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 will a gram of weed last
For a seemingly simple question, there are a lot of variables to consider when it comes to how long a joint will stay in one’s system.
It’s important to start by quantifying the amount of cannabis that constitutes a joint. As a unit of measurement, a joint has no definitive volume. This is why extravagant innovations like the tulip are just as much a joint as a pencil-thin doobie cobbled together from shake. In an effort to ensure consistency, this article will operate on the premise that a joint is equivalent to one gram of cannabis flower — though we’re well aware that pre-rolls often include only a half-gram of flower.
In addition, we need to define this unit of measurement by how much THC is in a typical gram. Again, a myriad of factors determine this number on a case-by-case basis, including a given strain’s potency and freshness. Raw cannabis flower is typically considered to contain 10 to 30 percent THC. Thus, 1000mg of cannabis (aka a gram) contains, on average, 100-300mg of THC. We’ll split the difference and call it 200mg of THC for this explainer.
Frequency of use is another important factor in this equation.
Those who regularly consume cannabis should, in general, anticipate THC remaining in their system for a longer period of time when compared with a first-time user. That’s because THC is a lipid-soluble chemical, which means it binds to fat in our body rather than being expelled directly (like alcohol). Thus, factors like increased body fat, improper hydration, or a slow metabolism may all increase the amount of time it takes for THC to work its way out of our systems.
For this article’s purposes, let’s assume someone with no THC in their system has smoked a one-gram joint. What happens next?
Gallery — The World’s Shittiest Blunts:
Smoking cannabis is the quickest method of consumption in terms of the time it takes for THC to hit our bloodstream. By inhaling pot, THC first enters our bodies via the lungs, which absorb the cannabinoid (along with any and all other cannabinoids contained within the strain in question). From there, it hits the bloodstream, where it is ultimately delivered to our brains. That’s where the real magic happens.
Once we’ve stopped feeling high, however, the THC in our systems doesn’t miraculously disappear. Instead, the half-life of THC is typically thought to be somewhere from 20 hours to 10 days, with the higher end of this range applying to heavy users. In relation to the human body, “half-life” refers to the time required for half the amount of a substance introduced to our systems to be eliminated naturally.
Using our baseline of a gram of cannabis containing 200mg of THC – and our premise that the person in question does not have any THC in their system prior to consumption – we can get even more specific. (In reality, we wouldn’t consume every single milligram of THC from a joint since much of it is lost through smoke wisping off the doob between puffs. But let’s keep things simple and just go with that 200mg value.)
For simplicity’s sake, if our first-time smoker consumes 200mg of THC, that means they’ll have roughly half the original amount of THC (100mg) left in their system a day later. Continuing this line of logic, the smoker will have a quarter of the original amount of THC (50mg) in their system 48 hours after consumption. That number is halved again at the three-day mark, and so on.
At this point, it’s time to discuss how we test for THC. There are four main types of testing currently employed to detect THC: blood tests, saliva tests, urine tests, and hair follicle tests. Each one is effective for different lengths of time. Hair follicle analysis, for example, can test positive for THC up to 90 days after consumption. Blood and saliva tests, meanwhile, are both only practical in detecting THC for up to 24 hours following usage. That said, some blood tests will detect THC up to 72 hours after consumption.
Interestingly, these tests are not actually looking for THC but for its metabolites – the metabolic byproducts that accumulate in our fat reserves, which are then released from the fat cells over a period of time.
The baseline for all these various testing methods is the threshold of THC required to produce a positive finding. Simply put, there is a minimum amount of metabolites necessary for a test to catch THC in our bodies. The standard cut-off is 50 ng/mL of THC, though some tests are able to detect THC at a level of 20 ng/mL. If we consider the testing threshold of 50 ng/mL of THC as our baseline, we can establish a general idea of how long a joint remains in our system.
Considering all of the above information, a first-time or infrequent consumer smoking a joint with one gram of cannabis in it that contains 200mg of THC should fall below the testable threshold for THC within three to eight days after last consumption. Of course, every number is best viewed as a general benchmark. As scientific practices continue to evolve, we may reach a day when a more accurate means of determining this information is available, but for now, these figures are the best we’ve got.
Here are the facts on how long a joint’s worth of THC will remain in your body.