Have you ever wondered, ‘How long does being high last after using medical cannabis?’ It’s a common question for many stepping into the world of medicinal treatments. The answer, however, isn’t as straightforward as you might hope.

The duration and intensity actually depend upon how long cannabis stays in your system, which can vary from one individual to another, influenced by a myriad of factors from body chemistry to the method of consumption. 

And, whether you’re seeking relief from chronic discomfort or exploring new pathways to wellness, often timing can be as important as the dosage itself. 

In this guide, we’ll unpack the key factors that influence how long you can expect to feel the effects and share some tips on how to best time your doses for maximum benefit.


How Long Does Being High Last?

The duration of a cannabis high can vary widely, but typically, it lasts between one to six hours. More specifically, vaping tends to result in a quicker onset and shorter duration of high. Meanwhile, edibles take longer to take effect but can extend the experience significantly, lasting as long as eight hours.


Cannabis and Its Interaction With the Human Body

The diagram shows the endocannabinoid system, highlighting the locations of CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the human body.

The way cannabis interacts with the body is primarily through the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This is a unique communication network vital for maintaining a state of balance and harmony within the body (homeostasis). It impacts key functions like anxiety, appetite, mood, pain sensation, and neuroprotection, among others [1].

The Role of the ECS

The ECS contains cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body – primarily CB1 and CB2. 

  • CB1 receptors: Predominantly located in the brain and central nervous system, they are mainly responsible for cannabis’s psychoactive effects. 
  • CB2 receptors: Found in the immune system and other peripheral organs, they primarily influence pain and inflammation responses.

When you consume cannabis, the active compounds, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), bind to these receptors. THC’s interaction with CB1 receptors leads to the euphoric ‘high’ many users feel. 

CBD, meanwhile, does not bind directly with CB1 receptors. This is why it does not produce a psychoactive effect but can influence the body to use its own endocannabinoids more effectively.

The Role of Terpenes

The infographic explains the entourage effect, illustrating how terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids in cannabis work together to enhance therapeutic benefits.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants. In cannabis, they are responsible for defining the scent and flavour profiles of different strains. Beyond this, they can also influence the effects of cannabis through a phenomenon known as the ‘entourage effect’.

By working synergistically with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, they enhance their therapeutic benefits and modify their overall impact. Take myrcene, for instance, an abundant terpene that’s believed to enhance THC’s effects by helping it cross the blood-brain barrier more efficiently [2]


Understanding the High

When it comes to cannabis, not all highs are created equal. The experience can vary dramatically depending on several elements, making each individual’s journey unique. Let’s explore the dynamics of how long you can expect the effects to linger and what influences the duration of a cannabis high.

Factors Affecting Duration

Metabolism Just like with food and drink, your body’s metabolism plays a vital role in how quickly you process cannabis. Faster metabolisms break down THC quicker, shortening the high, while slower ones might prolong the effects.
Tolerance Regular users often find that the duration of their high decreases over time due to the development of tolerance. In other words, as your body becomes accustomed to THC, it takes more of the substance or higher potencies to achieve the same effects.
Strains and THC/CBD Ratios Strains with a higher THC content tend to produce more intense and potentially longer-lasting psychoactive effects. In contrast, strains rich in CBD are less likely to produce a strong ‘high’ and their impact is usually more subdued and shorter in duration.
Method of Consumption Inhalation methods can produce effects within minutes, but generally, these highs taper off faster. In contrast, edibles often take longer to kick in, but the effects can last for several hours.


Inhalation Methods

A cannabis vape pen lies on a wooden surface with jars of cannabis buds in the background.

  • Vaping: With this method, THC enters your bloodstream almost instantly, making you feel its effects within just a few minutes. This quick lift tends to peak rapidly, within 30 minutes to an hour, and usually tapers off within between two to four hours. The swift onset makes it ideal for anyone needing immediate ease without a drawn-out impact.
  • Smoking: While popular globally, smoking cannabis is not legally permitted in the UK for recreational or medical use. As such, it’s crucial for users to adhere to the law as they navigate their treatment options. Like vaping, smoking also introduces THC quickly, but it carries additional health risks due to the combustion of plant materials, introducing harmful substances into your lungs.

Edibles and Oils

A dropper releases a drop of cannabis oil into a bottle, with cannabis plants in the background.

  • Edibles: After consumption, edibles need to be digested and metabolised before entering the bloodstream. Therefore, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to produce noticeable effects. However, these effects can last much longer, ranging from four to eight hours, and sometimes even longer. This method is often preferred by individuals requiring prolonged symptom relief.
  • Oils: Cannabis oils can be taken orally or mixed into your favourite foods and drinks, which makes them a discreet option. They share a similar absorption process to edibles, but you can measure doses accurately. This gives you greater control over the intensity and duration of their effects. The results are generally akin to that of edibles, with effects lasting several hours.


  • Cannabis-infused Creams and Ointments: These focus on soothing areas of discomfort on your body. Because they are applied directly to the skin, the cannabinoids work locally without entering the bloodstream in significant amounts. This means you won’t feel any mind-altering effects, but you can enjoy targeted relief from pain or inflammation for several hours.

Driving Considerations

When deciding how long to wait after consuming cannabis before driving, your safety and that of others on the road should always come first. The way cannabis affects your ability to operate a vehicle can vary significantly depending on how you’ve consumed it. It pays to err on the side of caution to ensure you’re fully alert and not under the influence when you decide to get behind the wheel.


Timing Tips for Vaping Cannabis

When you’re using medical cannabis through vaping, getting the timing right can make all the difference. This section aims to guide you on how to plan your sessions so you better manage your symptoms and fit your treatment seamlessly into your daily routine.

Morning Use If you’re managing morning symptoms like chronic pain or anxiety, consider starting your day with a strain that’s rich in CBD and has moderate THC levels. This can help ease your symptoms without overwhelming you with strong psychoactive effects, making it easier to stay focused and functional as you go about your day.
Pre-Activity If your day includes activities like physical therapy, which could stir up anxiety or pain, consider vaping about 30 minutes before you start. Opting for a sativa-dominant strain could be particularly helpful in alleviating discomfort while also providing a boost of energy, making it easier to engage in and benefit from your session.
Night Use If you’re grappling with insomnia or need to manage symptoms later in the day, consider using a cannabis strain with a higher THC content in the evening. Timing your session about an hour before you go to bed can help ease you into a restful night’s sleep.


Timing Tips for Cannabis Edibles

Given their delayed onset and extended impact, it’s crucial to think ahead about your day when planning to use edibles to manage your medical symptoms. This way, you can safely experience them, especially if your day involves tasks that require focus or coordination. 

Planning Ahead Plan when to consume an edible well in advance of the desired effect. For example, taking it one to two hours before bedtime may help in managing symptoms like chronic pain or insomnia throughout the night.
Start Low and Go Slow Start low and give it time to see how you react to the initial dose. This will help you avoid the pitfall of overconsumption and the discomfort of unexpectedly intense effects. 
Meal Timing Taking edibles on an empty stomach can lead to quicker digestion and faster onset of effects, which might be more intense. On the other hand, enjoying them as part of a meal can slow things down as the food in your stomach absorbs some of the impact.


Scheduled Dosing

Just like with any medication, having a routine for your cannabis therapy can really boost its effectiveness. Setting specific times to vape or consume edibles can help keep cannabinoid levels in your system more consistent. This kind of regularity can help your body and mind sync up, potentially improving overall symptom control.

Managing Psychoactivity

If you’re new to using cannabis or find yourself particularly sensitive, it’s wise to ease into your therapy gently. Start with a low dose and opt for strains that offer a balanced THC-to-CBD ratio. This can help you manage the psychoactive effects comfortably during the day.

After using it, keep track of how you feel at different intervals. Monitoring will help you understand your body’s response better and allow you to fine-tune your dosage and timing in future sessions to align perfectly with your needs and daily activities.


Managing Unexpected Prolonged Highs

A person holding their head, experiencing dizziness or disorientation from a cannabis high, with the background appearing blurred to indicate a spinning sensation.

It’s not uncommon for the effects of cannabis to linger longer than some might prefer, especially for those new to its use. Knowing how to handle this effectively will help you maintain comfort and safety. 

Recognising Prolonged Highs

The first step in managing an unexpectedly prolonged high is recognising when it is happening. Some common signs include:

  • Extended feelings of euphoria or relaxation beyond the anticipated time frame
  • Heightened sensory perception lasting several hours
  • Lingering confusion or disorientation
  • Persistent altered coordination and reaction times

Safety Tips for Handling Prolonged Highs

  • Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced meal. Sometimes, simply having a snack can help mitigate the overwhelming sensations of a prolonged high.
  • Dimming lights, turning off loud music, and lying down in a quiet, safe space can all aid in making the experience more bearable.
  • Deep, controlled breathing can help minimise feelings of panic and anxiety. Techniques such as the 4-7-8 breathing method, where you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds, can be particularly effective.
  • Steering clear of caffeine and alcohol can prevent the high from becoming more intense.
  • Some evidence suggests that CBD can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC [3]. Using CBD oil or tincture may help balance out the effects if you find yourself uncomfortably high.

When to Seek Medical Advice

Most prolonged cannabis highs are not dangerous, but they can be unsettling. In the following cases, it’s appropriate to seek medical intervention:

  • If physical symptoms like palpitations, dizziness, or nausea persist.
  • If mild anxiety escalates to severe panic or paranoia.
  • If you experience any symptoms that prevent routine functioning or create significant distress.

Medical Cannabis vs. Black-Market Marijuana: Understanding the Differences

When it comes to sourcing cannabis, there’s a world of difference between medical weed and black-market marijuana. Depending on the type you take, it can impact your health, safety, and overall experience significantly.

Let’s break down what sets medical cannabis apart from its illicit counterpart.

Quality and Safety

Medical Weed Black-Market Marijuana
Strict regulations and quality control standards ensure that what you’re consuming is free from harmful contaminants like pesticides, mould, and heavy metals. Each batch is tested, and the cannabinoid content is clearly labelled, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Doesn’t go through the same rigorous testing. This means there’s no guarantee of its safety or purity. Contaminants are a real risk, which can lead to health issues.
Because medical weed is produced under controlled conditions, you can expect consistency in the product. This is crucial for medical users who need reliable dosing to manage symptoms effectively. Without regulated production, the potency and effects can vary widely. Such inconsistency makes it challenging to dose correctly, especially for medical purposes.


Accessibility and Legal Implications

Medical Weed Black-Market Marijuana
In places where medical cannabis is lawful, patients can obtain it through licensed dispensaries with a prescription. This legal framework provides a safe, reliable source of cannabis. Purchasing illicit marijuana is illegal and can lead to legal repercussions. There’s also the risk of dealing with unsafe or criminal elements.
Medical users benefit from sound advice from healthcare providers and dispensary staff. This support helps in selecting the right strains and products for specific conditions. Without the support of knowledgeable professionals, users are left to guess which strains or products might be best for their needs, increasing the risk of adverse effects.


Medical Benefits and Research

Medical Weed Black-Market Marijuana
Backed by scientific research. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating various conditions, such as chronic pain, anxiety, and epilepsy [4][5][6]. The lack of research and data on black-market weed means its medical benefits are not well-documented. Users cannot be certain about its efficacy or safety.
Can be tailored to individual needs, with specific strains and cannabinoid ratios designed to treat particular symptoms. This personalisation enhances therapeutic outcomes. Without controlled dosing and quality assurance, it can pose significant risks, including exacerbating symptoms or causing new health issues.


Experience Precise, Professional Cannabis Care With Lyphe

The logo of Lyphe.

When using cannabis, knowing how long the effects last can help you manage your day more effectively. At Lyphe, we specialise in medical cannabis, providing top-quality, regulated products that ensure consistency and safety. 

Unlike black market options, our medical weed undergoes rigorous testing to guarantee purity and accurate dosing. Our team of expert doctors and patient advisors support you throughout your treatment journey, helping you choose the right strains and products for your needs.

Moreover, Lyphe offers convenient online appointments, ensuring easy access to medical cannabis from anywhere in the UK. And by understanding how long its effects last, we help you tailor your treatment to fit seamlessly into your daily routine. 

Ready to experience the benefits of medical cannabis with professional guidance and support? Book an appointment today to get started. 



Understanding how long a weed high lasts is essential for anyone using medical cannabis, whether for pain relief, anxiety management, or other therapeutic purposes. By exploring the various factors that influence the duration of the high – such as metabolism, tolerance, and methods of consumption – you can better tailor your experience to fit your needs.

So, what’s the next step? If you’re looking to apply this knowledge and optimise your cannabis use, consulting with professionals at Lyphe can provide the personalised guidance you need. Get in touch today and take control of your medical cannabis journey.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to end high?

The duration of a cannabis high can vary, but generally, the effects start to taper off after about two to four hours when vaped. For edibles, the high can last much longer, typically between four to eight hours. Factors like individual metabolism, tolerance, and the specific strain used can influence these times.


What happens when you sleep high?

Sleeping while high can lead to deeper, sometimes more restful sleep, but it can also affect your REM sleep cycle, potentially reducing dream activity. Moreover, some people find it easier to fall asleep when high, while others may experience disturbances. The overall impact varies depending on the individual and the cannabis strain used.


How long do you stay high after taking an edible?

After taking an edible, the high can last anywhere from four to eight hours, sometimes even longer. The effects typically take longer to kick in, about 30 minutes to two hours, due to the digestive process. Individual factors like metabolism, tolerance, and the specific edible consumed can influence the duration.



  1. Singh, D., & Freeman, A. (2021). The implications of cannabinoid pharmacology on medicinal cannabis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(17), 9472. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22179472
  2. Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1344-1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
  3. Bhattacharyya, S., Morrison, P. D., Fusar-Poli, P., Martin-Santos, R., Borgwardt, S., Winton-Brown, T., … & Kapur, S. (2010). Opposite effects of Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol on human brain function and psychopathology. European Psychiatry, 25(5), 320-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2010.03.002
  4. Lopez, H. H., Zorrilla, E. P., & Koob, G. F. (2020). Cannabinoids: Pharmacology and potential therapeutic use. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11, 561. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.00561
  5. ElSohly, M. A., Mehmedic, Z., Foster, S., Gon, C., Chandra, S., & Church, J. C. (2020). Changes in cannabis potency over the last two decades (1995–2014) – Analysis of current data in the United States. The FASEB Journal, 34(S1), 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.09741
  6. Elsaid, M., Le Foll, B., & Ferguson, C. S. (2021). Cannabidiol: A brief review of its therapeutic and pharmacologic efficacy in epilepsy. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 375(2), 189-199. https://doi.org/10.1523/JPHARMPET.2021.0001967


The content provided on this blog is intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. We strongly advise readers to seek guidance from a qualified healthcare professional regarding any medical concerns.
To reflect its medicinal nature rather than recreational use, we prefer the term ‘medical cannabis’ over terms such as ‘marijuana’, “grass”. or ‘dope’ which may carry negative connotations.
The opinions expressed in the blog belong to the respective authors, who are not medical professionals, and may not necessarily align with those of Lyphe Clinic. Lyphe Clinic does not endorse any specific products or services mentioned, except those provided through Lyphe Clinic.
Readers should be aware that the legality of medical cannabis varies by location, and this disclaimer may be subject to periodic updates.

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