Tolerance: How Much Do You Smoke?
When it comes to marijuana are you a seasoned pro? Or are you a special occasion type? Perhaps somewhat surprisingly these things have very little effect on how long your high actually lasts; they do, however, have a noticeable effect on how long you think your high is lasting.
Again with the highway metaphor, once THC is in your system it’s headed down the metabolic road; how long it lasts once there is totally up to your metabolism’s overall speed, but having a higher marijuana tolerance doesn’t make your metabolism work any faster.
Just because you may not “feel” super high doesn’t mean you aren’t high at all – Seasoned marijuana smokers will start to feel the peak effects of weed taper off and diminish more quickly than someone who rarely takes cannabis at all, but only because they’re already used to the sensations of being high. If you don’t get high very often you’ll notice the feeling of the high more acutely than someone who, for example, busts out the dab rig four times a day.
What this means is just because you don’t feel high that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear, and the usual medical warnings about things such as “operating heavy machinery” still apply.
Dosage Form: Eating, Smoking, Vaping or Tincture?
Alongside your metabolic rate your method of cannabis intake has a huge influence on all aspects of your high, from how long it lasts to how long the come up process can take.
The biggest difference depends on whether or not the THC passes through your digestive tract first. We talk about this at length in other articles on our site but the basic concept is this: When someone eats THC it changes form in the digestive tract, from Delta 9 (D9 or Δ9 THC) to 11-Hydroxy (11-OH) THC.
11-OH-THC has a different molecular structure, and has a much easier time passing through the blood-brain barrier than the related Delta 9 THC. This makes more of the 11-OH-THC available to our bodies than a similar amount of D9 THC. However the process of turning D9 THC into 11-OH-THC takes time, giving edibles their notoriously long onset period.
THC that passes directly into the bloodstream, rather than going through the digestive tract first, reaches the brain much quicker, making it’s effects noticeable almost instantly. Smoking and vaporizing marijuana are both fairly immediate; vaping has a slightly faster come up period but typically only by a few seconds worth of time.
Tinctures, a cannabis concentrate of THC (typically suspended in alcohol), can go both ways – Marijuana tinctures held under the tongue or along the gums will have some of their THC absorbed directly into the bloodstream (thanks to the numerous surface-level veins in those areas of the mouth), while tinctures that are swallowed quickly will mostly be processed by the digestive system.
Onset time for absorbing THC into the bloodstream with a tincture is a bit longer than smoking (upwards of two minutes for some individuals), while ingestion is about the same as for any other given cannabis edible – Anywhere from 45m to several hours.