Cannabis 101: How Long Does A Marijuana High Last?

Getting high for the first time can be a frightening experience for some. Not that it should be. Marijuana is one of the safest intoxicating substances on the planet. Even the United States government admits there have not been any recorded overdose deaths from weed in history.


So, there’s that. You’re not going to die. But one of the biggest questions asked by the cannabis-newbie before joining in on the smoktivities for the first time is: How long is this marijuana high going to last? It’s a respectable question.

Let’s say you have to go to work later, or perhaps visit the parents for Sunday dinner. You can’t afford to be ripped out of your mind all day. We get it.

When it comes to marijuana, it is important to understand that some of the effects have a longer duration than others. If you’re short on time and can’t finish this article right now, here are the basics: smoking or vaping marijuana lasts a few hours, edibles will get you really high later in the day (and last most of it), dabs will kick your ass and likely force you to cancel whatever plans you have.

Smoking And Vaping Flowers

Smoking marijuana is the most common form of consumption. The effects come on almost instantaneously and last one to three hours. The high you get from smoking or vaping flowers might seem a bit intense at first, but it never lasts too long.

Dabs

Dabs are much stronger. But as long as a person doesn’t keep taking hit after hit, the effects will again begin to wind down after the first hour. Then sometime around the second hour, the only concern is what the hell is in the kitchen to eat. That’s right – you will get the munchies. But that is a subject for a different time, another article.

Marijuana Edibles

What about edibles? The effects of marijuana edibles can be somewhat enigmatic. If the product was purchased at a dispensary in a legal state, it is less of an ordeal trying to gauge dosage. Just take a low dose and wait for an hour. But for those folks sitting around a plate of marijuana brownies baked by a giggling team of stoners, the outcome might not be so certain.

Either way, the high from marijuana edibles does not hit immediately. It can take up to two hours before a person begins to feel high. But hang on — it’s only going to get more intense from there. For the next several hours, it might seem like you’re getting higher and higher with each passing minute. This is not an illusion. You are. Edibles can last between five and eight hours. And that is if you have consumed them modestly. And for the love of everything holy, don’t make the mistake of eating more THC-infused treats after catching the munchies. You could be stoned for days.

Chill, Baby

The best advice for the cannabis newcomer is to take it slow. But if you screw the pooch and end up higher than you can handle, just try to relax. Don’t call 911. Nothing bad is going to happen. Again, you’re not going to die. You won’t end up in a mental institution. You’ll be back to your normal self in no time.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.