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

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson is the senior editor at CBD Oracle, and has been covering science, vaping and cannabis for over 10 years. He has a MS in Theoretical Physics from Uppsala...

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Medically reviewed byAbraham Benavides, MD

Medically reviewed by

Abraham Benavides, MD

Dr. Abraham Benavides is an international cannabis science advisor, health coach, and full-tuition merit scholar of the GW School of Medicine. Abe pioneered and published first-author research with the Cannabis...

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  • 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 and comfortable with someone you trust, and ride the experience out.
  • In the future, remember to start low and go slow. Avoid taking another dose unless it’s been 2 to 3 hours since your first one.

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 the future?

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

If you’re still high days after you’ve eaten an edible, the dose was probably way too high. The good news is that you’re going to be totally fine, even if it might not feel like it at the moment. Even heroic doses pass eventually.

We spoke to Eloise Theisen, NP, ex-President of the American Cannabis Nurses Association and medical cannabis expert, who commented that:

It can be unsettling to still experience side effects days later from a cannabis edible but it is unlikely that there will be any permanent damage. It can take several days for the cannabinoid metabolites to metabolize out of a person’s system.

Eloise Theisen, MSN, NP, AGPCNP-BC

If it’s been days since you took it and you’re still high, as well as the dose being too big, it’s probably also one of your first times using cannabis (unless the dose you took was really huge).

The problem basically comes from your liver processing the cannabis you’ve eaten and your stomach digesting it. This is why it takes longer for an edible to kick in if you’ve eaten first, 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 the dose in this case was truly massive. In legal states, edibles are generally limited to 10 mg per serving.

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 giant bowl. But edibles last much longer than smoking, so even that doesn’t really capture what it would be like.

RELATED: How Long Do the Effects of Edibles Last in Your Body?

In short, in most cases, eating too many edibles will just mean that you’re high for a lot longer, but ultimately you will be fine. However, Eloise Theisen, NP recommends that you keep an eye out for a few symptoms:

If someone is experiencing paranoia, hallucinations, or rapid heart rate I would encourage them to call their doctor or go to the closest emergency dept for more assistance.

It’s important to remember that even in these cases it’s just prudent to go for additional help; it’s very unlikely that you’ll have any serious effects rather than being seriously high.

However, if you use cannabis regularly there is a risk of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which causes prolonged vomiting and in turn, potentially life-threatening dehydration. If you or anybody you’re with is vomiting excessively, it’s a good idea to see a doctor or go to an emergency department. This is a rare but long-term condition that will continue until you stop using cannabis, and can cause electrolyte disturbances, dehydration, arrhythmias and altered mental states. 

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, research shows most normal doses will wear off within 8 hours, with bigger doses taking longer, so if it’s already been more than a day, it isn’t exactly an easy thing to estimate. Unfortunately, there isn’t much 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

It might seem ironic with the calming effects of cannabis, but remaining calm is the main thing you should focus on. 

Eloise Theisen, NP, gave us this advice for someone feeling too high after an edible: “I recommend having a buddy or friend with you or someone you can call who can stay with you while you wait for the high to dissipate. It may also be helpful to drink water, eat a snack, go for a walk, or watch a movie to distract yourself.”

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 binging the Office or watching some of your favorite movies. Alternatively, choose a video game, board game or another sit-down hobby if you prefer to keep your mind a bit more active.

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. 

RELATED: 38 Fun Things to Think About When You’re High

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 comfortably enjoying the experience as much as you can.

How to Come Down From Edibles Quickly

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 more quickly.

Eloise Theisen commented that while most recommendations for this are not evidence-based, there are some potentially useful approaches:

“Recommendations range from drinking water with lemon, taking CBD, exercising, taking ibuprofen, and chewing on black peppercorn. There is some research to support the use of ibuprofen and black peppercorn to help quell the intensity of THC but nothing will make it go away quickly. Often it is time and patience that are most effective and taking less to start.”

Some of the more general strategies can be effective in many cases, mainly to keep your mind occupied and exercise some self-care:

  • Have some water and a light snack
  • Go for a walk
  • Take a shower or bath
  • Find somewhere calm and relaxing to stay
  • Distract yourself with gaming, watching Netflix or a hobby you enjoy

However, there are a handful of approaches to speeding up the process that have at least some scientific support:

  • Take some CBD: CBD has been shown to reduce subjective feelings of intoxication, anxiety and objective signs of impairment in people who’ve taken THC. In other words, CBD can blunt your high! 
  • Chew or smell some black peppercorns: Specific chemicals in black pepper (in particular, beta-caryophyllene, pinene and myrcene) counteract different aspects of a THC high. For example, myrcene has sedative effects that help to calm anxiety, as many terpenes commonly do.
  • Snack on pistachios and pine nuts: Pinene is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, and these have been shown to reduce the intensity of a THC high. Pinene, as the name suggests, is found in pine nuts, but also in pistachios, so eating some could help calm your high.
  • Take some Advil: Research shows that some of the impairments caused by THC are related to cyclooxygenase-2 (usually written as COX-2), so inhibitors of COX-2 should theoretically help curb a THC high. This means that ibuprofen (i.e. Advil) could help you sober up. While Advil is “safe” for a pharmaceutical, you should exercise the usual caution – for example, check it won’t interfere with any other medication you’re taking and only take the recommended dose.

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

In most cases and for doses of 20 mg or less, edibles will last something like 4 to 12 hours, although more commonly between 6 and 8 hours. 

However, this depends on many factors, including 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 2 to 3 hours after you ingest, but they can be felt as soon as 30 minutes after, and last for as long as 12 hours. 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

First time users should be very careful with their edibles dosage. 5 mg is a good starting point, or 10 to 15 mg if you’re more experienced.

Cannabis edibles for beginners
5mg THC is a good starting dose for most users. Photo: Mellows

The recommended dose for an edible isn’t easy to pin down, because it depends so much on your tolerance and 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 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 to 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, but then quickly realizing that it actually is.

In reality, the safest thing to do is wait four hours before taking another dose. Up to this limit, the longer you wait, the safer it is. Beyond this you probably really just aren’t going to feel anything. 

Take Edibles on a Full Stomach If It’s Your First Time

Edibles peak more gradually if you eat them on a full stomach, and you’re less likely to have unwanted side effects.

Eloise Theisen explained that, “There is some evidence that taking edibles on an empty stomach can intensify the effects and lead to quicker onset. Additionally, taking edibles on a full stomach may delay onset and prolong the effects.”

Think about it like this: since the THC has to be digested, if there’s already something in your stomach it will take longer to work through to the edible than if it’s empty. One study gave participants 5 mg or 10 mg of THC either after fasting or after a high-fat, high-calorie meal, and found that the most notable effect of the meal was slowing the onset of the effects. With no food, blood THC levels peaked after a couple of hours, but after a big meal, the peak came at about 6 and a half hours. 

The size of the peaks were not statistically different, but after a meal it took much longer to reach the peak. This is a good thing for your first time, and this is shown perfectly in the data: two thirds of all of the adverse effects in the study were after the 10 mg dose taken on an empty stomach. However, it’s worth noting that eating first will also prolong the effects. 

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

Avoiding Problems in the Future: Start Low, Go Slow

“Start low; go slow” is the most important advice for using edibles.

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 at least two hours (although waiting three hours is better, and four is safest).

Being sensible isn’t always the easiest thing to do, though. If your buddies are already feeling the effects and you aren’t, there will be a lot of temptation to take more, but it’s better to wait and be absolutely sure it has already kicked in, rather than make the decision just before it finally hits.

Eloise Theisen echoed this advice when we spoke to her, adding that tracking doses and effects can help you get a better understanding of how edibles affect you:

“In a new, inexperienced user, I would recommend waiting a full two hours before taking another dose. If someone is really nervous about the possible effects of cannabis, then they can try increasing their dose every 2-3 days. I recommend keeping a journal so you can record the dose, the onset, the duration and the effect of the dose. This will help the user better understand how cannabis works for them.”

Provided you pay attention to this – and 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.


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. Unless you’re vomiting excessively and may have cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (in which case you should go to the emergency room), you’re probably just really really high and you will be fine.

Honestly, most people who use cannabis 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.


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Last medically reviewed on August 11, 2023.