You’re feeling good. You’re in the sweet irie spot, and then something happens. Like a brick wall, it hits you. It’s that moment you realize, “Hmm, how did that happen? I think I may just be too high.” Yup. Most people have been there. There’s not much that can kill a great buzz more than all of a sudden realizing you’re -- uh, too high! Yep, it seems you consumed a wee too much. But, don't despair! Here's what you can do to: first, make sure that doesn’t happen; second, if it does, how to counteract it a Cannabis high.
1. Know Your Limit and Plan Ahead
Proper planning is essential. When it comes to cannabis, there are lots of choices. But, with variety can come confusion. You’ve got flower that is high-THC, low-THC, high-CBD, and just about everything in between. Then there edibles, which can range from 5mg...50mg...150mg (or more). Then, of course, there's those high-octane concentrates (dabbing). The list goes on, and on.
It’s important that you know your limit and what you’re consuming. Different strains will likely affect you differently. Only consume strains that you’re confident in the cannabinoid levels. If you’re accustomed to imbibing with strains that average 15 - 17% THC (accompanied by a CBD buffer of at least 1%), if you consume a strain that is 25% THC (or more) with virtually no CBD, you may be in for a shock. Not only could the higher THC be a shock to what you’re used to, not having that CBD buffer to attenuate some of the potentially unpleasant effects of THC (anxiety, paranoia, etc.), will likely not sit well with you.
If you plan to consume edibles, remember that edibles can take 60-120 minutes or more to peak. Not only that, when you consume THC orally, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (which is the THC you know and love) metabolizes in the liver converting to 11-Hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (11-OH-THC). 11-OH-THC is far more potent (thereby much more psychoactive) than regular ol’ THC. In fact, it can be more than five times stronger.
Now, of course, the bioavailability of orally consumed cannabis is significantly less than inhalation, so it won’t necessarily feel 5X stronger. Nonetheless, it still is stronger, and the effects persist much longer. When consuming edibles, unless you’re a seasoned veteran, always start low and gradually titrate up. For consumers who aren’t experienced with edibles, a dose of 5 to 15 mg will usually be more than enough to catch a pleasant (but not overwhelming) buzz. Sure, there are plenty of people who seem to have no problem consuming 75 to 100mg (or more), but only those who’ve built up a tolerance. (Keep in mind, therapeutic doses are usually 2.5, 5 or 10mg).
2. Don’t Forget to Stay Well Hydrated and Avoid Alcohol
Hydration is vital. We all know, cannabis can give you a serious case of cotton mouth. If you maintain proper hydration, you’re less likely to catch too much of a buzz. If you’re already too high, hydration is just as important, but it’s not likely that it will bring your high down as much as you’d like.
3. It’s Not An Old Wive’s Tale, Black Pepper Can Help
You may have heard this one before. You’re battling a bit of THC-induced anxiety and paranoia, and your buddy suggests sniffing or chewing on — you guessed it — black peppercorns! Generally a few sniffs of black pepper will have an almost immediate effect, while chewing peppercorns should provide relief in about an hour.
Still think it’s an old wive’s tale? There’s actually science behind it. Pepper, like cannabis (and virtually every other plant), contains terpenes. Pepper contains a terpene called beta-caryophyllene which allows it to produce a “phytocannabinoid-terpenoid effect” that reduces anxiety. In fact, some scientists speculate it can help with depression and main modulation.
4. Consume a High-CBD Strain
CBD (or cannabidiol) is the second most prominent cannabinoid found in cannabis. As you may know, CBD has garnered a lot of interest over recent years because it seems to provide incredibly versatile therapeutic utility; but, with no psychoactivity or side-effects. However, it’s relationship with THC is an interesting one. They’re like Yin and Yang. They balance each other out. In fact, CBD counteracts many (if not nearly all) of THC’s potentially undesirable effects. That’s why strains without any CBD may get you higher, but are also more likely to cause paranoia and anxiety. (Notably, CBD may counter the adverse cognitive effects of THC like short-term memory impairment.)
And, if you find yourself higher than you’d like, arguably there’s nothing more effective than consuming a high-CBD strain (sans THC) — like Harlequin or Cannatonic. Or, a CBD tincture administered sublingually can work even better. (CBD is considered an anxiolytic — meaning it neutralizes anxiety). After a little CBD, you should feel better in no time!
5. Don’t Panic!
If you’ve followed all our advice, you should be fine. But, hey, stuff happens! If you still are feeling more irie than Snoop Dogg on a weeklong bender in Jamaica, remember these three words: Do Not Panic! No one has ever experienced a fatal overdose from consuming too much cannabis.
Now that’s not to say there is no risk of serious health consequences from consuming too much. Certainly, under no circumstances should you get behind the wheel! Likewise, while extremely rare, there are a handful of reported incidents of people (who were likely physically vulnerable) who’ve had serious cardiac complications arising from tachycardia (abnormally high heart beat).
Again, these incidents are so rare that they rarely even make the news. But, probably the only circumstance in which you’d actually want to seek medical attention would be if you’re experiencing a highly abnormal elevation in your heart rate.
Generally, the best measure (if pepper didn’t work and you have no high CBD around) is to take a shower, relax, listen to some calming music, and lay down. Within a few hours, you should feel just back to your normal self!
Remember this video? Don't be this guy!