Some people just want to get as high as possible. However, smoking ridiculous amounts of the herb may not work exactly like it seems like it would. Many cannabis lovers may find themselves wondering: does smoking more get you higher, or high for longer? The short answer to this is both, to a point. For the most part, smoking or eating large amounts of cannabis is uncomfortable and sedative. Here’s the scoop on smoking too much cannabis.
Those who have ever eaten one edible too many may have noticed that cannabis can, indeed, make you very high for a very long time.
Edible cannabis and inhaled cannabis provide two different experiences, but consuming large amounts of either can both make you higher and high for a longer period of time. There are some caveats to this, however.
If you do several bong rips in a row without much time in between, there can be an upper limit to how high you can get. The primary psychoactive in the plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can begin to saturate the brain within seconds after taking an inhalation.
In blood plasma, research shows that THC peaks about 8 minutes after consuming. Consuming more THC will certainly make you higher. After a while, however, the experience begins to get sloppy.
After a certain point, excess THC is shuttled off and stored in fat cells to be re-released later. Not all THC is used by the brain at one given moment in time.
However, extreme THC saturation will make you pretty darn high. If you’re ever able to reach a peak saturation point, chances are you’ll fall asleep without being able to enjoy much of the experience.
You might also find yourself more paranoid and anxious than normal, or uncomfortable in general. This is because high doses of THC can promote anxiety, while low doses are often thought to ease anxiety.
It’s not uncommon for some people to vomit after smoking excessive amounts of cannabis.
Since excess THC is stored in fat, smoking extremely large amounts can certainly make your high last a lot longer. The active chemicals in the plant, called cannabinoids, stay in the body for quite a long time. After inhaling, THC quickly makes its way from the bloodstream to fatty places in the body, like the brain and general body fat.
Research shows that compounds like THC are actually re-released into the blood stream as you burn fat. The more cannabis you consume and the more fat you have, the more THC will recirculate in your blood stream for hours, days, and weeks after initially ingesting or inhaling the herb.
Recirculating THC does not actually cause the high that you feel immediately after smoking. However, you are far more likely to feel groggy, lethargic, sleepy, and blissed out for the next day or two after heavy consumption. This is what many people refer to as a “cannabis hangover“.
Consuming large amounts of cannabis-infused foods provides a similar effect. If you accidentally eat too many infused brownies, you may find yourself experiencing some weird paranoia, fogginess, odd heavy body sensations, and difficulty with motor skills. This is often followed by a long and deep sleep.
In general, edibles are far more powerful than inhaled cannabis. While “overdosing” on an edible will not kill you, it can make for a very uncomfortable experience.
Such was the case back in 2014 when a police officer and his wife called 911 after eating too many brownies and freaking out. They had baked the brownies from cannabis that the officer had confiscated from other people. Here’s a brief transcript of the 911 call (video above):
Officer: I think I’m having an overdose and so’s my wife.
911 Opporator: Overdose of what?
Officer: Marijuana. I don’t know if there was something in it. Can you please send rescue?
911 Opporator: Do you guys have a fever or anything?
Officer: No, I’m just, I think we’re dying.
911 Opporator: How much did you guys have?
Officer: I don’t know. We made brownies. And I think we’re dead. Time is going really, really, really slow.
No matter how much cannabis you smoke or vape, chances are you will not get as high for as long as you would if overdosing on an edible. However, both experiences can still be quite uncomfortable when you consume in large amounts.
The acute high from an edible can last as long as eight hours with residual effects for up to one to two days. In teens and adolescents, these residual effects may last longer.