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How To Stop Being High: 10 Tips for Coming Down

Maybe you are still figuring out just the right dose for you and accidentally took too much. Or maybe you tried a strain, such as Space Money or Khalifa Kush, that was way too powerful. Whatever the case may be, if you find that you have ingested too much THC from medical cannabis, there are ways you can calmly stop being high in no time. Here are 10 Tips to help you out if you get in that situation of being a little too high.

How can I tell If I’ve had too much? 

First of all, everyone is unique when it comes to cannabinoids. If you are new to Utah medical cannabis and would like to discover just how much is “enough” for your unique body and your qualifying condition, be sure to reach out to one of WholesomeCo’s professional Doctorate-level pharmacists

All of our pharmacists have knowledge and experience in pharmaceutical medicine as well as extensive training in medical cannabis in Utah. They can also direct you to particular low-THC strains available at WholesomeCo, which may be more suitable for your unique situation. 

That being said, finding your “M.E.D.” (minimum effective dose) is largely a process of trial and error. Doses vary by legal product sold at licensed Utah dispensaries, and also by strain. Be sure to keep a journal of what you have tried, what the circumstances were when you tried it (stress level, if you had a full stomach, etc.), and what the results were each time!

Here is a brief list of general tell-tale signs that you may have had too much THC: (1)

Remember that medical cannabis obtained from your licensed dispensary is designed to make you more comfortable in general. If any sensation – physical, mental, or emotional –is uncomfortable to the point that the discomfort outweighs the benefits, this is when you know you have had too much.

#1 Relax!

If you are feeling anxious or scared because you have had too much THC and you don’t know what to do, your first step will be to RELAX! Deep breathing, especially with a 3-5 count (or any count where the outbreath is longer than the inbreath) can accomplish this. 

Deep, “diaphragmatic” breathing relaxes the body, lowers breathing rates, and lowers heart rates. This kind of breathing can even lower your blood pressure. (2) 

Deep breathing will also help oxygenate your blood and cool your limbic system, bringing energy and circulation back to the frontal lobe, that place in the brain where focused, creative thinking occurs. 

#2 Take a nap. 

Once you are more relaxed, the next sensation you may feel as you are coming down from THC is drowsiness. If you can spare the time, even a 20-minute cat nap (or “power snooze”) may be all you need to help get you back on your feet again. Power napping can recharge the internal batteries, even when we are not coming down from a high. That is why high-powered CEOs and little kids in kindergarten alike tend to indulge in them. (3)

#3 Drink some water. 

Diluting with water intake works wonders. Hydration naturally brings balance. It can also be soothing for a dry mouth. The act of drinking itself can be something to focus on as you sober up from cannabis. 

For extra hydration, pH balancing, and calming, squeeze some fresh lemon in that water as you gulp. Stay away from alcoholic beverages and coffee. Alcohol may actually increase the level of THC in your system, according to a 2015 report put out by the American Association of Clinical Chemistry. (4) 

Coffee, on the other hand, contains caffeine. This is likely to increase any anxiety you may already be feeling. 

#4 Eat a Meal 

Many people say that eating a high fat or carb-heavy “comfort food” meal when high is grounding and helps them come down faster. There has yet to be a valid study that proves this specifically, however. 

In general, eating dilutes the effects of THC as the body begins to focus on breaking down food and distributing nutrients. Again, preparing and eating the meal can be a focal point for you as well, to get your mind off of the anxiety and other discomforts you may be feeling.

If you are feeling nauseous, sipping on some hot ginger tea or broth/light soup can be soothing and also help you hydrate. 

#5 Focus your attention. 

We’ve mentioned focusing your attention on something else besides what is going on internally a couple of times already. Why does this help you to be less high? 

Focusing your attention on anything repetitive and enjoyable will help your brain zero in on something else besides the uncomfortable sensations and anxious thoughts about them that are probably making the sensations worse. In medical terms, this self-fulfilling cycle of uncomfortable sensations and the thoughts around them is called “pain anticipation” or “pain-related trait anxiety.” According to a 2019 report published in the Journal of Pain Research, “attention strategies do significantly relate to pain perception.” (5)  

Examples of great things to do when you need to come down fast include easy sorting, organizing, or cleaning tasks, doing a puzzle, coloring, or listening to music (and singing along). 

#6 Take a walk. 

Taking a walk or stroll can boost your mood and help you lose the panic. It is also a good distraction, for the reasons mentioned above. 

If you can do so safely, walking in nature will give you the added nervous system calming effects of tree-sourced terpenes as well as the overall grounding effect that comes with being in nature in general. (6)  

#7 Talk to a friend. 

Confiding in someone you trust about what is going on with you at the moment will not only give you the support you need to calm down, it can also help you for safety reasons. A “buddy” can keep an eye on you so that you don’t do anything that can put you in harm’s way as you come back to a steady state. 

#8 Sniff or chew some black pepper.

Take two or three whole peppercorns and pop them in your mouth. Chew on them to release a terpenoid substance found in pepper called caryophyllene. This phytonutrient has been shown in some studies to increase the calming effects of THC. (7)

Note: You can also sniff the pepper but be careful not to inhale any! 

#9 Eat pine nuts. 

Similar to caryophyllene in peppercorns, pine nuts contain phytonutrients that enhance the calming effects of THC. In particular, pine nuts contain pinene, a terpene that is also found in medical cannabis (caryophyllene is also found in many strains of cannabis). 

Pinene can be soothing as well as help the brain to focus. According to a 2021 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, the terpene pinene, as well as linalool, can influence neurotransmitter behavior and help with dementia. (8)

#10 Take some CBD

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a cannabinoid like THC but it is processed much differently than THC in your brain. CBD has been shown to lower anxiety in general and may be able to help calm the anxiety produced by ingesting too much THC. (9) 

For most people, CBD is a safe way to lower the panic button after too much medical cannabis and can even help you fall into a restful power nap (see above). 

How long do I have to be THIS high? 

There is no getting around it. No matter what you do to sober up from weed faster, there will be some amount of simply “waiting it out.” 

In general, it normally takes 1-2 hours for the high to come on and about 5-8 hours to come down from a digested-THC substance, such as gelatinous cubes. It usually takes just a few minutes to feel the effects of vaped THC and at least a couple of hours to come down from it. 

As soon as you engage in one (or more) of the above strategies for coming down from THC, just know that your body is already at work to get you back into a steady state. 

The amount of time specifically that this may take varies with each individual, however. For more information about what medical cannabis strains and products may be right for you, be sure to connect with one of our professional Doctorate-level pharmacists HERE. Most patients receive a call-back within 24 hours! 

References:

    1. How does deep breathing affect office blood pressure and pulse rate?
    1. Any dose of alcohol combined with cannabis significantly increases levels of THC in blood
    2. Gaining insights on the influence of attention, anxiety, and anticipation on pain perception
  1. A Review of the Potential Use of Pinene and Linalool as Terpene-Based Medicines for Brain Health: Discovering Novel Therapeutics in the Flavours and Fragrances of Cannabis
  2. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders 

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