Maureen Dowd will forever live in infamy as the journalist who got too high on cannabis edibles. The year was 2014 and Colorado had just legalized recreational marijuana. As a New York Times columnist, Dowd was sent to the state to cover the historic occasion and when she arrived, she immediately took to her hotel room and ate a marijuana candy bar. When she didn’t feel the effects after a short while she ate more. Later she wrote a story about how she then spent the next eight hours lying on her bed in the fetal position suffering from paranoia.
After the article came out, Dowd was criticized for not doing her homework about the effects of marijuana before wolfing down a bunch of cannabis candy. She learned too late had she eaten a small portion of the marijuana bar and waited 45 minutes, she would have had an entirely pleasant experience. The good news about her mistake is we can learn from it and take preventative measures to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to us. Should it happen, though, you might be asking yourself, how do I stop being high? Or, how do I get less high? Thankfully, there are specific things to do to cope with being too high on cannabis.
Is Cannabis Legal In Canada?
Yes. Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001 and it has been legal to inhale recreational marijuana since October 2018. Cannabis edibles became legal in the country in October 2019.
Is It Safe If I Get Too High on Cannabis?
Yes. It’s important to say right at the start that there has never been a report of a fatality as a direct result of the consumption of marijuana, whether through eating or smoking. The worst thing that can happen if too much cannabis is consumed is you’ll have an uncomfortable experience. You might find yourself feeling paranoid or thirsty or any number of things but your health will never be in danger. It’s no fun being uncomfortable, however, so below are some ways to prevent getting too high on cannabis. In this article, we’ll also share some things to do should you find yourself too high on marijuana.
What does it feel like to be too high smoking cannabis?
For the purposes of this article, the cannabis we’re referring to is the kind that contains tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound responsible for the psychological effects of weed. CBD products contain minuscule amounts of THC and therefore do not induce any “high.” If you find yourself too high after smoking cannabis with THC, the good news is it will pass quickly. Usually, it’s newcomers to marijuana who get too high while vaping or smoking and it’s because they haven’t taken note of the THC content of the product they’re consuming. Any good vendor will tell you beforehand what percentages of THC are in the items you’re considering: the higher the percentage, the more intense the high. Everyone’s metabolism is different but a general rule is, if you’re new to marijuana, stick to products that are low in THC. If you’ve chosen something that has too much THC, or you’ve smoked too much of it, chances are you’ll be asking yourself how do I get rid of this high or how do I get less high. You might also be feeling:
- • anxiety
- • confusion
- • paranoia
- • nausea
- • increased heart rate
- • high blood pressure
Again, your health is not in danger if you smoke too much cannabis! You simply might feel uncomfortable for a half hour depending on how much you’ve smoked.
What does it feel like to be too high on cannabis edibles?
Cannabis edibles are food or drink products infused with cannabis that have a psychoactive effect on the body when consumed. They’re available in lots of varieties from candy and chocolates to coconut oil. They affect the body differently than inhaled cannabis because they’re metabolized by the liver (not the lungs) and create a stronger, more body-centred high that lasts longer. This is why Dowd suffered eight hours of discomfort because she ate far too much, too fast, and it took that long for her body to process it all. Had she smoked too much marijuana, she would’ve been fine within 30 minutes. As with smoking too much cannabis, uncomfortable symptoms can include all those listed above as well as:
- • dry mouth
- • headache
- • a drop in blood sugar levels
- • hallucinations
- • panic
- • vomiting
- • shakiness
So remember, those cute little THC gummy bears can pack a much stronger punch than a rolled joint. Avoid getting to the place where you’re asking how do I stop being high by not getting too high in the first place.
How long does it last if you’re too high on cannabis?
Every single person has a different metabolism and so marijuana will affect people in different ways. However, in most instances, the high from a cannabis edible takes longer to onset and lasts longer than smoking weed. If you’ve smoked an entire joint or bowl filled with bud that has a high percentage of THC, and you’re not used to it, you could feel uncomfortable within minutes and the discomfort could last up to 30 minutes. This is because THC doesn’t take long to enter your bloodstream via the lungs and once it’s there, the high will last until the concentration of THC is diluted. After 30 minutes you might still feel high but any unpleasantness will be over. Weed edibles are a different story. It typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour to feel the effects of a pot brownie for example, and the high might last for hours. In a report published by the US National Library of Medicine, scientists identified the following times for the onset, peak and duration of a cannabis high.
|Smoking and vaping||Within minutes||20 to 30 minutes||2 to 3 hours|
|Edibles||30 to 90 minutes||3 hours||Within 24 hours|
What preventive measures can be taken to avoid getting too high on cannabis?
To avoid getting to the place where you’re asking, “how do I stop being high,” it’s important to take steps to try and prevent it in the first place. One of the main things we tell people who are new to marijuana is to enjoy it in a comfortable environment. Loud places and crowds can enhance sensations experienced when high and if you overindulge, it will be that much more unpleasant. The other important thing to remember the rule of “low and slow”:
- • Keep your dosage low and use a form of cannabis that has a low amount of THC.
- • Wait for the effects to take place before consuming more.
Actual valuations of all these factors differ per individual based on variables such as the person’s age, weight, previous experience with marijuana, and the way the cannabis is ingested. With smokables and vapes, a good rule of thumb is to choose a product with less than 20% THC, inhale once and then wait 10 minutes to feel any effect. Repeat as necessary, always waiting 10 minutes between inhalations. With edibles, ingesting a low dosage may mean divvying up the cookie, candy or chocolate bar into minuscule portions. For example, the Mindful Puff-A-Mint chocolate bar has 200 milligrams of THC in it. That means each square contains 20mg and it’s recommended that beginners start with a dose of 5mg in an hour and a half. That means consuming a quarter of one square of the chocolate bar and waiting 90 minutes. If you don’t think you have the fortitude not to indulge in the rest of the bar before the time is up (thereby potentially subjecting yourself to the unpleasantness Maureen Dowd endured) then it’s probably best to try a tincture and place one drop under your tongue and wait the hour and a half. Thankfully, Stash Club and other reputable marijuana dispensaries indicate what the THC content of every product is in either percentage or milligrams, and the descriptions will help you decide if it’s something that’s suitable for a beginner.
What can you do if you find yourself too high on cannabis? In other words, how to get less high.
Yeah, we know. It happens. You eat a cookie and find out too late it has 500 milligrams of THC in it. Now you’re wondering: How do I stop being high? Or, how do I get less high? Or how do I get rid of a high? Here are 10 things to try if you find yourself too high on marijuana:
- • Don’t panic. No one has ever died from ingesting too much marijuana. Ever. You will make it through this. Calling the ambulance and asking to be rushed to the emergency room is the last thing you should do. Not only are hospitals the opposite of relaxing, but the only thing doctors will do for you is give you a warm blanket and keep you hydrated. You can do that easily enough at home.
- • Take some CBD oil or tincture. Yes, it may seem counterintuitive to put more cannabis in your system but CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties and it’s great for calming nerves. A few drops of oil under your tongue can help calm you in minutes.
- • Drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids. Dry mouth is common for those who find themselves too high on cannabis so drink lots of water and juice.
- • Increase your blood sugar levels. If you’re experiencing shakes, eat some simple carbohydrates like bread to get your blood sugar levels up.
- • Chew or sniff black peppercorns. Because pepper binds to the same receptors in your brain as THC does, it can help calm your nerves immediately. And it can be found anywhere.
- • Find some lemons. Can’t locate any pepper, lemons are a great substitute as they also contain compounds, such as limonene, that have a calming effect. Squeeze some lemon juice into your water or steep some lemon peel in hot water.
- • Relax. Curl up on the couch or in bed under a warm blanket. Have a hot shower or bath. Dim the lights. Play calming music.
- • Go for a walk. A change of scenery is usually helpful, as is fresh air. Just don’t go for a stroll in a crowded park.
- • Distract yourself. We know of people who have watched knitting channels on YouTube to ride out the feeling of being too high on marijuana. Likewise, watching a rom-com or TV sitcom can be equally distracting. Alternatively, grab a pen and paper and draw, play a musical instrument, cuddle a pet or clean your bathroom.
- • Ride it out. Remember it will all end soon enough. The high from ingesting marijuana always peaks and then ebbs. Once you get to the point where the feeling of being stoned is less intense, it’s time to enjoy it. Notice how your sensations are heightened. Try laughing. This will all return to normal
What is the right amount of THC for me?
As mentioned above in our preventive measures section, people who are new to marijuana should stick to cannabis products that are low in THC. For example, if you’re smoking bud, choose options that are 20% or lower in THC or the description indicates they are “low strength.” In the case of vapes, most tend to be higher strength so if you do choose to experiment with them, inhale only a tiny amount at first. As with all inhaled marijuana products, wait 10 minutes for the effect to kick in. With edibles, newcomers should definitely stick to low doses of around 5mg and wait an hour and a half for the effects to take hold. In some instances that’ll mean having a fraction of a candy. So if you don’t think you can hold back from eating the whole thing, the best bet is to go with a tincture like Liquid Gold, place one drop under the tongue and then wait 45 minutes for the effects. Before deciding on any product, be sure to read the description and the percentage and/or amount of milligrams of THC it contains. And always remember the golden rule: low and slow.