How to Get Rid of a High
Medical marijuana effectively manages physical and emotional symptoms thanks to its THC and CBD content. These cannabinoids enter the bloodstream and bind to receptors along the endocannabinoid system, helping regulate many bodily processes to ease the debilitating symptoms of chronic diseases.
THC is the psychoactive compound that creates the high marijuana users experience. For patients, it helps ease tension, anxiety, and other symptoms of certain medical disorders. Sometimes, individuals need to try various strains and doses of cannabis to determine what’s appropriate for them.
Your biochemistry, history with cannabis, metabolism, and specific medical condition(s) will influence how marijuana affects you. It’s not uncommon for people to consume a large dose of cannabis and experience an uncomfortable high. Keep reading to learn more about how to resolve that problem.
What Happens When You Get Too High?
Your mood and physical state can influence how your body reacts to marijuana. It’s possible to experience different highs even with the same strain and dosing. As a result, everyone who uses cannabis should know what to do if they get too high.
An uncomfortable high can result from taking too high a dose of marijuana, using a more potent strain than you’re used to, or changing your consumption method. In general, smoking has the fastest-acting and most intense effects. Edibles are slower acting but longer lasting.
Generally, becoming too high results in exaggerated and prolonged side effects. The presentation will vary from person to person. Most people feel anxiety or paranoia that may lead to panic, fear, and distrust. These effects can intensify because being too high can cause visual and auditory hallucinations or delusions, which create a feedback loop to paranoia and panic. This excited state can alter your judgment.
While being too high is not dangerous to your health, injury is possible if you take risky actions in response to your altered perceptions.
How Long Does THC Stay in Your System?
Generally, smoking gets you high immediately and lasts for a few hours. The effects of edibles take a few hours to become apparent but last up to ten hours. Sativa strains are more associated with head highs and will cause the most pronounced psychological effects.
Even after the high wears off, THC remains detectable in your system but does not cause any psychoactive effects. Depending on how frequently you use cannabis to manage your symptoms, it remains in your system for weeks, even after you discontinue marijuana use.
Many, but not all, states offer employment protections to registered patients. It’s vital to check both local laws and your employer’s policies to confirm their stance on THC.
Strategies for Getting Rid of a High
Give it Time
The only way to completely get rid of a high is to wait for it to pass. You cannot purge the THC from your body, so you must allow it to metabolize and lose its psychoactive effects.
The best thing to do is wait in a safe place with a family member or friend who is not high. Reminding yourself that the high is temporary will help you remain calm while waiting for the effects to wear off.
The telltale sign of being too high is panic and paranoia. These conditions worsen if you begin worrying or fixate on your altered state. Standard relaxation techniques, like breathing exercises or focusing on an immersive activity, can help you remain calm and distracted rather than lost in your head, which can worsen anxiety induced by the high.
Not eating before you smoke weed can increase the chances of becoming too high or experiencing a “bad high.” Eating once you are too high can kickstart your metabolism and draw your attention elsewhere as you focus on the meal. There is anecdotal evidence that high-carb and high-fat foods may help.
Limited scientific evidence indicates that pine nuts and citrus fruits may help diminish the effects of weed. Researchers believe the terpenes in these foods may clear the mental fog that results from being too high and create calm. It’s also important that you keep drinking water while high.
Studies show that cannabidiol (CBD) can somewhat counteract the effects of THC, potentially easing your high. Research is ongoing, but CBD products engage different receptors than THC. As a result, its calming effect may ease tensions and panic caused by being too high. CBD oil may also help you sleep, allowing your high to pass even easier.
Hydrating can help regulate your body and ease dry mouth, which sometimes results from being too high. Drinking fluids can also focus your mind, distracting you from potential anxiety-causing thoughts or fixations.
Do not drink alcohol or coffee to address your cannabis high—just pour yourself a glass of water. Alcohol can intensify the adverse effects of cannabis consumption. Coffee can induce anxiety and elevate heart rate, which you certainly wouldn’t want either.
Ingest Black Pepper
Black peppercorn contains beta-caryophyllene, a terpene that can increase mental clarity and ease anxiety by helping you resist delusions. Black pepper also blocks CB2 receptors, enhancing the THC’s sedative effect. This response can help you sleep through your high.
Some recommend taking deep breaths of ground pepper from a shaker. Be careful not to inhale the particles. You can also chew on two or three peppercorns for a similar effect.
Take a Shower or Bath
Depending on your preference, a shower or bath may help. A hot shower can be relaxing and release tension throughout your body. A cold shower, on the other hand, shocks the body and lowers your heart rate. The shower can help you reset mentally and reorient yourself.
Be careful when showering. Being too high can alter your coordination, increasing the risk of a slip and fall.
Take a Walk
A 15-minute or longer walk provides a distraction from your high, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and can jumpstart your metabolism. Try to walk somewhere without a lot of people while still maintaining your safety to avoid the risk of panic about being too high in public. Getting some fresh air can go a long way toward expediting the dissipation of your marijuana high.
Seek Medical Help
Being too high is not dangerous or life-threatening. If you’ve tried the above techniques without success, the next step should be reaching out to a sober family member or friend who can help you relax and reassure you everything will be fine.
If you cannot calm down or hallucinations prompt uncharacteristic actions, you can seek medical care. However, there is no treatment for being too high. Providers will only offer fluids and supervise you while you wait out your high.
John DiBella is a medical marijuana advocate, owner of The Sanctuary Wellness Institute, and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about medical marijuana, he enjoys hiking, camping and sailing.