What to Do If You’re Too High: A Guide to Coming Down
Whoopsie-daisy! It’s happened to the even best and most experienced of us. It could be the edible kicked in a couple hours too late – after you decided to eat even more. Perhaps you just took your first dab and got caught off guard by its potency. Or maybe you held your bong rip just a little too long, coughed, and got off more than you planned. It can happen a thousand different ways. Regardless of how you got here, you’re now uncomfortably baked, your heart is racing, and you’re thinking “Shit. I’m too high.”
The good news is, while you can certainly feel like you’re going to die, you can’t overdose on cannabis. The number of overdose deaths from cannabis alone is exactly equal to the number of people who have been gored to death by unicorns: Zero.
Did you get to this article because you’re way too high and googled what to do? You can skip on down to our five tips for sobering up from weed, towards the bottom 👇
How long does it take to stop being too high?
After smoking weed, how long your high lasts depends on a variety of factors: consumption method, dosage, and unique individual variables that can vary from person to person like tolerance, age, and metabolic rate.
A 2021 study published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, researchers led by Danielle McCartney of the University of Sydney identified a “window of impairment” that lasts anywhere from three to ten hours, depending on the THC dose, the mode of ingestion, and the consumer’s previous cannabis experience.
Those are a lot of factors, but the average suggested by the study is generally about four hours. The intoxicating high from a lighter inhaled dose will generally last for three hours, while a deep dabbing session or heavy edible may keep on hitting for six to ten hours.
Keep in mind that the duration of a high depends on many of the above factors, and also your body’s unique metabolism. Be especially cautious with homemade or home grown products that could potentially have inaccurate or no dosage labeling. It’s essential to consider all of these variables before consuming ANY cannabis product.
Symptoms of being too high
If you know you’re too high, you know. But if you’re not sure how to figure out where the line to cross is, there are a few tell-tale signs to look out for.
While we all love to have a good time, you may need to dial down your intake or take a step back if you feel: Anxiety, nausea, dizziness, panic, paranoia, confusion or excessive perspiration. It’s also been called “greening out” and we cover this more in our piece, Mixing Alcohol and Cannabis.
What happens when you get too high?
The high you get from cannabis comes from THC, which binds with the CB1 receptors of our endocannabinoid systems, most of which work in our brains. In short, it’s mostly in your head! It is not possible to consume enough THC to die, nor does THC impact parts of the brain that could affect your breathing.
So, remember: This, too, shall pass.
5 tips for sobering up from weed
Number one is most important:
DO NOT PANIC. YOU ARE FINE AND EVERYTHING IS OKAY.
The single most important thing to remember when you’re too high is that you. Will. Not. Die.
Sometimes, people get especially stressed right before they’ve peaked, because they have no idea how much they’ve ingested or how high they’re going to get eventually. But even if you’ve got a real dose of THC working its way through your bloodstream, it’ll find its way out, usually within 24 hours. You might feel like you’ll never be normal again, or like you’ve messed up your body chemistry, but it will eventually be okay.
Create a safe space
Make sure you’re comfortable, with people you trust, or otherwise in a safe space where you can chill out. If there are a bunch of people around, excuse yourself to a room and create a space of your own, away from situations that could fuel your paranoia. Find a friend you trust and ask them to bring you home or to a different place, if that’s an option.
The more time you spend alone with your racing high thoughts, the more anxious you can get. This is apparently fairly common, and if you too find your own stoned head too stressful, it’s a good idea to find a distraction to carry you through the worst of the high.
Watch a comforting tv show or movie, something you’ve seen a bunch of times or know that the ending won’t stress you out. The familiarity can be reassuring and create a more comfortable environment. If music is more your vibe, take a similar approach and put on something gentle or familiar.
Other things you can do to distract yourself from being too high:
- Watch something funny
- Listen to a favorite album
- Play video games
- Talk to your friends
- Snuggle with your significant other or furry pet
- Try coloring or another immersive activity
- Eat something delicious
- Go on a supervised field trip
Hydrate and snack
Whether you prefer water, juice, or nonalcoholic seltzer, 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 drink booze. If you’re feeling the effects of your strain a little too aggressively, stay away from alcohol, as it can increase the concentrations of THC in blood.
Harm Reduction Strategies: Preparation is the best policy
Obviously, the best way to deal with being too high is to avoid getting there in the first place. If you’ve got a low tolerance level or are new to edibles, for instance, try a small dose. Our edibles beginner guide (look out for this soon!) recommends 10 mg, though if you’re really new, you’ll probably want to ingest even less, something closer to 5mg or 2.5mg.
If you don’t know how much weed is in what you’re eating, which is common with homemade or unregulated edibles, either skip it entirely or take a small piece (half a gummy bear, a quarter of a brownie, etc.) and wait an hour or two before taking more, if you think it’s not enough. Don’t be Maureen Dowd.
Thanks for reading!
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