Weed can be a confusing plant to understand, especially when attempting to answer the question “how long does weed last?”
That’s because the answer itself isn’t that straightforward. Depending on the type of cannabis product you consume, the effects can last for 30 minutes or upwards of 12 hours.
If you’re wondering why and how that spread can be so large, then you’re not alone.
This concept can be a bit daunting for the newcomers out there, especially if you’re trying to plan out a session to not interfere with other daily responsibilities.
The truth is, weed can be used in a multitude of different ways, with each method differing in effects and duration. Other factors, such as individual physiology, also come into play and can impact the duration on a personal user level.
Ultimately, there are a lot of moving parts and elements to consider!
At any rate, we’re here to answer as best we can the great question, “how long does weed last?” So, if you’re interested in learning more, keep on reading!
How Long Does Weed Last? What Determines It?
By far, the most significant influencing factor for determining how long cannabis can last is the method of consumption. In this way, the answer is that it depends.
The cannabis plant is complex. It interacts with your endocannabinoid system to produce its effects.
If you’re not already familiar, the endocannabinoid system is a built-in bodily system that produces its own variants of cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for various body functions, such as regulating mood, appetite, sleep, pain, and even our motor skills.
This system, in particular, allows our bodies to bind and interact with the phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis, allowing us to experience the psychoactive effects, the sensation we know as getting ‘high.’
Depending on which way (i.e. which form) we choose to consume cannabis, the route that these cannabinoids take for entering our bodies can affect how long and how different each experience can be from one another.
How Long Does a High Last?
For each specified method of cannabis consumption, the effects will last a different amount of time. So, to help you break it down, here are the most common methods of cannabis consumption as well as an explanation of how long the effects last for each.
Cannabis edibles are by far the longest-lasting high that you’ll experience in this day and age. For reference, depending on the strength of the edible you’ve eaten, the high may last anywhere between 6 to 12 hours. In some cases, extreme doses may even seep over into the next day.
The main reason why edibles produce such a profound effect lies in how they’re absorbed by the body, which is entirely different from traditional smoking or vaping methods.
The cannabis must pass through the gastrointestinal tract and is first metabolized by the liver before being absorbed. This process is why there is usually a short delay before the edible high kicks in.
When the cannabis reaches the liver, the THC gets metabolized into a different compound altogether, 11-hydroxy-THC. Also known as 11-OH-THC, this compound passes through the blood-brain barrier much easier than traditional old THC, so it gets absorbed in an instant.
This transformation from THC to the more potent 11-hydroxy-THC is a huge reason why you might feel like you’ve been hit by a truck once edibles kick in.
Not only that, because it gets absorbed so easily, the effects are much more potent than if you were to simply smoke or vape your cannabis.
Cannabis edibles are arguably one of the most reliable and accurate methods to dose. When buying weed online or from a reputable dispensary, each gummy, cookie or other items will have an exact, specifically measured dose attributed to it.
While it may be difficult to know for certain precisely how long the high will last, you have the comfort of knowing the exact level of THC dose you’re taking, allowing you more flexibility to plan accordingly should you have to plan your sesh in advance.
So far, smoking cannabis is one of the most common ways to consume it. This method offers the most balanced set of effects of them all, giving a high that can last for around 3 hours.
Compared to edibles, the effects of smoking cannabis are felt almost instantly as the cannabinoids have a chance to enter the bloodstream via the lungs directly.
Similar to smoking, vaping offers a nice balance of intensity and duration. Although some may say it is more short-lived than smoking cannabis itself, it certainly does not involve inhaling any of the harmful carcinogens associated with smoking.
Sublingual administration fills the gap between smoking and edibles and is exclusive to cannabis oils and tinctures. The THC oil or cannabis tincture is applied under the tongue, where a bunch of mucous membranes are located.
These membranes allow the cannabinoids to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream in a matter of 15 to 30 minutes. Their effects can last for about 6 to 8 hours.
Cannabis topicals are not known to produce any psychoactive effects, save for transdermal patches. Your typical cannabis-infused cream or CBD oil will be able to provide relief to areas that are inflamed.
They still work upon our endocannabinoid system. However, the effects are mainly localized to the relaxing and therapeutic side of cannabis instead of the psychoactive side.
Does Weed go Bad? How Long Does Weed Stay Good?
Weed eventually does go bad, so if you’re sitting on a fat stack, you might want to enjoy it while it’s still fresh. That said, if you’ve just got your hands on a bunch of weed and are intent on keeping it fresh and dank, storing it in a cool, dark place will do wonders for it keeping it nice and fresh.
Ultimately, cannabis will not last forever. Typically, cannabis can be stored for about six months until much of its THC will have been diminished. The THC content of the weed will actually convert to cannabinol (CBN) over time, gearing your weed more towards sedation than producing actual psychoactive effects.
All in all, aged weed tends to produce more sleepy weed.
Though the range of duration can vary greatly among weed and its more potent and concentrated THC-related derivatives, these effects won’t seem so random once you know what to look out for.
Keep in mind, this article isn’t meant to be taken as serious medical advice. It is only a guideline to the duration of effects of marijuana.
We hope this has provided you with some peace of mind regarding how best to plan your next sesh.