What to the expect the first time you smoke weed

Sep 25 2018, 11:52 pm


Hi my name is Ryan and I am here to talk about cannabis culture. My goal is to provide users with in-depth cannabis education. If there is anything you would like me to write about please feel free to leave a comment.

Every person who is about to try marijuana for the first time wonders how long a cannabis high lasts. Aside from the very feeling, its intensity and possible side effects, the duration of a cannabis high is the biggest concern of first-time smokers.

So, how long does a cannabis high last? One hour? Two hours? Six hours?

Sadly, there is no universal answer to this question. How long your buzz lasts depends on a range of different factors, such as body weight, tolerance, amount consumed, potency and more.

But before we break the title question into bits and pieces, let’s learn the science behind getting high.

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Why do we get high from cannabis?

The slightly altered state of mind after consuming cannabis occurs thanks to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), one of the main active compounds in the plant. Although THC is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis, it remains the most thoroughly researched substance so far.

THC interacts directly with the endocannabinoid system by tapping into its receptors in the body and brain. Interestingly, THC mimics the structure of another molecule, anandamide, also known as the “bliss molecule.” Anandamide controls a range of biological functions, including, mood, appetite, pain perception, regeneration, body temperature, blood pressure, and more.

Do you see the similarity?

Once THC enters the body, it sends signals to your brain, making it believe that more anandamide is being released. This is the “why” behind the giggly mood, red eyes, and insane food cravings after you get high from cannabis.

Speaking of which…

What’s it like to be high on cannabis?

Although cannabis affects everyone differently, there are some common effects that the majority of users experience after they puff, puff, and pass.

Perhaps the most distinct effect of marijuana is the feeling of euphoria and relaxation once THC enters the bloodstream. Some cannabis strains can boost your energy levels, while others may sedate you and make you feel drowsy. But yeah, feeling up, sort of tranquillized, and having increased appetite is what you can expect from cannabis most of the time.

However, if you smoke too much herb, it can trigger anxiety or, in some cases, paranoia. That being said, it’s best to use cannabis in moderation so as not to experience the negatives.

Other giveaway signs that a person has been smoking cannabis? These are hands down red eyes. Interestingly, this effect is actually linked to the positive effects of THC on the blood pressure. Once THC enters the bloodstream, it reduces the pressure; it also dilates ocular capillaries, which causes increased blood flow and the aforementioned “bloodshot eye” effect.

Oh, and remember to keep yourself well hydrated – most cannabis strains can make your mouth dry as a desert.

How long does a cannabis high last?

Like everything – it depends. Just like we said at the beginning, how long your marijuana high will last depends on a range of different factors. Below, we list the most important ones.

4 factors affecting the duration of the high


For quite a long time, people have been spreading a common misconception that a person’s weight is decisive when it comes to the high’s duration. In fact, it’s a person metabolism that determines how high, and for how long, a person will be.

The length of your high depends on the THC level in your bloodstream. Your body is responsible for metabolizing the stuff you’ve just put into it. It breaks it down, takes what it needs, and gets rid of the rest.

Having a high metabolism means that the high will tend to last shorter, as THC will be metabolized much faster than by a person with a low metabolism. While for some people this might be bad news, look at it from this perspective: at least your body is working against the clock a little bit.


Here comes Captain Obvious! He wants to tell you one thing: If you’re a heavy cannabis smoker, your high will not only be milder but also shorter. This is the ‘why’ behind that ceiling effect experienced by frequent users. If you have a high cannabis tolerance, the answer to the question “how long does a cannabis high last?” is probably “never long enough.”

The good news is that if you don’t use marijuana frequently, your tolerance will stay at the same level. Otherwise, you might want to consider a small tolerance break.

Don’t worry, it’s not painful.

Dosage & potency

The potency of marijuana depends on its THC level, and the THC content between different strains can vary between 15% and 30%. The stronger the strain, the longer the effects will last.

Of course, the dosage is of the paramount importance, too. It goes without saying that a fat blunt made with a 15% THC strain can hit you much harder than a tiny, yet more potent, counterpart.

Consumption method

There are plenty of ways to ingest the THC from cannabis. Each one comes with slightly different effects – both in terms of the type of high and duration.

These differences are caused by different mechanisms by which THC enters the bloodstream. THC can be delivered to your body through the respiratory system or the digestive tract.

Cannabis edibles often take longer to kick in, but the high is more intense. Smoking and vaping, or the other hand, is a quick way of THC delivery, but the high gets toned down much quicker.

Here’s a breakdown of how long a marijuana high lasts depending on the method.

How long does a cannabis high last after smoking?

Smoking is arguably the most popular form of ingestion, and it’s also the quickest to take effect.

When you inhale cannabis smoke, you deliver cannabinoids, such as THC, into your lungs. Then, these compounds enter your bloodstream almost immediately. The effects usually come within a few minutes.

However, the rapid onset is achieved at the cost of the period you feel baked for. On average, people feel high for between two to four hours after smoking marijuana. While in some individuals, the high can last longer, it will gently subside after a few hours.

How long does a cannabis high last after vaping?

Vaping cannabis is considered a healthier alternative to smoking. While smoking physically combusts the organic material, vaporization exposes cannabis to lower temperatures, drawing cannabinoids like THC in the form of vapor. When vaped, you get as much as 95% of cannabinoids, while smoking causes you to inhale more than 85% non-cannabinoid content.

However, a vaped high lasts roughly as long as the one from smoking, with one difference – the experience might be more powerful and clear-headed.

How long does a cannabis high last after eating a cannabis edible?

Eating weed edibles is a much different experience than smoking or vaping. Ingesting marijuana orally takes much longer to take effect, but the duration will definitely make up for the delayed onset.

Why do edibles take much longer to take effect? It’s because the cannabinoids need to be metabolized by the digestive tract. Once digested, THC turns into THC-COOH, its less-known metabolite.

THC-COOH is much better in entering the circulatory system than other forms of THC, such as THC-A. This is why weed edibles give such a powerful experience.

It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours before you can feel the effects. But then again, a high that can last for upwards of six to eight hours sounds like a good reason to wait.

How to make your cannabis high last longer?

We have prepared some bullet points to help you out if you want to make your cannabis high last longer. If you feel like your beloved feeling dissipates too fast, try the following:

  • Switch to more potent strains.
  • Eat your way through the edibles.
  • Try a more concentrated form of cannabis (wax, shatter, oils)
  • Eat a mango. The nutrients and enzymes in mangos are believed to actually pump up the intoxicating compounds in cannabis, making you higher.

How to sober up quickly?

Feeling too stoned? Here are five foolproof methods that can make the experience less overwhelming:

  • Drink lots of water!
  • Take a power nap.
  • Eat a hearty meal.
  • Change your environment. Get outside if you’re at home, or the other way round.
  • Take cannabidiol (CBD). This non-intoxicating cannabinoid can actually stave off anxiety caused by too much THC.

Should that not be enough, you might have to wait it out. Don’t worry, the overwhelming part of the high will soon pass!

How long does a cannabis high last?: the bottom line

To cut a long story short, let’s have one last rundown over the duration of cannabis effects:

  •       Smoking: 2-4 hours
  •       Vaping: 2-4 hours
  •       Edibles: 6-8 hours

If you have an important meeting or a serious job to do, don’t press these thresholds any further. Although these are just the peak times, you can still feel a bit hazy for a period after while the high wears off. 

On top of that, remember that the question “how long does a cannabis high last?” is not an easy one to answer, as it depends on a range of different factors, such as metabolism, the potency and dosage of your weed, consumption method, and your marijuana tolerance.

As they say, the best way to see for how long you stay high is to experience it first hand (ah, sweet temptation).

What about you? How long does your cannabis high last? Share your thoughts.

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