No one has ever died from overdosing on cannabis. If you’re too high and you’re reading this article after some frantic googling, hopefully that fact comes as some relief. That said, it can be scary to realize you’ve consumed a little more than you can handle.
It is possible to “green out” — to overindulge to the point of dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. In such cases, you’ll be fine as long as you hydrate and avoid any further cannabis consumption (and any other drug or alcohol consumption for that matter).
Whether your body buzz has started buzzing way too hard, or your cerebral thinking has escalated into intense paranoia, read on for some tried and true ways to relax when you’re too high.
Much like David After Dentist, it’s important for you to remember that you’re not going to feel this way forever. The effects of cannabis typically take about three hours to leave the body of someone with average tolerance, although concentrated preparations like edibles or shatter can last anywhere from six to ten hours.
You should also note that it’s physically impossible to ingest a lethal overdose. As with vitamin C supplements, there’s a maximum amount of THC that your body can absorb at one time and you’d need to smoke about 1,500 pounds of product in 15 minutes in order to hit that limit. Once you’ve reached the max, any other cannabis you ingest won’t have any psychoactive effects. That toxicity limit doesn’t only apply to smoking — even edibles have such small traces of THC that the sheer amount you’d need to eat would cause some kind of gastrointestinal shock before you ever overdosed.
If you’re in public and find yourself overwhelmed by paranoia or anxiety, try to relax by focusing on breathing. Even when your mind is racing and you’re sweating bullets, it can be reassuring to feel yourself draw air into your lungs and then slowly exhale, all at your own speed. Get to a safe place if you can, and don’t forget that you have full control over your respiratory system.
Phone a Friend
Not just any friend, but a friend you’d feel entirely at ease with even when sober. Ideally this should also be a friend who’s experienced with cannabis and can relate to what you’re going through. A call or text will work, but meeting in person is even better. Explain your situation as candidly (and coherently) as you can — and don’t be afraid to talk about how afraid you might be.
Getting too high can trap you inside your own brain and plunge you into solipsism; it’s hard to overstate how grounding it can be to balance this out by talking to someone who knows you well. Ask your friend to remind you of some shared memory or an inside joke — anything familiar or comforting that might pull you back into orbit.
Netflix and Chill the F$%* Out
If you’re freaking out in the comfort of your own home and have a wireless connection, try distracting yourself with one of the literally infinite entertainment options available at your fingertips. You probably don’t need to be told to steer clear of the horror genre, but intense, dialogue-heavy dramas can compound your anxiety too.
Opt for something light that won’t put too many demands on your attention. Parks and Recreation, Adventure Time, Teletubbies: depending on the severity of your mental state, there’s nothing too mellow or too facile.
Music can also help calm you down. As with TV and movies, the less-is-more principle applies here too. Classical might be a good idea, but try and avoid Bach or anything else too complex and baroque that could send you into overdrive. For a true mind balm, opt for chillwave, vaporwave, or really any minimalist genre with “wave” in the title — the slow, pulsating melodies of artists like Washed Out, Macintosh Plus and Pure Bathing Culture are perfect for turning off your brain and floating.
Head for the Spice Cabinet
If self-talk and willpower don’t get you through, try a chemically-sound homeopathic remedy. Chew on or smell some black peppercorns, or drink some fresh lemon juice. Both are high in terpenes, the compounds responsible for the unique smell and flavor of individual cannabis strains. Terpenes are also thought to be psychoactive building blocks that help determine the nuances of a high.
Anecdotal wisdom has long held that black pepper and lemon can put anxious cannabis users immediately back into a relaxed state of mind. Science has now suggested that this might be true because of the “entourage effect,” the complex interplay of terpenes and cannabinoids that gives each strain its own uniquely trippy properties. Simply put, a quick hit of caryophyllene (found in pepper) or limonene (found in lemon) can bring you back down to baseline by slightly tweaking the formula that got you too high in the first place.
On the flipside, mangoes, high in the terpene myrcene, are said to extend the duration of a cannabis high. Keep that in mind and try it out once you’ve made a full recovery and are in the headspace to enjoy a more positive high.
Read Some Funny Trip Stories
If all else fails, why not try counteracting your high with a small dose of schadenfreude? From reddit threads to Jezebel columns, there’s no shortage of internet strangers willing to share their most embarrassing experiences with weed.
Some of the stories you come across might be a little triggering, so if you’re feeling especially prone to sympathetic suggestion, stay away. But if you can handle it, you might get a kick out of, say, Jenny Slate’s story about getting too blazed before a college lecture. At the very least, you’ll get a flash of recognition from other people’s war stories — and you’ll remember that soon you’ll be back on earth with the rest of us.
Sleep It Off
If you’re at home and your bad trip has any traces of grogginess, put on some sweatpants, flip off the lights, and dive under the covers. Your brain will thank you.