How long does marijuana last?
The duration of a marijuana high usually depends on mode of administration. Additionally, the effects of marijuana vary by individual. We review marijuana high effects on the body and brain here. Then, we invite your questions about marijuana at the end.
Marijuana effects on the body and brain
Marijuana effects are highly dependent on several factors related to the administration of marijuana and marijuana’s quality in general. For example, if marijuana is ingested orally, the effects will be milder but will last longer than several hours. Bear in mind that a first time marijuana user will not necessarily feel the same high effects as a chronic user; effects will vary from euphoria and panic to no effects at all.
Other factors which affect the psychoactive effects of marijuana include:
- age, height, weight, and general health
- amount of THC found in the dose
- concurrent use of marijuana with other drugs
- mode of administration
- the person’s level of tolerance to marijuana & THC
- personal expectations
- previous experiences with or exposure to marijuana
- type of cannabis strain
How does marijuana work to create its effects? THC binds to cannabinoid receptors in the central nervous system and interferes with important neurotransmitter systems involved in physiological, psychomotor and cognitive effects. Marijuana affects the central nervous system and has the ability to cause anxiety attacks, paranoia, hallucinations (weaker than LSD), memory loss and others. However the “positive” effects of marijuana include relaxation, intensified perception, and high levels of satisfaction with the surrounding environment.
A person using marijuana may also become aware of usually automatic, non-conscious muscle tensions, movements, feedback and control processes. Additionally, the effects of marijuana on mood often varies from person to person. In general, emotions can become exaggerated, which makes the user act inappropriately in regular situations. Marijuana also has the ability to cause short-term memory loss and can affect IQ.
Marijuana time in the body
The active ingredient in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-THC or simply THC, enters the body’s bloodstream rapidly after smoking marijuana. If marijuana is ingested orally, it takes longer to be absorbed into the blood (usually from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours). How long does THC stay in the system?
Once in the blood, THC is rapidly metabolized into molecules known as metabolites. At least 80 different metabolites are formed from THC. The majority of THC is excreted by the feces (65%) and over 30% leaves the body via the urine, although a very small amount of unchanged THC leaves the system intact. In urine, THC is noticeable up to 3 days after the last dose of marijuana. However, chronic use can be detected weeks or months after last use. And as with any other drug, marijuana is noticeable for 90 days minimum in a single human hair.
How long do marijuana effects last?
Effects of smoking marijuana are noticeable within minutes after the first toke, and usually reach peak levels after 30 minutes. Most physical and psychological effects of marijuana will return to normal within 5 hours after administration, with exceptional strains or high potency THC effects reported to last for 24 hours.
How long does a marijuana high last
The duration of a marijuana high is highly dependent on several factors, such as chronic (medicinal or recreational) use, polydrug use, etc. But generally, marijuana highs usually last for about 2 to 3 hours. A typical high from smoking marijuana lasts for about 2 hours; orally ingested THC or marijuana can trigger a high that lasts for longer: about 4-6 hours. However, psychomotor impairment can remain after the initial high effects have worn off. Most common among these after effects are irregular time tracking, hand and eye coordination, or memory gaps.
Marijuana high effects
A wide range of effects may occur during a marijuana high, which vary in their intensity and quality. Among the most common and easily noticeable effect of marijuana high is the intensification of sensation and increased clarity of perception. Visual perception can change, colors seem to be brighter, patterns and graphic design are easily recognizable. Among other possible effects of a marijuana high are:
- appetite stimulation
- changes in perception of pain
- changes in perception of time
- enhanced sense of taste and smell
- increased fidelity and dimension of music
- intensified sense of hearing
- more sensitivity to heat, cold, and pressure receptors
- objects appear more visually distinct
We would also like to point out the effects marijuana has on driving, a controversial topic. Marijuana can affect driving capabilities up to 3 hours after administration and includes judgment about distance, as well as attraction to light and sleepiness, particularly affecting prolonged and monotonous driving routes.
Questions about marijuana effects
Still have questions or comments about marijuana’s effects? If you would like to give your input, please ask your question or share your story in the comments section below. We will do our best and provide you with personal response as soon as possible.
Reference Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administartion: Cannabis, Marijuana & THC
National Institute of Drug Abuse: Drug Facts – Marijuana
Photo credit: Wiki Media Commons