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Cannabis 101: How Long Does a Weed High Last?

The quick answer: It all depends.

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This story originally appeared on Emjay

Do you feel like you’ve been high for too long? Do you want to smoke weed, but you’re afraid it will interfere with your plans later? There are a lot of variables at play here. A weed high will last longer for some people and shorter for other people. If you used edibles, your high is going to last the longest. 

If you’re afraid you’ll get too high or if you want a high that won’t leave you locked to the couch for the rest of the day, you have a few options for alternatives. 

Before you light that joint, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. Proper planning always makes for a better high.

RELATED: Cannabis Concentrates 101: How to Choose the Right Gear

Getting high when you smoke or vape weed

Weed that enters your body through your lungs gets to work the fastest. Weed you inhale goes from your bloodstream to your cannabinoid receptors very quickly. You’ll feel it within a minute or two, and it will continue to get stronger for ten to fifteen minutes. 

You’ll ride that wave for a while. If you smoked a small amount, the effects will begin to dissipate within an hour. If you smoked a lot, or if you have a lower tolerance for THC, expect it to be high for up to three hours. 

Even when your high wears off, you still might residually feel it for six to eight hours. You won’t be heavily impaired, but you might feel sleepy or even a little hungrier than usual for the rest of the day. 

Getting high from edibles

Edibles are a unique experience. They may technically be weed, but their effects are almost nothing like weed you smoke or vape. Edibles need to pass through your digestive system, and the body likes to take its time. Your digestive system is complicated. It needs to break down the food base of the edible, as well as the regular food that might be in your stomach.

Your liver processes the THC, and it enters your bloodstream. Depending on your digestive system, your metabolism, and your liver, you’ll feel the effects of edibles anywhere from 45 minutes to two hours after you eat them. 

How long the high lasts depends on how many edibles you ate and how efficient your body is at metabolizing them. If you took an edible, waited an hour, and didn’t feel anything, you might have taken another edible. As the first edible begins to kick in, your body is getting to work on the second edible. This stacks effects, and could potentially leave you high for what would essentially amount to an entire day. 

One low dose edible will wear off anywhere between two and eight hours after it kicks in. Residual effects can continue for up to twelve hours. Normally, you’ll feel a little fuzzy in your mind, but not quite fuzzy enough to consider yourself high. 

RELATED: Why Does Weed Make Some People Paranoid?

What if I want a gentle high?

If you’re not sure how long your weed is going to last and you’re not planning to be high all day, a low THC strain is probably your best bet. A low THC, high CBD strain is even better. You’ll get the relaxation benefits and a slight kick to your creative thinking skills without feeling totally incapacitated. 

Choose a cannabis sativa strain like Harlequin for a daytime gentle high. Harlequin usually contains less than 10% THC and has at least 6% CBD. For a gentle nighttime high, try an indica like Pennywise. Pennywise is low THC with a nearly 1:1 CBD THC ratio. 

Both of these strains will last as long as any other strain. The difference is that their low THC content will make the high far less intense. Towards the tail end of the high, you’ll hardly feel its impact anymore. You’ll only be experiencing its benefits. 

What if I get too high?

Everyone gets too high at least once, just like everyone gets too drunk at least once. Finding your limit can be difficult. It’s easy to avoid getting too high if you take one hit of low to medium THC cannabis from a hand pipe and wait ten minutes. You’ll know whether or not you can handle more based on how you feel. 

If it’s already too late and you were a little overzealous, your options are limited. CBD might help, so keep a pack of CBD prerolls handy. CBD works to block THC’s effects on important parts of your brain, including the parts that make you feel high. If you used a low CBD strain, you didn’t experience the benefits of its balancing effects — you got a blast of THC right to every cannabinoid receptor in your brain with nothing to keep it in check. For some people, especially long-term cannabis users with high tolerances, this is the perfect outcome. If you’re new to cannabis, this probably isn’t the most ideal way to experience its effects. 

Adding some CBD to the equation may help level you out. CBD you smoke or inhale will work much faster than CBD you eat. If you have a high-dose sublingual tincture, that will work in a pinch. Just be sure you hold it under your tongue long enough for the CBD to enter your bloodstream. 

While you’re waiting to come down, put yourself in a calm environment. It’s often easier to be in a dimly lit room without other people or outside noises. Unfamiliar or loud music and people talking around you will overstimulate your brain. Pull yourself away from the sources of stimulation. 

Take out your phone and open up Spotify or Netflix. Listen to an album you’ve heard a million times before, or watch a movie you know line for line. This will distract you from your high without requiring your brain to process new information. Your familiarity with what you’re watching or listening to can keep you grounded and help you pass the time.

When you feel up to it, move around a little bit and get yourself something to eat. You may feel a little worn down for the rest of the day, but a good night’s rest will leave you in better shape. 

Controlling your high

The goal is always to be the right amount of high for the right amount of time. You want a high you can handle that will wear off by the time you’re over it. The easiest way to set yourself up for success is to try small amounts of several strains on different days. Stick to the strain you like the most. 

Dialing in the sweet spot is simultaneously tricky and a lot of fun. Measure your weed and roll it into a joint. Start with a third of a gram. Write down what time you sparked it, and reference that time when you feel your high wearing off. If that amount is working well for you, stick with that. If you wish you’d gotten a little higher, roll a half-gram joint tomorrow and try again. 

Once you have a feel for things, it’s easy to make every experience with weed a little more predictable. If you’re doing the same thing the same way every time, you go in with a solid idea of how long it will take to wear off and how high you’re going to get. If you’re a functional cannabis smoker who lives a busy life or needs to be sober for work, this method allows you to have your cake and eat it too. 

Takeaway

A weed high is a personal experience. You and your best friend could smoke the exact same amount of the exact same weed and have completely different tales to tell. While there are some general estimates, you won’t really know how high you’re going to feel and how long that high will last until you’re already in it.

If you’re worried about feeling too high for too long, softly experiment with small amounts of different strains or use a high CBD strain. Keep some CBD handy in the event that you want to tone things down a bit, and have a contingency plan for what should happen in the event that you get too high. 

If you’re ready to sample some flower, Emjay’s ready to deliver. We have cannabis flower from low to high THC, and plenty of CBD products if you want a failsafe. We’ll be at your door with your weed in about half an hour. Make dinner, get comfy, and smoke just a hit or two if you want a mellow high that won’t last all night.