We’ve all been there: You took an extra puff on a joint, decided to dab before you were ready or ate an edible that was stronger than you thought it’d be. Before you know it, the rush of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—cannabis’s psychoactive component—to your system has got you feeling anxious, paranoid and dizzy.
These common consequences of marijuana overconsumption can happen to anyone, even the most experienced of users. Regardless of how you got there, we’ve got your back. Here are a few ways you can combat (or at least distract yourself from) the unpleasant effects of having had too much cannabis.
Whether it’s via vape or sublingual, consuming a fast-acting CBD product can help calm your anxieties and bring you back to level ground within minutes of ingestion—one to two minutes with vaping, 15–30 minutes with sublinguals tinctures or sprays. CBD can influence THC’s effects on our body by modulating the way THC interacts with the brain, thus giving CBD the ability to dampen THC’s psychoactive effects.
Black peppercorn is often thought of as the classic home remedy for excessive marijuana consumption, but science may soon show why it tends to work. Black pepper is rich in terpenes—aromatic compounds that can interact with THC in your body, thus influencing the type of high you might feel. Cannabis itself contains a medley of terpenes, but they can also be found in certain foods.
In his seminal paper, about how terpenes interact with components of the cannabis plant to produce synergistic effects, neurologist Ethan Russo muses that the terpene pinene in black pepper might lend the user mental clarity, while the terpene myrcene can add sedative effects—both of which are beneficial to those in an over-stimulated state.
Hydration is always key, but especially when you’ve consumed too much cannabis. Drinking water will help with the cotton mouth you’re likely to feel, and it can distract you by giving you a simple activity to partake in.
If you have lemonade or another citrusy beverage available to you, consider sipping on those—citrus is cited in numerous historical texts as an antidote to cannabis intoxication as far back as the 10th century and as recently as the 1930s. Terpenes again, may be the reason behind this ancient remedy. It may be that the terpene limonene, which is what gives lemons and other acidic fruits their citrusy aroma, interacts with the THC in your body to alleviate that too-high feeling.
Try to find a quiet place where you can lie down and relax. Some people may find it helpful to turn off the lights—this can help calm an over-active brain.
Sleeping off a too-intense high is a good option, if it’s available to you. If you can’t sleep, remain calm, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Overall, you must remind yourself that the discomfort will pass.
When you’re too high, you’re your own worst enemy, so the best thing to do is distract yourself. Remember all of the things that are actually fun to do high? You can still do them:
Find a way to occupy your mind. By focusing on other things, you can help keep anxiety and paranoia in check.
The number one thing you should tell yourself when experiencing a cannabis overdose is that all of your discomfort will eventually pass. Remember, there’s never been a documented case of someone dying as a direct result of consuming too much cannabis—that’s likely because cannabis doesn’t act on the brainstem, where key life functions like breathing are controlled.
If you find that none of these suggestions are working, and you’re feeling increasingly uncomfortable, you can always seek medical attention—even in areas where cannabis is illegal. Doctors and nurses are trained with your best interest in mind, and perhaps all it’ll take to calm your nerves is being in the care of a medical professional.
Do you have a special way of counteracting a too-intense cannabis high? Share your suggestions with the community in the comments section below.
Photo credit: Mikhail Vasilyev