January 11, 2023

How to Stop Being High AF

(A letter to young me, that one Fourth of July)

Did you ever find yourself just SO uncomfortably high that you could barely stand it and cope?

We’ve all been there. For me it was on the Fourth of July years ago, when I was in college. Those brownies! They were baked in these little mini cupcake tins, and they were so good. Too good. I ate way too many.

How many too many?

Several hours later, certain that nuclear war was upon us (thanks, fireworks!), I felt myself having a heart attack. Only…I didn’t die.

Eventually, as somehow the 80s song “Heart Attack” by Olivia Newton-John played in my head on loop the way it used to sound on a warped cassette tape, I thought: “Why am I hearing this dumb song in my head?”

I realized: “Because you’re not having a heart attack, dummy. There was just a lot of cannabis in those brownies, and now you’re too high.”

And then I rolled my head to the side and realized I was laying on the bathroom floor with the floor mat covering me, blankie-style. Hoo boy!

Look, we’ve all been there. Hopefully your experience was less embarrassing.

In this post we cover how to recover from being too high, how you got too high in the first place, and how to hide it when you do get too high.

What is Making Me So High?

The cannabis plant is rich in natural cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system, which regulates various physiological functions, including anxiety, appetite, concentration, emotions, fear, focus, learning, memory, moods, motor and sensory functions, pain, sleep, and stress. THC, the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, binds more strongly with CB1, however, which can lead to overstimulation, feelings of stress, anxiety, and paranoia.

THC interacts with the CB1 receptor to produce the intoxicating, mind-altering, and pleasurable effects of cannabis. However, these receptors may also become overstimulated, which can produce unpleasant side effects such as:

  • Difficulty holding conversations
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme confusion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Increased stress and anxiety levels
  • Lethargy
  • Memory problems
  • Motor incoordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Panic attacks
  • Poor judgment
  • Powerful couch lock

(Learn more about the Chemistry, Metabolism, and Toxicology of Cannabis here:

What To Do When You’re Too High

  1. Don’t Panic. I know, it’s easier said than done (believe me, I remember), but try not to panic. That fear of overdosing or death is making that panic attack worse, but remember: you can’t overdose on cannabis. That’s because there are not cannabinoid receptors in the brain center that control heartbeat and breathing in sufficient numbers to be overwhelmed in that way. High THC doses won’t affect your ability to breathe.
  2. Remember the Facts. Although some research shows long-term, regular marijuana use could be linked to heart disease, that may be because almost all research focuses on smoking, and any kind of smoking is related to heart disease. Cannabis use may also be linked to increased heart rate, which can be dangerous for people with atrial fibrillation in particular.
  3. Rest, and Sleep if Possible. Sleeping off the effects of THC is the best possible move you can make. Try to make it happen.
  4. Change Focus. A good distraction like a walk in a familiar setting or a pleasant show, or even some chores around the house may really help you. But avoid anything that demands solid judgment, quick thinking, or fast reflexes.
  5. Use CBD. CBD can offset many of THC’s mind-altering psychological effects. This is because CBD binds less readily with the CB1 receptor, so when it does, it won’t get you as high. Also, with CBD in place with the receptors, it’s more difficult for THC to bind to the receptors. My favorite way is to vape CBD oil for fast effects, usually within 15 minutes.
  6. Aromatherapy. This is basically making use of terpenes, which occur in nature; limonene, found in citrus, produces an uplifting, anti-stress effect, so it can help to suck on a lemon or drink lemon water. Caryophyllene is another relaxing terpene; find this one by chewing black pepper kernels or cloves to relieve the side effects of THC.
  7. Stay Hydrated. Common side effects of THC also include dry eyes and cottonmouth, so stay hydrated, avoid alcoholic drinks, and drink plenty of water.
  8. Eat Well. Eating healthy snacks stops edibles from hitting you too hard and also helps you not eat more edibles after the munchies hit. Also, sometimes the effects of cannabis on an empty stomach are more intense.
  9. Tell Someone You Trust. Make sure someone you trust is available—just in case!
  10. Know What You’re Using. Not all cannabis strains and products are the same. Remember that sativa strains may make you more paranoid, while indica strains may be more sedating. And edibles and concentrates are potent; a little goes a long way.
  11. Start Low, Go Slow. It’s good advice for us all, not just beginners! Smoking weed isn’t the same as smoking cigarettes, especially your first time. Especially for beginners new to edibles, start with a low dose and go slow.

Uh Oh: I Got Too High. Now What?

Now that you’re way too high…you’d better hide it, especially if you’re not in a recreational state.

  1. Check your eyes. Red eyes are a dead giveaway because smoking cannabis can reduce inner eye pressure, causing other blood vessels to expand. This is why some people with glaucoma use cannabis, but it also can make your eyes red. Keep some saline-based eye drops or sunglasses handy.
  2. Wash your hands. You probably smell like weed, especially on your hands. Lotion is also a good idea.
  3. Brush your teeth. Did I mention you smell like weed? It’s fine to eat mints but also brush before you go.
  4. It’s not that funny. Yes, you’re probably laughing too much. It’s hard, but cannabis is probably making you laugh too much, and at too many things. Later you’ll wonder why you thought that was funny, so especially if you’re at work, stop laughing so much!
  5. Stop talking. You’re also talking too much, and probably too fast. It’s probably a bunch of nonsense, too.
  6. Be still. Who knows why, but stoners love to fidget. Try to stay still or you’ll give yourself away.
  7. Try to suppress munchies. Or at least keep them private. The only people who eat entire boxes of cereal and whole pizzas like that are people with the munchies.

Final Thoughts on How to Sober Up Safely

There’s no question: being high AF is fun AF—until it isn’t! Getting too stoned can be uncomfortable and even scary, but the effects of THC always go away and they are not dangerous. Follow these tips to cope with THC’s negative side effects.