The cannabis plant itself is a complex organism with thousands of chemical compounds inside it, but how long does weed last in terms of effects?
Not too different from the plant itself, the world of cannabis is also a complex beast with several moving parts and a plethora of products to lose oneself in. As for how long weed actually lasts? There is no one single answer that’ll lay the question to rest.
In fact, weed can last anywhere from an hour to upwards of 18 hours. While we realize that is a massive gap, we are speaking in the extremes here, and there are several factors at play to influence these conclusions.
So, if you’re interested in finding out how we got those numbers and what the actual duration of each cannabis product is, keep on reading!
How Long Does Weed Last? What Determines it?
As we said, weed can last for different amounts of time depending on a variety of factors, including the way that you consume cannabis, as well as personal tolerance levels.
So far, the most common cannabis consumption method, smoking, produces a psychoactive effect with a duration of about 2 to 3 hours.
Alternatively, eating cannabis edibles, like infused foods or beverages, produces a much longer effect, lasting for about 6-8 hours. Although cannabis edibles may last a lot longer than smoking the weed itself, it is important to note the moderate delay of 30 minutes to up to 2 hours before users can expect to feel the initial effects. If you want to learn more about how long edibles last, check out our comprehensive guide here.
Cannabis tinctures, another form of edible cannabis, may also be ingested through sublingual administration. All this means is that it’s consumed by dropping the THC-infused liquid under the tongue to be absorbed by mucous membranes.
Sublingual administration produces a psychoactive high that lasts for about 4-6 hours with a 15-30 minute onset before feeling the effects.
Lastly, vaping and dabbing cannabis concentrates or flower have become popular alternatives to smoking traditional joints. Their effects are felt almost immediately and typically produce a high that lasts for approximately 2 hours.
Although the high itself is more short-lived, it also prevents users from inhaling the harmful carcinogens in smoke.
Genetics & Biological Factors
Aside from the quality of the cannabis or the type of weed itself, our genetics will also influence how long the weed effects will last. Weed inherently affects everyone differently, which is why you’ll find some people championing weed while others give it the cold shoulder.
The fact of the matter is, weed is home to several different cannabinoids which interact with our endocannabinoid systems to produce the ‘high’ feeling. In this sense, you have your endocannabinoid system to thank for the various sensations weed can produce in your body.
That said, each endocannabinoid system is different, much like the individual user. Since we are all equipped with a slightly different system, our body reacts differently to weed effects.
In other words, some of us will be more sensitive to it, while others may start by having a solid tolerance for it.
How Long Does a High Last? How Much Weed Does it Take?
A high from cannabis edibles most commonly last between 4 to 6 hours. As we said before, edibles typically take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to fully kick in.
Whether or not you’ve eaten anything before ingesting the edible tends to influence this onset time. Generally speaking, the more food you’ve eaten shortly before eating the edible, the longer the onset will be. On an empty stomach, most edibles will produce their effects within 30-40 minutes.
That said, the beauty of edibles comes with knowing precisely how much THC you’re consuming at one time. In this way, you can anticipate with relative accuracy the strength of your experience and how long it will last.
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Smoking/Vaping Raw Flower
The high from traditionally smoking or vaping weed is much shorter than edibles, typically lasting between 1 to 2 hours. When smoking cannabis, the effects are felt almost immediately and last for approximately 2 hours.
When vaping, the effects are also felt immediately, and the high tends to last for a very similar amount of time.
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The high from cannabis concentrates can last anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours. Most cannabis concentrates will typically last as long as smoking or vaping weed, so expect 2 hours on average.
However, due to the intensity of cannabis concentrates, the perceived feeling of the high can be offset by the initial blast when consumed. Once the initial burst of cannabinoids has settled, our perceptions can trick us into thinking we are no longer high thanks to the sheer contrast of strength.
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The effects of cannabis topicals usually last from 1 to 3 hours. Although weed topicals are not typically used to get high, their therapeutic effects can be felt for as long as 3 hours after they have kicked in.
Do keep in mind that most weed topicals have a short delay of about 30 minutes before users will feel the effects.
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How to Make a High Last Longer
By far, one of the most surefire ways to lengthen the duration of your high is to consume stronger cannabis products. Not only will this intensify the effects of the weed, but it will also extend their duration.
Alternatively, you could also opt to eat some mangoes before you begin consuming your cannabis. Mangoes have a large amount of a terpene called Myrcene, which can help shorten the high’s onset time, making the high itself last longer and intensifying it.
That said, it’s crucial to stay within your tolerance level and not ingest more THC than you can handle. Going overboard could result in the unsavoury experience of a green out, which you want to avoid at all costs. Trust us.
How to Shorten a High
In the case that you’ve over consumed your cannabis, there are a few ways to remedy the situation and come off relatively unscathed.
If you’re in the comfort of your own home or at a friend’s place, the best approach would simply be to sleep it off. In the case that you absolutely can’t sleep, try taking a cold shower to sharpen your senses and reduce stress.
If neither of the first two options is available, black pepper and citrus fruit both contain terpenes which may help soothe and diminish any unpleasant feelings.
For helpful tips on how to sober up from weed, check out our complete guide.
Does Weed go Bad? How Long Does Weed Stay Good?
The general rule of thumb is that weed is able to stay fresh for about six months to one year.
This rule is reliant on the fact that you store your weed correctly. Keep your bud in opaque, air-tight glass jars in a cool dark place away from humidity. If you follow these basic steps, the THC content should remain fairly stable for that time frame.
However, after that grace period, the potency and THC will begin to diminish.
For more information on how to keep weed fresh and dank, check out our guide here.
While there is no concrete answer as to how long marijuana lasts, there is a ton of information out there on the factors that affect how long it can last.
That said, this article is not to be taken as professional medical advice as it is only designed to serve as a general guideline for the duration of marijuana and its other related products.
Typically the high from edibles will last the longest while smoking and vaping will have the shortest duration of effects.
However, factors such as individual physical makeup, genetics and tolerance levels all come together to have weed impact everyone differently. It comes down to experimenting with different products and doses to figure out what works best for you.