A high will last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours for individuals who smoke marijuana in a joint or pipe. Smokers who dab marijuana or enjoy it from a bong can expect a shorter 30 minute to 2-hour high that is much more intense, however. Using marijuana with a vaporizer typically delivers a high that also doesn’t last as long either – anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.
Those ingesting marijuana by eating edibles can expect to have a much longer high – between 4 to 8 hours on average but coming with a much slower onset time. This delayed response is because when you ingest marijuana, the liver processes the THC rather than passing directly into the bloodstream via the lungs when you smoke or vape.
These are the basic parameters for determining how long does a high last, but there are many independent factors related to the individual that come into play too. Let’s have a look at them all in the big picture.
The Physiology of Feeling High
When you inhale cannabis smoke, the THC saturates the brain within just a few minutes. Then within 15 minutes you’ll feel the ‘peak’ effect, which will be intensely pleasurable for seasoned smokers but may be a little bit overwhelming for less experienced ones. When understanding how long does a high last it’s important to understand that for a good portion of that time you’ll be ‘coming down’ once this peak high period subsides.
For many users the coming down period is nearly as enjoyable as the peak, and for some people they enjoy it even more as they don’t feel overwhelmingly stoned. Many creative people claim they do their best work when they’re on the back side of a marijuana high.
Of course, smoking and inhaling any type of combusted material into the lungs is harmful. Many people choose to vape marijuana these days for that reason. It’s much easier on the lungs, and many dedicated vapers claim – quite accurately – that they experience a more intense high when consuming this way.
Your high when derived from eating edibles will last much longer. Eating cannabis means the liver processes the THC. This results it being converted into a different form, 11-Hydroxy THC. Eating marijuana edibles puts a whole different spin on how long does a high last. It will take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to take effect depending on your digestive system function.
However, once it does you can then expect to be that way for a much longer time than if you had smoked or vaped the marijuana. How long does a high last? Much longer if it’s coming from ingesting marijuana orally rather than smoking.
How long does a high last? Other Influential Factors
First and foremost in any list of secondary factors determining how long does a high last will be the user’s tolerance for THC. Tolerance quite simply means that smaller amounts of THC don’t have the physical effects for you that they once did. Every user will build up a tolerance, and it will be the sum of:
- The frequency with which they smoke each week, and how much they smoke during that period
- The strength in THC content of the marijuana strains they smoke
- How long it’s been since they started smoking
If you smoke or ingest a larger quantity of marijuana then you’ll be high for a longer period of time. However, you’ll also be building your tolerance at a faster rate.
Next is the role of age. Teens can stay high longer because their still-growing brains have more surface area and more endocannabinoid receptors as a result. In more simpler terms this means there are more spaces for the THC to land. Generally, this doesn’t mean the duration of the high is affected as much as it means younger people will feel more of the residual effects that come from using the drug.
The last major secondary factor to consider is your metabolism. Your metabolic rate will determine how quickly your body metabolizes a substance. Generally speaking, a slower metabolism means you will stay high longer.
Two other lesser factors – environment and mindfulness. Certain environments and surroundings will be more conducive to your staying and feeling high longer. Mindfulness is a consideration because if you’re in an environment where you feel conspicuously high, you may find that you perceive yourself being high for a longer period of time.