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Can You Smoke Weed and Feel High the Next Day?

There are multiple reports online of people trying cannabis for the first time, only to get “stuck in a loop” where an altered mind-state persists for days, weeks, or even months. Is there any scientifically proven reason for it? Will you have long-lasting side effects? Curious about why this happens or how often it happens?

Some users report that the subjectively positive effects of cannabis stay with them long after they would be expected to wear off. However, it is more common for individuals who experience a negative first-time cannabis experience to report persistent, unsettling, and negative after-effects.

How often do first-time cannabis users have negative, long lasting effects?

First off, it’s important to state that it appears to be only a small minority of first-time users that experience this effect. Exactly how many is not clear, as official figures do not yet exist on many cannabis-related matters. In the future, as legal cannabis becomes more widespread, a clearer picture should emerge.

Is it normal to still feel high the day after first using cannabis?

It seems to be fairly common for new users to use a lot of cannabis during a session then go to sleep at night, only to wake up the next day still feeling high. The typical duration of a cannabis high is almost invariably stated to be 2-4 hours. One would expect that a good night’s sleep would be more than enough time for the body to process the THC and for normal consciousness to resume.

It is important here to note the difference between people who experience a cannabis “hangover” the day after a session and those who state that they still feel subjectively high. The former usually report feeling “groggy”, “burnt out” and “half-asleep”.

This may well be something to do with the fact that cannabis use reduces time spent in REM sleep (an important stage of sleep in which we dream, and thereby refresh and repair various mental processes). This appears to be a different phenomenon from those who claim to still feel “high” or “stoned”.

In contrast, the people who genuinely seem to experience an extended high use descriptors like “in a daydream”, “blazed”, “afterglow”, and “delightful”—generally positive and enjoyable.

How can the positive aspects persist for days?

Most of these reports are of feeling high the next morning, but there are also reports of people who continue to feel high for several days. One individual reports feeling “blazed” for up to six days after using cannabis. Another talks about his “delightful” experience the day after his “very psychedelic” first use of cannabis.

It is not clear what causes some new users to feel subjectively high for days after using cannabis. It is possible that for some, the breakdown of THC into its metabolites in the liver (which are then secreted in the urine) occurs at a slower rate than in others. This would allow the THC to circulate in the bloodstream for longer, giving it an extended chance to reach the brain, encounter CB₁-receptors, and cause psychoactive effects.

Another possibility is the route of administration. Eating cannabis edibles often leads to a delayed peak concentration of THC in the blood, as the cannabinoids are usually dissolved in the fat used to make the edibles.

Fat releases the cannabinoids slowly into the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal tract, compared with the rapid administration achieved with smoking, vaping and sublingual sprays, which deliver cannabinoids directly to the bloodstream via the mucous membranes of the mouth. Also, since THC builds up in the adipose (fat) tissues, those with more body fat may experience a slow release effect of THC.

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But what about persistent negative effects?

By far the most common negative effects reported by first-time cannabis users are anxiety, paranoia, panic, confusion, disorientation and depersonalization. Again, most of those who experience these negative effects do so in the days or weeks immediately following use of cannabis, and then find that normality quickly returns.

However, a small percentage of people state that their intense negative feelings persisted for weeks or even months. In some cases it caused such an unprecedented disturbance to normal life that psychiatric treatment was sought.

Anecdotal reports of these persistent negative effects sometimes include the experience of suicidal thoughts and a desire to self-harm. However, it is problematic to assume a causal link between cannabis use and suicide. Those who report such feelings may simply be suffering from or at risk of a separate mental illness. Some studies have associated cannabis use with an increased risk of suicide, but others have noted that in several U.S. states, suicide rates have dropped since medicinal cannabis programs were implemented.

The truth probably lies somewhere in between. Cannabis use may increase suicidal thinking in certain susceptible individuals. On the other hand, there are those who suffer from chronic pain or intractable illnesses, which is thought to be a risk factor for suicide. Since cannabis has been shown to have therapeutic benefits that alleviate chronic pain and suffering, it’s reasonable to say that cannabis use may actually reduce the risk of suicide in some cases.

Why do some people experience these negative effects?

This is a complicated question, and one that science has been trying to answer for decades. However, it’s also a question that overlaps heavily with the general study of cannabis and its effect on mental health. This makes it an area of research that is muddied by bias and politics. Thus, getting a clear answer is difficult. It’s arguable that a clear answer doesn’t even exist yet, as we are still far from having all the facts.

It is interesting to note that in a book written in 1980, High Culture: Marijuana in the Lives of Americans by William Novak, the author states “bad trips on marijuana are statistically minuscule, but they do occur—especially the first time…But the vast majority of first-time experiences are either neutral or pleasant”.

While negative first-time experiences are certainly still in the minority, the sheer number of modern reports implies that some increase in their incidence may be occurring. After all, most regular smokers today know at least one or two people who “couldn’t handle” their first time. This phenomenon may correspond to the increase in THC relative to CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes that has been occurring in commercial cannabis varieties over the last few decades. Or it may simply be a result of residual chemicals present in poorly-grown cannabis.

Increased THC levels may be responsible

The market for cannabis in the Western world has so decisively shifted from imported, outdoor-grown varieties containing relatively little THC (and few pesticides, if any) to indoor crops grown with commercial nutrients and chemicals.

With most plants, there are specific chemicals and pesticides to be used and that use is dictated by the governing body’s regulations, such as those from the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA (at a federal level). But at least in USA’s case, that doesn’t apply to cannabis since it’s still illegal on a federal level. Therefore, those growing cannabis have no clear guidance on what can or should be used and when. No such oversight likely means at least some of today’s cannabis in the Western world are more contaminated with chemical residue.

There’s also the fact that relative THC content has increased over these last few decades.

THC content has risen dramatically in more recently developed strains in much of the Western world and more and more people are getting access to these high-strength strains. We’re now hearing about strains that have up to 40 percent THC. In 1980, levels that high were unheard of with the average THC content being less than 10 percent.

Nowadays, average THC content isn’t 35 percent, but it’s certainly higher than the 1-10 percent range. In 2008, the UNODC stated that average content was approximately 10 percent. In Colorado in 2015, the average was apparently more like 18.7 percent!

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THC really does seem to cause short-term psychosis

We have so much evidence connecting THC with short-term psychotic effects that it’s fatuous to ignore it. While we have little reliable evidence that it causes long-term psychiatric illness, we certainly do have evidence that acute administration of THC causes a state comparable to psychosis in the short term.

It’s likely that some of the more susceptible individuals among us (who may be more susceptible due to genetics, state of health, or various other factors) can experience a THC-induced psychosis-like state, which may persist for some time. For most of these people, this state will eventually go away. For a small subset of them, this THC-induced state may trigger an underlying mental illness.

This is not the same as THC itself causing the mental illness, as they would probably become mentally ill without any cannabis use. The cannabis use could speed up or possibly exacerbate its onset, though. So while THC shouldn’t currently be blamed for causing mental illness, its short-term psychosis-inducing effects are extremely important to study.

What’s the evidence for THC causing psychosis?

From 1972, an Iranian report on narcotics highlights a case of a policeman with no previous history of psychosis who “went into a very violent excitement with paranoid delusions, struggling to get hold of his rifle to shoot his imaginary persecutors” after “a bout of bhang drinking”. Of course, this was during a time of intense controversy on recreational use of cannabis. A time with plenty cases of wild propaganda and unfounded statements about cannabis use (ever see the movie Reefer Madness?!). So how much truth there is in this story we may never know for sure.

Then in 2005, we have two case studies of “cannabis acute psychosis”. Two “regular but occasional” users experienced “depersonalization, paranoid feelings and derealisation” after oral administration of THC. Both felt “well” the next day, with no recurrence.

Another 2005 study states “even the critics have accepted that psychotic symptoms can be induced by cannabis, and that such symptoms generally wear off quickly and with complete remission”. However, this study did find a very strong association between cannabis psychosis and later development of paranoid schizophrenia, backing up the concept that cannabis psychosis can act as a trigger for underlying conditions.

In 2009, an excellent review on the existing literature on cannabis and acute psychosis was published, which states “generally these psychotic symptoms are transitory (minutes to hours) but there have been a few reports of symptoms persisting for weeks (…) severe or persistent psychotic reactions are rare, and are more likely to occur in individuals with a pre-existing psychiatric condition”.

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Should you be worried about your own usage?

Again, it is crucial to bear in mind that these persistent negative effects are unusual, and that most people have a pleasant first time using cannabis. Furthermore, even if you find yourself experiencing feelings like those described herein, it is important to try to remain calm and rationalize your experience.

Feelings of anxiety, paranoia and depersonalization in first-time cannabis users are usually temporary. They are the result of using a powerful psychoactive substance. Many people who experience these feelings immediately begin to question their own sanity. Just keep in mind that it is a natural reaction to a powerful substance. This should help reassure you that you are not insane, and you will feel more confident that normality will return imminently. Whether or not this attitude will speed the return of normality is unclear, but it can certainly make a huge difference to one’s state of panic and fear while experiencing unusual feelings.

If this altered state continues to persist beyond a few days, it may be advantageous to seek psychiatric help to help identify any possible existence of an underlying condition. Again, if this is the case, it does not necessarily imply that cannabis has caused any such illness. It is also possible that the temporary altered mind-state simply “paves the way” for its onset.

It may be possible to reduce the risk of psychotic symptoms appearing by choosing varieties of cannabis that are high in CBD, which is well-known to counteract the psychoactive effects of THC. This is perhaps the most important consideration. But it is also worth keeping in mind the importance of a relaxed environment, a full stomach, a hydrated body and a clear head, when first using cannabis.

Comments

28 thoughts on “Can You Smoke Weed and Feel High the Next Day?”

It is not the cannabis it is because without you even knowing it your fight,flight modus go on i was a heavy smoker for 10 years smoking 1kg each year and i got it twice atm i still got dp bc of anxiety bc i was smoking while i had corona felt like i could not breath and getting pain on my chest and i did got in a panick attack the problem is when you are stuck in this you start breathing faster and your heart starts to beat even faster, i stopped smoking high thc and switched to high cbd bc if you know something about cannabis it is the cbd that s making you sleepy and calm not the thc, to everyone still stuxk in this try secretnature cbd buds it will make you relax and going from flight or fight mode in 2 rest and start working on your anxiety problem that was prob already there sometimes you read dp is a state and it is for ever but this is no true it s bc of your brain it is a defense system for your brain this is why you feel like you are outside of your body just play some music, concentrate on your breathing and start relaxing nothing is wrong and it is also not a psychosis than u would be seeing other things than the reality so do not worry be happy and relax than this will go away but be sure you fix that anxiety problem before smoking again or switch to high cbd

I had to search up on how long you can feel the positive affects of thc and this popped up. I’ve been taking 5 mg gummies for a couple of months now once a week. I feel positive effects for at least 5 days after i take it. I don’t eat them for the sake of getting high but i wanted to reduce depression without taking prescriptions. So far, it’s been working. I feel happy and content. For the first time naturally in a decade.

I was relatively new to cannabis and smoked 3 days in a row. In the last day I smoked a lot; last hit just before bed. In the next morning I felt normal, eat breakfest and started working. Then 4 hours later something clicked in my brain. I felt like I was high again. Now it has been around 2 days and I still feel this way. I got a little paranoid for a while, but now I have taken control over it. There is basically nothing to do about it. You just have to embrace it and accept it. I feel like it’s hard to concentrate and I constantly get lost in my taughts. It’s easy to mistake these feelings to the feeling of being high. Still it’s not the same. I’m not high. It’s just not physically possible. The only cure is time. Wait and relax. I noticed that alcohol is a good way to relax. Drink a beer. I also like to meditate and train my focus/concentration. Just take some thing you need to do and force yourself to concentrate on it. Watch a movie. Something. Just don’t overthink it. Now as I write this, I have to confess that I have noticed an increase in creativity. I feel like different languages come’s to me more easily. I get new ideas more frequently, etc. So if you just accept the “negative effect” and concentrate in the positive side of things, you can see light in the end of the tunnel.

PS: Still if I feel this away after a week or so, I will go to the doctor and hope I get something that helps me concentrate.

Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience and tips. You might find this article on tips for less experienced cannabis users helpful too!

With best wishes,

My Name Is arsha., I was 17 years old when I first started smoking weed, at first it was cool but the second time I smoked I got stuck in a state of feeling high. I tried so many ways to deal with it but I failed,, it was very scary that I was even admitted at hospital,, sometimes I couldn’t understand what people around me were saying nor to hear my voice when I talking to people.. sometimes I would feel like someone is talking to me or calling my name. it lasted for about a year and six months… after that duration I started feeling myself but not completely so. then around this year I tried it again and got stuck again but this time things are different because I have experienced this before so it does scare me like the first time but the problem now is I can’t reason nor communicate with people. I Can’t determine the level of my voice, sometimes I do feel like I’m talking inside my head but talking out, I can’t understand what people are saying.

My name is Denise and I’m 62 years old. When I was about 17 I was on a camping trip with a dozen or so friends. One night, a few went off to get high and invited me along. I had tried smoking cannabis several times, but nothing happened. Frustrated, I thought, “What the heck! Sure, I’ll give it a whirl…Probably I’ll just feel nothing again. This is getting ridiculous”…Determined to try to feel SOMETHING from smoking, I naively took several REALLY long, deep hits-holding it as long as I could in my lungs. A couple of minutes passed and boy! Did I feel something!! I first noticed my cheek was wet. Wiping it away, I wondered how the heck my cheek had gotten wet? Suddenly, I realized… I was crying!! And I tell you, it scared the shit out of me! I looked inside myself and thought, “What the hell IS this?? I’m not sad about anything…what the heck am I crying for”?? Not being much of a cryer, this was VERY weird. My body was crying- all on it’s own- which seemed completely disconnected from ME and what I was feeling. Then, I had a frightening, full blown hallucination: I noticed an old man wearing a slicker, standing in the dark, rainy night and holding aloft a lantern. He crossed the arched stone bridge which spanned the river where we were camped, and scuttled up to the window of the car I was in (almost like a quick, creepy spider)! Holding his lantern up, he leered in at me, and telepathically conveyed he was going to arrest me! (Turns out-there WAS a river where we camped. There was NO bridge, old man in a slicker, or lantern anywhere)! This was all in the first 5 minutes of me being high. I won’t bore you with the night’s further details. Suffice it to say, my one experience of getting high started off in this awful way and just went downhill after that. I finally got to crawl into my sleeping bag, and just kept telling myself to go to sleep…you’ll wake up in the morning and all of this will be over. Which it was, thank God! But the experience completely knocked away my sense of self-confidence. And unfortunately, for the next 3 years, or so, I suffered from pretty severe panic attacks. I thought perhaps I was being punished for breaking the “rules” and smoking grass. Went to a Psychiatrist for a year, but that provided no help. He just analyzed my dreams for a year…very discouraging. Still, I mentally kept trying to talk myself back up to a place of confidence again. I kept challenging myself to go places I was scared of, to try to fight the panic that threatened. Eventually, I seemed to “outgrow” it. It felt like I just slowly matured out of it. With age, and having supportive, loving family where I was safe and secure, I got to a place where my disgust and disdain for this panic, (and it’s control over me), outweighed the strength of the panic attacks. Finally-they faded away. I never smoked again, or even felt tempted. Now, being older with a lifetime of experience behind me, I suspect I just got WAY too much THC in my system and it knocked me completely out of kilter. Recently, I decided I will try cannabis again. Due to several health reasons I believe it may be able to help with. My health concerns don’t fit within the acceptable medical guidelines of my state, but cannabis was just recently made legal for “recreational” use here. And so, with great reverence, I will try the tiniest amount of CBD Critical Cure I can. If I can handle 1 toke without freaking out, I will likely try another toke after 20 minutes. And that’ll be it for me…until we see what happens! I also plan to have black peppercorns on hand, along with lemon peels, (to combat panic), water to drink, snacks for any munchies, and my wonderful, experienced Husband by my side (who WON’T be high), to provide a boost of confidence and provide reassurance if needed. Likely will have some really good music on hand and maybe some adult coloring books to distract myself with if necessary. So wish me luck! In spite of everything, I believe Cannabis is a wonderful plant. Just like us Humans, it is “of the Earth” and I believe it is largely beneficial to people when used with respect and high regard. Good luck to us all, whether we ever use again or not. Blessings to you all.

Thank you for commenting and for sharing your story with us! We wish you the very best of luck with your new adventures in cannabis, and hope it all goes well. It sounds as though you are well prepared, but you may also find this post on things to consider before trying cannabis for the first time, and this post on what happens when you white out on cannabis, interesting too. Please do let us know how it goes.

Some new cannabis users can get “stuck in a high”. These effects can be positive or negative, but normality usually returns quickly with no long-term effects.

Can you really get a secondhand high or contact high?

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Contents

  1. Is THC active after cannabis smoke is exhaled?
  2. Are there any other studies on secondhand highs?

You’ve probably heard the term “ secondhand high ” before. Also known as a contact high, the concept has become a popularized plot point in films and TV shows. You may have even been to a smoky concert hall yourself and walked away feeling a little lightheaded, even if you never took a single puff.

This could be concerning for those who fear that exposure to secondhand weed smoke could get them involuntarily stoned or cause them to fail a drug test . Therefore, it’s important to know whether second-hand cannabis smoke can get you high or enter your system.

So, do you have to inhale weed to get high ? Or can you really get a secondhand high from being around other people smoking cannabis? Is it really a thing?

According to a 2015 Johns Hopkins University study — the answer is both yes and no.

Researchers started with a dozen people — six cannabis smokers and six non-smokers. In the first experiment, all 12 subjects spent an hour together in a small unventilated room, during which time each smoker went through 10 “high-potency” joints (with 11.3% THC content). Afterward, the non-smokers reported feeling “pleasant,” more tired, and less alert. And sure enough, their blood and urine tests came up positive for THC .

The second experiment repeated the scenario, but this time in a room with ventilation . The non-smokers in this experiment later said they felt “hungry” — the study did also finish up around lunchtime — but none of them tested positive for any noticeable amount of THC .

Researchers concluded that being exposed to marijuana smoke under “extreme conditions” can indeed give non-smokers a contact buzz. Outside of that very limited scope, though, any secondhand effects you might feel around cannabis smoke are likely to be the result of the power of suggestion. You can’t get high from catching a whiff of someone’s joint while walking down the street, but you will feel some effects if you are sitting in an unventilated enclosure filled with smoke, also known as hotboxing.

In other words, if you spend a lot of time in a small room with the windows sealed shut while your friends are smoking, your blood and urine might test positive for THC and you might feel its effects. But outside of that, it is more likely that your “contact high” is all in your head, so to speak.

Is THC active after cannabis smoke is exhaled?

If we pull a page from the 1999 British Journal of Anesthesia , we learn that the lungs absorb most of the THC when cannabis smoke is inhaled. Researchers have discovered that approximately fifty percent (50%) of THC and other cannabinoids present in cannabis cigarettes, or joints, make it into the smoke and are inhaled.

“Experienced smokers, who inhale deeply and hold the smoke in the lungs … virtually all of the cannabinoids present in the mainstream smoke enter the bloodstream,” leaving very little THC in the surrounding air to be inhaled and absorbed by a passive inhaler.

In order to get secondhand high, you would need to be in an unventilated room for some time to feel anything, otherwise the cannabinoids will have disappeared into the air before even reaching you.

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When considered together, this and the 2015 Johns Hopkins study show you would need to be in an unventilated room for some time to feel anything. More than likely, though, the cannabinoids will have disappeared into the air before even reaching you.

Are there any other studies on secondhand highs?

Studies performed during the mid- to late-1980s investigating the mystery of the secondhand high determined that the acute toxicity of cannabis was extremely low, therefore making it difficult to feel the effects without direct inhalation. While their conclusions may still apply, cannabis has changed over the years and the studies may need reexamination.

The THC potency of cannabis has increased as cultivation techniques and technologies have advanced. In the early 1970s, the average joint contained roughly 10 mg of THC, whereas a modern joint may contain 60-150 mg of THC or more. The THC potency in today’s marijuana flowers is far greater than the weed from the 1960s and 1970s, therefore much of the early research produced from studying secondhand highs may be outdated.

While there’s an abundance of research demonstrating the adverse health effects of secondhand exposure to cigarette smoke, there is little evidence to suggest that secondhand marijuana smoke carries the same detrimental health risks as tobacco smoke. Considering that past research has found marijuana smoke to be less carcinogenic than cigarette smoke , there’s doesn’t seem to be an immediate public health concern regarding secondhand weed smoke. That being said, as long as you’re not stuck in a poorly ventilated room during a heavy smoke session, you shouldn’t be concerned about feeling stoned or having THC enter your system.

Can you get high from smelling weed in the air or walking through the remnants of secondhand weed smoke? No, it’s highly unlikely you’ll experience a secondhand high or have cannabis byproducts show up on a drug screening. As the 2015 Johns Hopkins University research study shows, in order to catch a secondhand high, you’d have to be under extreme conditions and lack proper ventilation.

Nonetheless, weed smokers should still be respectful of people who don’t consume cannabis. The next time you spark one up, try to be aware of your surroundings and make an attempt to keep the smoke and strong odor away from non-smokers. To enjoy a smooth smoking session without affecting your non-partaking neighbors, cannabis users should spark up in well-ventilated areas to ensure passive inhalers will not feel the effects of the smoke or test positive for weed.

Ever wonder if you can get high from smelling weed? Learn if you can really get a secondhand high.