How to Feel Better When You Get Too High

A guide for surviving too strong of a sesh.

guide to being too high
Design by Manali Doshi for Thrillist
Design by Manali Doshi for Thrillist

No matter your experiences with cannabis, your THC tolerance, your age, your health, your wealth—anyone can get too high. Most of us have at least once.

It might manifest with a blurry, panicky feeling, upset stomach, or indescribable sense of impending doom; for less fortunate others, it can feel like actual doom, to the point that you’d pay any amount of money to stop being high immediately.

For me, it was a nightmarish viewing of Alice in Wonderland in 3D that included a half-hour in the movie theater bathroom, staring at myself in 3D glasses. Before you start a voice memo of your last will and testament, take a deep breath and know that you’re going to be ok. Eventually.

First, the tough news: There is no magic pill or elixir that erases a high. There are some potential remedies for lessening the symptoms or shortening the duration that are maintained in the cannabis community (we’ll get to those in a minute). However, their effects may have as much to do with the placebo effect as they do actual body chemistry. Until cannabis is federally legalized and substantial research can be conducted, we simply don’t know for sure and cannot offer medical advice.

We can assure you that you’re going to be ok.

It is, to scientists’ knowledge, essentially impossible to lethally overdose on cannabis. A human would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much weed as is contained in one joint to get there, and while concentrates and edibles may deliver more cannabinoids at once than flower, our bodies will just go to sleep before we have the time it would take to eat or dab ourselves to the great beyond.

A recent study determined that the overall duration of most effects tap out around five hours, and it’s possible you’ll feel right as rain in half that time. Until that point, here is a step-by-step guide to potential remedies for feeling better. Peruse this list for ideas and inspiration for passing the time as you ride out the proverbial storm.

See you on the other side.

Take a deep breath

Real deep—in through the nose, filling up your belly and lungs, and exhaling slowly through slightly pursed lips. This is called “diaphragmatic breathing,” and it helps us slow our breathing rate and maximize oxygen intake. Mainly, though, focusing on those steps to a full-chested inhale will be a welcome distraction that may start to curb that sense of anxiety. Repeat a few times and bring that heart rate down.

Get comfortable

You need to get to an environment that makes you feel safe and relaxed, so do what you need to do to create that ambiance. Put on your most comfortable, comforting outfit; play reruns of your favorite TV series; get back into bed; invite a friend with a dog over to keep you company—whatever makes you feel most at ease.

Try an extra dose of CBD

There have been studies that demonstrate CBD can have a suppressive effect on THC-induced anxiety. It’s best to aim for mild doses here too—the higher the CBD content, the higher the small amount of THC you’ll find in it. Hemp CBD products you can order online or in grocery stores are still allowed to contain <.3% THC.

Eat a little something and drink some water

Toast; rice; apple sauce—opt for something simple, and don’t go overboard. Now is not the time for an indulgent munchies fest, but putting something gentle in your stomach may help any nausea pass.

Take a cold shower

You can take a shower, on the cooler side, to help try and shake some layers of the high off. But just like showering to sober up when drunk, this is a pretty mythical solution.

Get some fresh air

If you have access to a less populated park or street to stroll on without additional stress about looking high in public, go for that stroll. Among the many refreshing benefits of a 15-minute walk, waking up your metabolism could help your body process the cannabinoids a bit faster.

Sniff some terps

A couple of the closely held recommendations in the weed scene is huffing some freshly cracked black peppercorn—packed with the terpene beta-caryophyllene, which is associated with resetting the cannabinoid system—or zesting lemon peel, steeping it and drinking the mouth-puckering dose of limonene terpenes, which is also associated with modulated THC’s effects on the brain.

Take an ibuprofen and call it a night

In the most recent anecdotal advice this writer received from a nurse, they said this is what they give people who come in feeling too high: one ibuprofen, a glass of water, and a good night and good luck. When in doubt, sleep it out.

Try these if you can’t sleep

Here’s some chill-inducing activities to pass the time until you pass out or move past this learning experience. Keep binging your favorite shows or movies, try doodling with any pens or highlighters you have around, distract yourself and relax by massaging your own hands and shoulders, follow a simple stretching tutorial and mute the audio so you can put on your own music for optimal comfort.

Focus on a mindless, menial task

Now could be the perfect time to wipe the dust off your monstera plant, organize your closet by color, or shine your dingier pieces of jewelry. Plus, it’ll be a pleasant perk to wake up to after the best sleep of your life.

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Lauren Yoshiko is a freelance writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. She writes The Broccoli Report, a bi-weekly newsletter for creative cannabis entrepreneurs.