Anyone who’s taken cannabis regularly will know the symptoms of a bad trip, either because they’ve had one themselves or know someone who has.
If you’re in the middle of a bad trip, it can seem impossible to stop. There are a few different things you can try to alleviate the symptoms and bring yourself back down to Earth. The best solution, of course, is to avoid having a bad trip on weed altogether. A little knowledge and experience can make a big difference.
Here’s our guide to avoiding a bad trip as well as how to cope if you do get it wrong.
What’s a Bad Trip on Weed?
This is going to vary from person to person. Let’s face it, one individual’s high is another’s nightmare.
Your own psychology will play a part, so will your experience and even where you are at the time. If you’ve ever been too drunk, a bad trip on weed can seem a little like that. It feels as if you’ve taken way too much and you have no control over anything. Of course, a bad trip can happen even only taken a small amount of weed, particularly if you are not used to it.
In severe cases, it can be quite an unpleasant experience. You want it to stop but can’t find a way to ease the high or euphoria. You might see your heartbeat increase, your vision blur and get the sweats. The first time a bad trip on weed occurs it can be a pretty frightening experience. It can also include paranoia and feelings of anxiety.
What Causes a Bad Cannabis Trip?
It could be the particular cannabis strain you have taken. Trying new varieties delivers different highs, even for the most experienced among us. How you take your weed can change your experience too. If you’ve gone from traditional smoking to dabbing, for instance, you may take too much in one go and give yourself a bad trip.
People who consume edibles for the first time might experience a bad trip on weed – they eat too much thinking there’s not much effect, not realizing edibles can take a couple of hours to work. It’s usually not catastrophic and at least you’ll know better next time.
The big thing to remember is that even though you’re having a bad trip on weed, you’re not going to die. It will pass and you will start to feel better. It just might take a while before you come down and feel normal again.
What Are the Symptoms?
As we’ve said, this can vary from person to person. Some of the common symptoms of a bad trip on weed include:
- You might feel your face becoming numb. This can be quite alarming but don’t let it worry you too much.
- You may also start sweating and feel your heart rate or pulse increasing and you might feel short of breath.
- Look in the mirror, and you might find that your face looks pale.
- You may feel increasingly anxious and this can start to spill over into paranoia.
All this might make you think that you are having a psychotic episode but its most likely down to the weed. In some cases, because you feel afraid it can have an effect on your stomach. It’s not unusual to feel sick or even vomit.
The sensation of being too high may mean we’re a little irrational so understanding what is happening is important. It helps if you are with other people as they will be able to calm you down. If you are on your own, the trick is to try and relax and let the feeling pass.
We’ll cover some ways to do this below.
Do Different Types of Cannabis Give You a Bad Trip?
Like changing your drink, trying a different type of weed may well lead to a bad trip, especially if you choose a more powerful strain. Some of the super strong weeds out there nowadays are more likely to do this and you should try to avoid these, even when you are sharing a joint or two at a party. Our advice is to make sure you research what you are taking a little better and tailor your consumption to match.
Top Tips on Avoiding a Bad Trip on Weed
Preventing having a bad trip should be your first priority. With so many different factors involved, including your own personal biology and what’s on offer to smoke, it’s not certain that you can totally reduce the risk of getting it wrong.
- Your environment can turn a normal trip into a bad one. Always makes sure that you’re in a comfortable, reasonably familiar location before you try anything new.
- The same goes for who you smoke, vape, eat or dab weed with. If you’re stuck with strangers you’ve never met before it can exacerbate your symptoms and turn something bad but okay into an experience that’s nightmarish. Take your weed in the company of friends, not strangers.
- If you’re taking a new strain of weed for the first time or using a different method of delivery, start small and wait for the effect rather than going in no holds barred.
- Make sure that you take weed on a full stomach and have water to keep yourself fully hydrated.
- Don’t mix weed with alcohol as it can exacerbate the high and take you out of your comfort zone.
What to Do When You Have a Bad Trip
The first thing to do is understand what a bad trip is so that you know what to look out for. You may find your anxiety levels starting to rise, for example, which is going to be a cue for you to do something about it.
The first thing that you physically want to do with a bad trip on weed is get yourself to a comfortable, hopefully familiar, place. You need to try and tell yourself this is only temporary. It will pass in a relatively short while. If you feel the bad trip coming, excuse yourself from the crowd and find somewhere quiet to sit.
Sweet things may help. Get yourself a sugary drink like a soda and put it down your neck. You can also try cake or cookies and chocolate just to give your blood sugar levels a boost. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, a few cups can lift your awareness but avoid this if you don’t have much caffeine normally as it can be counterproductive.
If you’re feeling panicked or paranoid, it is important to have someone with you to help you calm down and get you through the bad trip. Watching TV or listening to music might seem like a good idea but this can actually intensify your negative feelings if the wrong stuff is played.
Here are some common remedies for dealing with a bad trip on weed:
- Relax: You’re going to be fine and this will all soon pass. Remind yourself that you’re not in danger and think about things that make you feel secure.
- Try a squeeze of lemon: Limonene is a terpene that has been shown to reduce highs so this might help in the short-term.
- Crunch a peppercorn: There’s anecdotal evidence that this works but no research to back it up. Worth a try, however, if you’ve got some handy in the kitchen.
- Get some fresh air: Once you do start to come down a little, some fresh air is a good idea. Make sure you go with someone and don’t wander too far from your base.
- Eat and drink: East something sweet and have plenty of water to flush things through your system. Staying hydrated should help keep the high under more control.
- Talk it through: If you’re paranoid and out of it, it can be difficult to talk with someone but it can help settle you down.
- Rest is the best therapy: When you can, sit back, close your eyes and rest. If you can drift off to sleep, you should wake up feeling a lot better.
Helping a Friend With a Bad Trip on Weed
If you are taking weed regularly, you are likely to come across someone else who is having a bad trip at some point and it’s important to understand how to handle them. You’ll need to be calm yourself and provide plenty of reassurance.
Try not to be too obsessive in helping them but just make sure they know you are there and listen to them if they start having concerns. Make sure they are kept hydrated and don’t let them try any more weed until they have recovered. If they want to go outside for fresh air, accompany them. The last thing you want is for your friend roaming the streets or out in the woods when they are feeling paranoid. While it may feel like the end of the world when you have a bad trip, the main thing to remember is that it won’t last. You’ll soon be feeling better and you’ll be just that little bit older and wiser to boot.