Acute intoxication from marijuana can have a variable length of action, but the sensation of euphoria or ‘high’ it induces can occur as soon as 10 minutes after intake and, depending on how much you use, may last anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. In contrast, when you consume marijuana in an edible form, the drug must first pass through your digestive system before it can enter the bloodstream and exert its effects. This leads to a slower onset of effects, usually between 30-60 minutes, as well as longer duration of effects lasting anywhere from 3 to 8 hours.
While the immediate effects of marijuana typically subside within hours, it’s entirely possible that it may take days in order to feel entirely back to normal. If you’ve developed dependence to the drug, you are almost certain to experience some degree of withdrawal that sets in 24 to 72 hours after cessation of use. Thus, recovering from marijuana can be hugely frustrating: right as you overcome its acute effects, you feel other symptoms starting to kick in. Withdrawal symptoms usually reach peak intensity over the first week, and largely resolve after 1-2 weeks, although symptoms can certainly persist for weeks to months after quitting (Bonnet, Drug Alcohol Depend, 2014). Sleep disturbances, which are hallmark of marijuana withdrawal, may last up to several weeks. While these symptoms are self-limited, and will eventually go away on their own, that doesn’t mean they’re tough to deal with. Jump to our section on Marijuana Withdrawal to read more about the specific withdrawal symptoms.
Finally, it is unclear how long the physiologic effects from long-term marijuana use, such as Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome or decreased sperm count, may last after quitting marijuana. Active research is ongoing that will hopefully determine the impact that long-term marijuana use has on the body.