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Anyone who’s been there can tell you: Smoking too much weed or eating too many edibles can be anxiety-inducing. That’s why it’s always a good idea for people inexperienced with cannabis to start low and go slow with their dosages.
But, if you’ve already consumed too much, there are a few things you can do — including hydrating and eating — to stop being high. Or, at the very least, to make the high pass a bit faster.
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How Long Does a Cannabis High Last?
Overconsumption can happen to anyone, including cannabis veterans with high tolerance levels. But rest assured, your cannabis high will not last forever. How long it will last depends on multiple factors, including how much weed you consumed, how long ago you consumed it, and what consumption method you used.
Here is a look at how long you can expect your high to last depending on whether you’ve dabbed, smoked, vaped, or consumed edibles:
|Cannabis Mode of Consumption||How Soon Could Effects Kick In?||How Long Do Effects Last?|
|Smoking and Vaping||2-10 minutes||1-3 hours|
|Eating||30-60 minutes||6-24 hours|
In addition to your consumption method of choice, dose, and the time you partook, your tolerance to THC and your endocannabinoid system (ECS) also play a role in how your body is affected by the cannabis plant’s’ psychoactive effects. So, the information above is a rough estimate, as everybody’s ECS is different.
The ECS is a complex network of receptors, lipids, and enzymes that helps regulate many bodily functions, from sleep and appetite to mood regulation and immune function. THC works by binding to and activating cannabinoid receptors — notably CB1 receptors — in the brain and central nervous system. That activation is what produces cannabis’s intoxicating effects.
Too much THC leads to overactivation of the CB1 receptors, which could result in adverse effects, including nausea, paranoia, anxiety, and dizziness. The onset of those negative effects is commonly called “greening out.”
10 Tips for Sobering Up
If you’re currently “greening out” or just have things to do, the most effective way to stop being high is to wait it out. That said, there are several things you can try to help speed up the process. Here are 10 tips for sobering up:
1. Hydration is Key
Staying hydrated is an important thing to strive for when consuming cannabis. It’s especially beneficial if you’ve overconsumed cannabis.
Dry mouth (also called cottonmouth) is a common side effect of consuming weed. It can feel incredibly unpleasant in conjunction with other adverse effects of cannabis overconsumption. Fortunately, water can help alleviate the negative effects of cottonmouth.
It’s generally a good idea to keep water nearby, even if you’re nauseous. Hydration can be especially effective at mitigating the negative psychoactive effects of taking too many edibles.
2. Have a Snack
If you’re feeling up for it, consider preparing a snack. Some foods contain terpenes — organic chemical compounds also found in cannabis — that may reduce your anxiety if you consume too much weed.
For example, lemons contain the terpene limonene, which has been researched for its anxiety-reducing effects. Limonene is most highly concentrated in the outer rinds of a lemon, so preparing a tea with hot water, lemon juice, and a lemon rind is a great place to start.
Similarly, pine nuts contain high concentrations of the terpene pinene, which has also been researched for its anxiety-reducing properties. Pinene can also help mitigate some of the negative effects THC has on short-term memory.
While lemon rind tea and pine nuts might not make you stone-cold sober, they may reduce THC-induced anxiety and make riding out the rest of your high more manageable.
3. Take Some CBD
It might seem bizarre to fight being too high with more cannabis products, but cannabidiol (CBD) is a special case. CBD isn’t intoxicating like THC and doesn’t bind to cannabinoid receptors the way THC does.
Instead, CBD antagonizes cannabinoid receptors, which hinders THC’s ability to bind to CB1 receptors. That ultimately dampens THC’s effects.
Consider keeping CBD oil handy in case you get hit with a heavy THC high you want to control.
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4. Give Black Pepper a Try
If you get too high and feel paranoid, one of the most widely circulated tricks is to smell or chew a few black peppercorns. Black peppercorns are rich in beta-caryophyllene, a terpene known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects.
The trick is so popular, in fact, that singer-songwriter Neil Young raved about it in an interview on the Howard Stern Show.
5. Take a Cold Shower
Some people swear by taking a cold shower to sober up. While cold water won’t reduce the amount of THC in your system, research shows it can make fatigue and anxiety more manageable.
Regardless, taking a shower is a great distraction that can pass the time, promote personal hygiene, and potentially reduce THC-induced anxiety.
6. Focus on Your Breathing
If you’re feeling especially stressed and overwhelmed, focus on your breathing. Research shows that diaphragmatic breathing, or deep breathing, can reduce the subjective and physiological effects of stress on the body.
Start by getting in a comfortable position and closing your eyes. Take a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a few seconds, and exhale it out your mouth. Repeat this process for as long as necessary to begin feeling calming effects.
7. Lie Down
Lying down pairs well with taking deep breaths. THC’s effects can be uncomfortable in higher doses, especially for people who haven’t figured out their tolerance level.
Sometimes, the best way to get past a heavy high is to give yourself some time to lie down and relax.
8. Pass Time With Distractions
You may not feel up for doing much if you’ve overconsumed cannabis, but occupying your mind with distractions can be a great way to pass the time while the psychoactive effects of THC wear off.
The picture-perfect distraction looks different for different people. For some, watching TV or playing video games can be a fun and engaging way to pass the time. For others, lying back and listening to some music can be the perfect way to unwind.
You ultimately know yourself better than anyone. Try occupying yourself with the hobbies or interests you usually enjoy, whether high or sober.
9. Exercise If You’re Up For It
It’s important to note that cannabis can increase your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure, so we’re not suggesting you go out and power lift or run a 5K if you’re too high. Instead, consider less strenuous exercises, like yoga, that can help reduce anxiety.
Combining yoga with cannabis is a growing wellness trend that, according to some, can make the practice more profound and meaningful. However, you may want to avoid high-intensity Yoga styles like Bikram Yoga and opt for more low-intensity, “flow” Yoga styles like Vinyasa.
Non-yogis looking for exercise alternatives should consider taking a walk. Immersing yourself in nature and taking deep breaths of fresh air may help alleviate the adverse effects of too much THC.
10. Sleep it Off
Time will always sober you up, and there is perhaps no better way to pass the time than by sleeping. Elevated levels of THC-induced anxiety may make falling asleep challenging, but referring to the previous nine tips might help you get there.
The Bottom Line
For most, getting too high is not an enjoyable experience. It’s easy to kick yourself about how you should’ve taken a lower dose of THC, but overconsumption can happen to even the most experienced cannabis consumers.
With negative effects ranging from nausea and dizziness to anxiety and paranoia, it’s entirely reasonable why one might be driven to figure out how to stop being high.
While there are things you can do to mitigate the effects of being too high, like drinking water and chewing on some black peppercorns, always bear in mind that you’re under the influence of a psychoactive compound, it’s not going to last forever, and you should feel completely normal again soon.
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