Posted on February 15 2019
So you took a little cannabis to rid yourself of discomfort and accidentally got too high. Whether you’re a new user or a seasoned connoisseur, it happens to everyone. Although there are rarely severe adverse reactions linked to consuming cannabis or THC, even in high doses, being too high for too long can definitely be uncomfortable for anyone. It’s easy to do if you don’t know your limits, and for new cannabis users taking too much is a common first-time mistake. There may be a few things you can do about it to help ease your euphoria and bring you down. Of course, everyone’s different, and some people may have to ride the high out until it ends. Not to worry, though, because a cannabis high doesn’t usually last too long.
How Long Does a Cannabis High Last?
There’s not a ton of research to help explain the half-life of THC or cannabis, and it’s apparent that the length of the high will differ for every person. Some things that might affect the length of your cannabis high include your metabolic rate, weight, gender, tolerance, and the amount and type of cannabis you used. In general, though, a cannabis high can last anywhere from 2-6 hours. For some people, high doses may last a bit longer before fading away completely.
If you’re in the midst of a super intense cannabis experience, 6 hours may sound a little taunting. Don’t worry, though, because the intensity should peak within 30 minutes to an hour, and your high should continuously mellow out as time goes by. A high that lasts that long is pretty rare, and it would be difficult to make a dosing mistake that would cause a high of that intensity. For many people, even an intense cannabis high lasts only 2-3 hours.
What Happens When You Get Too High?
Most components found in popular strains of cannabis are found only in trace amounts and don’t produce intense effects even when the strain is consumed in excess. However, many popular strains do contain large amounts of THC, which may have a few uncomfortable side effects when you consume too much.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that a fatal overdose is unlikely, but that taking too much THC may cause anxiety, increased heart rate, paranoia, nausea and vomiting, delusions or hallucinations, or increased blood pressure. Of course, severe reactions are usually linked to incredibly high doses. It would be hard to accidentally take that much unless you were using THC concentrates. Most people who accidentally get too high experience mild discomfort, like feeling paranoid or panicky, likely due to decreased cognition and increased blood pressure. Some people also experience anxiety when using THC. These effects often fade away quickly.
5 Ways to Come Down from Your Cannabis High
If you do find yourself in the middle of an intense high and want to come down, there may be a few steps you can take to help calm your nerves. There is no one way to end the effects of THC, but you may be able to decrease the length of the high or manage your symptoms of discomfort during the high. For some people, the best option may be to distract yourself and wait it out. Because too much THC sometimes causes feelings of paranoia, anxiety, and panic, creating a calm environment and relaxing can often help reduce the intensity of your high. Sometimes, your mindset can make the effects seem stronger than they are, so the very first step to managing your intense high is to not panic. After you find your footing, try the following five tips to learn what to do when you get too high.
Drink Plenty of Water
There’s not much science backing it, but water is a great way to detoxify our body and possibly boost your metabolic rate, which may help you burn off the THC more quickly. If water isn’t your forte, even sipping on another healthy beverage, like cranberry juice, may help distract you. The familiar act of taking small sips of a beverage you love is a great way to feel grounded during an intense cannabis high. Don’t panic and drink too many fluids, since over-hydrating can flush your body of necessary minerals and electrolytes.
Have a Snack
Particularly a fatty snack. Again, there’s no research that backs this up, but many people actually avoid eating after getting high because food seems to kill the effects. If you’re looking to come down from a cannabis high, food may be just what you need. A fatty snack might be best because some speculate that cannabinoids are able to bind with certain fats in order to be metabolized more quickly. Eat slowly so that you don’t make yourself feel sick, and focus on your food as you eat it. Counting your chews may be a good way to help you feel grounded and calm.
Take a Cool Shower or Bath
A cold shower doesn’t sound incredibly pleasant, but there may actually be some science behind this. Because we are mammals, cold water to the face may trigger what is known as “mammalian diving reflex,” which is your body preparing for the cold, under-water temperatures. When this happens, your heart rate may slow down a touch. This means a cold shower might be a great way to ease panic or anxiety related to taking too much THC.
If All Else Fails, Take a Nap
If you’ve tried everything else and nothing has worked, you may need to just lie down and try to sleep it off. Many cannabis strains will actually make you sleepy, so for many people, a nap is the first option for combating a high that is too intense. If you’ve accidentally taken too much of an energizing strain, you can replace a nap with gentle breathing or light stretching in a dark room. There are a few interchangeable scenarios, but the idea is to place yourself in a calm situation to avoid panic and help you ride out your high.
Try Adding CBD to Your Cannabis Regimen
Another option for managing the effects of THC is including more CBD in your regimen. Research has shown that cannabidiol may help balance the effects of THC. It also might lessen the intensity of the psychoactive effects or help counteract the “drowsy” feeling associated with some strains. Much more research is needed to explain exactly how or why CBD negates the effects of THC, but many people choose strains that are high in both CBD and THC for this reason.
Of course, you can also keep a CBD product on hand just for the times that you accidentally over-indulge. Some CBD products, like tinctures, take effect quickly. A few drops under the tongue may take effect in as little as ten minutes. If CBD helps you manage the discomfort of an intense high, it may be the quickest option for coming down. You can find high-quality CBD products online if you and your doctor think they are right for you.
Know Your Limits and Consume Cannabis Responsibly
The best way to avoid accidentally getting too high is to know your limits before you use cannabis. If you are a first time user, go slowly so that you can find the best dose for you without taking too much. If you are unsure how much cannabis to use, consult your doctor for help designing a dosing plan. If you are a regular cannabis patient and suddenly experience different effects from your regular dosing routine, talk to your doctor and include information regarding any recent changes to your medication or health routine. Of course, in the midst of pain or discomfort, it may still be possible to accidentally over-indulge. Now that you know what happens when you get too high, you’ll quickly recognize the signs. Combine that with knowing what to do if you get too high, and you’re probably in for a much smoother experience.