Marijuana: Safety while impaired

Being high or buzzed while doing some activities can be risky. For occasional consumers, smoking, eating or drinking even one serving (10 mg) of marijuana is likely to cause impairment. This affects your ability to drive, bike or perform other safety-sensitive activities.


  • The effects of marijuana peak just minutes after inhaling marijuana smoke or vapor.
  • Wait at least six hours after smoking less than 35 mg THC before driving or biking. If you have smoked more than 35 mg, wait longer.
  • The effects can peak up to four hours after eating or drinking marijuana and can last up to 10 hours.
  • Wait at least eight hours after eating or drinking less than 18 mg of THC before driving, biking or performing other safety-sensitive activities. If you have consumed more than 18 mg of THC, wait longer.


  • Being high while caring for a baby isn’t safe.
  • Don’t let anyone who’s impaired take care of your baby.
  • If you plan to use marijuana, make sure there is another person around who is not using it and can safely care for your children. 
  • Some marijuana can make people feel very sleepy when they’re high. 
  • Marijuana can make you sleep harder.
  • It’s not safe for your baby to sleep with you, especially if you’re high. 
  • It’s not safe to drive a car while high.
  • Don’t let yourself or a loved one ride in a car if the driver is high.
  • Ask your marijuana retailer for more information if you’re not sure about how to use a product safely and responsibly. 
  • For more information about how parents can help keep Colorado kids safe from the potential dangers of alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, prescription medication, and other drugs, check out the Smart Choices, Safe Kids campaign.

Getting help after using too much

  • Eating or drinking too much marijuana can make people very sick.   
    • They may have problems walking or sitting up, have a hard time breathing, or start to feel sleepy.
    • Adults may become very paranoid or irritable.
  • If you’re worried about someone, call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 as soon as possible. Calling is free and you’ll be helped quickly.
  • If a reaction seems bad, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away. 
    • Calling for help in case of any drug or alcohol emergency can save lives. 
    • Colorado law protects people from some criminal charges, such as for low-level drug possession and use, or minor in possession, if they call 911 or seek help for a medical emergency. This is called the Good Samaritan Law.
    • Stay with the person having the reaction, and cooperate with police and emergency medical responders.