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February 7, 2024
12 min to read

How Long Does a High Last? Vaping, Edibles, and More

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Hayley Heidelbaugh

Before kicking off your session, there are important decisions to be made. How long you’d like to stay high from delta 8 or other psychoactive cannabinoids should be a major consideration.

The duration of a high is variable, and many factors play into it. You may absorb and metabolize your preferred cannabis product at a different rate than someone else does. Both marijuana and delta 8 products are available in an array of forms, each with its own projected effects, accessibility, and ease of use. Staying high from edibles is a whole different process than prolonging a vape high.

If you’re currently on the fence between a new delta 8 vape pen and a pack of delta 8 gummies, the preferred length of your high could be the deciding factor. The same applies to marijuana products. At any rate, there’s more to a high’s longevity than the type of product alone.

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What determines the length of a high?

Weed isn’t pre-programmed to last for a set length of time, and your body doesn’t have a built-in cannabis guidebook. Individuals may be more or less prone to highs of a certain length, and may react differently to different kinds of cannabis products.

Method of consumption

Particular methods of consumption allow THC to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain faster than others, or are processed more quickly by the liver.

Speedy absorption can lead to shorter-term highs that hit almost immediately. Vaping and smoking allow the active ingredients to sail past the blood-brain barrier (BBB) with few hold-ups. Forms of cannabis that need to be digested by the stomach and make their way through the liver, however, are much slower to be felt, but the highs tend to last longer.

Tolerance and frequency of use

By and large, frequent weed use builds up your tolerance and shortens the length of your highs. Highly tolerant users also need to consume more THC to get the same effects they once experienced at a lower dose.

High tolerances can cause an increased risk of overconsumption. When you need a massive helping of THC to lengthen and intensify your high, it can lead to unanticipated side effects and highs that linger too long.

To keep your highs at a comfortable length, take periodic T-breaks and avoid excessive doses of weed.

Dosage

Higher amounts of THC will produce stronger, longer-lasting highs. Just keep in mind the concerns over building tolerance. If your highs last for a certain length of time at a certain dose, it often won’t stay that way if you’re regularly consuming cannabis products.

Cannabinoid choice

The effects of psychoactive cannabinoids like delta 9 and delta 8 THC can vary in duration, but it’s not exactly black-and-white.

Recommended serving sizes are generally specific to the product being used. Marijuana (delta 9 THC) gummies usually contain between five and ten milligrams of THC, while delta 8 gummies may bump it up to twenty-five. Both edibles could result in highs of a similar length. Taking just ten milligrams of delta 8—part of a gummy, but the same dose as many marijuana edibles—could produce a shorter and less intense high for the average user.

Tolerance plays a role here, as well. Everyone’s experience is unique, but many claim that HHC and delta 8 tolerances build especially quickly, leading to milder highs over a relatively brief period of use. THCP is famous for having effects that may bleed into the next morning and is also believed to drive your tolerance through the roof.

On the other end of the scale, combining potent cannabinoids with mildly or non-psychoactive alternatives may shorten your high and slow down tolerance build-up. Try CBD, THCV, or CBN if you’d like to follow that path.

Differences in production standards and product quality can lead to wildly inconsistent outcomes, even among products supposedly containing the same cannabinoid in the same quantity. Hemp is an unregulated industry in the United States, and until that changes, we can’t predict the length of your high by cannabinoid alone.

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Human genetics

Even when using potent, high-quality cannabis products, the individual consumer’s genetic makeup and physiology can make a difference. Some users are simply more or less prone to long-lasting highs.

Research linking specific genes to weed effects is so far very limited. The details are hazy, but it’s clear that THC sensitivity comes down to more than usage habits, dose, and the products themselves.

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Health conditions

Along the same lines as genetics, many physical or psychological health conditions can impact how long your highs last, as well as the intensity of THC’s effects.

If you have a medical condition that reduces or speeds up your metabolism, take that into account when determining a starting dose. Consider consulting your doctor first if you’ve never consumed cannabis products before.

Drug interactions are another piece of the puzzle. Again, your care provider can offer guidance. You should also consider researching potential risks associated with cannabis and your medications.

How long does it take to get high?

How long it takes for a high to be felt, reach its peak, and settle in depends on the same variables described above.

You could wait anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours to feel the initial effects of cannabis. Certain consumption methods get you high more quickly than others, and some—like CBD— don’t produce intoxicating effects at all.

While you probably shouldn’t be consuming marijuana or psychoactive hemp under strict time constraints, everyone has their own goals. If longevity is a priority and you’re willing to wait an hour or two for the effects to kick in, try edibles. Vaping or smoking are best when you want immediate results. Inhaling THC will get you there in just a few minutes.

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How long highs last by method of consumption

The form of weed you consume impacts the high’s length. While not the sole factor, it's one within every user’s control.

How long does a vaping high last?

Vaping THC carts or disposables gets you high quickly, but won’t keep you high for as long as other methods. The same goes for vaping flower with a portable vaporizer or a desktop vaporizer.

Lung membranes absorb cannabinoids and push them into the bloodstream within just a few minutes. From there, they reach the brain soon after. As with all methods, you’ll stay high for longer if you're consuming a sizable dose or have a low tolerance. Most users won’t be high for more than three hours, excluding first-timers and infrequent users. Sometimes it’s less than that.

Highs from vaping weed peak shortly after consumption, although effects can linger for several hours as they dissipate. Chronic users may notice their high fading significantly in less than an hour. Just like THC is absorbed swiftly via inhalation, the high fades more quickly than the high from edibles.

How long does a smoking high last?

Highs from smoking and vaping have around the same lifespan. They peak rapidly and typically begin to dwindle within a couple of hours. High-CBD marijuana bud may shorten or reduce the intensity of your high but probably won’t delay its onset.

If you’re used to one method, switching to another could lead to a stronger or longer-lasting high. Experiences like this aren’t uncommon among cannabis users. For daily weed vapers who only smoke once in a blue moon, making that transition could draw out THC’s effects.

How long does an edible high last?

Edibles will generally keep you high for longer than inhalable methods, including both vaping and smoking weed. If you’ve heard horror stories about day-long highs, you’ll notice a pattern: the majority occur after taking a gummy, brownie, or other marijuana-infused food.

Not only do edible highs last longer, they also take longer to kick in. It usually takes between thirty minutes and two hours to feel the high from edibles. Fast-acting gummies are formulated for quicker absorption, taking effect within half an hour.

A standard serving of edibles can keep you high for up to eight hours. Consuming too much for your tolerance or physiology might drag out the session further—twelve hours or more is rare, but not unheard of. Residual effects may persist for even longer. It’s best to start low with edible doses, and wait till the next time to increase your intake.

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How long does a tincture high last?

Often overlooked, tinctures are one of the quickest and simplest routes to getting high. A half-milligram drop is all some users need to get a buzz.

There’s disagreement over how long a tincture high lasts, and it seems to vary greatly between brands and formulations. Sublingually consumed oils can produce both short- and long-term effects.

Let’s address the nuances of the method itself. Even if you try to hold the oil under your tongue until it absorbs fully, there’s a good chance you’ll end up swallowing some of it. Sublingual absorption by mucous membranes is swift, while digestion is more of a waiting game. This likely plays a big role in the variable user reports.

Putting a drop or two of oil under your tongue will probably keep you high for five hours at the upper end. Adding tincture oils to food lets your body digest and process it like any other edible.

How long does a dabbing high last?

Waxy concentrates like budder, shatter, or sauce are packed with THC. Dabbing conservatively and pacing yourself can provide short-term highs with a similar duration to smoking. However, overdoing it isn’t hard, especially if you’re a first-timer.

New users may opt for one of the newer e-nails or e-rigs—or even a simple dab pen—rather than a traditional dab rig. But however you consume concentrates, take care not to overdo it.  Inhaling too much THC-packed vapor over a brief window can produce hours-long highs, and it’s easier to make this error than it is with vape carts or flower.

When consuming concentrates, start with short puffs and assess your body’s response. You’ll only need to wait a few minutes at most to feel the effects—and it’s often nearly instant. Within twenty or thirty minutes, you should have a good idea about whether or not to press onward.

How long does a topical high last?

Here’s the only example with a one-size-fits-all answer: no time at all. You can’t get high from cannabinoids applied onto the skin, even if they’re psychoactive. Topical cannabinoids bind to local receptors and interact with joints and muscles. They don’t enter the bloodstream.

The length of THC’s other effects still varies. While cannabis-infused topicals aren’t for recreational use, they do have benefits, including reduced muscle pain or soreness. The same goes for CBD, CBDA, and other cannabinoids available in creams or balms. Users generally report relief lasting for five to six hours.

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Can you stop being high faster?

There’s no foolproof way to eliminate or even shorten a THC buzz once it hits. Taking preventative actions and dosing carefully are the best ways to avoid a long, too-powerful high.

Research suggests that CBD helps dampen THC’s effects unless consumed at a disproportionately large dose. Bear in mind that this benefit applies to CBD taken with or before you consume THC. It’s unclear whether consuming CBD while high will help you get sober faster.

Evidence is more limited, but THCV could be another asset. THCV’s impact seems to depend on the cannabinoids it’s consumed with, and taking it along with THC could lead to weaker THC effects. While mildly psychoactive on its own, THCV can also act as a partial antagonist, limiting THC’s CB1 and CB2 binding abilities.

A few remedies are alleged to “get you unhigh” faster, though most will only soften the comedown. Consider:

  • Chewing on peppercorns: This old stoner home remedy has some science behind it. Black pepper contains caryophyllene, a cannabinoid-adjacent substance that may produce similar effects to CBD. To avoid lung or airway irritation, chew whole peppercorns, don’t sniff ground pepper.
  • Eating a healthy snack: You can concentrate on other caryophyllene-rich foods if you’d like, including pistachios and pine nuts. The act of preparing and enjoying a light meal may distract from a high that never seems to end.
  • Talking to a friend or enjoying a hobby: Keeping occupied probably won’t shorten your high, but it can help you pass the time and distract you from anxiety.
  • Going to bed: Napping or getting a good night’s sleep will make the high feel like it’s passed in the blink of an eye. Of course, while some users are prone to sleepiness after consuming weed, others become too overstimulated. Do whatever works best for you.
  • Can you stay high for longer?

    To extend your high without overconsuming, start with a small dose and work your way up over the session. This is the safest way to achieve a longer high, without elevating your risk of adverse effects.

    Dosing lightly will allow you to stretch out your high to half the day or more. Consuming two milligrams of THC every few hours won’t send you to the sky, but it can help sustain the buzz. Just reserve this for days when you’re sure you won’t have to drive or perform important tasks.

    Here’s what not to do: feast on a full package of gummies for dinner, or take so many hits of your vape that you can’t see straight. Undesirable effects like paranoia, nausea, or panic attacks are far more likely to occur than a smooth, long-lasting high. Alcohol can also keep your high going for longer, but again, you’re setting yourself up for a dangerous situation.

    You can stay safe and still enjoy a long-lasting high. Experienced cannabis users know their body’s response the best, making it easier to dose appropriately. New weed vapers shouldn’t fixate on achieving the longest possible high. Instead, spend your first few sessions getting to know your preferences and how you react to THC.

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    Hayley Heidelbaugh

    Vaping since: 3 years

    Favorite products:

    Favorite flavors: White Wedding, Northern Lights, Platinum Valley, OG Kush

    Expertise in: Oil carts, cannabis concentrates, cannabis flower

    Hayley Heidelbaugh

    I'm a Pennsylvania-based cannabis enthusiast and writer. As a part of the Vaping360 team, I'm eager to help cannabis consumers explore vaping and get the most out of their experience. You can also find me @faeberrystudios on Instagram.

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