How Long Does a High Last? Key Factors to Consider

Predicting the duration of a cannabis high might be a tricky thing to do. There are many things to take into consideration, such as the method of consumption, strain, THC content, consumer’s metabolism, amount consumed, and many more.

So, how long does a high last? In a nutshell, it can last anywhere between 30 minutes and 6 hours. Let’s take a closer look at the main parameters determining the duration of the cannabis high.

Methods of Consumption

A high induced by each method of consumption has its own expected or average duration range. For example, smoking and consuming concentrates will generally have a shorter effect than sublingual application or cannabis-infused edibles.

Generally, a cannabis-induced high shouldn’t last for more than six hours. However, some people report to have the “afterglow”, a lingering feeling of being high long after the actual high passes. To determine how long does a high last, we must look into each consumption method separately.


Smoking is the most common way to ingest THC. There are many ways to smoke cannabis, with joints and blunts being the most widespread. Some consumers also opt for vape pens, vaporizers, and Thai sticks.

Bongs and dab rigs are significantly more complicated smoking methods as they may include elaborate equipment. Also, they might take the most time and effort. Dabs are generally more potent than a standard joint, but their effects last shorter.

A smoking high can last anywhere between 1 and 3 hours. When one inhales the smoke, THC reaches the bloodstream through the lungs almost instantaneously. Therefore, smoking is among the fastest ways to get high. However, it doesn’t last as long as some other methods.

Sublingual Application

As its name suggests, sublingual application involves putting a cannabis product under the tongue. This method is one of the fastest working, taking only minutes for THC to reach the blood stream through the jaw arteries.

The most common products used with this method include tinctures, isolates, oils, distillates, and dissolvable strips. There are other products as well, though they’re not as popular.

The high induced by sublingual products typically lasts from 2 to 4 hours. This depends heavily on the type of the product one opts to use and the concentration of THC in it.


Concentrates are refined cannabis products with high levels of terpenes and cannabinoids. They are among the most potent options, though their effect is very short. Concentrates are made up almost exclusively of trichomes, crystalline structures found throughout the plant that contain its most desirable compounds.

On average, a concentrate product will keep the consumer high between 30 and 120 minutes. Though a short one, a high induced by a concentrate can be powerful.


Any type of food infused with cannabis can be considered an edible. Here, the only restriction is the consumer’s imagination. Of course, brownies are the most common type of edibles thanks to TV and movies that have popularized them. However, cannabis can be mixed with virtually any meal or food.

Popular options in this category also include candy, milk, gummies, tea, honey, and butter. Depending largely on how fast the consumer’s metabolism is, the effects will start kicking in anywhere between 30 and 120 minutes after the ingestion. The effects should typically wear off between 4 and 6 hours after the ingestion.

Though slow to kick in and milder, edibles will keep the consumer high the longest. This is the way many beginners experience their first high. It doesn’t involve complicated rigs and smoke and is less intensive.

Topical Application

Topical products based on cannabis are mostly made of hemp and contain no THC. These THC-free products are mostly aimed at people interested in the medicinal properties of CBD. They can’t provide the consumer with a high due to the lack of THC.

At the same time, a number of topical products do contain THC. They include oils, patches, creams, and many others. The problem with them is that they can’t get a person high, despite having THC.

The main reason for this is that the skin is very slow to absorb the psychoactive substances found in these products. So, by the time the skin absorbs the cream and its contents reach the bloodstream, the THC won’t have nearly enough potency to give the consumer a high.


The question “how long does a high last” can’t be answered accurately without taking things such as strain, THC content, quality, consumed amount, metabolism, experience, and others into consideration. Let’s see how these aspects affect the experience.


The strain one opts for can affect the length of the high. Weaker strains with less THC and more CBD will probably keep a person high for a shorter period of time. They will also produce less unwanted side effects thanks to the high CBD content.

On the other hand, strong strains might give a stronger, more dramatic experience that lasts longer. Consequently, the side effects with them also tend to be more prominent and can include anxiety and paranoia.

THC Content

A high THC content can give you an impression of the high lasting longer. This happens because the high is more intensive and it seems like it takes a longer time for the effects to wear off. On average, commercially available marijuana strains contain up to 25% of THC. Some extracts boast over 90%, while a few claim to be 100% THC.


The quality of the product also plays a great role in the quality of the experience. A quality product rich in trichomes, terpenes, and cannabinoids (CBD) provides a much less stressful experience. It can also make the high last longer and with fewer side effects.


Not all bodies process foreign substances at the same rate. Some work faster, while others are slower. The rate at which one’s body processes stuff plays a big role in the duration of the high.

If someone has a slow metabolism, for example, it will take extra time to process THC. As such, the substance will spend more time in the blood and brain, giving them a longer high.

On the other hand, people with a fast metabolism will process THC faster. This means it will spend less time in their system and give them a shorter high.


The amount consumed has a direct effect on the duration of the high. A person that’s had two puffs in the space of five minutes will have a relatively short and mild high. However, someone who smoked several joints within 30 minutes will have a significantly longer and more intensive high.

Final Words

The duration of the cannabis high can be hard to predict as many things affect it. To make a more or less precise estimation, one should take the method of consumption, quality, strain type, THC content, amount consumed, and their metabolism into consideration. Start with the average durations for each consumption method and add other considerations into account.