We’ve all been there. Good music, good vibes, and a smoke-filled room full of giggles. You’re having a great time, and then, you’re not. Your eyes are red, your gums are dry, and standing up has gone from difficult to….impossible. You’re too high.
A quick Google will return a host of suggestions to help you level out. Drink some water. Take some vitamin C. Order a pizza. Call your mom. Probably don’t do that last one.
Before we get into fixing this, let’s take a closer look at how we got here.
Why You’re Too High
Of all the cannabinoids found in our favourite plant, tetrahydrocannabinol is the one most responsible for you being high. THC is a psychoactive compound that lurks in those beautiful glittery trichomes of the cannabis plant, and if you’re higher than a sputnik, you can place the blame squarely upon THC. It wasn’t your fault. Honest.
THC is in your bloodstream minutes after ingestion. Once it’s in your body, it goes on a tour of all its friends – cannabinoid receptors – which are located all over your body thanks to your endocannabinoid system. The THC then binds to the CB1 AND CB2 receptors, and it’s those CB1 receptors found in the brain, which make you feel euphoric when they buddy up with THC.
The downside of this process is that it can affect balance, memory, motor skills, and more. You’re high. And if you’re too high – i.e., impaired – you have two choices:
- Tap out
- Take action
The choice is yours but likely determined by the situation. If you have things to do, you probably can’t tap out and sleep it off. And if you’re so impaired that you don’t feel good, you definitely want to take action.
You have options here. Keep calm. Don’t panic. It’s easy to overdo it, but you could find yourself in a maelstrom of sudden paranoia. Try to accept the situation, and take appropriate steps to reduce that impairment.
First, get grounded. Take stock. Then take action. Start with a glass of water because you probably have the dreaded cottonmouth – and hydration is never a bad thing, but simply sitting, sipping, and swallowing that water is a good trick to calm down and get basic things like breathing under control.
Five Steps To Take if You’re Too High
Take Some CBD
As far back as 1982, a study found that cannabidiol consumption may positively affect anxiety and other effects of THC. CBD binds to a different site on the CB1 receptor than THC and causes less activation of the CB1 receptor by the THC.
The thing is, the ratio of CBD to THC is important here – make sure your CBD doesn’t contain any THC to reduce the effects of the THC you’re already experiencing. With CBD available in numerous forms, from gummies and chocolate to oils and capsules, there are plenty of ways to get it down you and get it working to curb the effects of your over-indulgence.
Take Some Ibuprofen
The answer to your problem might be more drugs. Tests carried out in 2013 at Louisiana State University found that certain types of anti-inflammatory medicines appeared to counteract the buzz of cannabis and reduce the negative effects on cognitive function. This makes a degree of sense, especially if you’re prone to stoned headaches. If you can tolerate this type of medication, try taking a safe dose.
Eat Some Food
You’re probably going to do this anyway because being high, and eating are integral parts of the THC experience – and it’s definitely the most enjoyable solution on the list. Some argue that food has a mere placebo effect on cannabis use, but the evidence supports the idea that eating can help bring the buzz under control. Smoking cannabis can lower your blood sugar, so your body ramps up hunger as a way of politely tapping you on the shoulder to remind you to eat.
Most people may find that foods high in sugar will counteract the THC’s ability to lower blood sugar and at least take the edge off your high – which is probably why many of us instinctively reach for savoury high-carb snacks or sugary treats rather than whip up a leafy salad when we’re buzzed. Others say chocolate can actually prolong a high feeling as it contains anandamide, which is itself a cannabinoid. For those with diabetes, knowing how to manage your food intake in this situation is a must.
Black Pepper When You’re High
While appearing to be the least likely – and for some the least-enticing – solution on this list, it may come as a surprise to learn that the black pepper theory actually has some good science at its core.
Peppercorn contains a selective CB2 antagonist in the form of a compound called Beta-caryophyllene, which binds to THC receptors in the brain and can, according to Dr. Ethan Russo’s 2011 review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, “tame the intoxicating effects of THC.” Recommendations to chew pepper don’t sound particularly appealing, but the terpene alpha-pinene found in black peppercorns positively affects alertness and might create a calming effect. It’s even been said that just a sniff of pepper can have a positive effect (can a sneezing fit square you up if you’re high?). Proceed with caution.
If Life Gives You Lemons
Terpenes don’t just exist in cannabis plants – they’re found in other plants, too. Limonene can be found in the rind of certain citrus fruits and is a chief component in the citrus oils of lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit. Research conducted in 2012 showed that limonene produces “anxiolytic-like effects” – in other words, capable of reducing anxiety, and may be useful in mitigating anxiety due to cannabis use.
Rather than sucking, chewing, or drinking lemon juice, Healer.com’s Dr. Dustin Sulak recommends the grated rind of the lemon as a possible solution to the effects of cannabis overindulgence. Whatever you do, stay away from mangoes as they contain myrcene, a terpene that has sedative effects and may prolong that high feeling – and while that’s a handy trick to know, it’s no use in this scenario.
Maybe You Should Re-Think what you Smoke
These solutions are a mixed bag of ideas, and range from the delicious (food) to the slightly bizarre (chewing peppercorns), but with a degree of science behind most of them, they’re worth a try.
Simply feeding down your high is usually the easiest and most pleasant method of reducing the effects of overdoing it, but CBD products seem to act fairly quickly and effectively as long as the ratio is appropriate in order to balance out the THC.
Ultimately, prevention is the best cure, and sensible use is a good way to go.
By choosing a strain with low THC and higher CBD, you can enjoy a nice feeling of wellbeing without the psychoactive effect altering your state to an extreme and getting you too high.
For low THC, Seedsman recommends:
Doctor Seedsman CBD 30:1 is an aromatic, mostly-sativa strain with notes of pine and ginger in the taste profile. With high CBD content around 20% and THC below 1%, this strain provides the feel-good factor without the psychoactive effects.
Peyote Wi-Fi CBD 2:1 is an indica-sativa hybrid that offers CBD in the 12-14% range with THC around the 6-8% mark, providing pleasant benefits without the heavy after-effects.
Purple Kush CBD 1:1 Auto is an indica-dominant medicinal strain with earthy, fruity tastes and finely balances a CBD content of 8% with a THC content of 7%, offering a relaxing effect without the risk of anxiety.