If you consume cannabis, there’s a good chance that you’ve taken it a little too far and had a little too much at one point or another. Maybe you kept smoking that joint when you really should’ve stopped. Or perhaps you ate an edible that was stronger than you’d anticipated.
Suddenly your head feels strange. It’s hard to think clearly. You’re not so coordinated. Your heart races. Your breath feels labored and your mouth dry. You’re dizzy and confused, maybe sick to your stomach, and your mind is anxious and paranoid.
Welcome to being too high.
While it’s easy to get too high, it can feel impossible to reverse your situation once you get there. And the cannabis-induced anxiety and paranoia can make it feel like you’ll be high forever. But don’t worry; your bad trip will end. Thankfully, there are a few tricks you can use to turn your experience around quickly.
Here are six ways to turn your bad high around.
1. Stay Calm & Wait It Out
The most important advice to remember when you’re feeling overwhelmed from overconsuming cannabis is to stay calm. No one has ever died from a cannabis overdose, and your feelings of (extreme) discomfort will subside.
Sometimes it’s a simple matter of reminding yourself that you’re OK, and that when people get too high, they feel anxious. It can be easy to spin out and think a million different things are going wrong. But really, your system is just overstimulated. If all else fails, you can always wait it out.
2. Hydrate & Eat a Snack
Of course, waiting it out should be your last resort. If you can fix your situation quickly, then go for that option. One easy way to start turning your high around is to make sure that you’re hydrated and well fed.
Sometimes we forget about these basic needs when we’re focused on the intensity of being too high. Some of the effects you’re experiencing may be related to being dehydrated or hungry. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should binge on chips and drink several litres of soda. Eat a light and healthy snack, and drink some water. Your body will thank you for it.
3. Eat Terpene-Rich Foods
While you’re snacking, consider adding some terpenes into the mix. Terpenes are chemicals that contribute to the taste, smell and effects found in cannabis, but they’re also found in different types of food. Terpenes are also known to alter the way that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids affect the person taking them.
Because of a process known as the entourage effect, the effects of cannabis can vary greatly depending on what combination of cannabinoids and terpenes are present.
The terpene beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is found in some cannabis strains as well as black pepper, hops and rosemary. Chewing on black pepper is a cannabis-high antidote that you may hear about from a marijuana pro. (Apparently even Neil Young has recommended chewing on black peppercorns to calm cannabis-induced paranoia.)
And the science seems to back this home remedy up. BCP has been shown to interact with the CB2 cannabinoid receptor in animal subjects. So, if you find yourself too jittery after consuming marijuana, try nibbling on some peppercorns to naturally counteract the psychoactive THC you’ve ingested.
Or perhaps you’re feeling like your mind is too hazy and lethargic? Try drinking some citrus juice. Limonene, a terpene that can help promote mental alertness and mood elevation, is found in most citrus juices and many strains of cannabis.
4. Supplement With Cannabidiol (CBD)
Terpenes aren’t the only way to shift the effects of your cannabis. You can also use CBD to reduce the negative side effects of THC. CBD is known for its ability to reduce the negative side effects of THC, such as increased heart rate, anxiety and paranoia. This occurs because both THC and CBD bind to the CB1 receptor. While they bind to different parts of the receptor, CBD’s binding actually changes the shape of the receptor, which seems to prevent THC from fully binding to it.
The result? You experience fewer negative side effects. But you still get the positive benefits of CBD like anxiety relief, relaxation and lowered inflammation.
Keep a bottle of CBD oil with you whenever you consume high-THC cannabis. If you get too high, just hold a few drops of the oil under your tongue, and let the CBD do its work. You’ll likely feel much less high in a short period of time.
5. Distract Yourself
If you don’t have any way to shift the chemical balance of your high, there are still things you can do to help make your experience less uncomfortable. One way is to use a simple, easy and enjoyable activity to distract yourself.
Taking a walk is a good example of an activity that could distract you from how you’re feeling. It can be a great way to regain a sense of connection to your body and spend a little time out in nature. Just keep your walk some place close to home so you don’t get disoriented or tired while you’re out.
If walking sounds like too much to handle, stay home and engage in something else that’s simple and easy to focus on. You could:
- Watch a funny movie or TV show
- Colour in a colouring book
- Listen to lighthearted music
- Talk to a friend who makes you feel comfortable
You’ll still be pretty high, but the pleasant activity can make the situation more enjoyable, and soon you may find that your feelings of panic and helplessness have disappeared. Usually the peak of your cannabis experience will be the most intense, and that doesn’t usually last for very long. So distract yourself for a little bit. You’ll come back down to a more comfortable level before you know it.
6. Get Some Rest & Take Care of Yourself
If all else fails, and you can’t seem to get your high back on track, stop trying and just rest. Sometimes, your body just needs a little kindness and self-care when it’s overstimulated from too much cannabis. Turn down the lights, put on something comfy and crawl into bed.
Focus on just being nice to yourself and give in to the experience—it will only last so long. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to drift off to sleep and wake up feeling much less high. If you can’t sleep, just rest and let your body recover.
Then promise yourself that next time you’ll be a little more careful and that you’ll try not consume more cannabis than you need.
Photo credit: Matthew Henry