How long does a weed high last?
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- The science behind how long a high lasts: everyone is different
- How long does a marijuana high last?
- What does being high feel like?
- How much weed does it take to get high?
- How you feel vs. the weed in your system
- How to bring down your high?
- How to increase the length of your high
Cannabis serves a wide variety of purposes in the modern world, with new medicinal uses and products appearing every day. But for the majority of marijuana users who come to the plant recreationally, the goal is still to experience the cannabis high.
Marijuana highs can facilitate a wide variety of sensory and psychological effects, including mild reverie, euphoria, increased sensory awareness, and some therapeutic benefits. But if you’re a new or less experienced user, you’d want to know: How long does a high last? What duration are you committing to when you smoke a bowl, eat an edible, or take a dab?
Marijuana highs can facilitate a wide variety of sensory and psychological effects, including mild reverie, euphoria, increased sensory awareness, and some therapeutic benefits. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The science behind how long a high lasts: everyone is different
Much of your reaction to cannabis, whether it be therapeutic or the duration of the high it produces, will depend on your own biological makeup. Different types or strains of cannabis can produce different effects. One variety may produce a more intense high, or one that lasts longer than another. But the same plant can also produce different effects in others.
Out bodies interact with cannabis by way of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — the series of receptors, lipids, and enzymes that help the body maintain internal balance and regulate several bodily functions. When cannabinoids, compounds indigenous to the cannabis plant such as THC and cannabidiol (CBD) , interact with the body, they produce an effect by binding to cannabinoid receptors, where they are then broken down by enzymes. Our cannabinoid receptors have genetic variations from person to person, which in turn can alter the effects of cannabis , including the duration of intoxication.
How long does a marijuana high last?
So, how long does weed last? There are several factors that determine the answer to this question, but the primary driver on the cannabis high duration is the method of cannabis consumption. Your own biological makeup, along with the chemical makeup of the cannabis you’re ingesting, will also determine how long a cannabis high and potential side effects will last. That being said, the rate of THC blood saturation through to the eventual expungement of THC from the body provides a general window of duration in most people, which varies depending on how cannabis is being ingested.
When smoking cannabis, the onset of the high is nearly immediate and THC levels peak within the first 30 minutes to an hour after inhalation. The high from smoked marijuana can last up to several hours, though the intensity will generally decrease after the first hour or so.
Cannabis edibles are a whole different story. As edibles are absorbed through the digestive system and THC is metabolized through the liver, it takes anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours for the onset of effects. Depending on the amount of THC consumed, the amount of time an edible high can last upwards of 9 hours, with the peak generally lasting from 1 to 3 hours.
When dabbing concentrates , the onset of effects is also nearly immediate, but the duration depends largely on individual tolerance. Those who dab high-THC concentrates often may feel the effects wearing off within 1 to 2 hours, while someone entirely new to dabbing may be wiped out for the day.
When dabbing concentrates, the onset of effects is also nearly immediate, but the duration depends largely on individual tolerance. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What does being high feel like?
The specific qualities of a cannabis high will change over time, regardless of the form you take. Similarly to how long a weed high will last, you can expect the specific qualities of a high to change from person to person, and from cultivar to cultivar. Most cannabis cultivars bring with them a general list of qualities that most people experience from them, from hunger to cerebral stimulation, or creativity to couch lock.
Some cultivars will quash anxiety, while others will increase anxiety. As the high wears down, the more euphoric aspects typically wane and sleepiness replaces them. Again, all of these effects depend on the chemical makeup of a given cultivar, as well as your genes.
How much weed does it take to get high?
The amount of weed needed to feel high also depends on several variables. THC is the intoxicating component of cannabis, and though other cannabinoids play a role in either contributing to or enhancing the cannabis high, the THC percentage of a cannabis product will impact how long you’ll be high when you consume it. However, the method of consumption is an even bigger determining factor. For example, the effects of eating a 50 milligram edible will last longer than smoking a 0.5 gram joint with 20% THC.
THC percentages don’t tell the whole story, but they do provide a general idea of what a user should expect with flower or concentrate products. In the case of edibles, instead of THC percentage, the key factor to potency is the quantity of THC in the product, which is typically measured in milligrams.
How you feel vs. the weed in your system
How long you stay high and how long weed stays in your system are two very different things. As drug tests are looking for THC metabolites, it can take upwards of a month for the compounds to completely leave your system, depending on body mass index (BMI), metabolism, frequency of use, the potency of the product, and genetics.
How to bring down your high?
If you’re experiencing a particularly intense high, it’s important to remember that it shall pass, and cannabis is non-toxic. No deaths from a marijuana overdose have ever been reported. For those who want or need to come down from a particularly intense high as quickly as possible, there are several tactics that may prove effective, such as taking very deep breaths, ingesting black pepper , hydrating, taking a cold shower , and consuming CBD oil , which may be able to counteract the intoxicating effects of THC by way of the entourage effect.
How to increase the length of your high
The higher the amount of THC, the less cannabis needed to achieve a high. If you want to know how to increase the length of your high , you can either smoke weed again, opt for the longer-lasting intoxicating effects of an edible, or consume cannabis products with higher levels of THC.
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Can Marijuana Concentrates Go Bad?
Sunday June 24, 2018
A common question we have been getting at here at PotGuide is about the shelf life of cannabis concentrates. All good things must eventually come to an end, but when it comes to concentrates, when exactly is that end?
The idea of timeless shatter has become almost an urban legend that many seasoned smokers will recount with glee. Some long lost gram found in the back of a closet or bottom of a drawer resurfaces and smokes as good as the day it was purchased, some season, year, decade ago. In reality, the truth is that most well-stored concentrate will have a shelf life of approximately one year, but to really understand the complexities of long-term smokability, one must ask oneself, what exactly is “bad?”
What is Nucleation?
In terms of flavor profile and terpene retention, air exposure is the real enemy. All terpene-rich preparations will start to quickly degrade in open air. As one extractor told me, “If you can smell it, it’s evaporating.” Don’t go burning all of your live resin at once though; you’ve got a while to enjoy it.
In general, full flavor and terpene profile will stay consistent for four to eight months in most concentrates – especially those extracted with hydrocarbons.
Better storage methods can help concentrates to retain their freshness, and the preparation of a given concentrate will greatly affect the rate of terpene loss. Shatter and oils, especially those that have been winterized, tend to be more shelf stable. Winterization does not affect THC content, but the reduced amount of lipids means less terpene retention overall. Some consumers report a preference of winterized products for smoothness, so in the end it might come down to personal preference.
Though winterization can help fend off changes in concentrate, over time, many will become more sugar-like in appearance regardless, a process known as nucleation. Simply put, nucleation is when homogenized particles within the hash (think contaminants, lipids and cannabinoids) begin to separate. Many factors can contribute to or hinder the nucleation process, such as time, temperature, contaminants and lipid content.
THC and THCA are naturally prone to separation, and the process is induced in preparation of pure THCA crystals, which are then reintroduced to terpenes to make “sauce.” The terpenes in concentrates also want to congeal which further contributes to the sugaring process. Some smokers prefer their concentrates this way, and claim it adds to a more terpene-forward smoking experience, though others argue over the quality of concentrates in this state. Either way, concentrates are still good for vaporizing after nucleation occurs and will still contain high THC levels.
What Happens When Concentrates Age?
Over time, concentrates will degrade just as flower does. THC will convert to CBN, usually imparting a more amber or rusty coloring to the concentrate. While CBN can be uncomfortable in large doses, in smaller amounts has been found to be a potent sleep aid. The question is, exactly how much THC is lost?
For flower, one study found that cannabis loses about 17% of its potency if kept at room temperature for one year.
Anecdotal reports have stated a loss of as much as 50% THC content for hash preparations, but little research has been done in the field to substantiate this claim. Once crystalized, THC is decently stable if stored in an airtight container away from light, so a decent guess might put it at somewhere in between the two.
Beyond the year mark, we start to get into unknown territory. Concentrates certainly don’t age like wine (although some forms of hashish and other solventless products like full-melt hash have been known to keep for years and even get better with age, similar to wine) but is it still consumable as the years advance?
Can You Consume Older Concentrates?
Taking a conservative estimate, two-year-old concentrate could still retain 66% of its potency, and three-year old 51%, and so on. It might not be ideal, but in a pinch, will certainly produce a high – although it may be a pretty sleepy hit. However, THC vaporizes at roughly 50°F lower than CBN, so using an e-nail precisely set could potentially circumvent this problem. Hypothetically, one could retrieve whatever amount of usable cannabinoids left in a concentrate this way, regardless of how long it has been sitting.
One reason to leave that ancient gram where it lies is accumulation of lipids. As nucleation happens, lipids will congeal together in white or light yellow clumps. If vaporized, lipids can be harmful when inhaled and ought to be minimized as much as possible. Some trace amounts are necessary for terpenes, but large globs should be avoided. Thankfully, they are usually easy to spot.
If long-term storage is a factor in your purchasing, consider asking for winterized or dewaxed concentrates and make sure to minimize heat, light and air exposure. Ultimately, all concentrates, especially live resin, sauce and terpene-forward preparations such as HTFSE (High-terpene full spectrum extracts), are better off used while fresh. But if you’re planning on using the entirety of the product within six months though, smoke what you like!
How long do you store your concentrates? Have you noticed any differences between old and new concentrates? Share your thoughts below!
Matt Mongelia holds an MFA in writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has worked in the cannabis industry in various roles for 4 years, from dispensaries, production and retail to events, content and marketing. He is a writer for the comic Dark Beach, and has previously covered music and cultural content for SOL REPUBLIC.
If you've ever found a gram of old cannabis concentrate laying around, you may be wondering if it's still okay to consume. Learn more about the shelf-life of concentrates and just how long it takes for them to go bad.