Too High? How to Sober Up from Cannabis Overconsumption
Almost every cannabis consumer has experienced being too high at some point in their lives. While weed can be wonderful when consumed in the right dosage, accidentally consuming too much can amplify anxiety, invoke nausea and create a truly uneasy headspace. Whether you’ve mistakenly eaten an edible with too much THC, smoked too much weed or if you’re just a low-tolerance consumer, don’t worry. You are not alone and will be just fine!
Even the most experienced cannabis connoisseurs have terrible realizations of “I’m too high.” And while this can be a scary place to be, the good news is just that- it’s all in your head. In fact, the National Cancer Institute states that, “cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration, [so] lethal overdoses from cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur.” And it’s true, no one has ever died of a fatal overconsumption of cannabis alone.
So what can you do to lessen your high? When trying to come down from weed it’s important to remember that time is on your side. For now, sit back and relax with these helpful tips on how to sober up from weed.
Consumption Best Practices: Flower Vs. Edibles
Weed can be consumed in a variety of different ways, so it’s important to understand how different methods of consumption influence your high. The process of metabolizing THC varies greatly between ingesting and smoking. When smoking (i.e. combusting) weed, THC is absorbed by the lungs and carried directly into the brain, resulting in an immediate peak of effects, then a rapid decline over the course of approximately 1-3 hours.
In contrast, when consuming edibles, absorption is a relatively slow process. The THC is metabolized by the liver and converted into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is particularly effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier. This process takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours, which makes dosing quite hard to get right. The standard edible dosage is 10 milligrams of THC, which delivers mild effects over the course of several hours. Just remember, the golden rule of edibles is always to start with a small amount and be patient. If you don’t feel anything after 45 minutes to an hour, try taking another small dose.
Utilizing CBD to Counteract Being Too High
Recent studies have helped the cannabis community better understand how CBD could temper the adverse effects many people experience when consuming large doses of THC. Interestingly enough, CBD is currently being used by many as a treatment for psychosis and could be just what you need to come down from an intense high. Although keeping CBD nearby for inevitable bad highs might work, there is a lot more to learn between the relationship amongst all cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. As always, try a few different CBD products to figure out what works best for your specific needs. If you don’t have CBD readily available, there are plenty of other remedies to follow in this article.
Fix Yourself a Nice Meal with Water
If you fell victim to a particularly strong edible, eating something may be your best friend. Following assimilation via the bloodstream, THC seeks to rapidly bind and penetrate fatty tissue. Consuming food rich in fats will cause cannabinoids to bind and metabolize faster, leaving you with a less intense high- and a happy belly. This is also why it’s never a good idea to consume edibles on an empty stomach.
Since we know being high almost always leaves one with the munchies afterwards, treat yourself to a nice meal followed by a glass of water. Bonus if you add black pepper to your meal or a lemon to your water. It’s been speculated that the terpenes in both of these ingredients offer a calming aroma that can mitigate the effects.
Take Your Pick: Exercise or a Nap
Sure, physical exercise might seem tortuous right now (or always), but trust us when we say that it is the best way to come down from a weed high. Don’t let your brain talk you out of this- hit the gym, yoga mat or sidewalk and you will feel better in no time.
Also don’t be alarmed by a fast-beating heart, as it’s completely normal and a sign that you are getting stronger. Your body will begin to release endorphins that remove feelings of stress, anxiety and pain, while the increased blood circulation will shorten the duration and intensity of your high. But don’t get down on yourself if you can’t work out.
Taking a nap is another great cure if you’re too high. Power naps have proven to be very effective because your body releases hormones that seek to repair and replenish your organs. Plus while you’re asleep, you won’t have to deal with a bad high! Try to limit your nap to thirty minutes as we wouldn’t want you waking up extremely groggy.
Be Creative & Express Yourself
The truth is that our brains are pretty terrible at multitasking. The brain is a single unit processor, so try allocating your efforts toward activities that require more creativity, talking and writing so your brain can’t dwell on the negatives. You, in this moment, are your own harshest critic. Don’t worry about what other people think, or even if you are alone. Let those creative high thoughts flow freely outside the grip of paranoia and you’ll thank us later.
If you haven’t experienced this already, paranoia is quite good at latching on and controlling the way you feel and think, but it typically has nothing interesting or even true to say. In fact, paranoia and symptoms of being too high are quite similar in nature. Who’s to say that your particular sensation of being too high isn’t just paranoia in disguise?
Remember Time is on Your Side
Now that you’ve truly experienced how high is too high, go ahead and find solace in the fact that all of this will be over in time. Your internal organs will recover just fine with no lasting harm. Do your best to learn your limits with cannabis and remember, you are not alone just ask Maureen Dowd!
Have you experienced being too high from overconsumption of cannabis? How did you handle the situation. Tell us your own suggestions in the comments below!
Almost every cannabis consumer has experienced being too high at some point in their lives. While weed can be wonderful when consumed in the right dosage, accidentally consuming too much can amplify anxiety, invoke nausea and create a truly uneasy headspace. Whether you’ve mistakenly eaten an edible with too much THC, smoked too much weed or if you
8 ways to sober up from being high
Any cannabis consumer can tell you that if there’s one feeling no one enjoys, it’s the moment when you realize, “I’m too high.” Maybe the edible kicked in three hours late. Perhaps you tried to impress a group of friends by breathing in a little bit too deeply. You might have just tried concentrates for the first time and were caught off guard by their potency. Or maybe you are just a low-tolerance consumer.
There are a thousand ways it can happen, but once it does, the resulting experience can be uncomfortable and enough to turn off even the most seasoned cannabis lover.
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How long does it take to sober up from weed?
After smoking weed, how long you stay high depends on a variety of factors: consumption method, dosage, and unique individual variables that can vary from person to person. Typically, the higher the potency of a cannabis product, the longer the high will last. Concentrates are the most potent form of cannabis, with flower and edibles following behind. This could mean that it would take longer to sober up from dabs than smoking a bowl, however dosage and your body’s chemistry would still be the decider here. It’s also important to note that the everyday smoker with a higher weed tolerance will sober up a lot faster than the occasional consumer who hits the party joint a couple of times.
Anecdotally speaking, the average cannabis high can last anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours at its peak, with some lingering effects still felt for a period of time after. Some highs have been known to last a lot longer. Thankfully, there are ways to help come back down and sober up when you feel too high, overwhelmed, or uncomfortable from excessive cannabis consumption.
Tips on how to sober up from weed fast
1. Don’t panic
Let us start with the infinite wisdom of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
DON’T PANIC. YOU ARE FINE AND EVERYTHING IS OKAY.
Most symptoms of “greening out” (imbibing too much cannabis) will dissipate within minutes to hours, with no lasting effects beyond a little grogginess. Give it some time and these feelings will eventually pass, trust us.
Also, contrary to what you may have heard, there have been zero reported cannabis overdose deaths in the history of ever, so despite how freaked out you may feel or how sweaty you get, you won’t expire from excessive consumption. (Don’t take that on as a challenge, just keep in mind that if you accidentally overdo it, you’ll be OK in a while.)
2. Try water and light snacks
Water, water, water—don’t forget to hydrate! Whether you prefer water or juice, make sure you have a nice, cold beverage on hand (preferably non-caffeinated). This will help you combat dry mouth and allow you to focus on a simple and familiar act—sipping and swallowing.
Keep in mind that by “hydrate,” we don’t mean “knock back a few alcoholic beverages.” If you’re feeling the effects of your strain a little too aggressively, stay away from alcohol as it can increase THC blood concentrations.
Some people find that a light snack helps to feel a little more grounded. Consider grazing on some fruits, nuts, or cheese, and see if it’s a little easier to connect mind and body.
3. Know your limits before consuming
If you can, try to prepare for your cannabis session according to your tolerance level. Okay, this tip won’t help you once you’re already over the edge, but it can help you avoid an uncomfortable situation next time.
Consume with friends you know and are comfortable with, and don’t feel pressured to consume more than you can handle. It’s all well and good to make new friends, but being surrounded by strangers when you can’t feel your face is unpleasant at best and anxiety-ridden at worst.
Take it slow, especially when consuming edibles. We recommend trying a standard dose of 10 mg (or even 5 mg if you really want to ease into the experience) and waiting at least an hour, if not two, before increasing your edibles dosage. The same goes for inhalation methods—if you’re used to occasionally taking one hit off your personal vaporizer, we advise not sitting in a smoking circle puffing and passing for an hour.
4. Keep some black pepper handy
If you find yourself combating paranoia and anxiety, a simple household ingredient found in kitchens and restaurants everywhere can come to your rescue: black pepper. Many swear by the black pepper trick, even Neil Young! Just sniff or chew on a few black peppercorns and it should provide almost instantaneous relief.
5. Keep calm and rest
Find a calm, quiet place where you can rest and breathe deeply. Remember, the intense discomfort you’re feeling will pass. Take deep full breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Focus on the sound of your breath and just rest a while.
Sometimes sleeping it off can be the best alternative to stopping a strong high, but it’s not always easy to turn your brain off. Once you’ve found a quiet area, lay down and let yourself relax. If drowsiness and sleep are quick to onset, take a little nap to rejuvenate yourself. Should you be unable to fall asleep, just get comfortable until you feel strong enough to spring back up.
6. Try going for a walk
If you can’t turn your brain off, sometimes a change of scenery and some fresh air to get your blood pumping will help invigorate you. Just remember to stay close to your immediate surroundings—we don’t want you wandering off and getting lost while you’re feeling anxious and paranoid! And refrain from taking a walk if you’re feeling too woozy or light-headed to stand; instead, we recommend Option #5 and lay down for a while.
7. Take a shower or bath
While it’s not always feasible if you’re out and about or at a friend’s house, if you’re at home, try taking a nice shower or bath as a really pleasant option to help relax while you wait for the effects of smoking too much weed to dissipate.
8. Distract yourself!
All of the activities that seem so entertaining and fun while high are also a great way to distract yourself while you try to come back down to Earth. Some suggestions include:
- Watch a funny cartoon
- Listen to your favorite album
- Play a video game
- Talk to your friends (who are hopefully right by your side, reassuring you)
- Snuggle with your significant other
- Try coloring as a calming activity (seriously, adult coloring books are becoming all the rage lately)
- Eat something delicious
Whatever distractions you prefer, make sure it’s a familiar activity that gives you warm, fuzzy emotions. Your brain will hopefully zone in on the positive feelings and give you a gentle reminder that you are safe and just fine.
Bonus tip: Try some CBD to counter the effects of smoking too much weed
CBD is an excellent anxiety-fighting compound, and for many people it can be used to counteract too much THC. Learn how CBD’s anti-anxiety mechanisms work by modulating the receptor signaling associated with THC.
If all of these suggestions fail and you find that you are still feeling alarmingly uncomfortable, you can always seek medical attention and tell a doctor or nurse that you are having a cannabis-induced anxiety attack. This option is always available, even in states where cannabis is illegal. From a medical perspective, physicians have your best interest in mind and want to do all they can to make sure you’re OK, even if it’s helping you come down when you’re too stoned.
Hopefully, however, the above suggestions were just what you needed to counteract and hopefully stop that too-intense cannabis high. (Or, if none of these work, you could always follow Snoop Dogg’s advice and “put ur face in mayonnaise.”)
How do you stop being high and come down from overwhelming cannabis effects? Share your tips in the comments section!
Authors Lisa Rough and Dante Jordan contributed to this article. This post was originally published on August 15, 2015. It was most recently updated on February 5, 2020.
Learn how to sober up from eating too much edible or smoking too much weed.