If there is one feeling no one enjoys, it’s the moment when you realize that you are too high.Anyone who’s ever consumed cannabis will tell you that overdoing it can potentially result in feelings of paranoia and anxiety.
While over-consumption looks different for everyone, symptoms of overdoing it include:
- High anxiety, panic, confusion, and runaway thoughts
- Decreased coordination, judgment, and perception
- Increased heart rate, headache, and high blood pressure
It happens when you least expect it. Maybe you realised you have got some important stuff to do, or maybe you had just a little bit too much, too deeply… There is no way to kill your buzz completely but you can encourage the high to move along faster with a few tips. Whatever your reason for needing to sober up from a marijuana high in a hurry, here are a few tips to help get you there.
1. Don’t Panic
Let us start with the infinite wisdom of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:DON’T PANIC. YOU ARE FINE AND EVERYTHING IS OKAY.
Find a calm, quiet place where you can rest and breathe deeply. Remember, the intense discomfort you’re feeling will pass. Take deep full breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on the sound of your breath and just rest a while. Most symptoms of greening out will dissipate within minutes to hours, with no lasting effects beyond a little grogginess. Give it some time and these feelings will eventually past, trust me.
Water, water, water — don’t forget to hydrate! Whether you prefer water or juice, make sure you have a nice, cold beverage on hand (preferably non-caffeinated). This will help you combat dry mouth and allow you to focus on a simple and familiar act – sipping and swallowing. Stay away from alcohol as it can significantly increase THC blood concentrations.
3. Take a nap
Sometimes, a quick catnap is all that’s needed to come down quickly. Allow yourself 30 minutes to rest (much longer may cause you to feel even more groggy later) and find somewhere comfortable and away from distractions. Just remember to set an alarm if you’ve got somewhere to be or you may find yourself down for the count thanks to marijuana’s sometimes powerful sedative properties.
4. Take a Shower or bath
Hopping in a cold shower for a few minutes can help you calm down from a marijuana high very quickly. If a shower isn’t available, just splash a bit of cold water on your face. This works because cold water triggers what’s called the “mammalian diving reflex,” or an immediate decreased heart rate, as a means of survival. It will also drop your body temperature, conserve energy and preserve excess oxygen (and thus THC).
5. Eat Something
Word on the street is that food will bring you down from a high. Many use this as reason enough to avoid eating while stoned (at least for a little bit), but it can come in handy for those who want to come down from a marijuana high. Although we’re still not certain why food helps people come down from a high, some suggest that, because fatty foods bind with cannabinoids, they will be metabolized faster. Others speculate that consuming food increases blood flow to the stomach while pulling it from the brain thus decreasing THC’s psychoactive tendencies. Bottom line? A burger and fries never hurt anyone.
6. Distract or challenge yourself
All of the activities that seem so entertaining and fun are also a great way to distract yourself while you try to come back down to Earth. Take your mind off of your unpleasant high by distracting yourself with something challenging. If you have friends over, suggest a game of some sort or pull out a book or video game. Just try to avoid overly complex mind games as they may have you feeling more frustrated than relieved. Some suggestions:
- Watch a funny cartoon
- Listen to your favorite album
- Play a fun video game
- Talk to your friends
- Snuggle with your significant other
If you can’t turn your brain off, sometimes a change of scenery and some fresh air to get your blood pumping will help invigorate you. Exercise is one of the best ways to sober up in a hurry because it causes a release of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are released when a sudden trauma or stressful event occurs with the purpose of temporarily blocking pain signals. This is the same reason a stressful event can take time to “set in” or the reason many report a lack of pain immediately following an injury. When endorphins flow, the stress of your excessive high will melt away, too (plus, it’ll help take your mind off of how incredibly stoned you are). Although you may not always feel like exercising, give it a try and see what happens. Stay close to your immediate surroundings — we don’t want you wandering off and getting lost while you’re feeling anxious and paranoid! And refrain from taking a walk if you’re feeling too woozy or light-headed to stand; instead, we recommend going back to Option #3 and laying down for a while.
CBD is an excellent anxiety-fighting compound, and for many people it can be used to counteract too much THC. CBD works by blocking THC from binding with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain, toning down the effects from THC. Even if you live in a non-marijuana friendly state, you can still order Hemp CBD Oil which is legal in all 50 states and will have the same effect as cannabis CBD. Never hurts to have some on hand just in case.
9. Keep some black pepper on hand
If you find yourself combating paranoia and anxiety, a simple household ingredient found in kitchens and restaurants everywhere can come to your rescue: black pepper. Just sniff or chew on a few black peppercorns and it should provide almost instantaneous relief.
Like pepper, lemons also contain compounds, such as limonene, that have a calming effect.
Eating some lemon or squeezing some lemon juice into your water will counteract some of the psychoactive effects of THC and help you come down.
To get the most bang for your buck, zest the lemon peel into your water, or steep some lemon peel in hot water. The peel contains the highest concentration of limonene.
10. Try Another medicine
If all else fails, you can always try to counteract the THC with other medicines like ibuprofen or if you have a prescription for it, anti-anxiety medication. Ibuprofen is great for squashing a headache. Turns out, the pain medication can also block a marijuana high.
If all of these suggestions fail and you find that you are still feeling alarmingly uncomfortable, you can always seek medical attention and tell a doctor or nurse that you are having a cannabis-induced anxiety attack.
[Updated, originally published 23.11.2016]