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What To Do If You Get Too High
Perhaps you tried edibles for the first time and did not know what to expect. Or perhaps you tried edibles for the dozenth time, but this day was different and you have no idea why. Maybe you’re experimenting with smoking or vaping to help treat insomnia but have not quite mastered the strain that best suits your body. Heck, maybe you smoked your favorite strain, but instead of retreating to the couch like usual, you decided to pursue a crowded mall. Then, the abundance of mall-goers, babies crying, and elevator music poked a nerve that swept a feeling of horror over your body.
Whether you’re feeling too high right now and just googled, “what to do if I get too high,” or you’ve recently had a few awkward experiences, you are not alone. Feeling too high is common and the bottom line is you will need to ride it out until the THC is fully processed. Luckily, we have a few tricks that can help ease the discomfort.
First, don’t freak out
We know telling you not to freak out when you are already freaking out is not always helpful. You simply cannot will yourself into zen mode, but hopefully this fact will resonate if you’ve ever felt like you might be dying from being too high. No one has ever, or will ever, die from the feeling of being too high. But “what if I’m the first victim?” you may ask.
Second, know that you can’t overdose on cannabis
Your body’s cannabinoid receptors — the chemicals that bind to THC — are not located in areas of the brainstem that control respiration. Therefore, a lethal dose does not exist, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Third, understand that what you feel is “normal”
Feeling too high feels anything but normal, but as far as symptoms are concerned, your situation is not unique. The effects below are very common when feeling too high.
- Heart palpitations
- Dry mouth
Here’s why you feel too high
We continue to emphasize “feeling too high” as opposed to “being too high” because cannabis affects everyone differently regardless of the actual quantity ingested. Perhaps you legitimately smoked too much marijuana. Or maybe you only took a few puffs, but you were triggered by an uncomfortable situation into a deluge of negative thoughts spiraled into intense physical effects. Regardless of the reason, you want the feeling to pass, immediately.
Now, try these 5 tricks to help you feel less high
Disclaimer: the tips below are all about how you can trick the body and the mind into feeling less high. Tricking the body will help calm the nervous system and bring your thoughts back from the brink of insanity, all the way to planet earth. These tips will not speed up the processing of cannabis, but they can help to counter some of the adverse effects.
1. Drink water or lemonade
Drinking water will help hydrate the body, which can combat the overwhelming feeling of dry mouth. Drinking may also help draw your attention away from the freak-out and towards a simple, harmless act.
Lemonade helps hydrate the body but also adds extra elements that are known to interact well with THC. Fresh lemons contain the terpene limonene which is known to help counter the psychoactive effects of THC on the brain.
- Do not drink caffeine or alcohol. Alcohol can increase THC blood concentrations and caffeine can speed up the heart. Stay away!
2. Sniff or chew black peppercorns
Black peppercorns have been shown to help immediately combat anxiety. According to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, the terpene in peppercorn, beta-caryophyllene, has very similar traits to cannabis, binding to the same receptors in the brain. When consumed with cannabis, peppercorns can have a noticeably calming effect. To try this trick, simply chew on whole peppercorns or squish and sniff.
3. Talk it out (to your friend or your pet)
One of the most dreaded effects of feeling too high can be the ruminating thoughts inside your head, swirling around telling stories of fear, regret, and doubt. These stories start growing a life of their own until you’re convinced that your colleague is out to get you. So take a moment and pause, open your mouth and start unleashing the demons. Call a friend and tell them what’s on your mind, or confide in your furry friend. The sooner you can release the thoughts from inside your head, the sooner you can receive feedback and begin to question their legitimacy. At this point, you’ll be in a much better position to control, rather than be controlled the mind.
4. Try alternate nostril breathing
At the risk of sounding too woo-woo, yogis have been using breath to control the mind and body for thousands of years. They were certainly on to a very real fact about the power of breathing. Latest research into mindful breathing shows that drawing attention to inhalation and exhalation helps you relax by calming the nervous system and slowing down the heart rate.
Try this ancient breathing technique by plugging the left nostril and breathing in through the right side, expanding the chest until your lungs are fully filled. Then, plug both nostrils and hold the breath for five seconds. After five seconds, release the left nostril and exhale fully. At the bottom of the exhale, hold again for five seconds. Repeat this cycle for 5 – 10 minutes and notice a sense of relaxation within the mind and body when you are done.
5. Try CBD
If you happen to have CBD oil lying around, this may be one of the single best tools to combat the feeling of being too high. CBD is a non-intoxicating compound found in all cannabis plants that studies have shown can counteract the cognitive effects of THC. When extracted into an oil, pure CBD can start working within three minutes. CBD works by calming excess activity in the body’s endocannabinoid system, which can lead to anxious feelings.
Try a tincture of CBD, like from Tikun Hemp or Tikun’s Avidekel strain, which is world renowned for its restorative and soothing properties. Dose recommendations are as individual as you, but we suggest starting with a few drops of oil under the tongue and waiting 30 minutes to assess the effects. In the meantime, make yourself a glass of lemonade while you allow the CBD to work its way through the body.
How to prevent getting too high
“Know your limits” is easy to say but not so easy to know, especially as a new cannabis consumer. Let’s illustrate the point by harkening back to the early days when you first started drinking alcohol perhaps. You probably enjoyed countless nights of good clean fun, but you also might have ended up face-first in a toilet bowl more than you’d like to remember. Eventually, you realized you couldn’t go shot for shot with the boys and found the type of drink that best serves your body. You began to understand your limits. Sure, you may’ve still spent a couple of nights in the toilet since then, but you are much more aware today.
Alcohol and cannabis are not the same substance, but the same principle applies. You must take time to mindfully test different strains and doses. You must also determine your intentions and the best setting to consume.
To avoid those “head in the toilet” moments of feeling too high, we suggest microdosing with different strains to slowly build tolerance and understand the type of cannabis that works best for you. Microdosing is described as consuming small amounts of cannabis, sometimes as low as 1-2 mg on a consistent basis. Microdosing might mean vaporizing one or two puffs at a time or taking a single drop of cannabis oil from a tincture. Microdosing can lead to health benefits with little psychoactive effects, which allows you to slowly build upon the dose until you reach a “comfortable high.”
2. Choose the right setting
“Set and setting” is a phrase coined by Harvard psychologist Timothy Leary, to describe ideal conditions under which to take mind altering substances. According to this theory, people with a predisposition to social anxiety or who are new to cannabis, should absolutely consume in a comfortable environment. Preferably a location with access to a bed and privacy. Ingesting cannabis in a safe place will allow you to avoid the paranoia sparked by wondering what others may be thinking, doing, or feeling.
3. Choose to set your intentions
Ask yourself, “Why am I smoking today and what do I want to feel?” If you are a medical cannabis consumer, you may be smoking to resolve your insomnia, nausea, tremors, pain, or anxiety. If you are an adult-use consumer, you may be smoking to relax, boost your appetite, laugh more, or simply feel more creative. Consider your why and then consider the best strain, time, and setting to achieve the desired results. If your goal is to sleep deeper, you probably don’t want to consume that indica strain while you still have errands to run. If your goal is to laugh more, you may want to pre-select a funny movie and choose an energetic sativa strain. Your answers to these questions will determine the best strain and terpene profile.
There you have it. A few quick tips to avoid the dreaded sensations of feeling “too high.” Like any substance, cannabis can occasionally yield unpleasant side effects, regardless of how hard you work to prevent them. But cannabis’ power to heal and inspire are characteristics worth experimenting to find a dose that’s right for you.