What to Do When You’re Too High

Person Smoking Joint

If you ever find yourself in the position of being higher than you wanted to be, just remember:

  1. Don’t panic, everything’s totally manageable.
  2. Take ten deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. 
  3. Drink something, avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
  4. Eat something, just not a lot of something.
  5. Just wait. Ride it out. You got this!

We’ve all been there at least once or twice, and if you are just starting to explore, it might be especially concerning. What happens if I get too high? Is it going to last forever? Is it going to ruin my life? Am I gonna die? 

Well, no. There have been exactly zero recorded cases of anyone being high forever. But let’s talk about what to do when you find yourself in the “higher than I wanted to be” category. We are not going to suggest that you should have read our article about the four stages of being high, which maybe could have helped avoid this situation. But will recommend you read our article about how to stay safe while enjoying cannabis after you finish this.

Printed on the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in big friendly letters is the best advice we could hope to offer you: don’t panic! This is important enough that we’re giving it to you before we even get to the list. Even if you get too high, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gonna have a bad time. You’re only going to have a bad time if you freak out and start making a lot of rash, overly intoxicated decisions. Don’t panic and remember that you’re in control of your actions. Follow our four-step guide to managing the high and everything is going to be fine. Nothing is permanent, everything changes, and everything’s totally manageable.

Step One: Don’t Panic

Remember this: if Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, and Tommy Chong can’t get permanently high, neither can you. Furthermore, no one in recorded history has ever died from an overdose of cannabis, and that’s not just because no one’s ever smoked that much (see above). It’s also because, chemically speaking, cannabis doesn’t affect your body in a way that could cause that kind of damage. Cannabinoids bond to existing receptors in your brain that have nothing to do with your circulatory or respiratory systems. You are definitely going to feel funny, this is true, but nothing severe is going to happen as long as you get to, and stay in, a safe place.

For similar reasons, you won’t do any permanent brain damage just by getting too high once or twice. Heavy usage over long periods of time might have some negative side effects—there’s presently too little research to tell, so we aren’t sure. Fortunately, it only takes a few instances of getting too high for you to learn how to avoid it entirely.

So don’t worry! Everything that goes up must come down, you’re not going to die, and you haven’t ruined your life or even your day. You’re going to be fine. Not convinced? On to step two!

Step Two: Breathe

Take some deep breaths. If noticing you’re too high freaks you out, you might start to breathe quickly or shallowly, so you want to compensate by taking five or ten deep breaths. Start by straightening your back like you’re trying to look over the horizon, then take a long slow breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. When you inhale, try to completely fill your lungs until it feels like there’s a balloon lifting up your collarbone. Then, when you exhale, pull your belly all the way in to expel the last of the stale air. Each breath counts as one, so see if you can make it to ten. Don’t worry if you lose count—you’re already too high, so that’s unavoidable,—just start back at one. By the time you get to ten, you’ll have made it through the worst of it, and you’ll be ready for step three.

Step Three: Drink Water

It’s important to stay hydrated, and you’ll be able to avoid a lot of the uncomfortable dry-mouth and red, itchy eyes if you have a water bottle handy or something with electrolytes. Electrolytes allow your body to absorb the water and actually do something with it, so Gatorade and Vitamin Water are better options than Dr. Pepper or coffee. Avoid anything alcoholic or caffeinated until after you come down.

Water? Great! Juice? There you go! La Croix? Ooh la la! Whiskey? No.

Step Four: Eat Something

Try to eat something, but not a lot of something. Food will give you some electrolytes to process all of that water you’ve been drinking, plus food tastes amaaazing when you’re high and will help take your mind off of the fact that you’re a little too high. There are all kinds of foods out there, and they’re all delicious. Read our list of top ten best foods for the munchies as a distraction or just follow your instincts and try not to overdo it. It’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve had to eat when you’re too high (marijuana affects the memory. Remember?) and you don’t want to end up with an upset stomach.

Okay, if you’ve tried all four of these steps but still feel like there’s something off, try our bonus step! It’s never failed anyone for any reason at any time in their entire lives.

Bonus Step: Ride it Out

There’s only one way off this ride, and it’s forward. If you need to sit down or take a nap, that’s perfectly fine—in fact, naps are super recommended. There’s no way to get less high than to wait for the comedown and avoid getting any more high. If that means getting some fresh air, see if there’s someplace you can sit outside. Don’t go far unless you really have to. Being too high is exhausting enough already.

Maybe you just picked the wrong strain. Follow our guide on how to choose a cannabis strain and maybe next time you can get the high you were looking for.

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