long the effects of cannabis lasts is completely situational. With that being said, there are known factors that will provide a lot of insight regarding what a consumer or patient can expect after consuming cannabis.
It is very important to note the difference between inhaling cannabis (smoked or vaporized) and eating cannabis. When someone inhales cannabis (smoke or vapor), the cannabinoids enter via the lungs (nervous system) and the effects are felt quickly (within seconds to a few minutes). When someone eats cannabis via an edible-type product, the cannabinoids enter the body via the stomach (digestive system) and the effects take much longer to set in (generally 45-90 minutes after ingestion).
Once the effects are felt via either consumption type, the duration of high is considerably less when the consumption method is inhalation versus ingestion/eating. Below are factors involved when inhaling cannabis:
- Amount of cannabis consumed
- Strength of cannabis consumed (THC percentage)
- Tolerance level
- Inhaled manner of consumption
Each of the factors listed above is discussed further below.
Amount Of Cannabis Consumed
The amount of cannabis that a person consumes obviously directly contributes to how long they will be high. That is true whether they eat cannabis or inhale it. If a person takes one hit of a vape pen they will clearly be intoxicated for less time than if they were to take one hundred vape pen hits. Likewise, if a person eats one brownie they won’t be as high as long as if they eat six of the same brownies.
Cannabis THC Percentage
How strong a cannabis product is, as measured by THC percentage/content, is another huge factor and essentially piggybacks off of the amount of cannabis consumed. Ultimately, it is about how much THC ends up in a person’s system, and the higher the THC content in a cannabis flower/product the higher it will make someone if everything else is equal. A cannabis flower or vape pen cartridge that has a higher THC percentage than a similar product will generally make a person higher for a longer duration of time because it will obviously result in the person ultimately consuming more THC.
Cannabis Tolerance Level
The biological system that interacts with cannabinoids is the endocannabinoid system, and not all human endocannabinoid systems are created equal. Some people’s endocannabinoid systems can handle a lot of cannabinoids before being completely intoxicated and other people’s endocannabinoid systems can handle very little cannabinoid consumption before the person needs a snack and a very long nap. It’s why a rookie cannabis consumer can take a couple of hits off of a joint and be completely unable to do anything and a veteran cannabis consumer can smoke the rest of the same joint, eat two infused brownies, take three dab hits, and dominate a gravity bong all in the same night and yet be able to function without any issue.
Method Of Inhaled Cannabis Consumption
How a person smokes or vaporizes cannabis plays a big role in how long they will be high from what they inhaled. To hammer home that point, consider a person that takes a puff off of a vape pen versus someone that takes a massive gravity bong hit. The size of the hit will obviously differ, and thus the amount of cannabinoids that the person ultimately consumes will also differ. Joints, pipes, bubblers, vape pens, desktop vaporizers, four-foot bongs, three-person hookah bongs – they all hit differently and generate effects that differ in intensity and duration.
Additional Factors When Eating Cannabis
Since cannabis enters the digestive system when a person eats cannabis, there are additional factors involved when trying to gauge how long cannabis’ effects will last. How big a person is matters. A person that is 7 feet tall and 400 pounds will generally experience the effects of an edible for less time compared to a person that is 5 feet tall and 100 pounds if all other things are equal (same size edible, etc.). Also, how much a person has had to eat prior to consuming the edible also factors in. An edible on an empty stomach is going to hit harder and longer than an edible on an already full stomach.
Alcohol And Cannabis
When people consume alcohol and cannabis at the same time, it results in THC being concentrated in the consumer’s blood at greater levels compared to if they had consumed no alcohol at all. That is an important fact to note because alcohol combined with cannabis may affect the intensity and duration of THC’s overall effects on a consumer.
Consume Cannabis Responsibly
It is always important to consume cannabis responsibly. Just as people can consume alcohol responsibly, and rightfully so, they also should be able to consume cannabis responsibly as well. Never operate a motor vehicle when intoxicated, whether the intoxication is due to cannabis or any other intoxicating substance.
P.S. – The creators of this website would like to point out that the late, great host of Jeopardy, Alex Trabek, once stated in an interview that he ate weed brownies so strong that he was high for nearly 2 days straight. We cannot confirm nor deny his claim, although we can confirm that Mr. Trabek was an absolute legend. RIP Alex.