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How To Sober Up From A Cannabis High
8 min

How To Sober Up From A Cannabis High

8 min
How To News

Ever find yourself high on weed and wishing for it to end? Maybe it’s a “bad trip”, maybe you got called into work, or maybe you’re just not feeling it.

Well of course you ate the whole weed brownie even if they told you that you should have had only half. And (rightfully so) an hour later when the stuff is finally kicking in you are higher than Edmund Hillary on Mt. Everest! You had way too much and now your heart is racing and you start to panic. What to do? 

Fortunately, you’re more than a passive observer on this journey. There are steps you can take to sober up from weed, and they tend to be effective. Before we dive in, let’s take a look at how long a weed high lasts.

HOW LONG DOES A WEED HIGH LAST?

The length of a weed high varies depending on method of ingestion and type of weed. The biggest variation will come from how you took your weed. If you smoked the raw flower, you can expect it to last 1–2 hours. Concentrates last around 0.5–2 hours.

Even once the high wears off, you might feel “out of it” for the rest of the day. Edibles can last a lot longer. They tend to take 1–2 hours to kick in, and once they do, can last anywhere from 4–8 hours. Edibles tend to be a lot stronger than smoking.

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What causes these discrepancies? Well, when you eat edibles, the THC has to pass through your digestive system before entering your bloodstream. During this process, it enters the liver, which converts delta-9 THC into 11-hydroxy-THC, which crosses the brain-blood barrier easily and hits your brain hard.

When you smoke, the THC enters your bloodstream right away, but most of it crosses the brain-blood barrier as delta-9 THC, making for a faster but weaker high. 11-hydroxy-THC dissipates in the body much more slowly than delta-9 THC, making for a longer and slower trip.

Different strains can produce highs of different lengths. The strongest effects will tend to be within the first hour of the cannabis kicking in, and will taper off from there.

HOW TO SOBER UP FROM WEED

There are a few strategies for getting back on the sober train:

• CBD

Oddly enough, the remedy may come from the same plant that caused the high. CBD modifies your cannabinoid receptors, making it harder for them to bond with THC. This can take the edge off a bad high, and bring you back to earth if you end up higher than you’re comfortable with. Zamnesia offers a wide selection of CBD products, which are good to have kicking around for this kind of eventuality. Besides, with the many health benefits of CBD, you can’t go wrong!

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You can also smoke CBD-rich strains to help you get down from your high. Strains such as  Candida CD-1 by Medical Marijuana Genetics or CBD Fix Auto by Zamnesia Seeds contain a large amount of CBD and less than 1% THC. No matter whether you’re taking CBD oil or smoking a CBD-rich strain, the CBD is not just working as a counterpart to THC, mitigiating its effects. CBD actually has a relaxing effect on its own so that it can turn an unpleasant high into a chill and relaxing one.

Tip: If you like smoking weed it can be a good idea to have an extra CBD strain stash ready – just in case!

Get to a safe environment

If you’re feeling anxious and paranoid, a nightclub probably isn’t the best place to be. Consider going home, to a trusted friend’s house, or to somewhere else you feel safe.

MEDITATE — DON'T PANIC

A cannabis “overdose” can be an unpleasant experience, but it’s important to keep in mind that nobody ever came to harm from too much weed. So don’t panic, and know that the effect will mellow down anyway within a short time. Meditation is a great way to calm your nerves when you’re too high. The good thing is that you don’t need to be an experienced Zen monk to meditate—it’s really quite easy!

Make yourself comfortable, the best is if you sit down cross-legged on a pillow, but a chair or your couch will do as well. Sit upright and close your eyes, and then just focus on your breathing. Another meditation technique is when you “scan” your body from head to toe where you focus on different parts of your body to relax them. Do this for 10 minutes and you will find yourself feeling a lot more relaxed.

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GET MOVING — TAKE A WALK OR GET SOME (S)EXERCISE

How To Sober Up From Weed: Get Some (S)exercise

One of the best ways to get your mind off a bad cannabis trip can be a simple outdoor walk. The fresh air and the change of scenery can do wonders to calm you down and put you into a happy mindset. Obviously, you don’t want to set out to hike up a mountain or out into the wilderness, especially if you’re stoned and are feeling anxious. So keep close to your familiar surroundings where there is little risk that you may get lost.

If you don’t want to leave your home, you can also get some exercise. Exercise can help bring you down from a bad high as exercising releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that are released when a stressful event occurs or when we’re in pain.

The endorphins[1] help with to relieve stress and can block discomfort. And do you know what else can release those helpful hormones? Well you guessed it: Sex! Sex produces endorphins as well along with dopamine which is yet another hormone that makes us feel happy.

GET INTO TERPENE THERAPY:  lemon and pepper drink

Lemon and pepper combine to form a terpene-rich concoction that can help taper off the effects of THC. Pour yourself a glass of water, add some ice, then squeeze in a lemon and some freshly ground black pepper. If you’re also getting some exercise, add in a pinch of sea salt to make this an electrolyte drink.

If you don’t have the ingredients on hand, some good old-fashioned H₂O will do the trick. Gorge yourself on water, and the THC will move out of your system a lot faster.

Take a shower

A shower can help “jolt” your body back to normalcy. Bonus points if you end your shower by turning the tap down to cold—nothing like freezing cold water to ground your body and clear your mind!

It may seem like an old wives' tale, but a cold shower can help for lot of things and getting too high on weed is one of them. Cold water triggers what’s called the “diving reflex”, which is a natural physiological response that all animals, including humans, have. The cold water slows down your pulse rate so that it calms you down and it is conserving energy and oxygen so that the body is processing less THC.

If you don’t have a shower, you can also just splash your face with cold water from the sink as the diving reflex is triggered when cold water hits our face.

RELAX WITH A BATH, A CUDDLE SESSION OR A NICE MASSAGE

If taking an ice-cold shower sounds too hardcore for you, no problem. A relaxing bath can also do wonders if you want to relax. Put on some relaxing music and light some incense or scented candles and you can create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere.

Alternatively, have a cuddle session with your sweetheart or better even, have them give you a nice massage. There is nothing better to soothe you and calm you down!

Incense

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Distract yourself

If you’re panicking, you shouldn’t focus on the unpleasant effect from your weed and get all worked up over it. Distract yourself so that you can get your mind off things. Fortunately, there is a whole list of things that you can do.

Put a movie on that will put you in a good mood. If you want to come down from an unpleasant high, don’t go with the classic stoner mindfuck movies, but keep it fun and relaxed with your movie choices. Cartoons work great and so do comedies like Half Baked, Napoleon Dynamite or Pootie Tang. And of course you can’t ever go wrong with some Mr. Bean or Monty Python. Classic!

What also works well is listening to some soothing music or playing a game (board games and video games both can work well). If you want to distract yourself in a simple and effective way, you can also keep yourself busy with colouring books or other arts and crafts.

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• TAKE A NAP

A nice nap isn’t just great if you’re tired and lacking energy on an average day. It’s also a good way to bring you down from a bad cannabis experience. Just lay down and take a short cat nap and things may look much better afterwards! But keep your nap short, 30 minutes is more than enough. The reason for this is that if you take a longer nap you may just feel more tired afterwards—especially if you've had weed.

If you still have things to do for the day, set an alarm just to be sure you do not snooze through until morning. Otherwise you may fall asleep and may miss whatever things you had planned. On the other hand, if the day is almost done, by all means crawl into bed, nod off for a full night' s sleep and wake up feeling much better.

Drink sugar water or eat sugary foods

The final word on this one is still out, but some say that drinking sugar water or eating sweet foods help them to bring down a bad high. The reason for this can be that consuming cannabis may sometimes lead to lower blood sugar levels, bringing with it negative effects like drowsiness and dizziness.

If low blood sugar is the reason for your bad experience, simply drink a glass of sugar water. You can also snack on some sweets or even better, fresh fruits. Just don’t opt for chocolate, as chocolate can slow down the rate wherein the sugar gets into your bloodstream.

Eat & drink. Period.

We don’t know exactly how eating food can help get us down from a high, but if we may believe many stoners it definitely works. Some won’t eat before smoking weed for that exact reason, as doing so can cut the high shorter or make it less intense. Maybe eating works because the fat in foods binds to the cannabinoids in weed so that your body can metabolise them faster, that could explain it.

Just make sure you drink plenty as well, as this will also support our body in getting rid of a cannabinoid overload. If you’re drinking herbal teas, you can enjoy extra beneficial effects for added relaxation! Just avoid alcohol and anything with caffeine such as coffee or cola when you’re already anxious from too much weed. More about that later!

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Call an experienced friend to talk you down

Lastly, if you have a bad cannabis experience, call up an experienced friend to have them talk you down. If you’re panicking because you had too much weed, the familiar voice of your friend can already be a big help. Just make sure that the friend you have chosen to call knows about the effects of weed: the good ones and the bad ones. Otherwise, they may not really understand your situation.

If you’re talking to your friend, it can also be a good idea to tell them to call you every half an hour or so to check on how you’re doing. This is helpful, as we often you lose track of time when we’re high. The friend checking on you regularly can assure you that everything is OK and that there is no need to panic.

What are your tips for when you are getting too high from cannabis? Let us know in the comments!

WHAT NOT TO DO

Let's not make matters worse! Avoid these impulses - or rumored fixes - when you are too high on Cannabis:

Chew on peppercorns

Many sites will give this advice, but “chewing raw peppercorns while high” could be in the dictionary next to “choking hazard”. Skip this and go with the lemon-peppercorn drink.

However...

...some stoners will swear that merely sniffing peppercorns will get the job done as well, without the fear of possibly choking to death. Take some black pepper corns from your kitchen and try sniffing them for instant relief. Interestingly, these who say that sniffing black pepper helps them are backed by science: An animal study[2] suggests that the terpene caryophyllene, which is an aromatic compound in pepper and some other plants, may help with anxiety and depression.

Interestingly, this terpene works like the cannabinoids in weed as they are interact with CB2 cannabinoid receptors in our body. So there may indeed be something to it when people say that sniffing black pepper helps them mellow their high.

Drink alcohol

What Not To Do : Drink Alcohol

Don’t reach for the booze—it’ll only make you feel more high and messed up.

Drink coffee

If you get called into work, you might be tempted to start pounding back the espressos. Not the best idea—the jitteriness of caffeine can interact with THC for some serious anxiety. If you really need something to bring up your energy and clear your head, start with a green tea—it contains L-theanine, which takes the edge off the caffeine and produces a calm, focussed energy.

Being too high can suck, but at least with THC, you have options! Good luck getting back down to earth, and remember, if all else fails, this will be over by tomorrow.

Arielle

Written by: Arielle Friedman
Arielle is based out of Toronto, Canada and loves topics relating to the brain. When not writing she enjoys making art, learning about bioremediation, and trying to prevent the robot apocalypse.

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Disclaimer:
We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

External Resources:
  1. The role of endorphins in stress: evidence and speculations. - PubMed - NCBI - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6250104
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com

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