Smoking weed and eating edibles can be a relaxing, fun recreational experience, but every once in a while, even veteran cannabis consumers can overdo it. While you can't OD on marijuana like you can a hard drug, you can get uncomfortably over high. if you've ever been too high then you know it can be an uncomfortable and occasionally even scary experience if you don't know what to expect. Getting too high can take a relaxing toke session and turn it into a mess of paranoia, anxiety, rapid heart rate, sweating, nausea, and dizziness. Fortunately, these feelings subside within anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, and there are strategies you can use to calm yourself down and get back to a calmer state. If you’re having a bad trip, the tried and true strategies listed below will help you keep your cool.
Stay Calm and Don't Panic
This one might seem obvious, but I’ve listed it first because it really is the most important. If you've never been too high from marijuana before, the first time can be a little scary and catch you off guard. A lot of people confuse being too high with having an anxiety attack or heart attack. The physical sensations can be uncomfortable and overwhelming. Even so, I promise that you’re not dying.
All that's really happened is that you've consumed more cannabis than your body can tolerate. There's nothing to fear. The uncomfortable feeling from “greening out” usually goes away within a few minutes to a few hours. You can also take comfort in the fact that, fear-mongering aside, there are no reports of anyone ever overdosing and dying from too much marijuana. However, that doesn't mean you’re going to be the first documented case. Try your best to stay calm and relax as the intense high subsides. Deep breaths and calming thoughts are your best friends.
One of the things that will help you come down when you find yourself floating higher in the clouds than you intended is taking slow, deep breaths. The discomfort you're experiencing will pass, so do your best to find a quiet, relaxing place where you can focus on your breathing. A racing heartbeat and increased anxiety are common when you overdo it. Taking slow, deep breaths can help normalize your heart rate and soothe your anxious thoughts. A good rule of thumb is to breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, and breathe out for 7 seconds.
Try To Distract Yourself
Distractions can help bring your mind and body back together when the weed hits too hard. Try a casual activity like watching a show, playing a game, listening to music, doing art, reading, or another similarly casual activity or hobby you might have. This will help distract your mind from the uncomfortable experience you're having and hopefully help bring out some good feelings that will ease you into a more enjoyable high. The more soothing the activity is, the better.
However, this doesn't work for everyone and sometimes auditory and visual distractions can worsen the issue. If your chosen activity starts to feel overwhelming, tone things down even more. Lower the volume of your TV or music and watch and listen to things that will calm you down. A favorite childhood cartoon or a comedy will be a lot more calming. If music is too much, listening to recordings of the ocean or rain sounds can help. Try to create a relaxing ambiance for yourself.
Drink Water and Eat
Stay hydrated! I can't stress enough how important water is, especially when you're way too high. If you're feeling like you've had too much weed, you want to make sure that you're regularly drinking water and staying hydrated. It'll help you combat the mildly uncomfortable cottonmouth and dry feeling throat you might be experiencing. You might notice your body overheating as well, so a nice cold glass of water will help you feel more comfortable.
Eating can also be very helpful when trying to come down from an intense high. Sometimes your blood sugar might be too low from not eating. The combination of low blood sugar and too much marijuana doesn't usually sit well, so if you find yourself in this predicament, try some protein. Something like apple slices with peanut butter, jerky, a PB&J, hummus, or nuts can be a good start. While you might end up with the munchies, starting with a light snack or meal is best.
A bit of a warning about eating when you’re too high: sometimes being too high can lead to nausea and dizziness, so you want to test the waters before you dive into the deep end. Start slow. The last thing you want is to be too high and hung over the toilet vomiting because you smoked too much and then ate too much (though you wouldn't be the first, trust me). Eat light foods a little at a time until you’re sure it’s not going to come back up.
Sometimes too much sativa can leave you buzzing with a massive amount of energy. When this happens, it can be hard to sit in one place and focus on anything. If you're not struggling with a high heart rate or shortness of breath, exercising could be the perfect remedy when the cannabis has you feeling like you're on your 5th cup of coffee. Getting those endorphins as you sweat out the THC is a nice bonus.
If exercising feels like too much, even just getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine while you go on a quick walk can be helpful. It might even turn from you being too high to you enjoying an elevated scenic walk as you come down.
Shower or Bathe
If you're at home, showering or taking a long bath can help you relax enough to come back down to earth. If you're bathing, try playing some soft music in the background as well.
However, if you feel “too high to function,” then getting in the shower or bath tub might not be the safest option for you unless you have someone around who can come and check on you occasionally. Ideally, you can even ask a partner or close friend who is willing to sit nearby and talk you through the anxiousness you might be feeling.
Sometimes, the best option is to just go to sleep. Rest is all your body needs to reset and bring you back down to Earth. While it can feel like a waste of a potentially good high, if the distractions are too much and your head feels detached from your body, then lay down. Rest your mind, soul, and body. A good nap will cure you.
At times, though, even just trying to rest can feel like too much. When that happens, do your best to keep your eyes closed until you find a comfortable position. Then try to stay there as long as you can until you feel good enough to get up again and try some other methods. Even if you don’t actually fall asleep, resting your body and keeping your eyes closed for a bit can alleviate a lot of discomfort.
See a Doctor
If none of these suggestions work out for you and you're still worried, then it might be best to seek medical attention. While the high should pass on its own, your health and peace of mind are what matters the most. Tell the doctor or EMT that you consumed too much cannabis. Doctors generally have your best interests in mind and should be able to provide you the help you need. They’re not there to judge you or report you to the police. The more information they have, the easier it is for them to help you.
Know Your Tolerance
While there are a number of ways to help bring you back down when you're too high, the most foolproof solution is a really obvious one: try to avoid it getting too high. While that might sound dumb to some, knowing your tolerance beforehand can be really helpful. If you’re new to cannabis, don’t overtax yourself. No one should fault you for taking things at your own pace. Using cannabis with trusted friends can help with this, because they’ll have your back in case things go south and keep the atmosphere relaxed and comfortable.
Try not to be the guy who’s going to smoke a bowl from the double XXL Mega Lung Buster or swallow a 500mg edible. Instead of ruining your day, try to pace yourself so that you can enjoy your high. Why spend your time figuring out what to do once you're too high when you can avoid all that and enjoy yourself instead?
Cael S. San Francisco, CA
Cael is a writer and journalist based in San Francisco. He is an advocate for legal, safe recreational marijuana and strives to educate audiences about cannabis.