For a lot of first-time marijuana users, getting high or stoned could be a weird experience. You may like it, or you may not. For regular consumers, it’s also possible to get too stoned or too high. And it’s a feeling that may not be too pleasant at all.
When trying out weed for the first time, it is important to know what to expect. This would keep you from being caught off-guard in terms of what it can do to you. You should know that different strains of cannabis have different effects. Some are relaxing, allowing you to take your mind off your worries and giving you a sense of peace and calm. Some could take your mind to a more elevated state, allowing your thoughts to go on an adventure to “unchartered territories.”
Another thing you should understand is that cannabis also affects different people differently. You and your friend may have smoked exactly the same amount of the same bud at the same time, but while your friend may have already composed an entire symphony while high, there you are, jumping up and down the couch like a toddler.
So, yes, because the effect of cannabis on your mind and body can be unpredictable, especially if you are trying out a new strain for the first time, it is possible not to find the high desirable. It is also possible to discover a little too late that you have a low tolerance. If this happens, is there a way to lessen the high? What can a high or stoned user do to sober up?
High vs. stoned vs. buzzed
High. Buzzed. Stoned. Before we talk about ways to reduce these effects, first we have to know whether all three terms mean the same. In fact, most people interchange being “buzzed,” “high,” and “stoned” as far as the effect of smoking weed is concerned. So they all must mean the same thing, right?
While they all pertain to the effects of using weed, they actually vary in stages or degree.
Buzz. Initially, after using pot, you feel a buzz. The buzz usually lasts for only a few minutes before the high starts to kick in. However, it still depends on how potent the strain is.
To put it simply, the buzz describes the feeling you get when an intoxicant enters your system and first takes effect and starts to alter your state of mind. In the case of marijuana, this intoxicant is the psychoactive chemical compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The buzz is the lead-up period to a high. During this stage, you might start feeling a rush of euphoria and erupting into giggles.
High. Being high describes the next level after the buzz. This is characterized by elevated energy levels and uplifted mood. The kind of high you get would depend on a few variables, including the method of consumption, your smoking experience, and the potency of the cannabis strain you are using.
A high-grade strain of marijuana can keep you high for three to four hours. And because every individual responds differently to cannabis, different users would feel differently when they are in this stage. For example, some might experience a bit of anxiety and paranoia, some might feel infectiously sociable, some might find everything funny and would laugh non-stop, and some might feel an endless flow of creativity.
Being high would give you red eyes, low lids, and the cottonmouth.
Stoned. As opposed to being high, wherein you would feel a rush of energy and excitement, being stoned is characterized by a heavy, drowsy, and dopey sensations. A good stone would make you feel like everything is going in slow motion.
Many users would say that after the peak of intoxication, the high would gradually transform into a stone. During this stage, you would feel extremely hungry and lethargic, yet deeply relaxed.
Different consumption methods also influence the stone differently.
Countering an unpleasant or too intense high
Take a dose of CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is nature’s antidote to THC-produced high and is an excellent anxiety-fighting active compound. It works by blocking THC from binding with your brain’s cannabinoid receptors, therefore toning down the effects of THC. So if you smoked a potent strain of weed and if you are not liking the level and the kind of high it is giving you, consume some CBD. You may want to keep some hemp CBD oil handy for this purpose.
Do not panic.
If you feel like you consumed too much cannabis — also called “greening out” — there is no need to panic as this effect will eventually go away. It does not have a lasting effect other than a bit of grogginess. So all you have to do is calm down and give it some time to pass.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there have been no reported deaths caused by a cannabis overdose. So even if you are freaking out about how strange you are feeling, just take a deep breath, compose yourself, rest a little, and stay where you are.
… Unless, of course, you are taking other medications that may have an adverse interaction with cannabis, or you have a medical condition like cardiovascular disease. If such is the case, you shouldn’t be smoking pot in the first place. Nevertheless, the “don’t panic” rule still applies. Now more than ever, actually. Just stay calm, compose yourself, and head to the ER.
Drink enough cold water or fruit juice. The simple act of drinking fluids will allow you to focus on the familiar act of sipping and swallowing, enabling you to keep your mind and body connected. Drinking will also fight dry mouth. Additionally, drinking water is a great way to detoxify or flush your system.
Do not overdo the drinking, though, because you might also flush important electrolytes from your body. This could result to hyponatremia, which is caused by low sodium levels and has symptoms like headache, nausea, irritability, confusion, and lethargy.
What about caffeinated or alcoholic drinks? Alcohol, for one, has been found to increase THC blood concentrations. So that means alcohol is not really recommended. As for coffee or tea, the verdict is not quite clear. Some people advise against it, while others say it’s good if you find yourself too foggy or sleepy and therefore need to re-focus, or simply keep the wheels turning.
Eat a light snack.
Some people find that eating a light snack helps bring them down from a high. Some say that it keeps them feel a bit more grounded. There are many possible reasons for this. One is that eating food increases blood flow to the stomach and pulls it from the brain, thus reducing the psychoactive tendencies of THC. Another is that fatty foods bind with cannabinoids, so they will be metabolized faster.
So, yes, you can try grazing on some nuts, fruits, or cheese, and see if what some people are saying is true. Besides, eating never hurt anyone.
Take a nap.
A quick nap may do the trick to stop an intense high in its tracks. Find a quiet and comfortable spot and take a rest for half an hour — not too long because you might feel more groggy! Try to focus on your breathing first in order to relax and to keep your brain from wandering off. If drowsiness comes, take a snooze to rejuvenate yourself. If it doesn’t, just continue to do breathing exercises until you feel strong enough to stand up.
And because some cannabis strains can give you sedative effects and may take you to dreamland for a long time, you may want to set your alarm in case you have somewhere else to be.
Take a walk or exercise.
Turning your brain off is easier said than done. So if you are having trouble relaxing, try getting a change of scenery and some fresh air. This will get your blood pumping and may invigorate you.
They say that walking or doing some mild exercises is one of the best ways to quickly sober up. This is because it causes a release of endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters in the brain that temporarily blocks pain signals in case of a stressful event or sudden trauma. When endorphins are released, the stress caused by the excessive high from using weed, will melt away.
Remember to walk, jog, or exercise close within your immediate surroundings. If you are feeling anxious or paranoid, or light-headed and woozy, it is absolutely a bad idea to wander off just anywhere.
Take a cold shower.
If you are in your house, try taking a nice shower. Showers and baths are a pleasant way to help you stay calm. If a shower or batch is out of the question, you can try splashing some cold water on your face.
How is this effective? Cold water triggers an immediate decreased heart rate, also called “mammalian diving reflex,” and is a survival response. It also drops your body’s temperature, helping it preserve excess oxygen (and THC, as well) and conserve energy.
Take your mind off any unpleasant feeling by being too busy doing something else. Engage in an activity that is familiar and that provides you with warm emotions. Hopefully, your brain will focus on the positive feelings and will give you a gentle reminder that you are just fine and are safe and sound.
Some of the activities you can do are to listen to your favorite music, play a fun video game, read a book, watch a funny show, color an adult coloring book, or just snuggle with your special someone. Avoid very complex mind games, though, as they may leave you feeling more frustrated instead of relieved.
Black pepper and lemon.
To fight paranoia and anxiety, you can try taking a shot of lemon juice or sniff some crushed black pepper. Or you can just chew on it. It is said to give instantaneous relief. This shows how the “entourage effect” works, with cannabinoids and terpenes working together in order to create a desirable effect. The terpenes involved are limonene and caryophyllene, which help create an active yet less anxious cannabis experience.
A gentle reminder before using cannabis
If you plan on consuming cannabis as a group, make sure it is with the right friends and with people you truly know and are comfortable with. This way, you wouldn’t feel pressured to consume more weed than you can handle. Moreover, your friends are people you probably had wine or beer with multiple times before, so they also pretty much have an idea of your tolerance level to mind-altering substances.
Knowing that your friends are around will also help you calm down in case of a panic attack. And during bouts of confusion, they can keep you grounded. These are people whom you can be sure would take care of you in the event that something goes wrong. Old friends would also know who to call in case of a real emergency.