How long do we stay high after using cannabis?

The legalization of cannabis is at the heart of many debates, accompanied by a number of questions and concerns in light of its possible medicinal and recreational use. Scientists wonder: How long do the effects of this drug really last? Disclosed in ScienceAlert, a meta-analysis (synthesis of several scientific studies on the same subject) reveals that a consumer can remain under its influence for three to ten hours.

While the relationship between alcohol consumption and intoxication has been questioned many times over the past decades, impairment after cannabis use has never been entitled to scientific research until 2021.

For this study, Danielle McCartney, a nutritionist at the University of Sydney (USYD), and her team referred to eighty separate analyzes that looked at the harmful effects of the main psychoactive component of cannabis: tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as “THC”.

To know the impairment of cognitive functions in individuals under cannabis and its duration, the researchers reviewed 1,534 people who had been subjected to a driving test. “The results showed that the deficiency can last up to ten hours if high doses of THC are taken orally. Nevertheless, the usual duration is four hours when lower doses are given during smoking. reports Danielle McCartney.

Although most driving skills typically return to normal within five hours of inhaling cannabis, this time frame varies depending on several factors: THC content, how the drug was consumed and the regularity of the plug.

This last feature is of particular interest to scientists. “Appreciation is much more visible in occasional users than in regular users. Regulars show a high tolerance to the effects, although they do not avoid some changes. notes Thomas Arkell, behavioral pharmacologist at USYD.

Establish fair legislation

Several questions remain. Knowing that the effects don’t last as long from one person to another, how can we predict how much cannabis impairs each user’s abilities? How to establish a fair law?

“Our jurisdiction must catch up and focus on the interval where users pose a greater risk to themselves and others, suggests Iain McGregor, psychopharmacologist at USYD. Accusations based solely on the presence of THC in blood or saliva are unfair, as it can be detected in the body weeks after ingestion. However, we know that the shortage lasts much less long.

More research needs to be done to best characterize the effects of THC. This information will thus help to sharpen the advice given to patients, make recreational users aware of the consequences of cannabis, but above all to guide the legislation.

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