Ten Tricks to Come Down From An Overwhelming High

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Your heart is racing, you can’t catch a breath, the room seems to be spinning and your best friends are starting to look like total strangers. With Fangs. Whether you are a veteran marijuana master or a cannabis cub, it can happen to you: You find yourself too high.

It’s happening because the high THC content of your joint (or pipe, or bong or brownie) has triggered an anxiety episode. THC (tetrahydrocannibinol) is the psychoactive component in cannabis. In large amounts it can cause erratic behavior, irrational fear, panic attacks and even psychosis. The good news is that it will pass and you will be okay.  

Many have walked this road before you and survived to tell the tale.  They’ve also taken notes, so here are ten insights on how to slow things down and ride it out.

1. Do Not Panic

First and foremost, remember that, even though you feel totally out of control, it’s going to be okay.  Nobody has ever died from a cannabis overdose.  In fact, research shows that you’d need to ingest 10,000 times the THC in a typical joint to cause an overdose.  Remind yourself that it will be okay and just keep breathing.

2. Hydrate

Cold water, soda and juice can help alleviate your dry mouth. The terpene limonene, found in the peel of citrus fruits, is known to counteract the effects of THC --- so throw some citrus wedges with peels into your beverage.

WARNINGS: 

  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages – they can significantly increase THC blood concentrations. 
  • If you are a regular coffee drinker, caffeine might help you become more focused.  However, if you don’t often partake of the bean or if coffee is inclined to make you jumpy, stay away.

3. Pepper Things Up

According to an article in the British Journal of Pharmacology, pepper has characteristics that make it valuable for treating a range psychological issues, including anxiety. The terpenoids in pepper also work with THC to create a calming effect.  Many cannabis pros swear that taking a deep whiff of pepper, chewing a peppercorn or eating some peppery snacks can help reign in a high.  

4. Eat Pistachios and Pine Nuts

They contain pinene, another terpenoid that counteracts the effects of THC.

5. Leave the Party

If you are at a party and everyone is wired, remove yourself from the commotion and sit quietly.  Take deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth), listen to some tunes or watch TV, and try to relax.  

6. Take a Hike

If separating yourself from the partygoers doesn’t do the trick, a change of scenery and fresh air can do wonders to help you regain focus and feel like you are back in control. Stay away from densely forested areas and roads. If you are extremely high, take your hike with a (calm) friend who is not impaired. No heavy exercise or running, though. The last thing you want is to release endorphins that will crank you up even more.

7. Pop a Pill

Research indicates that ibuprofen may counteract some effects of THC, especially when it comes to memory and mental acuity. If you have access to cannabidiol (CBD) capsules or tinctures, they may also balance the overdose of THC. 

8. Shower or Bathe

A warm, relaxing bath or shower can also help you relax and stop the room from spinning.  Some recommend alternating from hot to cold to hot again.

9. Chat With a Trusted Friend

Sometimes, having someone who will sit and talk with you, whether in person or on the phone, is all you need to pull it together. Choose someone who will assure you that your legs have not turned to bacon and that you’ll be back to normal by morning.

10. Call It A Day (Or Night)

If nothing else seems to work, and if you are able, go to bed.  Sometimes, the best solution is to just sleep it off.  

Know Your Limitations

If you are new to cannabis consumption or are trying a new method of getting high, go slowly.  Vaping, Dabbing and Ingesting can have dramatically different effects than smoking a joint or taking a hit from a bong, so they can trigger reactions you’ve never had before.  

Moreover, edibles can take up to two hours to have an effect, so eating a second brownie before the first one kicks in can agitate an anxious, panicked state. Know the THC content of any edible you try---the recommended dose for beginners is 5mg per serving.  It’s important to know if that marijuana snickerdoodle is one dose or four before you eat a second cookie.

Never Get Behind the Wheel

It’s not one of the steps, but it is the first rule. Never, ever operate a vehicle if you are even remotely impaired, let alone feeling like you are too high.