hero image

The society is increasingly accepting cannabis as it continues to be legalized in different states. With this comes a question of how to make marijuana legal yet safe. For example, is it okay to use recreational marijuana while operating heavy machinery or doing tasks that require some level of concentration like driving, and if yes, what’s the limit?

Using existing studies

University of Sydney researchers used 80 existing cannabis studies to analyze the marijuana impairment window. All these studies were focused on moderate to high doses of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes the high.

According to researchers, THC can keep you high from 3 to 10hours. Of course, this is a huge difference, but several factors determine how long the high lasts, including method of consumption, the intensity of THC consumed, and how regularly you consume THC.

In a university release, Dr. Danielle McCartney, lead author of the study from the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, observes that legal medicinal and recreational use of marijuana is increasing. She further adds that this has led to many legal users having questions on how long after using marijuana they can safely resume safety-sensitive tasks like driving or operating heavy machinery.

The study revealed that impairment can last up to 10 hours if consumed orally as in edibles in high quantities. However, the more standard impairment duration is bout 4 hours if the marijuana is smoked or vaporized. This impairment can extend to 6 hours if higher amounts are smoked or vaporized, and the task to be undertaken is harder.

THC tolerance

Ultimately, how long marijuana impairment takes differs from case to case. This can be attributed to the fact that using marijuana regularly develops a sort of tolerance where you require more marijuana to achieve the same level of high the more you get used to it.

Additionally, there are so many ways to consume marijuana nowadays. For example, medicinal marijuana sometimes comes in tablets or capsules. These pills take a while to make you high but have a longer-lasting effect.