Whether you didn't know your limits, your edible kicked in a few hours late, or you took a huge bong rip just before getting called into work, we've all experienced the agony of being way too stoned and needing to come down fast.
The important thing to remember in times like these: While an intense high can feel uncomfortable, it's not a life or death situation. No deaths from overdose of marijuana have ever been reported. Most symptoms of “greening out” fade within a few minutes to a couple of hours. Which, of course, can feel like a lifetime when you're baked out of your mind.
Luckily, there are a few tactics you can try in the meantime to reduce the effects of THC and start to feel normal again. Here are five things to do when you're too high and need to come down fast.
Take really deep breaths
If you get too high, it's natural to start freaking out. Unfortunately, stressing only makes things worse. Deep belly breathing, also called diaphragmatic breathing, instantly activates the “relaxation response” of your parasympathetic nervous system. This causes your blood pressure, heart rate, and adrenaline and cortisol levels to return to normal.
When diaphragmatic breathing, visualize filling up the lower part of your lungs and abdomen with air, then exhaling slowly. Try inhaling through your nose and exhaling through pursed lips, like you're blowing out a candle. Repeat as necessary.
One of the worst things about getting too high is the dry mouth that makes you feel like you're chewing on a cotton ball. Drinking plenty of cold water can alleviate this unpleasant sensation and help you come down faster.
The science behind it is pretty straightforward. When you smoke, eat an edible, or otherwise consume marijuana, the THC surges through your bloodstream and makes its way to the brain. Since our blood is largely made of water, upping your water intake can help flush the THC from your body and make you come down faster.
You're probably aware that CBD is an active compound in cannabis that can help reduce anxiety and inflammation without making you feel stoned. What you might not know is that CBD can also balance your buzz and soften the psychoactive effects of THC when you've smoked too much.
If you're too high and need to come down fast, reach for a CBD tincture or oil and put a few drops under your tongue. Hold it there for 60 to 90 seconds before swallowing. A tincture is the fastest way to reap the benefits of CBD because the capillaries in your mouth absorb the ingredients quickly and send them straight to your bloodstream.
Reach for a lemon
Lemons have long been used as an antidote to cannabis, and can lessen the psychoactive effects of THC. The citrus fruit contains a terpene called limonene that is rapidly absorbed by the body and is known for its medicinal properties. It is thought that the anti-anxiety effects of limonene help relieve the uncomfortable feelings associated with being too stoned.
To use lemons as a marijuana antidote, make some lemonade from scratch. Squeeze the juice from a lemon into a glass of water and add a little bit of zest from the peel. The outer rind has the highest concentration of limonene and will help counteract your buzz.
Chew on black peppercorns
Similar to lemons, there is a terpene in black pepper called beta-caryophyllene that can help you cope with the anxiety that comes with being too high. Beta-caryophyllene binds to the same cannabinoid receptors in the brain as THC, producing a calming effect on the mind and body.
Chewing on two or three black peppercorns — or smelling ground peppercorns — will block your THC receptors and help you come down quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Milk Kill Your High?
Milk has not been found in research to counteract THC on a compound level. But milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan that can calm down the brain (why people would say, drink a glass of milk before bed). Keep in mind that milk contains only small amounts of tryptophan, likely not enough to induce sleep but a subtle calm.
What Does the Phrase “Too High” Mean?
The term “too high” is subjective, of course, and factors like weight, age, sex, physical health, and environment all play a role in how one will be affected by cannabis. While no deaths have occurred from an overdose of weed, the feeling of being “too high” depends on the person and their experience with cannabis.
How Do You Help Someone Who is Feeling Too High?
Start by getting them some water and encourage them to eat. Encourage deep breathing, and take the person to a calm and safe space. If all else fails, encourage rest. Help the person get to a place where they can safely sleep it off.
Why Does Taking a Shower Seem to Kill Your High?
Exposure to cold water has been found to make people alert, something that could help one “coming down” from a high, and science gives us a few reasons as to why. Cold showers (30-90 seconds around 40 degrees) trigger deep breathing which increases oxygen levels and cardiac function, improving circulation, lowering blood pressure. In addition, there is one 1994 study that shows cold water drastically helps to decrease uric acid levels, a 2008 study showed they can decrease depression and quickly turnaround depressive symptoms.
Is it Normal to Still Feel High the Next Day?
Yes, depending on the amount of THC you ingested, it is normal to feel high the next day. Edibles with high doses of THC will often be felt for 4-6 hours but could be felt as long as 9 hours, depending on the dose, which could mean well into the next day.
What is the Longest You Can be High?
The intensity and duration of the high you feel depends on your age, weight, sex, and other health factors. Additionally, the method of consumption and ingredients in the cannabis product can affect how much and how long a high might last.