By Vanessa Matthews
We’ve all been there. You’ve smoked too much, or maybe you’ve dosed a little too high with edibles. Whether you have things to get done and have people to see, or simply need to help yourself shake off some anxiety, we have some tips that can help.
Whether you’re a vet or a newbie stoner, preparation before a session is key. Of course, you may not need this advice if you’re already in the midst of weed overload. However, it’s important and helpful to go into every session with clear knowledge of your limits, as well as the situation you’ll be in for the next few hours. If it’s midday and you’re seeing people soon, your limit will probably differ from when you’re just kicking back and relaxing for the night. Start slow and steady. Use your best discretion by getting to know your tolerance (always start slow!), and you’re much more likely to have a pleasant experience.
Preparation also includes your environment. While it’s not always the cause, a less-than-comfortable setting can lead to anxiety and negative feelings while stoned. Consider how you’re feeling in that moment, as well: If you’re sad, angry, or anxious and you know that weed can exacerbate that, it’s probably best to steer clear in the first place. Knowing the fact that cannabis can cause paranoia and anxiety in some people, getting to know your personal comfort-level is key!
STAY CALM & LET TIME RUN ITS COURSE
In reality, there’s no foolproof way that will sober you up. If paranoia or anxiety has a hold on you in your state of highness, inhale and exhale slowly while reminding yourself that it’s all temporary. Breathing exercises can be quite helpful in times like these! If your mind turns to unpleasant thoughts, try your best to steer into a more positive direction, and generally just be nice to yourself! Oh, and remember, the body cannot overdose on weed, and it won’t kill you. That might go without saying, but there have been a fair amount of 911 calls resulting from this delusion, as documented in an entertaining 2018 VICE article. Simply don’t drive or do anything dangerous, and you’re golden!
FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT
If your high-fading process needs to include looking (and smelling) the part so others aren’t the wiser, there are a few things you can do. The first, and probably most obvious one, is eye drops! Unless you’re one of the lucky ones that don’t deal with the dreaded red-eyed high, eye drops do wonders to re-hydrate the eyes, lessening the pinkish-red hue that can be an immediate giveaway. Granted, this just works for appearing less high, not necessarily feeling less high. But it’s a good start!
If you’re able to, hop in a nice shower to freshen up from any smell you’ve got going on, as well as a quick brush of the teeth. Showering can also do the trick of “wearing off” some of that high feeling, as well as give you something relaxing to focus on. If showering isn’t an option, freshen up with deodorant, hand sanitizer, perfume/cologne, and even gum or mints!
I’m sure we’re all familiar with cottonmouth. Combat this annoying side-effect by chugging cold water that will not only rehydrate you, but can have a potential re-energizing effect on your mental and physical state. If nothing else, it gives you something simple to put your focus on.
EAT SOME TASTY FOOD
It has been shown that eating, especially food high in sugar, has THC-absorbing effects. In fact, this is part of the reason why we get the munchies! It's your body's way of compensating for THC’s impacts by making you crave food, which may subdue your high. Why, you ask? Because it's likely that when you smoke cannabis, your blood sugar drops. This convinces your body it’s hungry, even if you really weren’t beforehand. Basically, this is the human body’s way of telling us that we need sustenance, keeping us alive. Now that your body is in this state, your blood sugar will rise if you consume sugar-containing foods to metabolize. This means high-sugar foods have the best chance of lowering your high! So head to the kitchen to grab your favorite carb-filled food, whether it’s ice cream, fruit, or a good ol’ PB&J.
SMELL OR INJEST BLACK PEPPERCORN
Yup. This is a weird one, but hear me out! This common household spice can actually trick your brain into mitigating the effects of being high. Amazingly, black pepper has been proven to provide instant relief for weed-induced anxiety for some users. This 2011 study demonstrates that interestingly, cannabis and black pepper have similar chemical components. Weird, right? neurologist and psychopharmacology researcher Dr. Ethan Russo states that terpenes found in peppercorn (pepper has terpenes?!) have the ability to tame THC’s intoxicating effects. Basically everyone has black pepper on hand, so the next time the herb’s hit you too hard, smell or ingest some black pepper!
COUNTERACT WITH CBD
If you know you’re prone to the overwhelmed-high feeling, it may be smart to keep CBD on hand. While it may seem counterintuitive, decades of research have gone into this cannabinoid’s effect on THC-induced anxiety. CBD is known to elicit feelings of calm, and may work as an anti-anxiety aid, which is just what you need when you go a little over-the-edge. Because while CBD is a cannabinoid, it interacts with different receptors in the brain than THC.
A study dating all the way back to 1982 demonstrated that CBD has the ability to “block” THC-induced anxiety. Additionally, in 2018, Peter Grinspoon, MD concluded that CBD has a variety of applications such as treatment for insomnia, chronic pain, and of course, anxiety. Some people have reported that consuming/smoking CBD alongside THC in your cannabis can decrease anxiety, as well as avoiding that heavy-headed feeling.
GO ON A WALK
Sometimes some light physical activity and fresh air is all you need for a mental and physical refresh. Embracing the great outdoors is an awesome way to not only rebalance your senses, but can bring you to a more positive headspace. In fact, this 2015 study observed the impact of nature experience on affect and cognition. It showed that being out in nature can actually lift your mood, reduce anxiety, and boost cognitive function. Taking a nice nature walk may just be the key to clearing your head and ditching the anxiety!
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS
While being high is a physical effect, it’s also heavily mental. This means that sometimes purposely shifting your focus on how you’re feeling can be more helpful than anything. Whether it's generalized anxiety or cannabis-induced anxiety, purposely steering yourself toward positive, healthy thinking can help to control it. Get some laundry done, watch some funny videos, maybe paint a picture - Whatever gets your mind off of it!
JUST SLEEP IT OFF
If all else fails, one of the best ways you can ride out a strong high is with sleep. If you have the ability to, catching some Z’s can be your best option. Even a quick 30-minute nap could have you feeling good as new!
There are tons of methods to feel less high, and to improve the anxiety that can come with it. These things happen to the best of us, so we all may need these tips sooner or later! The last time you got a little too high, what did you do?