8 Ways to get sober when you’re too high

What to do when you or your friend are too high. Here are eight tips for getting out of the situation

We’ve all been there: you’ve lit the perfect joint, taken a delicious, well-timed puff and enjoyed an artisan meal. And then, all of a sudden, those cosy feelings feel tingly, your laughter turns to gasps and you think, “Dude, am I dead? No, that’s just the moment you realise you’re too high.

Maybe you were trying to impress a group of friends by ripping the bong open a little too long. Maybe you just tried concentrates for the first time and were blindsided by their potency. Or maybe you’re just a low-tolerance consumer.

It can sneak up on you in a thousand ways, but when it does, the resulting experience can make you uncomfortable; sometimes that’s enough to put off even the most experienced cannabis lover. Cannabis is not a lethal drug, and fortunately the effects wear off within a day.

How long does it take to get sober from smoking cannabis?

How long the high lasts after smoking cannabis depends on several factors: the type of use, the dosage and individual variables that can vary from person to person, such as tolerance, age and metabolic rate. As a rule, the higher the potency of a cannabis product (i.e. the higher the THC content or milligram amount), the longer the high lasts, although it is not necessarily more intense. Concentrates are the strongest form of cannabis, followed by flowers and edibles.

This might mean that it takes longer to get sober from dabs than from smoking a bowl, but the dosage, the quality of the flower or wax and your body chemistry all contribute to your experience. It’s also important to note that the daily smoker with a higher tolerance to cannabis will sober up much faster than the casual user who smokes a party joint a few times. New research suggests that there is a window of impairment for cannabis depending on the method of use, ranging from three to ten hours, but for most people it is around four hours.

The average cannabis high can last between 30 minutes and 2 hours. The effects can linger for some time, and some highs have been known to last much longer. Fortunately, there are ways to come back down and sober up if you feel too high, overwhelmed or unwell because you have consumed too much cannabis.

Symptoms of being too high

If you know you’re too high, you know it. But if you’re not sure how to figure out where the line is to overshoot, there are a few telltale signs to look out for. We all love to enjoy ourselves, but if you feel like you need to cut back on your consumption:

  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • panic
  • paranoia
  • confusion
  • excessive perspiration
What to do when a friend gets too high
What to do when a friend gets too high

What happens when you get too high?

Even if it feels like you are dying, rest assured that you are still very much alive. Don’t forget that the high you get from marijuana comes from THC connecting to the CB1 receptors in our endocannabinoid system, most of which work in our brain. In short, it mainly takes place in your head! It is not possible to consume so much THC that you die, nor does THC affect parts of the brain that might affect breathing.
The presence of THC in our body systems can cause feelings of relaxation, drowsiness, hunger, euphoria and awkwardness, but the sheer variety of cannabis varieties and products makes it difficult to predict when a high becomes excessive. In rare cases, for example in people suffering from cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, nausea or dizziness may occur. But fortunately, this too will pass.

Tips on how to sober up quickly when you smoke marijuana

1. Don’t panic

Most symptoms of greening out (using too much cannabis) disappear within minutes to hours and have no lasting effects, apart from a slight tiredness and a possibly empty fridge. Give it some time and these feelings will eventually pass, trust us. We must stress again that contrary to what you may have heard, there has never been a reported death from cannabis overdose in history, so you will not die from excessive use, no matter how excited you feel or how much you break a sweat.

Don’t take it as a challenge, but remember that if you accidentally overdo it, you’ll be fine after a while.

2. Try water and light snacks

In the words of Derek Zoolander, water is the essence of hydration, and hydration is the essence of sobering up. Whether you prefer water or juice, make sure you have a nice, cold drink on hand (preferably without caffeine). This way you can combat dry mouth and focus on a simple and familiar action – sipping and swallowing.

Do you get sober if you eat something after smoking marijuana? Some people find that a little snack helps them to sober. Try some fruit, nuts or cheese to see if you find it easier to connect mind and body. Some research suggests that the terpenes in our food, which are also abundant in cannabis, may help to moderate the user’s high.

3. Know your limits before you consume marijuana

If you can, try to prepare for your cannabis use according to your tolerance level. If you know that more than two puffs of a joint will make you anxious, or a 10mg spacecake will tie you to the couch, don’t go beyond your comfort zone. This probably won’t help you if you’re already over the edge, but it can help you avoid an uncomfortable situation next time.

4. Chew black peppercorns when you are too high

If you struggle with paranoia and anxiety, a simple ingredient found in kitchens and restaurants everywhere can be your salvation: black pepper. Many swear by the black pepper trick, even Neil Young! All you need to do is sniff or chew on a few black peppercorns and it should bring almost instant relief. It’s not proven, but many of the terpenes in black pepper are also found in many varieties of cannabis, which could contribute to its grounding effect.

5. Keep calm and rest

Keep calm and rest when you are too high

Find a quiet place without many stimuli where you can rest and breathe deeply. Remember that the intense discomfort you feel will pass. Breathe in deeply and completely through your nose and out through your mouth. Concentrate on the sound of your breath and just rest for a while. Sometimes sleeping in is the best alternative to stop a strong intoxication, but it is not always easy to switch off the brain.

6. Try to go for a walk

If you can’t turn your brain off, sometimes a change of scenery and some fresh air will help get your blood pumping. Just remember to stay in your immediate area and take a partner with you – we don’t want you to get lost if you’re feeling anxious and paranoid! And refrain from going for a walk if you feel too dizzy or light-headed to stand; instead, we recommend option #5: Keep calm and rest.

7. Take a shower or bath

This may not always be possible when you’re out or at a friend’s house, but when you’re at home, take a nice shower or bath to relax while you wait for the effects of too much marijuana to wear off.

8. Distract yourself

Distract yourself when you're too high

All the activities that seem so fun and entertaining when you’re intoxicated are also a great way to distract yourself while you try to come back down to earth. We suggest that you:

  • Watch a funny cartoon
  • Listen to your favourite album
  • Play a video game
  • Talk to your friends (who will hopefully be by your side to calm you down)
  • Snuggle with your partner
  • Try colouring in to calm yourself down (seriously, adult colouring books are all the rage lately)
  • Eat something tasty
  • Run a supervised errand

Whatever distraction you prefer, make sure it is a familiar activity that gives you warm, comforting feelings. Your brain will hopefully focus on the positive feelings and gently remind you that you are safe and well.

How do you stop being high and come down from overwhelming cannabis effects? Share your tips in the comments section!

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Published by Sakul


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