Here’s What You Should Do if You’re Still High Days After Eating an Edible

Marijuana edible cupcake

Cannabis edibles can be a bit of a double-edged sword. On one hand, they’re a great option if you’re not interested in smoking or vaping, or want to get high in a situation where that isn’t an option. They also generally contain a good dose of THC and are genuinely nice to eat. On the other hand, the dosages can be pretty difficult to get right, and if you go too far – which is easier to do than you think – you might find yourself being way more high than you expected and for much longer.

This might sound like a sitcom subplot type situation, but when you’re going through it, the experience definitely isn’t as funny as it sounds. You could even end up high the next day, or for several days after. So why does this happen? What should you do? And how can you avoid it in future?

TL;DR

  • Marijuana edibles generally take effect around an hour after consuming and can last up to 8 or 10 hours in ordinary situations.
  • A starting dose of 5 mg is recommended, but 10 mg is considered “average” and 15 mg or higher for experienced users.
  • If you’re still feeling high days after eating cannabis, your dose was probably much too high. But you will be fine.
  • The best advice is to go somewhere safe with someone you trust, and ride the experience out.
  • In future, remember to start low and go slow. Avoid taking another dose unless it’s been 2 hours since your first one.

Edibles Usually Last Between 6 and 8 Hours, But it Can Be Longer

The length of time cannabis edibles are supposed to last depends on a few different factors, most notably the dosage you take and your level of experience with cannabis. With smaller doses or more experience with cannabis, the effects won’t be noticeable for as long, but with bigger doses or less experience it will last longer.

The peak of effects generally comes a few hours after you ingest, but they can be felt as soon as 30 minutes after and for as long as 10 hours in ordinary situations. If you’re more experienced or you take a reasonable dose, it’s more likely to be around 6 to 8 hours, but if not it could last much longer.

Start with 5 mg if it’s Your First Time, or 10 mg or More if You’re Experienced

cannabis-infused marshmallow edibles
5mg THC is a good starting dose for most users. Photo courtesy of Mellows.

The recommended dose for an edible isn’t easy to pin down, because it depends so much on your tolerance and/or experience level with cannabis, not to mention how intense an experience you’re looking for.

That said, for a new user, somewhere around 5 mg is a good starting point. The average dose is between 10 and 15 mg, and from 20 mg upwards you’re likely to have a more intense high. Really, the higher doses are only recommended if you have some experience with cannabis, because if you’re particularly sensitive even 10 mg can be a little too much. Conversely, if you’re very tolerant you probably won’t feel too much from 10 mg.

The most important thing to remember is: wait for around 2 to 3 hours before eating more. Edibles kick in anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes after you take them, so even if you haven’t felt anything an hour or so after taking the dose, it’s still probably coming. Many people – me included – have made the mistake of eating more because you think it just isn’t affecting you that much. On top of this, it’s better to start low and work your way up as you gain more experience with edibles.

If You’re Still High Days After Eating an Edible, You Took Way Too Much

High-dose cannabis edibles with 300mg THC
Cannabis edibles with 300mg THC (60mg per piece). Photo: Richard Vogel/AP

If you’re still feeling high several days after eating an edible, chances are you’ve took way too high a dose. If it’s been days, it’s probably also one of your first times using cannabis, unless the dose you took was borderline heroic. The problem basically comes from your liver processing the cannabis you ate and your stomach digesting it. This is why it can take some time for an edible to kick in, and when you have a lot, this can keep the effects rolling for much longer because your body is still working through what you’ve taken.

One example from Quora comes from somebody who took 600 mg (!) of THC and was still feeling high three days later. This is understandably a scary experience, but from the discussion of recommended dosages above it should be clear that the amount in this case was truly massive.

Comment thread from quora about cannabis edible experience

There’s no judgment here – without much information, taking too much is an understandable mistake – but even long-term cannabis users would have a tough time with a dose that high. At a 20% THC content, it would be like smoking 3 grams of weed in one go. But edibles last much longer than smoking, so even that doesn’t really capture what it would be like.

Very strong THC edible with 600mg
Gummies with 600mg THC.

It’s Hard to Estimate How Long it Will Continue For…

It’s hard to say how long the feeling will last for if you’ve taken a large dose, but unless you’ve gone as far as the Quora poster above, you’ll probably feel better within a couple of days. That said, most normal doses will wear off within 12 hours, so if it’s already been more than a day, it isn’t exactly an easy thing to estimate. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything you can do to speed the “sobering up” process along; it will just take as much time as it takes.

…But You Will Return to Normal

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you will get back to your normal state of mind eventually. And if it’s already been longer than most edibles doses last, you’re almost certainly over the most intense of the effects and are gradually sobering up by the minute. When you’re in the midst of a high like this, it can feel like it will last – and has already lasted – forever, but this is just one of the effects of THC on the brain: time seems to run differently. Rest assured, you’ll feel totally fine soon, likely within a day. The challenge, more than anything, is riding it out in the most comfortable way you can.

Your Main Goal Should Be Staying Calm

Although it might seem ironic with the calming effects of cannabis, but remaining calm is the main thing you should focus on. The best idea is to get yourself somewhere quiet and safe, ideally with a close friend or anybody you trust. Then find something light and entertaining to watch, whether that’s bingeing the Office or watching some of your favorite movies. You’re going to be high for a little longer anyway, you might as well use it to your advantage: pick something you think will bring out the giggles or will take on a new layer of entertainment through your stoned brain. It might sound stupid but this is really the most important thing to do; you’re going to be absolutely fine, so you should just focus on enjoying the experience as much as you can.

Avoiding Problems in the Future: Start Low, Go Slow

So now you’ve come down from your high and are feeling fine again, how do you ensure you don’t end up in the same situation again?

As is often the case with cannabis (and any drugs really), the best advice is to “start low and go slow.” It’s better to have had too small a dose than too large a dose, so erring on the side of caution can save you an unpleasant experience.

Likewise, it’s very important to not eat another if you aren’t feeling anything yet, unless it’s been around 2 hours. Of course, if your buddies are already feeling the effects and you aren’t, the temptation to have another is going to be large, but it’s better to wait and be absolutely sure it has already kicked in than to make the decision just before it does.

Provided you pay attention to this – especially the dosage you take – you should be able to avoid similar situations in the future easily. If you’re particularly sensitive to the effects of cannabis, it’s better to find out with a small dose so you can adjust as needed in future. This might mean you need to stick to a lower dose than most other people even as you gain experience, but again, that’s better than having way too much and ending up in a difficult situation.

FAQs

How Long Do Edibles Last?

The high from edibles lasts for around 6 to 8 hours under normal circumstances, but this depends on your dosage and your tolerance level. With higher doses or less experience, it could last 10 hours or even longer. For it to last longer than this, your dosage would have to be very big.

How Long Does it Take for Edibles to Kick In?

Edibles kick in anything from about 30 minutes to 2 hours after you eat them. This can vary based on a lot of things, though, so to avoid double-dosing it’s best to wait around 2 hours before taking more.

Why Don’t Edibles Get Me High?

If edibles don’t get you high, you probably either haven’t taken enough, have a high tolerance or a combination of both. If you’ve taken 10 mg of THC, for instance, and it isn’t having an effect, you likely have higher tolerance and should try 15 or 20 mg instead. If you’ve taken a lower dose than 10 mg, dosage is probably the issue.

However, in some cases there will be another explanation if edibles aren’t working. You may not process cannabis in the way most people do, and the THC may not be metabolized by your liver when you eat it. If increasing the dosage doesn’t work, it’s worth trying vaping, smoking or another method of consumption if you want to use cannabis.

What Happens the Day After Eating Edibles?

Scientists are still unsure whether “weed hangovers” are a thing, but it’s hard to deny that something happens after an evening of heavy consumption. “Hangover” is the easiest word to describe it but the symptoms aren’t like an alcohol hangover: you’re more likely to have some lingering “high-like” feelings such as brain fog or tiredness. If you really overdid it the night before, you might feel nauseous or get a headache, and the other symptoms will be more notable. It’s far less unpleasant than an alcohol hangover, and you can usually improve things pretty easily:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Have some coffee or tea
  • Take a shower
  • Have a balanced breakfast
  • Go for a walk

Do Edibles Work Less on a Full Stomach?

Edibles do work a little less on a full stomach. Simply, since the THC has to be digested, if there’s already something in your stomach it will take longer than if it’s empty. This mirrors how the effects are different: eating edibles on an empty stomach produces quicker and more intense effects, but on a full stomach it will come on more gradually and be less intense. It’s important to remember that the effects of eating cannabis are generally stronger than smoking or vaping it, regardless of whether your stomach is full.

If it’s your first time, you should probably try edibles on a full stomach.

How Long Do Edibles Last in the Bloodstream?

If you’re more concerned about how long edibles last in your blood, the answer may be a little more vague than you’re hoping for. Generally, THC only stays in your blood for a few hours, but that’s why most employers use urine tests to look for cannabis, rather than other types of test like blood or saliva. In a urine test, cannabis will usually be detectable for:

  • One-time use: 5 to 8 days
  • Regular use: up to 30 days
  • Heavy use: up to 90 days

These are generally a little unclear, and edibles make things worse, because the THC is released into your bloodstream more slowly. By-products of THC are also stored in the fat, and released gradually. A lot of research on the subject also used bigger doses than many commercial edibles, and different people process things differently, so it’s generally difficult to be exact about it.

What Do Edibles Feel Like?

If you’ve had THC before, you will know what edibles feel like already. You feel relaxed, happy, talkative, giggly, creative and possibly a little hungry when you’re high, and edibles basically give you a more intense version of the same experience. You’re a little more likely to have an altered sense of the passage of time (you feel like it’s been forever but it’s actually been 15 minutes) and maybe feel “zoned out” because of the more intense effects, but usually it’s essentially the same as smoking or vaping.  

While most of the time, you’ll have a positive experience in line with this, sometimes people experience anxiety or paranoia when they get very high. This is more likely to happen with higher doses, so the best idea for a first-time user is to keep the dose quite low and do it with people you know well and trust.

What is the Normal Edible Dose?

The normal edible dose is between 10 and 15 mg of THC. If it’s your first time, you’ll probably be better off starting with 5 mg and seeing how you get along. If you have more experience and some tolerance, 15 to 20 mg is a good spot. Much higher doses are available in some places, but this is when you risk over-doing it and ending up very high.

Some Tips for Eating Edibles for the First Time

If it’s your first time, the most important things are to keep your dosage low (5 mg is usually ideal), eat it in a comfortable place with people you know, and to wait for 2 hours before re-dosing if you’re not feeling anything. You should also eat something a little while before taking the edible so you don’t have an empty stomach.

The golden rule is: start low, go slow.

I Ate an Edible and I Don’t Feel Anything: What Should I Do?

The most important thing to consider is how long it’s been since you had the edible. It can take up to 2 hours for an edible to take effect, and the peak is usually at around 3 hours after you eat it. So if you aren’t feeling anything and it’s been 2 to 3 hours, there’s a chance you just didn’t take a big enough dose for you. It’s best to just go up in 5 mg increments, so if you took 5 mg, try 10 mg, and if you took 10 mg, try 15 mg.

However, it’s very important that you wait before taking another dose: if it’s only been an hour or so, there is a good chance the high just hasn’t hit you yet.

How to Come Down From Edibles

If you’ve taken too much or just don’t want to be high anymore, the main thing that will make a difference is time: to some extent you just need to ride it out. However, there are a few other steps you can take to sober yourself up a bit:

  • Have some water and a light snack
  • Go for a walk
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Find somewhere calm and relaxing to stay
  • Chew or sniff some black peppercorns (unusual, but some say it works)
  • Distract yourself with gaming, watching Netflix or anything else you enjoy

Conclusion

If you’ve been high for days after eating an edible, you have taken too much. There’s nothing to worry about – it’s effectively impossible to overdose on marijuana – but the most important thing to do is remain calm and let it run its course. Honestly, most people who use cannabis products have had similar experiences, and even though it’s better to start low and work your way up, speaking from experience it doesn’t always go that way. But as long as you learn your lesson from the experience and keep it in mind next time, you’ll find your sweet spot and enjoy edibles much more the next time around.