It’s a common thing to wonder how long you’ll be high, especially if you’re "wiggin' out."
The duration of a cannabis high depends on many factors. Some of them are individual, like your metabolism and tolerance. It also depends on the type of cannabis you used, how much THC it contains, as well as the method of consumption.
First, let's take a look at how long you can expect the psychoactive effects to last based on the method of consumption used.
Smoking and Vaping (Flower)
Effects Start: Instantly - 2 Minutes
Effects Peak: 2 - 10 Minutes
Effects Last: 1 - 3 Hours
Although smoking and vaping usually fall into two different categories, the effect is quite similar in these two (if you're using flower).
The effects of cannabis flower will usually start around 10 minutes after you’ve smoked/vaped it and the duration is usually between 1 and 3 hours. The THC levels in your blood peak within the first half hour and after another half an hour they’ll start gradually decreasing.
If you’re using a high percentage THC strain, you might still feel the effect for up to 8 hours, but usually not nearly as strong as in the first hour or two.
Effects Start: Instantly
Effects Peak: Instantly
Effects Last: 1 - 3 Hours
Like with flower, the high after concentrates will peak almost as soon as you take a hit, and it will slowly taper off within 3 hours. However, since concentrations of THC are much higher in concentrates than in flower, your “peak” of high might linger on much longer. Also, if you take a huge dose, use a high THC strain, or have no experience, you could feel a bit hazy for up to 10 hours.
The 3-hour duration is normal when dabbing concentrates like live resin, shatter and waxes with standard glass tools. If you use oils in vape pens and cartridges, the effect usually won’t last as long, especially if you’re hitting small doses.
Effects Start: 30 Minutes - 2 Hours
Effects Peak: 2 Hours
Effects Last: 2-24 Hours
The peak time and the length of your high will be virtually the same with most concentrates and flowers. Edibles are a whole different story.
Edibles take effect after around 2 hours. The feeling of high will then last from two hours to even 10 hours, depending on the THC amount in the edible.
In general, you’ll feel high for a longer time after taking edibles than with flower and concentrates. It takes longer for THC to hit you, but when it does, it comes in an activated form that’s more potent and bioavailable. The whole process is slower, and you could easily feel high for 8 hours, though the effects will become much milder after an hour or two.
Still, edibles are hard to predict, and are affected the most by individual factors. Which brings us to metabolism and tolerance.
Metabolism and Tolerance
The common idea that a person’s weight dictates how long a high lasts is only partially true. That idea is based on the fact that we tie metabolic rate with a person’s weight. But if your metabolic rate is low, you’ll be impacted differently than a person with the same weight and a high metabolic rate. Metabolism is what really plays the key role in a length of your high. Why?
How your body processes THC is a complex topic, but simply put - how long you’re high is determined by how long THC remains in your bloodstream. Your body metabolizes THC like everything else you ingest, breaks it down and expels the excess. If you have a high metabolism, the process is much quicker, so you’ll likely feel high shorter than a person with a low metabolic rate.
However, a beginner with a high metabolism may feel the high longer than an experienced user with a low one. That’s where tolerance comes in.
Tolerance is more about your brain and subjective reaction to cannabis than about actual processes that happen in your body. If you’re familiar with cannabis, you will usually stop feeling high much sooner than a newbie who’s observing and reflecting the effects, which consequently makes them feel high for longer. The cannabinoids are still in both of your systems, you simply don’t experience or think about them in the same way.