How to Come Down from a High

While consuming cannabis is mostly safe and most users report positive effects, just like with anything, there’s the possibility of consuming too much. Perhaps your edible product took too long to start affecting you and you doubled your dose? Maybe you inhaled too much? Or perhaps you tried concentrates for the first time and didn’t expect the potency. No matter what, you can always come down from a weed high. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, signs you may have taken too much cannabis include:

  • Confusion, sometimes extreme
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Panic
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • And in some extreme cases: delusions or hallucinations, severe nausea or vomiting

If you’re experiencing any of these side effects, there are some steps you can take to reduce anxiety and other symptoms. 

7 Steps to Come Down From a High Faster

1. Don’t panic

Much of the adverse effects of too much cannabis stem from anxiety. The first step to feeling better is to make sure you remain calm. Remember, you can’t overdose from cannabis. This means no matter how unpleasant you’re feeling, it will pass and there will be no long-term ill-effects. 

2. Hydrate, but avoid caffeine 

Be sure you’re reaching for water or juice when hydrating, not soda or other caffeinated drinks. Dr. Jordan Tishler, CEO of Inhale MD and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School told LifeHacker, “Caffeine can stimulate more of the hallucinatory effect. There arose this trend of mixing alcohol with Red Bull and that crossed over to cannabis and Red Bull and that produces a different effect than some people like.”

Increased caffeine intake can also affect your heart rate and blood pressure, which may already be elevated due to cannabis. 

3. Try black pepper for anxiety

Many cannabis enthusiasts swear by black pepper or peppercorns to help reduce the anxiety that can result from enjoying too much. Many users report they either ingest or smell pepper to help calm anxiety. It turns out there’s some science behind the anecdotal evidence. 

Dr. Ethan Russo, a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher, and Director of Research and Development of the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute who has studied the effects of black pepper and cannabis, told MEL Magazine that specific terpenes in peppercorn can help “tame the intoxicating effects of THC.” 

Specifically, the compound caryophyllene is a “high-potency selective CB2 agonist,” Russo said. This means black pepper helps amplify THC’s calming and sedative properties, reducing anxiety and paranoia. 

4. Consider CBD

Although taking another cannabis dosage while you’re feeling too high may seem counterintuitive, one solution to the anxiety induced by too much THC can be consuming another cannabis derivative, CBD.

CBD has been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and is an excellent anxiolytic option for patients with social anxiety disorders such as PTSD. Cannabidiol can reduce anxiety in subjects, along with antipsychotic effects, with a relative lack of adverse side effects.

A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2013 found that when CBD was consumed alongside THC, it appeared to lessen the adverse effects of anxiety and paranoia.  

5. Turn to the medicine cabinet

It’s possible that you have a solution to feeling too stoned right in your bathroom or medicine cabinet. 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. This means you may want to reach for the aspirin or ibuprofen to see if it helps you clear your head. 

6. Distract from negative symptoms

Try low-impact distractions like taking a walk in your neighborhood, watching a favorite TV show, or enjoying other distractions that are soothing and take your mind off your symptoms.

It is not recommended you do anything that requires fine motor skills or hand-eye coordination, and driving is definitely off the table. Driving while experiencing the effects of cannabis is still illegal, just like driving drunk or after taking certain prescription medications.

7. Sleep it off

The high from smoked cannabis can last up to several hours, though the intensity will generally decrease after the first hour or so. If you’re still experiencing negative symptoms, it may be time to relax and try to take a nap or go to bed. Your body is metabolizing the cannabis and will ultimately flush it out of your system. If you don’t feel well, try sleeping and you will wake up refreshed. 

How Much Cannabis is Too Much?

There is no single prescribed dose for cannabis consumption. The dosage will vary depending on:

  • How much you weigh
  • Your body’s endocannabinoid system and body chemistry
  • What you’re trying to treat
  • The type of CBD product you’re using
  • The CBD concentration of the product you’re using

This is why we recommend you always start with the smallest possible dose and then wait at least an hour or so to see how it affects you. 

Learn More About Cannabis

The first time you consume too much cannabis may be a stressful experience. Just remember, you can always come down from a high. And it will be an educational experience that helps you learn more about how your body reacts to certain dosages. Take note of how much you consumed using the Journal feature in our app and keep this in mind for next time. 

If you’re looking for more information about your consumption, Happy Valley has a full resource center to help you be a more informed consumer. To learn more, become a Happy Valley Insider and join our mailing list. Simply scroll down to the Stay Connected section at the bottom of this page to enter your email address.  

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