Too High? Here’s How Long It Could Take to Come Back Down

It’s nice when you’re not rushed, but sometimes you need to know how long a high will last.

By Phil Dubley Last Updated: May 06, 2024
Last Updated: May 06, 2024

Most people reckon that the famous “weed high” lasts anything from one to four hours. However, this can vary wildly depending on factors such as THC concentration and dosing, among others. Knowing these basic facts can help you extend or shorten your high.

Of course, it’s vital to remember that weed (cannabis) affects everyone differently — some people are more susceptible to THC by nature. However, these general guidelines still hold true for most people.

How Long Can Weed Get You High For?

The duration of a weed high depends primarily on the way you take it:

  • Smoking & vaping — 3.5 hours
  • Dabbing & distillates — 2–3 hours
  • Edibles — 6–8 hours
  • Tinctures — 4–8 hours

Other factors are also important, but the best way to manage the span of the high is to try different intake methods. Below, you’ll find the four most common ways to take THC, along with the average duration of each:

Smoking & Vaping

Smoking a joint is, by far, the most popular way to take THC. It’s also one of the fastest ways to feel the effects, usually within minutes. Research has found that the high from smoking weed typically lasts around 3.5 hours [1].

Vaping has also gained popularity in the last few years as an alternative to smoking. The THC enters the bloodstream in a similar way, so the high lasts the same amount of time. However, the effects can be stronger than when smoking [2].

Related: Can Smoking Weed Cause Cancer?

Dabbing & Distillates

In concept, dabbing is similar to vaping, only it requires a specialized rig and uses weed concentrates with more THC than a regular vape pen. These concentrates come in many forms, like oil, shatter, budder, and wax, among others.

The high from dabbing lasts 2 to 3 hours, but it depends on the amount of THC in the concentrate [1]. 


This category includes every solid or liquid food product that contains cannabis or its extracts, such as cookies, gummies, and weed tea. Since they have to be digested for the cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream, the high is slow to kick in but longer in duration.

A high from an edible can last anywhere from 6–8 hours, with some rare reports of it lasting up to 24 hours [1].

Tinctures & Liquid Extracts

Tinctures are a special type of extract that uses a solvent (such as alcohol) to extract the cannabinoids from the herb. Liquid extracts contain high amounts of THC, so most users take them sublingually by placing a few drops under the tongue.

Some of the liquid is absorbed under the tongue while the rest is swallowed, causing the high to last 4–8 hours, with the effects sometimes extending to 10 hours [1].

Other Factors That Affect the Duration of a Weed High

As we’ve mentioned before, several other factors can change the span of the high. Of these, the most important are the amount of THC, your body weight and metabolism, and your tolerance.

Dosage of THC

THC is the compound responsible for weed’s psychoactive effects, so its dosage is critical for determining the duration and potency of the high. Some weed strains contain THC concentrations as low as 1%, while others can have more than 30%.

The body can only process a limited amount of THC at any given time, so if the dose increases, so does the duration of the high. However, the effects also get more potent, so make sure you know how the dose will affect you.

Every reputable weed product includes the THC (and sometimes CBD) concentration on the label. This makes it easier for new users to distinguish which product is right, so make sure you read them.

Related: Microdosing Marijuana — A New Trend In the Cannabis Community

Body Weight and Metabolism

Your body weight can significantly affect how long the high lasts. While this varies from person to person, a heavier user will generally require a higher dose to experience the same high as a lighter user.

Metabolism is also important when taking edibles, as it refers to the time it takes for the liver’s enzymes to break down THC. Depending on your metabolic rate, the compound will stay for a longer or shorter time.

Tolerance to Weed

As you use weed more frequently, the body starts getting accustomed to it. If you develop a tolerance, you’ll find that the experiences get shorter and shorter because the body starts processing the herb’s compounds faster and more efficiently.

If you use weed regularly, building tolerance is inevitable. The only way to lower it is to take regular breaks from the herb. We all hate T-Breaks, but they are necessary if you use cannabis often.

How to Make a High Last Longer

The easiest way to make a high last longer is to switch to longer-lasting methods of consumption, like edibles. It’s hard to beat them in terms of convenience, and the sheer potency of some products is sure to amaze even the most experienced user.

Another, maybe more popular way, would be to take another dose as the effects of the current high start to subside. However, this may not be absorbed correctly by the body — which could be a waste.

You can also try a strain with higher levels of THC. The downside is that premium varieties are often more expensive.

Some people claim that combining alcohol and weed can also extend the duration of the experience. Yet, researchers point out that it’s still unknown whether alcohol potentiates the effects of THC and vice versa [3].

Can You Make a Weed High End Sooner?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to cut a high short — you have to wait it out. 

But there are ways to lessen the effects so they are more tolerable. Note that most of these are based on anecdotal experience rather than research.

Some people take CBD, as it has calming effects that counteract THC. Research is limited, and results are unclear, but it may work for some. If you want to test the theory, try a dose and wait for the effects to kick in.

Others suggest taking deep breaths or even naps, triggering the parasympathetic nervous system’s relaxation response and thus reducing the euphoric sensation.

Lemonade and black peppercorns can help, too, as they contain terpenoids that induce sedation. These can increase the relaxing effect of THC and calm you down [4]. Nothing says “chill” like a snack and a mantra!

The same thing applies to pine nuts — but remember that a lot of people are allergic to them.

Related: Weed Hangovers Are Real — Here’s How to Manage Them

How Long Does Weed Take to Kick In?

Once again, the time weed takes to kick in depends on the method you choose. According to a 2022 study [5], the timeframes are as follows:

  • Smoking and vaping — 3–10 minutes
  • Dabbing — Kicks in almost immediately
  • Edibles — 30–60 minutes
  • Tinctures and liquid extracts — 10 minutes

As you can see, edibles take the longest time to kick in. This is due to the time it takes for the digestive system to break down the edibles and extract the cannabinoids. Also, as the digestive process isn’t immediate, it takes a while for the THC to enter the bloodstream.

Meanwhile, for smoked or vaped weed, the path from the lungs into the bloodstream is much more direct, so they kick in faster.

Ultimately, you can choose the method that’s most convenient for you and better fits your goals. If you find smoking or vaping uncomfortable or hurtful, you can pick edibles or tinctures, or if you’d like a more potent high, dabbing can be a good choice.

FAQs: Altering the Marijuana High

1. What Can I Do if I’m Too High?

First of all, try to calm down and relax by taking deep breaths. If the effects are too overwhelming, you can try a few sublingual drops of CBD, pine nuts, or black peppercorns. But patience and a relaxed mind will pay off more than anything.

2. Why Does My High Go Away So Quickly?

There are two possible reasons: either the amount of THC is too low, or your metabolism is too fast. To fix this, you can try taking a higher dose of weed or choosing a more potent strain.

3. How Can I Make My High Last Longer?

You can take more as the effects fade, or you can try other forms that last longer, like edibles or tinctures.

4. Is There a Safe Way to Shorten a Weed High?

There’s no surefire way to shorten the effects of weed. However, drinking plenty of water, exercising, and detox supplements may help speed up metabolism and elimination of cannabis’ active ingredients.

5. Can Mixing Weed with Other Substances Alter the Duration of the High?

Yes, certain substances can prolong the effects of cannabis — making it hit harder and last longer. These are called “potentiators.” Herbal potentiators like tobacco, mullein, and damiana are widely used and considered safe. Chemical potentiators and alcohol are not recommended due to a significantly higher chance of side effects and other complications.


  1. Slawek, D. E., Curtis, S. A., Arnsten, J. H., & Cunningham, C. O. (2022). Clinical approaches to Cannabis: A narrative review. Medical Clinics, 106(1), 131-152.
  2. Spindle, T. R., Cone, E. J., Schlienz, N. J., Mitchell, J. M., Bigelow, G. E., Flegel, R., … & Vandrey, R. (2018). Acute effects of smoked and vaporized cannabis in healthy adults who infrequently use cannabis: a crossover trial. JAMA network open, 1(7), e184841-e184841.
  3. Gunn, R. L., Aston, E. R., & Metrik, J. (2022). Patterns of cannabis and alcohol co-use: Substitution versus complementary effects. Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 42(1).
  4. Ferber, S. G., Namdar, D., Hen-Shoval, D., Eger, G., Koltai, H., Shoval, G., … & Weller, A. (2020). The “entourage effect”: terpenes coupled with cannabinoids for the treatment of mood disorders and anxiety disorders. Current neuropharmacology, 18(2), 87-96.
  5. Slawek, D. E., Curtis, S. A., Arnsten, J. H., & Cunningham, C. O. (2022). Clinical approaches to Cannabis: A narrative review. Medical Clinics, 106(1), 131-152.