Are you 21 or older?

How Long Does a Weed High Last?

Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)

Written by: Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)

Updated on December 31, 2023

How Long Does a Weed High Last?

On average, a weed high can last anywhere between 30 minutes – 12 hours. There’s nothing fixed about this timeframe as it depends largely on the person, the method of consumption, and the weed strain itself.

Weed contains more than 133 chemical compounds usually described as ‘cannabinoids.’ Of all these compounds, THC and CBD are the most researched – THC for the characteristic high it produces; and CBD for its bioactive properties and use in modern medicine.

If you are a big fan of weed, you might have noticed how different weed strains give different types of ‘high.’ A cannabis high might be different for many users. But there are a few common similarities. Typically, it starts as a rush of euphoria, relaxation, and creativity. Some stoners have reported feelings of amusement, hunger, and intense sensitivity to light.

It all happens when inhaled or digested THC diffuses into the bloodstream. THC in the blood is transported to the brain where it excites some special receptor of the endocannabinoid system. This system is a large collection of receptors, lipids, and enzymes that influence how the body responds to THC. By binding to the CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, THC effectively initiates an episode of ‘High’ that might be different in many people.

In this review, you will learn the science behind weed high, the factors that determine its length, and how you can prolong it.

Factors That Affect the Weed High Start and Last

Your reaction to weed depends on how your body processes THC and the weed strain itself. Largely, the factors that affect the start and end time of a weed high include:

Method of Consumption

You might have noticed how the duration of high for weed edibles and weed vapes are different. This is because the body processes THC differently depending on how you consume your weed. Before you can feel the high of weed edibles, you would have to chew it, swallow it, and digest it. After digestion, it is metabolized in the liver and pushed into the bloodstream before reaching the brain. This whole process takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 3 hours.

When you smoke weed directly through a bong or a pipe, the process takes a shorter time. Instead of digestion, THC is inhaled directly into the lungs and the time it takes to reach the brain is shorter. THC levels may peak anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour, although the intensity may decrease faster.

How about dabbing concentrates? The high you feel is almost immediate. The THC concentrates in dabs are higher and you get to inhale the THC component directly as the high kick in. This is almost the same with edible candies where the THC is directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the small blood vessels on the cheeks and underneath the tongue.

Type of Weed

The weed strain composition is another factor that affects the duration of weed high. Male and female cannabis strains have different compositions, and the characteristic high the weed produces seems to depend on the THC and CBD content ratio. Sensemilla and hashish forms of weed have high THC levels, so they give a longer high.

Variations in Metabolism

If you have a high metabolic rate, you have a higher tendency to process weed faster. This genetic level variation also affects how fast THC reaches the bloodstream. In people with high metabolic rates, THC is introduced into the bloodstream faster and the high can start almost instantly.

Dose

The concentration of THC in your weed form is also equally as important as other factors listed here. Weed flowers may contain between 20% – 30% THC content. Concentrates, on the other hand, may contain 70% THC or more. If all other factors remain constant, the dose of THC in any form of weed you take has a huge effect on the type and duration of your high.

When Does the Weed Hight Start?

Essentially, a weed high starts once the THC component inhaled or injected interacts with receptors in the brain. As summarized earlier, the body has an extensive network of receptors, enzymes, and lipids that primarily mediate the interaction between THC and the brain. Once bonding is confirmed, the THC affects complex conformational changes in the receptors.

These changes are translated into a series of behavioral actions, muscle movement, and hormonal release that ultimately defines the characteristic of the high you get. Since the THC-Receptor interaction varies significantly based on genetics and metabolism, the effect and type of high from the same weed strain might be significantly different.

How Long Does a Weed High Last?

If you are particular about increasing the duration of your high, the method of consumption and THC content of your weed strain are factors you should modify. If you have a strain with a high THC content, you should consider methods of consumption that decrease the time required to get THC into the bloodstream. Smoking, sublingual application, and dabbing are convenient in this case. The table below summarizes the relationship between the duration of high and the method of consumption.

Parameter Smoking Flower Dabbing Concentrates Weed Edibles
High Onset High kicks in within a few minutes of inhalation. Weed strain and THC components have a significant effect on this timeframe. Concentrates may have up to 70% THC content. Depending on potency and THC content, High may begin almost immediately Edibles have a slower onset and can take between 30 minutes to 2 hours before High properly kicks in.
Peak Effects Peak effect is noticed about 10 – 30 minutes after consumption Peak effect is noticed about 15 – 60 minutes after consumption After digestion and metabolism, the peak effect is delayed to about 2 – 4 hours.
Duration High may last for about 1 – 3 hours followed by a gradual decline in intensity High may last for about 1 – 3 hours followed by a gradual decline in intensity Slow metabolism means a steady release of THC over time. High may last for about 4 – 8 hours.

How to Extend the Weed High?

To make your high last longer, you can consider the following techniques:

Increase Consumption Dose

The higher the THC content of your weed strain, the longer the high you are likely to get from it. However, you should start with a lower dose and gradually increase it. The goal of gradually increasing the dose is to get the optimal or desired high from the lowest possible dose. You want to be careful with rapidly increasing consumption dose as higher dose can cause more intense high and risk of adverse effects.

Consider Dabbing Concentrates

Weed dabs are becoming more and more popular. If you smoke your weed, you might also want to try dabbing concentrates. It delivers a high THC content and makes sure the THC gets to the brain faster. The whole process gives a lasting high.

Never Smoke Weed on Empty Stomach

Smoking weed on a full stomach can help with a lasting high. This is especially true for foods with a considerable proportion of fats. Cannabinoids in weed are better absorbed in the presence of fats, so the effect is prolonged.

Consider Weed Edibles

Edibles in the form of hard candies and gummies are great for two main reasons: they deliver THC faster through the blood vessels of the cheeks and those beneath the tongue, and they deliver THC in steady bursts to ensure a long-lasting high.

Observe a Tolerance Break

Frequent cannabis users can become less sensitive to the high it produces over time. The body simply develops a tolerance to cannabis interactions in the brain. This explains why heavy cannabis users may suddenly need to consume more quantities of the same strain to achieve the same level of high. To make sure your cannabis high last long, you should consider taking a tolerance break. Stay away for some time, or experiment with other strains.

Breaking an Episode of Weed High

There is an urgent need to sober up from a weed high? The most effective approach, by all means, is to wait it out. Staying in a calm environment, while maintaining a convenient sleeping or seating posture has been found to help cut out a weed high faster. You can also try activities that distract your brain and relax your muscles – listening to music or watching a movie works. There are also many reports about how drinking lots of water may help sober up quickly.

Bottom Line

Getting the best high from a preferred weed strain is a goal any stoner must have had at a point in time. The THC content of your weed strain, your body’s variation in cannabis metabolism, and the method of consumption are factors that heavily dictate the level of high you get. Starting from a low dose and gradually increasing it is an ideal way to experiment with how your body responds to weed.

Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)