Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Mary Jane?! Too many of us may know someone or personally experienced a cannabis high that has gone awry. What do you do when you or someone you know has reached a bad high? We’ll explore some tips and tricks to counteract a bad high.
First things first, we’ll explore what happens in our body to trigger a bad high. It’s literally all in your head. What exactly is THC and what does it do to our brain? THC is tetrahydrocannabinol and binds with receptors in our brain as a part of our endocannabinoid system. “When you eat or inhale cannabis smoke and introduce the compound to your system, the brain’s endocannabinoid system is completely overwhelmed.”
In short, it is the “high” that we all experience. But what is it about THC that can trigger paranoia, anxiety and ruin the joyful high you were expecting? The bad side effects of a high are a result of too much THC hitting our endocannabinoid system. THC specifically binds with 2 important parts of our brain:
- Amygdala: This is where you can find your “flight-or-fight” control center and sensory information process center.
- Hippocampus: This is where our brain processes and stores information, aiding the amygdala.
Because these two systems are highly connected, it is no surprise that when you overwhelm the amygdala with THC, it triggers anxiety. This can happen on even a low dose, but the key difference is that with low doses, the anxiety might not even truly be felt.
So what can you do if you find yourself or a friend too high?
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Calming yourself down has been tried and true. You can find yourself freaking out and feel helpless. Taking the time to take evenly paced breaths will allow you to focus on something other than the extreme high you are on. Do whatever it takes to calm yourself down. Play some tunes. Lay down. Call a trusted friend and let the sound of their voice soothe the worries away. But whatever you do don’t freak out. We will get through this!
If you can be prepared, try to have some CBD on you before the onset of a bad high. Why would CBD help? Research has shown us that CBD is meant to aid with panic and anxiety. That means that if you just overloaded your system with a high dose of THC, CBD will be right there to help mediate. This is what I like to call “bringing you down.” To my surprise, the best method of CBD to counteract a bad high is with a CBD vape!
If you ate an edible, eating food might be the last thing on your mind. But loading up on a nutritious snack will help put nutrients through your kidneys and liver. A nutritious snack that would suffice: yogurt, fruit, cereal and even soup. Best case scenario, you get the munchies and fall into a food coma. Take the opportunity to rest up and sleep! Most importantly: Water. Water. Water. This will help flush the THC out of your system. Just make sure to stay away from any caffeinated drinks, as these are more likely to increase your heart rate during your high.
So what if you don’t have immediate access to some CBD or even snacks. Turn to lemon and pepper. Lemons have a terpene called limonene. This terpene modulates THC’s effects on the brain. Fun fact: many Sativa strains have this compound. So grab your closest lemon, squeeze some juice and a pinch of sugar. Many swear this is the cure. Another terpene-based maneuver is to take a big whiff of some peppercorns. Beta-caryophyllene is found in black pepper which has been cited to combat weed-based paranoia. Be warned, you might brew up a sneeze attack.
And if all else fails, seek medical help. But just remember, no one has ever died from a cannabis high. Cheers friends!