The highs that people experience after smoking marijuana vary. One person might feel relaxed and happy, while another may feel anxious and nauseous. Some people may want to get ‘unhigh’ sooner rather than later.
When a person smokes marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the chemical that causes the ‘high,’ passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, then through the body to the brain. The effects are immediate and can vary in potency.
The effects of the THC in marijuana depend on numerous factors, such as:
- the potency of the weed (how much THC it contains)
- the person’s prior experience with marijuana
- the environment the person is in
- genetic factors (e.g., how quickly THC breaks down in the body)
- other drugs or substances, such as alcohol
When someone consumes marijuana in food or drink (edibles) instead of inhaling it, the psychoactive effects tend to kick in much later as the THC must first pass through the digestive system.
It can take up to 3 hours before a person feels any effects of marijuana. Some people may get impatient while waiting to get high and consume more. This can lead to people feeling ‘too high’ because they are experiencing a reaction from two doses.
Consuming too much marijuana, either from smoking or eating, can result in a person wanting to come down from the ‘high.’
Learn more about marijuana edibles here.
It is not unusual to feel anxious, paranoid, or confused after overindulging in weed. Increased heart rate, nausea, hallucinations, and panic can also be effects of consuming too much cannabis.
These effects are unpleasant but wear off gradually over a few hours. However, some people may wish to accelerate this process.
Keep reading to learn more about what people can do to reduce the ‘high.’ Note that many of these tips are anecdotal or based on animal studies, which means they lack rigorous human research.
Sometimes, if a person fixates on how high they feel, it can lead to more intense feelings of panic and a sensation of ‘being out of control.’ Doing something to occupy their mind can take away the feeling of being high. For example, people can try:
- listening to some favorite music
- watching a film or some funny clips online
- doing some breathing exercises or yoga
- doing a jigsaw, doodling, playing a computer game
- playing an instrument or painting, doing something creative.
- being productive in a simple way, for example, organizing a wardrobe or doing some cleaning.
Drinking plenty of water, tea, or other soft drinks to keep hydrated can also minimize discomfort from being too high. Having a dry mouth (xerostomia) from smoking or ingesting marijuana can make a person feel worse, and the American Dental Association indicate a link between using marijuana and oral dryness.
A person should avoid drinking alcohol when they are already too high. It can worsen the effects of weed and the ‘high feeling.’
While there is some evidence that cannabis consumption can lead to increased hunger and appetite, there are no scientific studies to support the anecdotal claim that eating will diminish the psychoactive effects of weed.
According to an article in the British Journal of Pharmacology, compounds called terpenoids found in some plant foods might have therapeutic properties that may serve as an antidote to a cannabis high. The article indicates that scientists need to conduct more research to confirm the benefits of these plant compounds. Foods containing these compounds include:
Pine nuts contain the terpenes pinene and limonene, which are also present in cannabis. Pinene’s ability to increase numbers of neurotransmitters critical for memory formation may help with the mental fog of being too high.
Try eating a handful of raw pine nuts or toast them lightly in a dry pan for a few minutes.
People have cited lemon as a useful antidote to a cannabis ‘high’ for centuries. In the 10th century, the Persian doctor Al-Razi advised: ‘one should drink fresh water and ice or eat any acid fruits’ to avoid the ‘harms’ of ingesting cannabis seeds or hashish.
Lemons contain the terpene limonene, which gives the fruits their lemony smell. The effects of limonene on neurotransmitters in the brain could theoretically have beneficial effects on reducing a high and may help reduce some adverse responses, such as depression and anxiety.
Try zesting lemon skin into some hot water and sipping it. If available, steep herbs, such as lemon balm or lemon thyme in water for the same effect.
Scientists have found that pepper contains the terpene beta-caryophyllene, which may help increase a person’s clarity of thought and reduce anxiety.
Just sniffing a few peppercorns might be enough to ease a high. Try chewing on peppercorns or steeping them in hot water, along with some lemon rind.
Learn more about terpenes here.
Running a hot shower to feel invigorated and refreshed can also help. A cold shower may be even more effective.
Feeling fresh can help a person regain control and spur them on to other activities that will ease the high, so it could be a good place to start.
Getting the body moving, even just a short stroll, can help regulate blood pressure and take a person’s mind off their current situation.
Breathing deeply to replenish the air in the lungs. A change of scenery can also help to distract the mind away from the ‘high’ feeling.
A friend can be the voice of reason when someone is not thinking straight. Speaking with someone to put things in perspective can be a great way to stop ‘high thoughts.’
Conversations can also distract a person from the ‘high’ and calm their nerves. Speaking to someone might prevent a person from doing something risky, such as driving under the influence.
CBD can reduce the THC high by blocking cannabinoid receptors in the brain, and preventing THC from activating them.
Learn more about the differences between CBD and THC here.
The fastest way to get ‘unhigh’ is to sleep. Whether it be a nap or a longer sleep, sleeping will allow time to pass, which will, in turn, allow the effects of the THC to wear off.
However, if a person is feeling anxious after smoking weed or consuming edibles, falling asleep may be difficult. A person could try one or several of the above methods before trying to sleep.
If a person gets higher than they intended to, they should keep in mind that it will pass in a few hours.
Several things may help if a person wishes or needs to get ‘unhigh’ quickly. However, it is important to note that many of these methods and tips are anecdotal or based on animal studies and lack sufficient scientific evidence.
The best way forward is to try various options to see what works. Individuals are likely to react differently to THC in the cannabis, as well as to the above methods when trying to come down from a ‘high.’
To avoid becoming too high, be cautious when smoking or ingesting marijuana. Always take small doses to begin with.