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How to Stop a Bad High

Many states have legalized marijuana (cannabis), and for many people, this legalization has resulted in more frequent use. Marijuana is known to produce a high, often pleasant, but it can also result in the development of unpleasant side effects. When some people smoke marijuana, it causes a “bad high,” which is often accompanied by side effects like paranoia, anxiety, and disorientation. There are many techniques to deal with a bad marijuana high.

How is Marijuana Consumed?

Cannabis can be consumed in a variety of different ways. It can be smoked in blunts (cigar wrappers or cigars that have been refilled with marijuana), joints (similar to a cigarette), or in bongs (water pipes or pipes). Marijuana can be infused into foods such as brownies, cakes, or cookies. Food items that contain marijuana are referred to as edibles. It can also be vaporized using devices such as vape pens or e-cigarettes.

The compounds present in marijuana are often extracted to produce oils and other concentrates that can be inhaled or vaped. Smoking extracts, concentrates, and oils derived from marijuana is referred to as “dabbing.”

The method you use to consume cannabis can have a major impact on how quickly it affects your body. Edibles take longer to produce a high, but they tend to produce a stronger high when consumed.

How Does Marijuana Produce a High?

The body has a natural way to keep your anxiety in check, and when you consume marijuana, the drug actually mimics this natural process. Marijuana impacts your endocannabinoid system, which calms down brain synapses responsible for stimulating various neurotransmitters. In other words, the endocannabinoid system slows the release of cannabinoids, which bind to cannabinoid receptors in the body and brain. When they are wired, they tell the body to remain calm.

The receptors are particularly present in areas of the brain that affect mood regulation. In 2014, Vanderbilt University conducted a study that found cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for regulating the fight-or-flight response and anxiety levels.

Plant-based cannabinoids are present in marijuana, so when you consume cannabis, they bind to the same receptors in your brain and body. This binding produces a relaxing feeling similar to the one caused by your body’s own cannabinoids.

THC chemicals travel directly to the bloodstream and the lungs when smoked. Much like tobacco smoke, marijuana smoke contains numerous carcinogens that can negatively impact your health and increase your risk of lung cancer. These chemicals also travel to the heart, often causing increased heart rate, which can cause some users to suffer a heart attack, especially if they already suffer from heart disease.

Marijuana can also impact the brain and its functionality and development. THC has the ability to alter the senses and impair response time and coordination. High dosages of some strains can cause hallucinations.

Preventing a Bad High

Don’t Panic

If you feel you are too high, your first reaction may be to panic. This is normal, but in reality, there is no need to panic. Most of the time, the symptoms of getting too high will fade within a few minutes or hours, depending on the potency of the marijuana you consumed. You may experience symptoms such as an increased appetite or excessive grogginess, but they can’t hurt you.

Contrary to various urban legends, you can’t die from consuming too much cannabis. No documented cases of cannabis overdose deaths exist, so no matter how strange or unstable you feel, you won’t die. Just stay calm and remember everything will be okay in time.

Drink Liquids

Smoking cannabis can leave you parched, and if you feel you consumed too much, you may be very thirsty. Whether you prefer juice, water, or soda (ideally non-caffeinated), you should be sure to have a cold drink within reach if you feel you may get too high. Drinking a cold beverage will mitigate the effects of dry mouth while helping you focus on performing one basic task – swallowing. When choosing a beverage, it is wise to avoid alcohol. There is evidence that consuming alcohol can actually increase the concentrations of THC in your blood.


Eating after consuming cannabis can help you feel more grounded. Many people prefer to have a light snack on hand, such as fruits, nuts, or cheese to combat the effects of a bad high. There is even some evidence to suggest the terpenes in food, which are also present in cannabis, can have a mitigating effect on highness.

Respect Your Tolerance Level

Do you know your cannabis tolerance level? If you don’t, you may want to think about how cannabis consumption affects your body so you don’t overdo it. For example, if you know that a single joint makes you nervous or anxious, you probably shouldn’t aim to smoke two. If you consume too much, it may just push you over the edge and result in a bad high and a generally uncomfortable situation.

Only consume cannabis with people you trust, and don’t give in to peer pressure if you are encouraged to ignore your tolerance levels. There is nothing wrong with smoking with new friends, but being surrounded by people you don’t really know can increase your chances of experiencing a bad high. Also, you don’t want to be surrounded by strangers if symptoms such as paranoia or anxiety arise.

Edibles often overwhelm consumers and push them past their tolerance levels. If you intend to consume edibles, remember to go slow and wait for an hour or two if you want to eat more. The effects of edibles often emerge after 30-45 minutes, so it may take a while to get high.

Chew Black Peppercorns

Sudden symptoms such as anxiety and paranoia can knock you off your seat, but believe it or not, you may be able to minimize your symptoms using a simple household ingredient found in virtually everyone’s kitchen cabinet – black peppercorns. Chewing or sniffing black peppercorns can offer nearly instant relief from a bad high. Although it hasn’t been proven, some believe the terpenes in black peppercorns are also present in most cannabis strains, giving them a grounding effect.

Relax or Take a Nap

As previously mentioned, staying calm during a bad high is imperative. Find a quiet, calm space and breathe deeply through your discomfort. Remember, the symptoms you are experiencing are only temporary. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth while focusing on the sound of your breath briefly.

If breathing exercises and quiet don’t help calm your anxious mind, you may just need a nap. Once you are in a quiet, stimulus-free setting, such as your bedroom, just lie down and let yourself rest. When your wake up, the symptoms of your high will probably have worn off and you will feel rejuvenated.

Take a Walk

Naps and breathing techniques may not stand up to a bad high, especially if you aren’t tired. If you can’t control your brain, changing up your scenery and getting out of the house may have a positive effect. Try going for a walk, ideally with a friend and in a setting you feel comfortable in and are familiar with. If you are too high, you might wander off or get lost while feeling anxious and paranoid. You may want to avoid going for a walk if you are having difficulty keeping your balance or standing up straight.

Engage in a Fun Activity

Being too high can be uncomfortable, so if you really want to come back down to earth, try engaging in a fun activity. Fun activities can act as a great distraction during unpleasant moments, and to combat your bad high, you can do one or more of the following:

  • Listen to music
  • Watch television or a movie
  • Play a video game
  • Color
  • Get out of the house

No matter what familiar activity you choose, just make sure it is something that gives you a pleasant sensation. In most cases, your brain will relax and help you realize you are fine and your feelings are only temporary.

Can Edibles Cause a Bad High?

Consuming an edible is quite different from smoking or vaping. This is primarily because different bodily systems process them differently, so highs caused by edibles are longer-lasting and more intense. The intensity of an edible high is largely the result of THC passing through the liver during the digestive process, resulting in a longer high.

Since an edible high is more pronounced, you may need to try different methods of sobering up. Drinking water, remaining calm, and distracting yourself can work, as can eating a large meal to keep your metabolism up. If you are experiencing a really bad high, taking a nap might do the trick too.

Is Your Bad High Really Caused by Marijuana?

Using weed can certainly lead to a bad high, but there will be cases where your high isn’t caused by marijuana alone. Depending on other circumstances, there may be other possible culprits such as:

  • Consuming alcohol or drugs other than marijuana. If you consume other drugs besides cannabis, they can impact your bodily systems and produce a bad high. This is especially true for harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or prescription painkillers.
  • Cannabis withdrawal. If you consume marijuana regularly, you may experience a range of withdrawal symptoms if you stop immediately. Symptoms of cannabis withdrawal can include insomnia, difficulty focusing, and mood swings.
  • Lasting marijuana effects. You may be experiencing a long-lasting high depending on the type of cannabis you consumed, as well as its concentration, dose, and delivery method. Your tolerance for cannabis can also influence how long your high lasts. A typical marijuana high lasts between one and four hours.

If you haven’t consumed alcohol or any other drugs and the effects of your marijuana last more than five hours, you are probably just experiencing cannabis aftereffects.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

If you are like many people, you may be wondering if marijuana is addictive. The answer is “yes,” marijuana can become addictive for some people. Individuals suffering from mental illness, who are more likely to rely on the drug for symptom relief, are especially susceptible to addiction. If a person who regularly uses marijuana builds up a high tolerance for the drug, it may eventually take more and more to produce an acceptable high.

Can You Overdose on Marijuana?

Overdosing on marijuana is also a possibility, and although marijuana overdoes don’t result in death, they can produce unpleasant side effects including:

  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Disorientation
  • Uncontrollable shaking
  • Increased heart rate

Overdose symptoms can last hours or only a few minutes. If a marijuana user experiences a severe reaction to the drug, medical attention may be necessary to prevent additional complications.

Why Does a Bad High Often Result in Paranoia?

As previously stated, a bad high often results in paranoia. Tetrahydrocannabinol, typically shortened to THC, is the psychoactive compound found in cannabis. When consumed in smaller amounts, THC can produce a very calming effect. Unfortunately, however, when consumed in larger amounts, it can produce anxiety and paranoia. THC tolerance levels vary among individuals, and it is common for some people to be able to consume more cannabis than others.

How Long Does Marijuana Stay in the Body?

Since THC is absorbed by the bloodstream, when a person ingests or smokes marijuana, it is temporarily stored in various fatty tissues and organs. It is processed by the liver, which has more than 100 unique metabolites, and when a person is tested for marijuana, the test picks up on these metabolites, which remain in the body longer than THC. Over time, THC is excreted through bodily processes and the amount of time it takes for your body to excrete THC depends on the amount of cannabis used and how much you use. The more cannabis you use, the longer it will take for THC to be excreted from your body.

There are multiple factors that affect how long marijuana stays in your system. Many of these factors, such as BMI (body mass index), aren’t actually related to the marijuana itself but have an impact on how the body metabolizes and processes it. Additional factors, such as the marijuana itself and how you consume it also matter. As previously mentioned, the dose of marijuana you consume, as well as its potency has a major impact. Marijuana with higher potency levels takes longer to process, so it will remain in your system longer than other types of marijuana.

Does Using Marijuana Increase Your Risk of Developing Psychiatric Disorders?

There have been numerous studies linking marijuana use to psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse disorder. Some studies have even shown that smoking high-potency marijuana regularly can increase your chance of developing a psychotic disorder five-fold compared to those who don’t use marijuana. The amount of marijuana used, genetic predisposition, and the age at which the drug was first used can have an impact on whether a person develops an addiction.

Are You Addicted to Marijuana?

Experiencing a bad high can be just one of the negative side effects of using marijuana, but if you are unable to stop, you may need professional help. If you are struggling with marijuana addiction or withdrawal, the following resources may help.


Detox programs are usually short-term programs designed to help marijuana users tolerate an initial drug-free phase. These programs may also offer medical attention and psychological assistance if you experience symptoms of withdrawal.

Inpatient Rehabilitation

Medical facilities designed to help drug users for an extended period are known as inpatient rehabilitation centers. They often help individuals stop abusing drugs and address the underlying causes of their drug use to prevent future relapses. Inpatient rehabilitation is especially helpful for individuals suffering from multiple addictions.

Intensive Outpatient Rehabilitation

Like inpatient programs, outpatient programs aim to help a person overcome their marijuana addiction and address the issues that may be causing it. However, outpatient programs typically do not require patients to remain at a facility overnight. Multiple treatment sessions are usually scheduled each week, and patients have access to physicians specializing in drug abuse, therapists, and other mental health experts. You are also free to come and go as you wish.

Therapy and Support Groups

Therapy sessions in a one-on-one setting can be immensely helpful if you are suffering from marijuana addiction. Support groups can also be helpful if you are looking to connect with people experiencing the same problems. Members of your support group will hold you accountable during your recovery period.


Get Started on the Path to Recovery

If you are suffering from marijuana addiction, you are not alone. Often, recreational use of the drug can give way to an addiction, which can be overcome with the right help. Here at Clean Recovery Centers, we help individuals from all walks of life overcome their marijuana addiction and live a normal and healthy life. We offer a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs to choose from. Call us today at 888-330-2532 to get started on your path to recovery.



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