Using cannabis is usually a very pleasant, calming, enjoyable experience, but from time to time, many users experience the discomfort of getting a little bit too high. You might become agitated at the fact that you forget what you’re doing, or forget words, or you might become anxious or paranoid instead of relaxed. Some of the ways that marijuana affects your patterns of thought or your interpretation of physical sensations might feel uncomfortable. But, these things pass, and there are things that you can do to make them pass more quickly. In this article, I’ll explore some tips that will help you get through those uncomfortable times.
First, prevention. The easiest way to avoid an uncomfortable high is to know your limits and make sure you don’t exceed them. This is relatively easy to do if you’re smoking or vaping. THC absorbs rapidly through the lungs, so you’ll feel the effects almost immediately. If you don’t, just take a few minutes between hits and you can make sure you won’t overshoot your comfort level. Edibles are a little bit trickier. I don’t recommend taking more than 10mg of THC your first time. Also, note that edibles don’t take effect as quickly. Give them time. Don’t make the rookie mistake of taking one edible, feeling nothing fifteen minutes later, and taking a second edible only to float away into space two hours later when they both kick in.
But, enough about prevention – what do you do when it’s already too late, and you’re uncomfortably high? The first step is to stay calm, remind yourself about the effects that cannabis can have, and remind yourself that they are temporary. You can’t overdose and die on marijuana, even if you were to sit down and smoke a blunt the size of a telephone pole. You wouldn’t like it, but it definitely wouldn’t kill you.
Cannabis has the potential to make you feel anxious and paranoid, but if you’re aware of those effects, you may be able to dismiss those feelings. Be mindful, and remind yourself that those feelings are simply a part of the chemical reactions in your brain. If your heart starts pounding, remind yourself that an elevated heart rate is just another potential effect of the cannabis – not anything harmful. You may find yourself struggling to hold onto a train of thought, or forgetting words. At the height of your paranoia, you may worry that you’ve done some sort of damage to your brain. Remind yourself that you haven’t. These effects will wear off with the others. You may feel groggy or dehydrated in the morning, but that’s all.
If you do much (or any) reading about psychedelics, you’ll hear the term “set and setting” pretty frequently. Where you are and who you’re with is crucial when using psychedelics, but it’s worth devoting some thought to when using cannabis as well. You should be around people you trust, in an environment that you find familiar and relaxing. If you get a bit too high for comfort, try changing your environment. If you’re alone with your thoughts in a dark room and that makes you uncomfortable, chill with some friends for a while. If you’re already with friends or in a high-energy environment and feel overstimulated, try going off by yourself for a breather.
On the other hand, sometimes you need more stimulation. If your mind is racing, find something to distract yourself with. Movies, video games, playing an instrument, drawing, or even just listening to music can be some enjoyable ways to calm down and enjoy your high.
Aside from moderating your thoughts and staying calm, there are a few other things you can do to “sober up” or come down from the high a bit. Strangely enough, one effective method is to drink some lemon juice or sniff some black pepper. These two foods sound unrelated, but both share certain terpenes with cannabis. Terpenes found in lemon can help bring you down from a high, and black pepper contains a terpene that can reduce marijuana-induced anxiety and paranoia.
If anxiety is a common occurrence for you when you use cannabis, consider finding a high-CBD strain. Doctor Joe Cohen, a holistic cannabis medicine practitioner based in Denver, recommends that you keep a fast-acting CBD tincture on hand. The CBD absorbs into the bloodstream in just 3 minutes, and then begins counteracting the less-pleasant effects of the THC.
Finally, just wait it out. You can do things to sober up more quickly, and you may be able to reclaim and enjoy an initially stressful high… but at the end of the day, you can’t just stop being high. You have to wait for it to run its course. So, remind yourself that your fear and discomfort is all temporary, relax, and you’ll feel better before long.