How Long Does a Marijuana High Last?

This week, we’re going to cover the angles of the question “how long does a marijuana high last?” 

We’ll touch on the amount of THC, methods of consumption, physiology, onset time, how long THC stays in your system and affects the drug test, and how to sober up quickly or extend your high. 

We will also cover how recreational and medical cannabis products affect life insurance drug tests

Let’s get started.

Quick Summary

Frequent marijuana use (aka your individual tolerance) will affect the amount of time you feel the effects of cannabis. Regular users will require higher THC concentrations to feel the same effects versus someone who is smoking for the first time.

Your consumption method will determine the length of time it takes to reach peak effects and the length of your high. Cannabis edibles, for example, need to get through your digestive system before you feel anything.

Note: We’re not doctors, and it’s wise to always use good judgment when consuming cannabis products. We are life insurance agents and can help direct you toward companies who won’t penalize you for marijuana use – recreational or medical. Give us a call with any questions at (888) 987-8447.

Method of Consumption

The main factor in the length of a high rests on a few factors. The big ones are: 

  • Delivery method of THC
  • Amount of THC
  • Your physiology

The way you consume cannabis affects how quickly it hits your body. The chemicals must first travel through your body to get into the bloodstream and then travel in your bloodstream to your brain where the THC binds with the endocannabinoid system. Only then will you feel something. 

How long does someone stay high?

Smoking, vaping, and dabbing all deliver the fastest times in terms of onset because it’s a rapid path from your lungs to the blood-brain barrier. Most highs from an inhalation method last between an hour to four hours. 

Let’s look at some examples. 

You might only take one hit or just tiny little sips off the cartridge when vaping. It’s concentrated, so you’ll probably get an hour or two out of it. Maybe a little longer, depending on how frequently your smoke, your metabolism, and the other factors we’ll cover later. 

Smoking may last longer. It’s more common to either smoke the better part of a joint or when smoking with friends, pass the water pipe around, taking multiple hits. This makes it possible to consume more THC—the more of it in your system, the longer your high lasts to a point.

The other common method of consuming cannabis through edible products will take longer. The chemicals travel through your digestive tract first, then your liver processes them, and they eventually reach your brain. Because your digestive system can only handle so much at one time, taking marijuana edibles on an empty stomach is the easiest way to feel the effects quickly.

The longer digestive processes mean there is a longer onset time, but your high will also last longer. On average, you’ll feel the effects for three or four hours. Some people report effects lasting the better part of a day. 

Amount of THC

This is easy because more equals more. 

The higher concentrations of THC, the longer the high will last. You run the risk of feeling uncomfortably high. You might see it referred to as greening out. If it happens, don’t worry. The feeling will pass. You’ll be just fine.

CBD can moderate the insanity of your high since it stimulates the chemicals in your brain that relax you and potentially make you sleepy. 

When you go into a dispensary, you’ll see all the products labeled with their THC to CBD ratio or the percentage of the THC in the product. The higher percentages of THC generally last longer. They can also be more intense in terms of the psychoactive effects. 

Your best bet is to talk to the employee about the type of psychoactive experience you’re looking for, and they can help you pick out a couple of strains that might work. 

Because everyone’s physiology is so different, you might have to test a couple of different cultivars to find one that suits you. 

Regular vs. Infrequent Use

The more frequently you smoke, the more tolerance you will build. As your tolerance increases, your highs won’t last quite as long, and they won’t have the same vibrancy. 

Infrequent users who smoke once a month or a handful of times a year will have more intense, longer-lasting effects. 

You can quickly reduce your tolerance simply by abstaining. If someone smokes every day and takes four days off, they should notice a difference. Same thing if someone only smokes on weekends and takes two weeks off.

Time of Onset & How Long It Lasts

We’re going to go in order of speed. The faster the onset, the shorter the experience. 

How long do edibles take to kick in?

Dabbing. This method uses an extremely concentrated THC. The high hits you almost instantly. At the same time, it will last nearly as long as smoking – two hours, perhaps three at the most. However, someone using regularly might feel the effects fade in an hour. 

Smoking/vaping. IT can take anywhere from five minutes to 15 minutes to feel anything. Your high should last for about the same as dabbing, 2 to 3 hours. 

Edibles. Usually, you have a good 45 minutes before you’ll feel anything. Some people with faster metabolisms will start experiencing effects in 30 minutes. Other people could take two hours to feel anything whatsoever. The flip side is you will feel the effects for 3 to 4 hours, possibly 8, depending on how much you take, how slow your metabolism, and how often you partake.

Your metabolism has a significant effect, particularly with edibles. That’s one great thing about aging. A slow metabolism means the duration of the high will be longer than someone with a fast metabolism.

Many people also experience an altered perception of time while high.

Extending the High

Aside from consuming higher amounts or strains with higher concentrations of THC, the only way to extend the length of the high is to take another edible or smoke again. You will also see this called re-dosing. 

A tolerance break from recreational marijuana will extend later highs and make a low dose feel more effective.

Sobering Up Quickly

Cannabis is like alcohol in that there are ways you can feel a little more sober, but there is no good way to shorten the chemical duration of your high. (Don’t drive.)

That being said, munching a couple of black peppercorns is supposed to help. Sleeping it off definitely helps. A shower can recenter you, and a solid meal never hurts. 

Cannabis Hangovers

Cannabis hangovers are not like alcohol-induced ones. They’re typically only linked to a feeling of lethargy, fogginess, dryness, or possibly headaches or mild nausea. 

There is little medical research into cannabis hangovers. However, if you find yourself with that experience, get hydrated, have some breakfast, and take a shower. The effects should fade over the day. 

How Long Does THC Stay in the Body?

THC binds to fat. That’s how it’s transferred into your body with edibles, and that’s where your body stores it. 

To pass a drug test for employment, you will want to stop smoking six weeks in advance – just to be safe. Most reports indicate you can flush the THC out of your system in about 30 days. It will depend (no surprise here) on whether you consume occasionally or frequently. This assumes your employer tests a urine sample and not a hair follicle.

Doing some exercise during this time can also help flush your system. 

If you’re looking to pass the life insurance drug test, 12 companies don’t care whether you smoke recreationally. They won’t penalize you for it.

To be clear, it’s never smart to lie on the application. Many underwriters will ask if you’ve consumed an illicit substance within the past 12 months. If you say no and they find THC on the drug test, that will trigger a decline making it difficult to get life insurance from any other company. 


There are a handful of different factors affecting how long someone stays high and how quickly they feel the desired effect. These include the milligrams of THC consumed, the frequency of use, and even the type of marijuana products used. The general rule of thumb is for smoking or vaping, it will last a few hours on the high end – depending on how much and how often a person smokes. For edible cannabis consumption, the high tends to last several hours, but is unlikely to be an entire day.

How Marcan Insurance Can Help

We’re focused on making sure that people can get the life insurance they need to cover their family, whether they choose recreational use of marijuana or have a prescription for medical use.

These 12 companies won’t penalize marijuana use, many even give non-smoker rates. Medical marijuana gets a little more complex with the pre-existing condition, but we’re keeping tabs on companies who work with medical marijuana patients too.

If you have any questions, give us a call at (888) 987-8447. Everything is completely confidential through HIPAA.