It happens. Whether you call it “greening out” or “whiting out,” sometimes there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to cannabis — especially its psychoactive component, THC.
It’s important to note one fundamental aspect regarding cannabis: no one has ever died of a cannabis overdose. Ever. To overdose on marijuana, you would literally have to smoke 800 joints consecutively. At that point, you wouldn’t die from the cannabis, but rather carbon monoxide poisoning. Obviously, smoking 800 joints is a worst-case scenario for cannabis abuse.
That being said, it is possible to have a bit too much THC, leaving you feeling uncomfortable rather than relaxed. Whether you’ve simply consumed too much or experimented with a strain with a high percentage of THC, common uncomfortable symptoms include sweating, dizziness, going pale (hence “whiting out”), feeling shaky and, for some, nausea and vomiting.
Thankfully, there are a number of effective ways that you can combat an all too powerful high. These tips will bring you back down to earth and leave you feeling more comfortable with your cannabis experience.
Counteract with CBD
Cannabidiol (CBD) and THC have an interesting relationship. While THC is often used in medical cannabis therapies to enhance the effects of CBD, CBD can be used to counter the effects of THC. Try vaping CBD oil or take CBD oil sublingually or orally as a way to counteract psychoactivity.
Eat & Hydrate
The first rule is to always hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Drinking a sufficient amount of water will help the THC move faster through your bloodstream. Similarly, eating — especially if you ingested an edible — will help your digestive system break down the cannabinoids quicker, allowing for a more rapid metabolization.
Sweat It Out
If you’re physically capable, getting up and going for a run or a fast-paced walk can help tremendously. Sweating helps your body flush out toxins and THC faster than if you just remained sedentary.
It may sound like and old wives tale, but chewing black pepper can actually help your brain enter into a state of calmness. The key is understanding the cannabinoid receptors of the brain and how cannabis and terpenes bind to them. Beta-caryophyllene in pepper binds to the same parts of your brain that cannabis does, allowing for some relief of anxiety. Black pepper has actually been used as a remedy for centuries!
No matter what your state of mind you’re in, a hot shower is always a good idea. Not only does this cleanse your body, but it also allows you to be mindful of the way you feel when in warm water. Let the hot water run over your face and body, while you mentally visualize the discomfort being washed away down the drain. Go a step further and mindfully pamper your body by slathering on your favorite cream or body oil.
Turn to Essential Oils
Those who use essential oils regularly know the benefits oils can leave on your body and mind. If you’re feeling lethargic from your cannabis sesh, put some peppermint oil under your nose or on your temples. This is usually done with a carrier oil. To calm yourself, use lavender, lemongrass, rose or chamomile. For example, a drop of lavender on the bottom of your feet will leave you feeling extra relaxed! You can always drop your oils into a diffuser, so you can calm your entire environment. Play around with different aromas to discover which essential oil works best for you.
Focus on Something
Racing thoughts are unfortunately an all too familiar effect of THC. Sometimes, all you need to calm your brain is to focus on one thing rather than letting yourself get lost in a haze of high thoughts. Try out coloring book for adults, read or simply just Netflix and chill to keep your mind off the way you’re feeling. The art of focusing also allows for your creative thoughts to emerge, a positive effect THC can bring to the table.
Drink Coffee or Tea
Brewing a cup of hot coffee or caffeinated tea may give you the stimulation you need if you’re feeling a bit couch locked. Caffeine is a diuretic, which helps you urinate more frequently. This will help your body to metabolize the THC faster.
Take a Nap
If all else fails, treat yourself to a good nap. There’s nothing a good nap can’t fix. You may, however, wake up with a bit of a “THC hangover.” Some have reported reported feeling a tad foggy, lethargic and grumpy the day after a strong cannabis high. You will start feeling back to normal as the hours go on though!
Keep Calm, Carry On
The key when you’re feeling “too high” is to NEVER panic. While traces of THC may stay in your bloodstream and in your fat stores for weeks, the effects of THC can wear off pretty quickly. While you may not be used to certain thoughts, feelings, sensations or emotions that come with too much THC, remember that they are all fleeting.
The next time you’re feeling uneasy, test out some of these tips to help bring yourself out of the clouds and back down to earth!
Anne-Marie is a freelance cannabis writer and educator dedicated to cultivating and disseminating important knowledge about cannabis as legalization spreads across the globe. After earning her BA and Masters, she followed an exciting career in the research and education field, finding innovative ways to create collaborations between community needs and research and academic pursuits.
Based in Canada, she is a full time writer for the world’s best cannabis companies, advocates and organizations.