Trying cannabis for the first time can be daunting. Like coffee or wine, enjoying the mind-altering effects of the herb is an acquired taste.
Once the experience gets going, the only thing left to do is continue. Fortunately, the acute effects of inhaled cannabis don’t last very long. Edibles, on the other hand, are a different story.
Here’s how long being high on weed lasts and how the herb might affect you once it wears off. And don’t worry; it will wear off.
The duration of time in which cannabis takes to kick in varies depending on the method of consumption. Here’s a brief guide on how to tell when a weed high will kick in:
Smoking/Vaping: Smoking cannabis or vaping it produces the fastest effects of all consumption methods. When smoking, THC is instantly absorbed into the bloodstream to produce instant effects. The effects usually kick in at first, with a peak around 15 minutes after smoking. From there, they gradually wear off.
Edibles: Edibles are much different than smoking and vaping THC because they take longer to produce effects. Instead of feeling an instant high, edibles can take an hour until they produce effects. Sometimes, the effects don’t peak until the 90-minute mark. But their effects also last way longer.
Water-Soluble Edibles: Yes, there are different kinds of edibles nowadays. You’ll usually find water-soluble edibles in the form of cannabis beverages or even gummies. These edibles contain water-soluble THC, which doesn’t have to travel through the lengthy digestive system to produce effects. Instead, it produces effects within 5-15 minutes.
For many new consumers, the cannabis high can be a little intense. Fortunately, if you’ve smoked, vaporized (the Volcano Classic, though), or dabbed the herb, the experience really doesn’t last very long.
When inhaled, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive in cannabis, saturates the brain within minutes. The full effects of the herb can often be felt in a mere quarter of an hour. After that, the experience starts to mellow out and will wind down over the course of the next one to three hours.
Oral cannabis, however, takes a lot longer to wear off. When consuming the herb in an infused food or capsule, the effects can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to take effect. Once they kick in, these effects can last as long as four to eight hours. Though, toward the end of the experience, you’ll likely want to lie down for a nap.
Here’s a simple recap:
Interestingly, the effects of cannabis may impact adolescents and teens longer than it affects adults. According to Dr. Francis Jensen, a neuroscientist, author of The Teenage Brain, and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Proman School of Medicine, cannabis sticks around in teenage brains in a very different way from adults.
She tells NPR’s Fresh Air that “not only does the teen brain have more places for the cannabis to land, but if you will, it actually stays there longer. It locks on longer than in the adult brain.”
This means that teens and adolescents may experience the cognitive effects of cannabis for more extended periods of time. Jensen continues, “For instance, if they were to get high over a weekend, the effects may still be there on Thursday and Friday later that week. An adult wouldn’t have that same long-term effect.”
To summarize, the acute effects of cannabis are more or less short-lived. After a few puffs of the herb, you can expect the mind-altering experience to wear off after just a few hours.
However, the psychoactive plant can make you feel groggy and fatigued for a day or so after consuming it in heavy quantities. These drowsy and spacy effects may last longer in younger people, which is one reason to delay cannabis use until adulthood.
If you came to this guide in search of ways to beat your weed high fast, we’ve got some tips. It’s worth noting that you cannot stop your body from being high. There’s no on/off switch. However, there are a few things you can do to help you sober up faster, including the following.
Hydrate: When high, we often experience a side effect called cotton mouth, which is exactly how it sounds, dry mouth that feels like you’re chewing on cotton. Staying hydrated can deter this while also reducing the intensity of a THC high.
Eat Food: We’re not just telling you to eat food because of your munchies but also because it can reduce the intensity of a weed high. This is especially true if you’re on an empty stomach. Having food in our digestive system may reduce the severity of the high and result in a faster comedown.
Go For A Walk: Exercising is a great way to help sober up faster. We’re not telling you to hit the gym, but going for a walk outside will help your brain produce natural dopamine, helping you feel better and calmer while gradually helping you sober up. Plus, the great outdoors is great for anxiety relief.
Talk To A Friend: Feeling too high is uncomfortable. When it happens, call a friend and chat. Or call family; the key is to talk to someone who won’t judge you. Expressing how you’re feeling will instantly make you feel better, and by distracting yourself in some good ol’ conversations, you may sober up faster.
Take A Nap: This works for some and not for others. If you have the opportunity to sleep your high away, do it. When you wake up, the effects should be gone or very minor.
The acute effects of cannabis only last for a few hours. However, THC has what is called a long half-life. The half-life of a drug refers to the time it takes for the compound to reduce in concentration by half in circulating blood. THC quickly moves out of the blood and into fat, which it likes to call home.
Here’s where things get interesting. As cannabis is stored in fat, it stays in the body for extended periods of time. As this fat burns, THC is re-released into the bloodstream, where it can influence the internal environment.
But don’t worry just yet! This doesn’t mean that you will feel “high” for extended periods of time. Rather, after the herb wears off, many consumers experience what is often referred to as a “cannabis hangover” or being “washed.”
Cannabis hangovers are significantly more common with higher doses of cannabis. For example, if you eat one edible too many, you may feel a little extra tired or unfocused the next morning.
Here are some tell-tale signs of a cannabis hangover:
A cannabis hangover is nothing like an alcohol hangover, which can leave some people stuck in bed for the entire day. Rather, with a cannabis hangover, most people just feel a little tired or groggy. This sensation goes away after a good night’s rest, plenty of water, some healthy food, and perhaps a vitamin supplement or two, such as B12 and Omega 3 fatty acids.
Of course, always check with your doctor before taking a new vitamin supplement.