How to Sober Up From Weed
If you’ve gone a little overboard with a new strain of flower or eaten too many THC-infused edibles, you may be wondering how to sober up from weed—like right now. In places like Seattle, Washington, where recreational cannabis is legal, edibles come with a standard dose of 10 mg THC per piece. But when cooking up infused edibles at home, it’s very easy to overdo it.
While smoking weed with a lot of THC can send your head spinning (and maybe the living room too), it’s important to remember that even the most intense marijuana high will eventually pass. Whether you’ve smoked too much weed or you just need to shake off the effects so you can get to work, there are ways to sober up faster.
How Long Will the High Last?
The peak of a THC high generally lasts for up to two hours with milder effects for several hours afterward. However, exactly how long weed stays in your system depends on several factors, including the mode of consumption and your individual metabolism.
No matter what you do to tame the high, you do have to wait for your body to metabolize the THC. The goal, then, shouldn’t be to flush out the THC more quickly but rather to quell the psychoactive effects as much as possible.
Eat Some Black Pepper
Chewing on black peppercorns is a tried-and-tested method to sober up from weed. In fact, this home remedy is so well known that a 2011 review was published on the topic in the British Journal of Pharmacology.
The secret behind chewing on black peppercorn seems to be related to its high levels of beta-caryophyllene—one of the terpenes in the cannabis plant. Because beta-caryophyllene binds to the same cannabinoid receptors as THC, it might help to counteract the side effects of THC.
Snack on Lemons and Pine Nuts
Lemon rinds and pine nuts are also good snacks when you’re experiencing a particularly intense high. Both of these foods contain limonene—another terpene—that may help to reduce anxiety. The 2011 review mentioned above also noted that the pinene found in pine nuts could increase mental clarity and short-term memory.
To enjoy the effects of limonene, eat some pine nuts and lemon rind or lemon slices. Alternatively, squeeze a lemon slightly and take a deep breath in. Lemon rinds contain more limonene than the lemon juice itself, so make sure you get a good dose of rind if you want to sober up fast!
Take Some CBD
While it may seem counterintuitive, dropping some CBD oil under your tongue or smoking some high-CBD hemp flower could help you moderate a very intense high. It’s not understood exactly how CBD helps to counteract the effects of THC, but a 2013 study showed that CBD could reduce THC-induced anxiety and paranoia.
As a preventative measure, consuming THC together with CBD—such as a balanced CBD:THC edible or a high-CBD pre-roll—can help to tame the side effects of THC without damping its beneficial properties.
Drinking water is a great idea when you need to sober up from weed. Consuming too much THC often leads to symptoms of dry mouth, and drinking water can keep you hydrated, moisten your tongue, and dilute the concentration of THC in the bloodstream.
If you’re thinking of hydrating with something other than water, there are a few specific beverages to avoid:
- Mango contains a terpene called myrcene, which can prolong the high.
- Chocolate contains anandamide, a cannabinoid that could intensify the effects.
- Green tea and black tea contain catechin, a kind of antioxidant that works on CB1 receptors just like THC.
- Caffeine decreases salivation and increases heart rate—the opposite of what you want when you already feel your mind racing.
Take an Ibuprofen
Certain over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help when you’ve had too much cannabis. In 2013, an animal study from Louisiana State University found that some kinds of anti-inflammatory medication appeared to counteract the “stoned” feeling produced by cannabis and help protect cognition.
When using OTC medicine, be sure to follow all of the guidelines on the packet and consult with your doctor first if you have a medical condition or take any other medications. If the Ibuprofen needs to be taken with food, take advantage of the moment to have some pine nuts or another healthy high-fat snack.
Take a Warm Shower
Taking a warm bath, a warm shower, or even splashing cold water on your face can offer calming effects and help you come down from a particularly intense high. If you can tolerate a cold shower, the cold will stimulate deep breathing, increasing oxygenation and lowering blood pressure.
If you decide to take a shower when stoned, it’s a good idea to wear flip-flops and hang on to a rail or bar. Depending on how much THC you’ve consumed, your coordination might be compromised, and some safety measures can help you prevent a fall.
Take Some Deep Breaths
Finally, lying down and taking deep breaths will help you relax, calm down, and maybe even fall asleep until the most intense peak of the high has passed. If you need to, find something else to focus on to distract you from the psychoactive effects.
For added reassurance, you could call a friend or even go to a friend’s house while you ride out the high. Having someone assure you that you’re still alive and the floor isn’t actually moving can help when you’re feeling particularly anxious.
Remember that “This Too Shall Pass”
The most important thing to remember when you’re trying to sober up from weed is that “this too shall pass.”
No matter how stoned you’re feeling right now, you’ll be back to your old self in a few hours. And once you’ve come down from the high, be sure to work out how much THC you had and what your ideal dose would be. If in doubt, the budtenders at your local dispensary will be happy to help.