Blog
What To Do When You're Too High On Cannabis
8 min

What To Do When You're Too High On Cannabis

8 min

Ever find yourself high on weed and wishing for it to end? Maybe it’s a “bad trip” or perhaps you suddenly got called into work, and you need to sober yourself up. Regardless of the exact scenario, there are various measures you can take to reduce the discomfort.

Well, of course you ate the whole weed brownie, even though they told you that you should only have half. And (rightfully so) an hour later, when the stuff kicked in, you got 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 usually lasts.

HOW LONG DOES A WEED HIGH LAST?

How Long Does A Weed High Last?

The length of a weed high varies depending on the method of ingestion and type of weed. The most significant 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, they can last anywhere from 4–8 hours. Edibles tend to be a lot stronger than smoking.

Related article

What Are The Pros And Cons Of Cannabis Edibles?

What causes these differences? When you eat edibles, the THC has to pass through your entire digestive system before entering your bloodstream. During this process, it enters the liver, which converts THC into its metabolite called 11-hydroxy-THC, which crosses the brain–blood barrier more 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 THC, making for a faster but weaker high. 11-hydroxy-THC is excreted from the body much more slowly than THC, making for a longer but slower trip.

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

How to sober up from weed

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 THC to bind to them. This can take the edge off of 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 around for this kind of eventuality. Besides, with the many wellness benefits of CBD, you can’t go wrong!

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, mitigating its effects; CBD actually has a relaxing effect on its own, potentially turning an unpleasant high into a chill and relaxing one.

Tip: If you like smoking weed, having an extra CBD stash ready can be a good idea—just in case!

CBD Fix Automatic (Zamnesia Seeds) Feminized

(83)
Parents: CBD rich clone x Northern Lights Auto
Genetics: Indica-dominant
Flowering Time: 10-11 weeks from seed to harvest
Potency: 0-1%
CBD: 20%
Flowering Type: Autoflowering

• GET TO A SAFE ENVIRONMENT

If you're feeling anxious and paranoid on cannabis, a loud and busy nightclub probably isn't the best place to be. Instead, let someone you trust talk to you in a calm voice in a quiet and familiar environment. Consider going home, to a trusted friend's house, or to somewhere else you feel safe. But just don't drive in your panicked state!

• MEDITATE — DON'T PANIC

A cannabis “overdose” can be an unpleasant experience, but it’s essential 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, focus on a fixed point in your surroundings, then just concentrate on your breathing. Another meditation technique is when you “scan” your body from head to toe, focusing on different parts of your body to relax them. Do this for 10 minutes, and you will find yourself feeling a lot more relaxed. Keep breathing!

Related article

How Drugs Can Enhance The Meditation Experience

• GET MOVING — TAKE A WALK OR 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 high and feeling anxious. So keep close to your familiar surroundings where there is little risk that you may get lost. Remember, you are trying to relax, not have an adventure.

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 it releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that are released when a stressful event occurs or when we’re in pain.

Research (Amir et al., 1980) has shown that endorphins help to relieve stress and can block discomfort. And do you know what else can release those helpful hormones? You may have guessed it: sex! This fun activity 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 to 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 much faster.

• TAKE A SHOWER

A shower can help “jolt” your body back to normalcy. Bonus points if you dare to 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 with a 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 mammals, including humans, have. The cold water impels the body to conserve oxygen stores, slowing down pulse rate and initiating other physiological changes. Ultimately, this results in the body 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 your 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 perfectly 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!

• 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 psychedelic 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 (both board games and video games 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. Who knows, you may create your best art while being high.

Related article

Top 10 Things To Do While Being High

• 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 lie down and take a short cat nap, and things may look much better afterwards! But keep your rest 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 afterward—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 helps them to reduce the impact of an unpleasant high. The reason for this could be that consuming cannabis sometimes leads 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 some juice or a soft drink, or add a spoonful of sugar to some warm 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 at which the sugar reaches your bloodstream.

• EAT & DRINK. PERIOD.

We don’t know precisely 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. Perhaps 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 of hydrating fluids as well, as this will also support your 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!

Related article

10 Best Herbs To Brew A Tea With

• CALL AN EXPERIENCED FRIEND TO TALK YOU DOWN

Lastly, if you have a bad cannabis experience, call up an experienced friend to 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, perhaps causing more stress or panic.

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 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

What Not To Do

Let's not make matters worse! Avoid these impulses—or rumoured 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-pepper drink we suggested before.

However...

...some stoners will swear that merely sniffing peppercorns will get the job done as well, without the fear of possibly choking on them. Take some black peppercorns or ground pepper from your kitchen and try sniffing them for instant relief. Interestingly, those who say that sniffing black pepper helps them are backed by science: an animal study (Bahi et al., 2014) suggests that the terpene caryophyllene, which is an aromatic compound abundantly present in pepper and some other plants, may have a positive impact on anxiety and depression.

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

• DRINK ALCOHOL

Don’t reach for the booze—it’ll only make you feel more intoxicated 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 to cause some serious anxiety. If you really need something to bring up your energy and clear your head, start with green tea—it contains L-theanine, which takes the edge off the caffeine in the tea and produces a calm, focused energy.

Now you know: being too intoxicated on any drug can suck, but at least with THC, you have options! Good luck getting back down to Earth with the tips provided. And remember, if all else fails, it will all be over by tomorrow.

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.
References
  • Amir S, Brown ZW, & Amit Z. (1980 Spring). The role of endorphins in stress: evidence and speculations. - PubMed - NCBI - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • Bahi, A., Al Mansouri, S., Al Memari, E., Al Ameri, M., Nurulain, S. M., & Ojha, S. (2014/08/01). β-Caryophyllene, a CB2 receptor agonist produces multiple behavioral changes relevant to anxiety and depression in mice - https://www.sciencedirect.com
How To News
Search in categories
or
Search