What to Do If You Get Too High
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 01/12/2018 in Medical Marijuana
Updated on December 27, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Medical marijuana is a fantastic solution for treating a whole range of ailments. From anxiety disorders and depression to muscle spasms, chronic pain, insomnia and nausea, many medical conditions respond well to cannabis treatment. However, various strains of the herb are a mild or moderate intoxicant.
While you’ll likely have a positive experience with medical cannabis most of the time since it controls your symptoms and promotes a sense of well-being, you could get a little too much of this amazing therapy — and this can cause you to get too high.
Before discussing what to do if you get too high, you should understand the compounds found in marijuana, the types of strains available and how it’s possible for you to get overly euphoric from cannabis.
Can Medical Cannabis Get You High?
The answer is yes and no. It depends on the compound and strain of the medical cannabis you use. There are two primary chemicals used in the application of medicinal cannabis. These are:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): THC is marijuana’s psychoactive compound and is the element causing you to get high.
- Cannabidiol (CBD): CBD doesn’t deliver psychoactive effects.
Usually, medical weed is higher in CBD than THC. Therefore, when you take it, you’re not going to get the euphoria often associated with recreational use. It also depends on the medical pot strain you choose.
Many marijuana strains are available today, and most are a variation of sativa and indica strains. There are also hybrid strains, which are a combination of sativa and indica strains:
- Indica strains. These can reduce anxiety and stress. They help you sleep and relax and have been shown to reduce pain, manage migraines and help with insomnia, seizures and glaucoma.
- Sativa strains. These can increase your feelings of euphoria and energy levels. Sativa strains can help to reduce nausea, headaches and depression.
- Hybrid strains. Combination strains may carry a high concentration of either THC or CBD.
Key points about sativa and indica strains as well as CBD and THC may help you understand them better.
- Strains with high levels of THC, such as extremely potent sativa strains, may cause anxiety.
- Indica strains are higher in CBD and typically do not cause anxiety.
- Sativa plants usually have higher THC levels than they do CBD levels.
- CBD counteracts THC’s psychoactive effects.
If you’re seeking medical cannabis to provide you with ailment relief but you don’t want the “high,” look for strains higher in CBD. Work with a marijuana doctor or budtender at a cannabis dispensary to choose the best strain(s) for your symptom relief or ailment treatment.
How Someone Could Get Too High on Medical Marijuana
Getting too high on medical cannabis can happen for two main reasons.
- Using edibles. Maybe you ate an edible, didn’t feel anything and ate another one only to have the first edible kick in three hours later. The THC in edibles takes longer to absorb into your bloodstream than when smoking marijuana. As a result, you may overeat your edible forms of marijuana to compensate for the lag time effects.
- New medical marijuana user. Perhaps you’re a first time concentrates user and just realized how potent they can be. Also, as a novice marijuana user, your tolerance level is lower than a veteran medical cannabis consumer.
Either way, “getting too high” can happen, and as soon as it does, the experience you feel can get fairly uncomfortable. It may turn you off of medical cannabis altogether, even if you are a seasoned user. However, seasoned users don’t tend to get too high often.
The good news is you can’t die from a marijuana overdose. According to the National Cancer Institute, “because cannabinoid receptors, unlike opioid receptors, are not located in the brainstem areas controlling respiration, lethal overdoses from cannabis and cannabinoids do not occur.”
You can, however, make yourself uncomfortable and distressed for the next several hours if you’re not careful. Therefore, it’s important to exercise some common-sense precautions when taking marijuana, particularly if you are a new user or are ingesting it in edible form.
For instance, read edible labels carefully to find out what their doses are. The same ordinary-looking brownie, cookie or gummi can have both extremely low doses and extremely high doses, and they can have varying amounts of THC, CBD or both. Also, as a new medical marijuana or edible user, start slowly and work your way up in dosage and frequency if needed.
Feelings You May Experience If Too High
Medical weed is a remarkably non-toxic substance. But, you can get too much of the herb, and the effects you feel afterward can be worrying and unpleasant, especially if you’re an inexperienced user. Below are five signs you’ve consumed too much cannabis:
- Experiencing green out
Marijuana is known to affect your blood sugar levels. When you’re an inexperienced user, this effect may be powerful, resulting in your blood sugar levels dropping to the point where you experience sickness, weakness or even temporary unconsciousness. This phenomenon is known as “green-out” (white-out outside the U.S.), and it is more likely to occur with potent edibles or dabs than other forms.
- Feeling paranoid
Anxiety and paranoia are a couple of common side effects of consuming too much cannabis. Feeling anxious or paranoid decreases in severity once your tolerance level increases, but some people might experience these symptoms more frequently.
- Having shakes or tremors
Even though medical weed is proving to be helpful for treating tremor-causing illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, some people experience shakiness, tremors or twitches due to cannabis. Although there aren’t many studies surrounding this phenomenon, there’s anecdotal evidence of people consuming marijuana before they begin experiencing tremors and shaking.
Typically, these tremors only last for only a few seconds, but they may last for up to 30 minutes. Theories contend marijuana causes tremors because of THC’s stimulating effect on your central nervous system, or it interacts with your dopaminergic signaling system.
- Developing extreme cottonmouth
Experiencing a dry throat or mouth after using weed is very common, and it doesn’t take a lot of the herb to cause this to happen. However, this dry-mouth effect during a heavy session can often get to the point of unpleasantness, and even drinking a glass of water won’t help.
- Having psychosis
Due to inconsistencies and misunderstandings regarding how the term psychosis is applied, there’s still a lot of confusion if a marijuana-induced psychosis exists. While some studies find it doesn’t exist, others show it does.
Regardless, certain people have experienced a set of similar symptoms after heavy use of marijuana. Aside from paranoia, these symptoms are:
- Panic attacks
- Extreme social anxiety
- Delusions (irrational beliefs)
These symptoms decrease in severity and typically go away after several weeks of ceasing marijuana use.
If you experience any of these unpleasant cannabis effects, fear not. You can implement ways to cure a high and come back down when you’re feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed from excessive marijuana consumption.
What If I Get Too High?
In the event you get stoned from weed, you might want to know how to come down from a marijuana high. Unfortunately, similar to other intoxicants, it mainly involves waiting while your body metabolizes the THC. This is why edibles can be a bit tricky. Their effects take longer to hit and longer to come down from as they’re traveling through your body.
Now, while you aren’t going to die from too much medical marijuana, if you do get too stoned, you may feel uncomfortable for a while. You may sweat, your heart may race and your head might feel funny. You may feel panicky or claustrophobic. Anxiety may set in, and you may wonder how long you’re going to feel this way. Learn what to do if you get too high.
Ways to Alleviate a Marijuana High
First, we’ll start with some simple, natural ways to hopefully alleviate your cannabis high. The best thing you can do is to equip yourself with knowledge beforehand. That way, if you do experience this state of being too high, you’ll know that with each passing minute, your high abates, and things will slowly begin getting better. Knowledge will help provide you with the calmness you need to ride out the waves of intense symptoms until the peak passes.
Some natural ways to try and alleviate your medical pot high are:
- Relax and breathe
That sounds simple enough. Unfortunately, for some people, it’s not, and panic sets in. So, your first thing to not do is panic. If you begin experiencing signs of a green-out, sit back and breathe deeply and slowly. If you panic and start breathing heavily, you’ll just make things worse. Sure, you may feel like you’re dying right then, but just remember, no one has ever died from a cannabis overdose — and in just a couple hours, or less, you’re going to feel much better.
- Lie down or chill out
Try and find a peaceful area where you can lie down for a bit. If you have been smoking with some friends, being too high can bring on nervousness, and you may not feel up to socializing at the moment. Just step away for a little while and chill out. Try watching a movie or listening to some music. Taking a warm bath or shower may help.
- Take a walk
If your mind is racing, walking is a great distraction. Find a place in nature where you can walk and put your mind at ease. Perhaps you could go to the park and watch the sky for a bit. You may want to bring along someone familiar to help prevent you from getting lost and making yourself more anxious.
- Have sex
If you’re one of those people who likes the physical sensations of sex while on cannabis, use sex to distract yourself from your weed anxiety. This approach can be effective since sex causes your body to release endorphins — feel-good hormones. It can also reduce pain and tension. When you’re engaging in sex with someone you love and trust, you benefit from the emotional connection and the security you feel with them, which can make the uncomfortable high more tolerable.
How to Counteract a Marijuana High
If breathing, walking or lying down doesn’t do the trick, you can try and counteract the cannabis high. So, your next step is to learn how to reduce a marijuana high. It takes a little more than walking it off. Instead, it involves eating certain foods, drinking specific beverages or taking another form of marijuana:
- Eat black pepper
Black pepper is a simple household ingredient you no doubt have in your kitchen pantry. It can help in combating anxiety and paranoia if you’re too high. Many cannabis users swear by black pepper to bring them down from an insane high. Just chew on a few black peppercorns or sniff them, and it could give you almost instant relief. Black pepper contains fair amounts of beta-caryophyllene and myrcene, which are terpenes that act as mild sedatives and buffer THC’s effects.
- Try consuming citrus
Another thing you can try is citrus. Citrus fruits, like limes or lemons, are a good way to knock down an intense high a few notches. Just pop a piece of fruit into your mouth and keep it in your mouth as long as you can. The enzymes in the citrus fruit decrease the effects of THC.
You can also try lemonade or lemon juice, preferably squeezed fresh. Similar to black pepper, lemons have terpenes that serve to modulate THC effects. You can toss in a couple of slices of lemon rind to provide you with more. Drinking lemon water will help with your cottonmouth, too.
- Drink coffee
You may already drink several cups of coffee a day, but you probably weren’t aware it could decrease a cannabis high. Coffee has sobering properties from its beans, which you may feel almost immediately, leaving you focused and alert instead of nauseous and paranoid.
- Take some CBD
CBD is an excellent anxiety-fighting compound, and for a lot of individuals, it may be used to counteract THC effects. But specific factors play role in how you respond to anxiety and CBD. Some include:
- Your genetics and biology.
- What type of CBD product you use.
- The nature and intensity of your anxiety.
CBD is in most types of cannabis in trace amounts, but recently, there’s been a big surge of products and strains containing high-CBD content. CBD enhances the painkilling properties of THC, but it will diminish the paranoia THC causes. CBD will balance out your buzz and soften the euphoria that THC can induce.
- Take UNDOO™
Patent pending UNDOO™ softgel capsules are designed to ease the side effects of overconsuming cannabis. While you’ll still feel the THC well-being benefits, you’ll find the duration of your high is shortened, and its intensity is eased, too. After taking an UNDOO™ softgel supplement, you’ll experience a mental clarity within five to 20 minutes. However, if you’ve taken edibles, it may take one hour to feel its effects.
Time can seem to pass more slowly when you’re high, so 15 minutes can seem like an hour. Remind yourself that marijuana can have this effect, and your high will pass within minutes to a few hours.
Points to Keep in Mind
Just because you had an unpleasant cannabis experience once, doesn’t mean you’re always going to have bad episodes. It just means you need to keep an eye out for the strain and dose you use next time. Remember, very potent sativa strains are high in THC and may cause anxiety, whereas high CBD strains will typically do the opposite.
As more states begin to legalize and regulate cannabis, we’ll see overindulgence decreasing as retail outlets and dispensaries work with professional labs to analyze and label marijuana accurately. When you know the percentage of THC and other psychoactive cannabinoids and receive good advice from seasoned users, medical marijuana doctors and knowledgeable budtenders, you can avoid becoming too high.
If you’re ready to start your medical cannabis treatment, search for a medical marijuana doctor or dispensary and/or sign up for our Marijuana Doctors newsletter. From here, you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips in choosing the right strains and getting the most out of your medical marijuana.