How long does the effect of a cannabis high last?

How long does the effect of a cannabis high last?

How long does a cannabis high last for? This question may very well be on the minds of beginner smokers, and it's worth exploring.

If you're new to consuming cannabis, it's good to be informed about how long the high from varying methods of consumption lasts. The main thing to know is that smoked cannabis comes on fast and wears off quite hastily, while edibles are on the other end of the spectrum.

It's important to note that the effects of cannabis can vary from person to person. Some people have a higher tolerance, especially those who smoke regularly. For veteran users, the high won't last quite as long and won't affect them as much as a first time smoker. However, veteran tokers can usually solve this “problem”, by just smoking more.

Another contributing factor to the length of a high is the actual strain you are smoking. Different strains have different percentages of THC and other cannabinoids.

For example, Girl Scout Cookies has been known to contain up to 28% THC, and to put that in context, anything surpassing the 20% mark is considered strong. Therefore, high-THC strains can also contribute to a longer duration of effects.

If you are new to cannabis and want to start out light, it’s best to elect a strain that is moderate to low in THC content to avoid having an overwhelming experience. Some strains with a mild THC content and high CBD levels offer a mellow high that is psychoactive, but not overly so.

Smoking and vaping

Smoking and vaping

Smoking cannabis in a joint or a vaporizer is considered the best form of consumption for those new to the experience, purely because you have a better control over dosage. When smoking, you can feel the effects almost immediately.

With the aforementioned contributing factors in mind, the average high from smoking cannabis lasts about 1-2 hours, with the second hour being more of a come down stage. Users tend to peak at around the 30-minute period.

Obviously it might be good to know that the more you smoke, the longer your high is going to last.

The reason we feel the effects much quicker from smoking is because the THC enters directly into our bloodstream and is then circulated around the body. Some users will experience more of a body high or cerebral high depending on the strain of choice and whether it is sativa or indica-dominant.

Indica strains will give a more physical effect, while sativa strains are usually more uplifting and cerebral.



When you consume edibles, the reaction and high can be a little different than when you smoke cannabis. Edibles are usually made with cannabutter or cannabis oil infused into foods like brownies, muffins, drinks, etc. When you consume an edible, it can take 1-2 hours before you feel any effects as your body has to first digest it.

The THC is then converted to 11-hydroxy-THC via a chemical reaction in the liver. This change is why the high feels rather different from smoking. It is a lot more psychoactive and can last up to 6 hours on a recommended dose (5-10mg).

The mistake most frequently made is users won’t feel the effects immediately, so they will eat to excess. When the high finally does kick-in, it can be quite overwhelming and make for a bad overall experience. With that said, consuming too much can’t be lethal, just uncomfortable.