How Long Does It Take to Feel “High” After the Use of Cannabis?

How Long Does It Take to Feel “High” After the Use of Cannabis?

Updated: 06/14/2024

Cannabis is a psychoactive drug that has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for centuries. With the increasing legalization of medical cannabis and the decriminalization of recreational cannabis use in many states, more people are exploring the effects of this substance. One common question we get at Windy City Cannabis, among both new and experienced users, is, “How long does it take to feel the effects after consuming cannabis?”

If you’re curious too, you’re about to get your answer! In this article, we’ll dive into the factors that influence the onset and duration of cannabis’s effects on the body and mind.

4 Factors that Affect the Onset and Duration of Cannabis’s Effects

What Influences How Long Cannabis Effects Last?

Several variables can impact how quickly you feel the effects of cannabis and how long those effects last:

1. Consumption Method

The method of cannabis consumption plays a significant role in determining the onset and duration of its effects. The most common methods include:

  • Smoking: When cannabis is smoked, either in a joint, pipe, or bong, the effects can be felt within minutes as the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. The effects typically peak within 30 minutes and can last for 2-4 hours.
  • Vaporizing: Vaporizing cannabis involves heating the plant material or concentrate to a temperature that releases the cannabinoids as a vapor without burning the substance. Like smoking, vaporizing leads to a quick onset of effects, usually within minutes, and can last for 2-4 hours.
  • Edibles: Cannabis edibles, such as gummies, brownies, or chocolates, have a slower onset time compared to smoking or vaporizing. When consumed orally, the THC must first be processed by the digestive system and liver before entering the bloodstream. As a result, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects, which can last for 4-8 hours or even longer, depending on the dose and individual factors.
  • Tinctures and Oils: Cannabis tinctures and oils are concentrated extracts that are typically administered sublingually (under the tongue) or mixed into food and drinks. When taken sublingually, the effects can be felt within 15-45 minutes and can last for 2-4 hours. When ingested orally, the onset and duration are similar to that of edibles.

2. Dosage

The amount of cannabis consumed directly influences the intensity and duration of its effects. Higher doses generally lead to more potent and longer-lasting effects, while lower doses may result in milder and shorter-lived experiences. We recommend you start with a low dose, especially if you are new to cannabis or trying a new product, and wait at least 2 hours before consuming more to avoid accidental overconsumption.

3. Potency

The potency of the cannabis product, determined by its THC content, also plays a role in how quickly and intensely you feel its effects. Strains with higher THC levels will generally produce more pronounced psychoactive effects, while those with lower THC and higher CBD (cannabidiol) content may result in more subtle, balanced effects.

4. Individual Factors

Individual physiology and personal factors can also influence how long it takes to feel the effects of cannabis and how long those effects last. These factors include:

  • Tolerance: Regular cannabis users may develop a tolerance over time, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects.
  • Metabolism: Individuals with faster metabolisms may feel the effects more quickly and for a shorter duration compared to those with slower metabolisms.
  • Body composition: People with higher body fat percentages may experience longer-lasting effects, as THC is stored in fat cells and released over time.
  • Genetics: Certain genetic variations can affect how individuals respond to cannabis, influencing the onset, intensity, and duration of its effects.

It’s worth noting that while the effects of smoked or vaporized cannabis typically wear off within a few hours, traces of THC can remain detectable in the body for much longer. Depending on the frequency and amount of use, THC can be detected in urine tests for days or even weeks after the last consumption.

6 Positive Effects of Cannabis Use

Advantages of Cannabis Consumption

Cannabis has been shown to offer a wide range of potential benefits for both medicinal and recreational users. Some of the most notable positive effects of cannabis include:

1. Pain Relief

One of the most well-known and researched benefits of cannabis is its ability to alleviate pain. THC and CBD, two of the primary compounds found in the cannabis plant, have been shown to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a crucial role in regulating pain perception. Our medical marijuana clients with chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain, report significant relief from using cannabis.

2. Reduced Inflammation

Cannabis has also been found to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a natural immune response, but chronic inflammation can contribute to the development of various diseases and conditions. By reducing inflammation, cannabis may help alleviate symptoms and improve overall health in individuals with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and certain skin disorders.

3. Improved Sleep

Many people struggle with sleep issues, whether it’s difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or achieving restful sleep. Cannabis, particularly strains high in CBD, has been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. By interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, cannabis may help regulate sleep-wake cycles and alleviate symptoms of sleep disorders like insomnia.

4. Mood Enhancement

Cannabis is well-known for its ability to produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and overall mood enhancement. These effects are primarily attributed to THC, which interacts with the brain’s reward system and triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and happiness. For many people, cannabis can be a natural way to unwind, cope with stress, and promote a more positive outlook on life.

5. Increased Creativity

Some individuals report that cannabis use can enhance their creativity and divergent thinking. While the effects may vary from person to person, many artists, musicians, and writers claim that cannabis helps them overcome creative blocks, generate new ideas, and approach problems from a fresh perspective. However, it’s important to note that not everyone experiences the same creative boost, and the relationship between cannabis and creativity is complex.

6. Appetite Stimulation

Cannabis has been shown to stimulate appetite, which can be beneficial for individuals undergoing chemotherapy, living with HIV/AIDS, or struggling with eating disorders. THC interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating hunger and metabolism. By increasing appetite, cannabis may help people maintain a healthy weight, improve their nutritional intake, and enhance their overall quality of life.

6 Negative Effects and Potential Risks of Cannabis Use

While cannabis offers numerous potential benefits, it’s essential to be aware of the possible risks and negative effects associated with its use. Some of these include:

1. Impaired Cognitive Function

Cannabis use, particularly in high doses or with frequent use, can lead to short-term impairments in memory, attention, and learning. These effects may persist for several hours after use and can impact an individual’s ability to perform tasks that require focus and concentration. Long-term, heavy cannabis use has also been associated with a higher risk of developing cognitive issues, particularly when use begins during adolescence.

2. Respiratory Issues

Smoking cannabis can irritate the lungs and throat, leading to coughing, wheezing, and increased phlegm production. Like tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke contains numerous harmful chemicals and carcinogens that can damage the respiratory system over time. While using a vaporizer or consuming edibles can mitigate these risks, it’s important to be aware of the potential impact on lung health.

3. Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

Cannabis use can cause a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which may be problematic for individuals with pre-existing heart conditions or high blood pressure. In rare cases, this increase in heart rate and blood pressure has been associated with an elevated risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly in older individuals or those with underlying cardiovascular issues.

4. Mental Health Concerns

While many people use cannabis to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions, chronic use or high doses may exacerbate or trigger mental illness in some individuals. Heavy cannabis use has been linked to an increased risk of developing psychosis, particularly in those with a genetic predisposition or family history of mental illness. It’s essential for individuals with a history of mental health issues to approach cannabis use with caution and consult with a healthcare professional.

5. Interaction with Medications

Cannabis can interact with certain medications, either increasing or decreasing their effectiveness. THC and CBD can interfere with the metabolism of some drugs, leading to potentially dangerous side effects or reduced efficacy. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using cannabis if you are taking any prescription medications.

6. Dependency and Withdrawal

While cannabis is generally considered less addictive than many other substances, regular use can lead to dependency and withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit. Symptoms of cannabis withdrawal may include irritability, sleep disturbances, decreased appetite, and anxiety. Individuals with a history of substance abuse or addiction may be at a higher risk of developing problematic cannabis use patterns.

It’s important to emphasize that the vast majority of people who use cannabis do so without experiencing significant negative effects. By consuming responsibly, starting with low doses, and being mindful of individual risk factors, many people can enjoy the benefits of cannabis while minimizing potential harm.

First-Timer Tips

If you’re new to cannabis, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start with a low-THC strain to avoid feeling paranoid or anxious.
  • Keep your dose low and wait at least 2 hours before re-dosing, especially if using edibles.
  • Try it when you have a chunk of free time to ride out the high, like on your day off.
  • Have water handy to help avoid a dry mouth and a cannabis hangover.
  • Eat something before getting high, and be sure to have snacks on hand because the munchies are real. Having some food beforehand can also reduce potential side effects.
  • Avoid mixing cannabis with alcohol or other drugs, as people who mix substances may experience more intense and unpredictable effects.
  • Have a friend with you in case you become anxious or have a bad reaction, especially if it’s your first time trying cannabis.

How to Extend Cannabis Effects

Tips for Making Cannabis Effects Last Longer

If you’re looking to prolong the effects of cannabis, there are a few strategies you can try:

  • Choose an edible or other ingestible form of cannabis, as these tend to have longer-lasting effects compared to smoking or vaporizing.
  • Opt for a strain with a higher THC content, as this can lead to more potent and prolonged effects.
  • Consume cannabis on a full stomach, as this can slow the absorption of THC and lead to a more gradual, sustained high.
  • Take smaller, more frequent doses rather than a single large dose. This can help maintain a consistent level of effects over a longer period.
  • Use cannabis in combination with other activities that enhance relaxation or enjoyment, like taking a bath, getting a massage, or engaging in a hobby.

Always start with a low dose and be mindful of your individual tolerance and response to cannabis.

How to End a High Faster

If you find yourself feeling uncomfortably high, there are a few things you can try to help alleviate the effects:

  • Stay calm and remember that the feelings will pass. Find a quiet, comfortable place to relax and breathe deeply.
  • Drink water and stay hydrated, as this can help combat dry mouth and feelings of dehydration that may accompany a high.
  • Eat something, particularly foods high in terpenoids like lemon, pine nuts, or black pepper. These compounds can help counteract the effects of THC.
  • Take a shower or bath, as the sensation of water on your skin can help you feel more grounded and less anxious.
  • Distract yourself with a favorite activity, like watching a movie, listening to music, or talking to a friend.

While these methods can help manage the discomfort of being too high, the only surefire way to end a high is to wait it out. Most cannabis highs will subside within a few hours, depending on the factors discussed earlier. If you find yourself frequently experiencing intense or uncomfortable highs, it may be a sign to reevaluate your dosage, consumption method, or frequency of use.

Enjoy Cannabis Safely and Responsibly with Windy City Cannabis

The onset and duration of cannabis’s effects can vary significantly depending on the consumption method, dosage, potency, and individual factors. While cannabis offers a wide range of potential benefits, from pain relief and improved sleep to mood enhancement and increased creativity, it’s essential to be aware of the possible risks and negative effects associated with its use, such as impaired cognitive function, respiratory issues, and the potential for dependency.

As with any substance, responsible use is key to maximizing benefits and minimizing harms. If you are new to cannabis or have any pre-existing health conditions, it’s always best to consult with a professional before incorporating it into your lifestyle. Remember, not everyone reacts to cannabis in the same way, so it’s essential to start with a low dose, go slow, and listen to your body.

At Windy City Cannabis, we are committed to providing our customers with high-quality products, education, and support to ensure safe and informed cannabis use. Our knowledgeable staff is available to answer any questions you may have about the effects of cannabis and to help you find the products that best suit your needs and goals.

Whether you’re looking for relief from chronic pain, improved sleep, or a natural way to unwind and de-stress, we’re here to help you navigate the world of cannabis with confidence and care. Visit us today and discover how cannabis can enhance your overall well-being and quality of life.

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