How long does a weed high last?

Editor’s Note: Are You Too Tall Right Now? Go here to calm yourself or a friend.

One of the eternal questions in cannabis culture has finally been answered by science: How long do you stay high after using marijuana?

In a 2021 study published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, researchers led by Danielle McCartney of the University of Sydney identified a “window of impairment” that varies between three, depending on the THC dose, type of ingestion, and effectiveness and lasts ten hours of previous cannabis experience of the consumer.

After ingesting 20 mg of THC, most consumers lose the high within four to five hours.

There are many factors, but the TL; DR is: generally four hours.

The heady high of a lighter inhaled dose generally lasts for three hours, while a deep dab session or heavy edible product can last for six to ten hours.

Collect data from 80 studies

McCartney and her colleagues carried out a comprehensive analysis of 80 scientific studies on the dosage and intoxication of cannabis.

Since the focus of their study was on the effects of cannabis poisoning on driving skills and awareness, much of the work was focused on answering these questions.

The researchers found that cannabis users regained most of their driving skills within five hours of inhaling 20 mg of THC. Consumers who consumed the same amount of THC in one food took longer to regain their driving skills. Most cannabis foods in legal markets are dosed at 10 mg per serving and 100 mg total THC per pack.

“Overall, our results confirm that Δ9-THC affects aspects of driving performance,” the researchers wrote. “There doesn’t seem to be a one-size-fits-all answer to how long to wait before driving. following cannabis use: Consideration of several factors is therefore necessary in order to determine reasonable delays between consuming Δ9-THC and performing safety-related tasks. “


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Edible highs hit later and last longer

The differences between inhaled THC and THC ingested (via food) were significant. It is well known that the effects of THC and other cannabinoids can be felt within minutes by consumers who smoke or vape cannabis products, while it can take up to an hour or more to reach an edible product or beverage.

In reviewing the scientific literature, McCartney and colleagues found that the intoxicating effects of foods and beverages tend to last much longer than inhaled products.

These researchers found that smoking or vaping 20 mg of THC shortened a driver’s response time for approximately four hours. Ingesting 20 mg of THC via an edible or drink reduced the reaction time for eight hours, twice as long. The data from the study showed that a driver with THC impairment reduced the response time to a significant, but not dramatic, level.


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Difficult to Eat? Could be a 10 hour drive

“Our analysis shows that if high doses of THC are taken orally, impairment can last up to 10 hours,” said McCartney, who works with the University of Australia’s Lambert Cannabinoid Therapeutics Initiative. “However, a more typical duration of impairment is four hours when consuming lower doses of THC through smoking or vaping and performing simpler tasks.”

This impairment – which cannabis users may find high or stoned or deeply relaxed or sleepy or happy or creative – can extend for up to six or seven hours when higher doses of THC are inhaled and complex tasks such as driving are assessed ”, added McCartney.

For the purposes of this study, McCartney and coworkers considered 10 mg of THC to be a moderate dose. However, a moderate dose for a normal consumer could be a high dose for an occasional consumer.


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Regular consumers show fewer impairments

As many cannabis users know, regular use can cause the mind and body to develop a tolerance for cannabinoids ingested from sources outside the body such as weeds. This has also been confirmed by researchers from the University of Sydney.

The co-author Dr. Thomas Arkell, also from the Lambert Initiative, said, “We have found that casual cannabis users are much more predictable than normal cannabis users. Heavy users show significant tolerance for the effects of cannabis on driving and cognitive function, while usually exhibiting some impairment. ”

Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

Show article by Bruce Barcott

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