Even the most seasoned cannabis enthusiast has a story about that time they overdid it and scrambled to find out how to sober up from weed. Though marijuana has medical and therapeutic uses, including reducing anxiety, smoking copious amounts of potent weed can send a consumer into a tailspin fraught with anxiety and paranoia.
Researchers aren’t alone in their work to understand how to mitigate any negative side effects of weed. The ever-innovative cannabis community has uncovered some valuable insights about how to come down from a high that gets too intense. While there are no known reports of someone experiencing a fatal marijuana overdose, it is possible to feel uncomfortably high, with euphoria and relaxation replaced by anxiety and paranoia. Not everyone knows how to stop being high.
Unfortunately, smoking yourself sober is not an option. Instead, the first and perhaps not-so-obvious step is to stop smoking if you feel uncomfortable after consuming cannabis. It’s also crucial to be overly cautious when ingesting edibles, as the full effects can take several hours to kick in and tend to pack a powerful punch. If you’re wondering what to do when too high on flower, edibles, or concentrate, here are some quick tips to show you how to come down from a high that gets too intense.
Ingest Black Peppercorn
That’s right. The same kitchen ingredient used to spice up your food also can simmer down your high. Black peppercorn has demonstrated the ability to provide near-instant relief for those overcome by cannabis-induced paranoia or anxiety. Chew a few whole black peppercorns, grind peppercorn on food, or, very carefully, smell ground pepper.
A 2011 review published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that cannabis and black pepper have related chemical traits. Author Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher, wrote that terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene found in peppercorn can help “tame the intoxicating effects of THC.” Beta-caryophyllene and THC form a synergistic relationship and bind to the same cannabinoid receptors, creating a calming effect.
Add Some CBD in the Mix
Decades of research have shown that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, can reduce THC-induced anxiety and paranoia. In a February 1982 study published in Psychopharmacology, researchers examined whether CBD could reduce anxiety from THC. The study concluded that CBD “might be involved in the antagonism of effects between the two cannabinoids.” A more recent study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology on Jan. 27, 2013, also found that when CBD was consumed alongside THC, it appeared to lessen the adverse effects of anxiety and paranoia.
More research is needed to reaffirm the synergistic effects of CBD and THC, but integrating some CBD oil or a high-CBD strain into your next smoke session could be an effective remedy for an unwanted buzz.
Stay Hydrated, Eat More
Here’s an easy one that you should remember no matter how stoned you are: Drink water. Staying hydrated can calm you down after consuming a bit too much herb. Not only will a glass of water help douse cottonmouth, but it also will allow your overly concerned mind to focus on the simple procedure of sipping and swallowing.
Some people also find relief from eating a snack, drinking orange juice, or munching out on the entire contents of the refrigerator. However, be cautious about what kind of juice or drink flavor you choose, because mangoes contain the terpenoid myrcene, which has shown the ability to enhance and prolong the effects of THC.
Take Some Ibuprofen
A number of common anti-inflammatory drugs, such as the widely used ibuprofen, has been shown to tame marijuana’s buzz. Sobering up by mixing ibuprofen and weed can be an effective, over-the-counter solution for how to kill your high. In a 2013 animal study conducted by researchers from the University of Louisiana’s School of Medicine, the team found that certain types of anti-inflammatory medication appeared to counteract the stoned effect of cannabis and reduce negative effects on cognition.
When Life Gives You Limonene …
Terpenes are the aromatic oils that give each cannabis plant its own distinct smell, flavor, and effects. The same way that CBD and THC combine to create an “entourage effect,” the variety of terpenoids found in cannabis and other plants seem to have a synergistic relationship with the other cannabis compounds. A citrusy terpene called limonene, which is found in the rinds of citrus fruits and in certain strains of cannabis, has demonstrated the ability to reduce anxiety. A 2012 study into this terpene found that it produced anxiety-reducing or “anxiolytic-like effects,” which could translate positively into a treatment for cannabis-induced anxiety.
Take a Deep Breath and Relax
Sometimes all you need to remove a bad high from your headspace is a meditative approach in a comfortable (and, if possible, familiar) setting. If you happen to feel like your heart is racing or feel an anxiety attack coming on, try to relax. Chances are the discomforting feeling will pass in no time. Close your eyes and take deep breaths, remind yourself that everything is going to be fine.
Seek Distractions, but Easy Ones
Go for a walk, put on your favorite music or television show, have a conversation with a stoned companion, anything that will help distract you from the sudden bout with cannabis-induced anxiety. By shifting your attention from how high you are to an enjoyable activity, you’ll probably be able to shed that uncomfortable marijuana high in no time.
Take a Shower
The soothing, refreshing action of water on your body can calm a too-high high quickly. Think of it as a form of mental hydration, a hygienic way to wash away the ills of too much THC. Even splashing cold water onto your face should help restore your calm, decrease your heart rate, and ease your mind.
And just to make sure your marijuana high doesn’t go overboard in the future, make note of what and how much you consumed, and next time, practice moderation.
Feature Image: Photo by Tony Brown/Weedmaps News
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