Weed is the general term for products that come from the cannabis sativaTrusted Source plant. The use of these cannabis products can be medicinal or recreational. Weed contains different compounds, known as cannabinoids, while the amount that each plant has depends on the strain of cannabis.
The two most commonTrusted Source cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The type of high a person experiences depends on the composition of these compounds in the product. THC is the main psychoactive compound that causes the high and more mind-altering effects.
Keep reading to learn more about how long a weed high lasts and what factors may affect its duration.
Different factors affect how long a person stays high, including:
- the type or strain of weed
- a person’s individual characteristics, such as metabolism and tolerance
- the method of consumption, for example, smoking or edibles
- taking other substances, such as alcohol
Type of weed
Whether the cannabis plant is male or female and whether it contains seeds are some features that determine a weed strain’s composition. The type of high that weed induces depends mostly on the THC and CBD content.
Weed is stronger in the forms of sinsemilla and hashish than in other strains, as they contain high THC levels. Because of this, they are likely to create longer highs.
Cannabis growers have been increasing the THC content in their plants over recent years, causing the leaves to trigger a more potent high.
Learn more about types of weed and their effects here.
The most commonTrusted Source methods people use to get high on weed are:
- inhaling vapor
- consuming edibles
The method of cannabis consumption will affect how long and potent its effects are.
Once THC reaches the bloodstream, the body absorbs the compound quicklyTrusted Source, triggering mind-altering effects.
People often smoke weed alongside tobacco in cannabis cigarettes. The effects of smoking in this way depend on the amounts of cannabis and tobacco within the cigarette.
When smoking cannabis, THC reaches the blood quickly, creating a high that lasts 1–4 hoursTrusted Source.
Cannabis vapes trigger a similar duration of high to smoking the substance, although the drug’s effects are strongerTrusted Source. The vapor contains cannabis resin, which forms when cannabis products are heated. Different products can produce this vapor, including vape pens, water pipes, or bongs, while the effects vary according to their size and cannabis content.
Food products that contain cannabis, such as brownies or cookies, are called edibles. The effects of consuming edibles differ from inhaling the substance: they begin 30–60 minutesTrusted Sourceafter consumption, while THC levels in the blood do not peak until 3 hours later. The high from them can last more than 6 hours.
The body of a person with a high metabolic rate will process cannabis more quickly. Because of this, THC can reach their bloodstream faster, but the duration of the effects will probably not last as long.
Some foods contain chemicals that can strengthen and extend a high. For example, anecdotal reports suggest mangoes can have this effect. In contrast, other food items may reduce the effect of weed, such as those rich in fat.
Cannabis and alcohol use oftenTrusted Source go hand in hand. Together, they strengthen each other’s effects. Drinking alongside cannabis use also causes the THC to stay in the body’s system for longer than usual, as the alcohol slows down the metabolic process. This extends the duration of the high.
Be aware that mixing cannabis and alcohol comes with several risks.
Learn more about the risks of mixing cannabis and alcohol here.
Those who ingest weed more frequently will likely have a greater tolerance to the substance than those who do not. A person with a higher tolerance for cannabis may find its effects are weaker and do not last as long.
How long it takes to kick in
The same factors that affect how long a weed high lasts also determine how long it takes to kick in. How a person uses cannabis is the main influence on when THC levels in the blood reach their peak.
- When smoking cannabis, the high kicks in within minutesTrusted Source.
- Inhaling vapor causes an even fasterTrusted Source effect, with higher peak THC concentrations in the blood.
- Edibles produce the slowest effect, taking 30–60 minutesTrusted Source to occur.
What could make you ‘unhigh’
Weed can trigger paranoia and anxiety, alongside other uncomfortable effects. If these reactions appear, or a person wishes to reduce THC’s effects for another reason, some methods can help.
Taking a cold bath or shower can increase a person’s alertness and reduce the high.
EvidenceTrusted Source suggests that foods containing terpenoid compounds, such as lemon, pine nuts, and black pepper, can serve as an antidote to a weed high. As well as the terpenoid content, the sourness of lemons can reduce a high by shocking a person into becoming more alert.
However, if possible, the best way to wear off the effect of THC is through sleep.
What Causes a High?
Did you know that chemicals in the cannabis plant hijack the landing sites for molecules that your body produces naturally? After smoking a little weed, there is one compound in question that produces a psychoactive “high.” That molecule is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC works by engaging special receptor sites on the surface of nerve and immune cells. These receptor sites, called cannabinoid receptors, are like the landing places for THC. When THC takes over these receptor sites, it prevents other molecules from binding in these locations.
As it turns out, these cannabinoid receptors are abundant in several intriguing brain regions. They are rampant in the hypothalamus, which is a central region that is responsible for overseeing your metabolic rate, biological clock, hormonal production, and your internal thermostat. Cannabinoid receptors are also abundant in the amygdala, which is responsible for processing memory, fear, and emotion. As the theory goes, when THC engages these brain regions, it stays locked into these cell receptors longer than the compounds that would otherwise be there naturally.
Amazingly, one of the compounds that cannabis replaces in the body is an endocannabinoid called anandamide. Or, more commonly, “the bliss molecule.” Anandamide earned its name thanks to its prospective relaxing effects; it’s a molecule that simply helps you feel content and comfortable, among many other things. When THC takes over for anandamide, you can expect long-lasting and more potent effects than the original endocannabinoid typically provides. When you’re lifted, you might feel more euphoric, care-free, and perhaps even a little drowsy.