Marijuana can be a fantastic way to manage pain, treat certain mental disorders, and relax. While enjoying weed definitely has fewer drawbacks than drinking too much alcohol, getting too high too quickly can create a miserable experience. This is common with those new to marijuana or seasoned users trying a stronger form of weed (like dabs) for the first time.
Luckily, there are ways that you can counteract getting too high. In this article, we'll talk about what it really means to be "too high," how to sober up from being too stoned, and steps you can take to avoid getting too high in the future.
How Long Does THC Stay in Your System?
How long you stay high once you've ingested THC will depend on what method you used to consume it and how much of it you consumed. If you vaped or smoked, you'll typically start to feel the effects within 10-15 minutes, with those effects lasting several hours (usually capping between three and four hours).
Smoking or vaping a dab will give you a more intense and often longer high. Dabs (usually in the form of wax) have concentrated amounts of THC (much higher than marijuana flower). That means the high can hit within a few minutes and will last 1-3 hours. While the high will be much more intense, its duration will last close to the same as other inhalation methods.
Depending on how concentrated your dab is, it's possible that the high could last longer (especially if you take several hits). Regardless, we do not recommend that beginners start with dabs, as it will be very easy to get too high too quickly.
Unlike dabs and bud, the THC from edibles is absorbed through your digestive system (not your lungs). Since the THC has to work its way through your stomach and your liver, it takes much longer to actually feel high. It usually takes 30-60 minutes to feel the effects of an edible (and sometimes longer).
However, edibles make up for their delay in how potent they are. When THC is processed in the liver, it is changed to 11-Hydroxy metabolite, which is much more potent than THC. Even if you take an edible with a small amount of THC in it, you can still get extremely high from it.
This means it's easy for beginners to get too high on edibles, since it's slow to hit and hits much harder than typical vaping or smoking.
How Long Can You Detect THC in Your System?
While the effects of THC can be noticeable for several hours, you can actually test positive for THC use for weeks, even months after you've taken a hit or popped an edible. This does not mean you'll be high this long, but since THC binds to lipids (like your body fat), it can remain detectable for weeks or months.
You should keep in mind the more you use THC products, the more THC builds up in your body fat. If you're a heavy user and stop, it can easily be months before all of the THC has cleared from your body.
How Will I Know If I'm Too High?
As the former US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said on how to tell the difference between art and porn, you'll "know it when you see it." There's no particular threshold of being high that should trigger alarms since it's practically impossible to overdose on THC. Instead, "being too high" means you are stoned enough to feel physically or mentally uncomfortable. More extreme symptoms of being too high include:
- Pronounced paranoia and anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Motor-function impairment
- Irrational thoughts
If you feel any of these symptoms strongly, you're likely too high. While you shouldn’t be at physical risk for consuming too much marijuana, it's still not comfortable to be afraid, anxious, or delusional. These symptoms can run counter to the typical effects of feeling high, which are often the exact opposite of these symptoms.
More importantly, if you experience psychotic thoughts or hallucinations, you may end up putting yourself in danger (even if the THC itself isn't a health risk).
Can I Overdose on THC?
No. While a hypothetical lethal dose of THC exists, it's essentially impossible to overdose on THC. If you were smoking or vaping, you'd pass out (often called greening out) before you got anywhere close to a lethal dose. If you were taking edible, you'd risk a toxic dose of salt or sugar from the candy before you'd be in danger of THC.
That being said, you shouldn't take an enormous dose of THC you aren't ready for. If it triggers a psychotic episode, you may put yourself at a safety risk or make irrational decisions (like attempting to drive). Even if you can't overdose, you should try not to get too high, and you should keep the following steps in mind on how to sober up!
How Can I Prevent Getting Too High?
Once you're too high, it can be difficult to sober up without waiting it out. The best way to avoid the experience is to have a firm plan in place to not get too high in the first place. That can be easier said than done (especially for newbies), but there are easy strategies you can follow to avoid getting too high.
Vape or Smoke Slowly
If vaping or smoking for the first time, go slow! Take one or two hits and then wait 15-20 minutes for the effects to kick in. From there, if you feel like you need more, take one or two more hits and wait again. Vaping in an incremental way makes it extremely difficult to get too high.
Start with Low-Dose Edibles
Edibles can provide a very strong high, much stronger than vaping or smoking. This is why it's important to start with low-dose edibles for your first few times (usually around 5mg). It can take 30 minutes to an hour for edibles to kick in, so it may take you a few tries to find an ideal dose that gets you pleasantly high (but not too high).
You should take extra precautions when using edibles since the high can not only be stronger, but it can last much, much longer. Start with low doses and work your way up to something comfortable!
What Are the Typical Results of Getting High?
Negative side-effects of marijuana are not the typical experience of consuming weed. In fact, when you control your dosage and are in a comfortable environment to get high, the results of THC intoxication can be very enjoyable. Some of the more positive effects of getting high include:
- General euphoria (or just feeling physically and mentally good)
- Possible pain reduction
- Calmness and relaxation
- Warped perceptions of time (it may feel like time moves very slowly or that time moves very quickly)
- Increased appetite (often called "the munchies")
- Increased creative energy
These positive effects are why vaping or consuming THC has grown in popularity. Weed is often used to help sleep disorders, certain mental disorders, and chronic pain. It's also often used recreationally because who doesn't enjoy feeling relaxed and happy?
You'll quickly learn that, while the typical effects of getting high are good, it's important to not get too high. Otherwise, you'll risk those nasty side effects we mentioned earlier.
How to Sober Up From Weed
There's not a way to magically become "un high" if you feel you've become too stoned. If you are starting to experience uncomfortable symptoms of being too high, there are steps you can take to alleviate the uncomfortable experience and get back to the good parts of being high! Take a look at how to sober up from weed fast.
Stay Hydrated and Eat a Snack
When you get too high, it's easy to get "stuck" in your head and get disconnected from the outside world. These are common symptoms of a panic attack, and one of the best ways to fight against a panic attack is to "reconnect" or "ground" yourself back to reality. One of the best ways to do that is through taste, so if you're too high, take a nibble of a tasty snack!
Drinking water and staying hydrated is always a good idea. Consuming THC can cause dry mouth, but it doesn't actually cause dehydration as alcohol intake does. Regardless, getting a cool drink of water (or your choice of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverage) is another great way to ground your mind if you feel yourself panicking because you're too high.
Chew on Peppercorns or Lemon Slices
You may think we recommend chewing on peppercorns or lemons because they have strong flavors. While that helps, there is actually interesting science at work when you take a nibble of a lemon rind or a peppercorn. They both have terpenes, which promote different moods and mindsets. In marijuana, terpenes can affect the "kind" of high you have and how it hits.
When you nibble on black pepper, you'll be ingesting pinene, and caryophyllene terpenes, which research indicates can help counteract the high of THC. Lemons have limonene, which is now to have relaxing and anti-stress properties, which is perfect for when you are spiraling because you've had too much weed.
It can be hard to get these items if you're way too stoned. If you're concerned about getting too high, grab some lemon rinds and peppercorns before you start vaping!
Take a Deep Breath and Get Comfortable
The most important thing you can do to stop spiraling when you're too high is to mentally take control again. Take a long, deep breath to ground yourself and calm your thoughts. Get into a physically comfortable position, which will help you relax. You may even end up falling asleep!
When you are taking deep, controlled breaths, remind yourself that you are not in physical danger, you are not experiencing a medical emergency, and that the uncomfortable parts of being too high will eventually pass.
Take a Shower or a Bath
Taking a hot shower or bath will help sober you up in several different ways. First, a warm shower will help you relax if you're struggling with panic or anxiety. Next, contact with the hot water will help ground you (similarly to how tasting a potent flavor would).
Some claim that a hot shower actually dampens a THC high, though there isn't much research or science behind the claim. Regardless, a warm bath or shower can help relax and calm you during a difficult high!
Find a Distraction
It's easy to get trapped in your head and experience looping thoughts if you're too high. An excellent way to get out of your own head is to find a distraction to keep your thoughts occupied. This could be a TV show that is a go-to comfort series, a video game, a fidget (like a fidget-spinner or a silicone pop mat).
Regardless of what you use, a distraction can help you take the focus off being too high and onto an external distraction.
Use a Safety Plan
After you've been high (or too high) a few times, you'll start to get a good idea of what problems you might face. If you've been uncomfortably high a couple of times, be sure to note:
- What caused you to get too high? (edibles, dabs, or just vaping too much?)
- What part of being high did you not enjoy?
- What helped you calm down?
- What made your anxiety or panic worse?
Having a plan in place makes it easy to take steps to calm yourself down if you find yourself uncomfortably high. This will be useful if you plan on getting high in an unfamiliar place (like a friend's house or while camping) since you can pack items that will help soothe you.
CBD, which is another cannabinoid found in cannabis, may be able to help sober you up from a THC high. Research suggests that CBD can counteract THC's psychoactive properties, which means CBD might help sober you up or prevent getting too high, to begin with.
The science on how CBD and THC interact is still new, and scientists are still studying how they both interact with the human body. Even if CBD doesn't directly interfere with your body absorbing THC, it still can provide calming, anti-anxiety properties that can still help you when you're too high.
How to Use CBD
There are a lot of different ways you can use CBD. However, if you plan on having it handy if you get too high on THC, there are a few methods that will work best. They include:
- Oil tinctures
- Dry herb vaping (specifically hemp)
- CBD edibles
These methods will get CBD into your bloodstream quickly, so you could start feeling the effects in 20 minutes. If you use a tincture or edibles, it could take up to an hour for the CBD to start taking effect.
The Bottom Line
Weed is a useful (and fun) tool, but it's important to create positive experiences if you plan on vaping or consuming weed on a regular basis. Remember, there are easy ways to enjoy being high without having to worry about getting too high:
- Be mindful of your dosage (and if you aren't sure how much to take, start low and go slow)
- Enjoy THC in a safe, comfortable space (especially if it will be your first time)
- Have plenty of snacks and non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages handy
- Stock up on lemon rinds, peppercorns, and CBD products to counteract a strong high
- Make sure you are around friends that you trust and will help if you get too high
The more you enjoy weed, the easier it will be to avoid getting too high. Just be sure to enjoy responsibly and safely!