Understanding the science can lead to more effective use
Most long-time marijuana consumers already understand the effects and ups and downs of marijuana. However, for those that are just beginning to realize its benefits, it’s important to understand the science behind the consumption to better moderate use and answers to questions such as how quickly it enters the system and how long it stays there will give a good foundation.
The reaction time to marijuana consumption depends on how it’s consumed. Smoking or vaping are efficient ways to receive marijuana’s benefits, with most people reaching their peak within about five minutes after the first consumption. On the other hand, eating marijuana-infused edibles could take up to two hours before the effects are felt.
After reaching a peak, it takes a few hours for the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, to start to disappear. Dr. Robert Mann of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health explains, “THC levels will decline over the next couple of hours very rapidly, then that decline slows off for a while, and then after several hours, I think the levels in the blood are quite low.”
Mann adds that driving should not be a problem for most people six hours after having smoked or vaped; eight hours if consuming edibles. These are only general guidelines, though, as the strength of the marijuana and the individual body must also be considered.
How long the marijuana will stay in the system following consumption also depends on a number of factors, but Mann states, “When you use cannabis, the THC gets absorbed into the fat in your body, and so there’s kind of a reservoir there that keeps getting released fairly slowly, so that you will find trace amounts of THC in the blood for a longer period of time, but at very low levels.”
If you’re concerned about whether or not your consumption will show up on a drug test, stay away for at least a month before the test whenever possible.