Cannabis Edibles: How To Fix A Bad Trip

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Added 15 March 2023

Cannabis edibles are perhaps the safest way of getting high on cannabis. But, edibles are potent. You expect an intense high after consuming cannabis edibles, which is the goal, after all.

But what do you do when you consume a little too much? You may start feeling uncomfortable, anxious, nauseous, or even paranoid — these are the symptoms of a bad trip, which can be a scary experience for anyone. 

Fortunately, it’s not the end of the world and is temporary. The negative symptoms will pass soon and you will be back to your normal self without any long-lasting effects, except maybe developing a fear of the cannabis plant. 

There are many things you can do to sober up quickly, and other tricks you can use to prevent a bad trip entirely. 

Learn about what you can do if you get too high on edibles in this article. We will discuss how edibles work, the symptoms of a bad trip, tips to sober up and prevent a bad trip, and the recommended dosage you should begin with. Let’s get started. 

How Do Cannabis Edibles Work?

How Do Cannabis Edibles Work?

Cannabis edibles take a long way to work, unlike other consumption methods.  

When you smoke and inhale cannabis, the THC — the psychoactive cannabinoid — passes through your lungs and into the bloodstream. It then reaches your brain and other parts of the body quickly. For most people, inhaled cannabis can produce the effects within 10 to 15 minutes of consumption. 

Edibles are different. When you consume edibles, the cannabinoids get absorbed through the intestinal walls and then get metabolized by the liver before they travel to the bloodstream. This is a lengthy process that can take up to two hours to get you high.

When you consume cannabis, the THC gets metabolized into 11-hydroxy-THC, which is more potent than its predecessor, producing a more intense high that lasts longer. This is why cannabis edibles are more potent than inhaled cannabis. 

The longer onset of edibles and 11-hydroxy-THC is perhaps the reason why getting too high on them is so common. It’s hard to control the onset, and common beginner mistakes can get you too high if you are not careful enough. 

Multiple factors come into play here, though, which can affect how edibles affect you. Some of these factors include:

  • The potency of the edibles
  • Your personal experience and tolerance levels
  • The environment you are in 
  • Interaction with other drugs or substances, like alcohol or certain foods 

While the basic principles stay the same, some people are more prone to experiencing a bad trip or getting too high from edibles depending on the aforementioned factors. 

What are the Symptoms of Being Too High on Cannabis Edibles?

What are the Symptoms of Being Too High on Cannabis Edibles?

How do you know if you are too high after consuming edibles? While everybody is different, some common symptoms surface once you or your friend gets too high. It is crucial to identify these symptoms so you can take the right steps to sober up.

The common symptoms of being too high on edibles include the following:

  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Confusion 
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint or dizzy
  • Panic 
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Fast heart rate or increased blood pressure

It is common to freak out when this happens — you may feel like you are losing control (or even dying) — but you are very much in control, in most cases. In cases where you are not, your friends can be helpful. 

And don’t worry about going to the ER yet — it is almost impossible to overdose on cannabis to a point where it poses a fatal risk to you. More on this later. The weird feelings go away slowly, but in the meanwhile, you must take some steps to sober up. 

How Long Does It Take to Sober Up from Cannabis Edibles?

How Long Does It Take to Sober Up from Cannabis Edibles?

When you smoke cannabis, you can expect your high to last for a couple of hours, depending on the factors mentioned above. However, edibles tend to last a little longer, although this varies from person to person as per their age, metabolism, tolerance, and other factors. 

Generally, expect the high from edibles to last for 3 to 4 hours, depending on how potent the edibles were. If they are more potent, they can last longer. If you’re lucky, the high may vanish in two hours. On the other hand, if you are a regular user, the high may not last that long at all. 

How to Sober Up from an Intense High?

How to Sober Up from an Intense High?

You are experiencing the symptoms of being too high; the next step is to sober up. It starts with accepting that you are having a bad trip or greening out and you need to take some steps to reduce your high. Fortunately, there are many ways you can bring yourself (or your friend) back to earth. 

Follow these steps to sober up if you are feeling too high from cannabis edibles.

1. First, Relax

The first step is to relax and calm down. It can make a big difference — the more you struggle against the high, the more you may feel paranoid or anxious. You must remember that this is a temporary state and it will pass soon enough. 

One of the reasons we feel paranoid or anxious when we get too high is due to our flight-or-fight response kicking in. You must tame it instead of reacting to it by shifting your system out of the fight-or-flight state and into a parasympathetic state. 

2. Hydrate Yourself

Once you have relaxed, you need to hydrate yourself. You may already know how uncomfortable dehydration can be when you are sober — it gets a lot worse when you are high. 

Water underpins the metabolic activities of your body, so drink more water to hasten the metabolism of cannabinoids in your body. This will help your body break down THC a lot faster

Additionally, drinking water can also calm you down and decrease your discomfort. When you consume cannabis, you may experience dry mouth or xerostomia. So, drink a lot of water. 

3. Eat Some Food

Some cannabis strains and products are notorious for giving you munchies, but there is no scientific evidence that states that eating can reduce your high. However, scientists have found that some plant terpenoids can counteract the effects of THC in your body. 

So, instead of reaching out for instant noodles or a pizza when you’re senselessly high, you should instead reach out for such terpenoids. Here are a couple of foods that you can try.

  • Black Peppercorns

One of the best foods to eat to sober up fast from cannabis is black pepper. Yes, it does sound a little strange but it will surprise you. Pepper is rich in beta-caryophyllene — a cannabinoid, and terpene that binds to the same CB2 receptors as THC, thereby reducing your high.

Additionally, beta-caryophyllene can also activate your CB2 receptors, reducing your anxiety and calming your mind. It also binds to TRPV1 receptors, which can further relax you and reduce the high. 

  • Pine Nuts 

Pine nuts are rich in limonene and pinene. These terpenoids can help you get more comfortable. For example, pinene can increase the rate of neurotransmission in your brain, which helps clear out the mental fog. Additionally, limonene helps by reducing your anxiety. If you like raw pine nuts, you can eat those, or you can lightly toast them for a few minutes. 

  • Lemon

Lemon is another food that is rich in limonene and has been used as a cannabis antidote for centuries. For example, Al-Razi, a 10th-century Persian doctor, often advised his patients to consume lemon whenever they felt too high from cannabis

As mentioned earlier, limonene is the terpene that gives lemons their aroma but it also acts on your neurotransmitters and calms your anxious or depressive responses. 

4. Distract Yourself

Being too high is an uncomfortable experience, but the more you focus on it, the worse it often gets. You start feeling more anxious, paranoid, or uncomfortable. Instead, what you can try to do is distract yourself — do not focus on the bad symptoms. 

You can start by playing some upbeat music that can release some happy neurotransmitters in your brain, or you can put on your favorite movie or a TV show. Brooklyn Nine-Nine never fails to distract, does it?

Some other things you can try include:

  • Doomscrolling funny Instagram reels
  • Watching videos of your interest on YouTube
  • Solving puzzles or doodling 
  • Playing games or an instrument 
  • Clean your room and do the laundry 

The possibilities are endless. Find something you enjoy and do it until you forget all about being too high. 

5. Consume Some CBD

Wait, are you asking me to consume more cannabis to reduce my high?

Yep. It sounds counterproductive, but it can work wonders. A recent study showed that CBD can reduce the unpleasant effects that are associated with an intense high. CBD is non-psychoactive, and it can block the receptors that THC latches onto, preventing the latter from activating the receptors. 

The result? Reduced high. Be careful though as this method may not always work. Plus, you need to ensure that any CBD product you consume does not contain more than 1% THC, or it may make matters worse. 

6. Ibuprofen

Another compound that can help fight an intense high from edibles is ibuprofen. According to one study, this medicine counteracts the high of THC

However, there isn’t enough evidence that this works, so you must practice caution and ensure the medicine will not interact with any other substances, drugs, or foods you have consumed beforehand. 

7. Be Patient

You can try one or ten approaches to sober up, but the crux of the process is to be patient and wait it out. This is temporary, so the intense high will wear off in a couple of hours. 

None of the solutions mentioned above are 100% effective, they can only help you get more comfortable. After that, you have to let your metabolism do its magic and process THC soon. Your body needs some time to do so, so you must be patient. 

8. Seek Medical Attention

If you are feeling too uncomfortable or are worried about something bad happening (highly unlikely), you can always seek medical attention. Reach out to your doctor and explain your situation, even if you live in a country where cannabis is illegal.

Any healthcare professional’s priority is to make sure you are okay, and they will help you with it. They can suggest some ways to help you sober up or at least help you make sense of it all. 

How to Avoid Getting Too High from Cannabis Edibles?

How to Avoid Getting Too High from Cannabis Edibles?

If you find yourself getting too high too often or are simply worried about a bad experience, there are many ways you can make sure you don’t get too high. These steps are easy and a must-know for every cannabis consumer, whether they are consuming edibles or dabs. 

Follow these tips to avoid getting too high from cannabis edibles.

1. Start with a Small Dose

If you’re new to edibles, your body may not be tolerant to 11-hydroxy-THC, so you need to start with a smaller dose. For example, most edibles contain anywhere from 5 to 10 mg of THC per serving, at least in the US. It is recommended that you start under the 5 mg dosage for the first time and build your way up from there.

Avoid edibles that are not regulated or manufactured properly — they may not contain accurate dosage details. Choose edibles from reputable brands or dispensaries as they generally mention accurate dosage on the packaging.

On the other hand, if you’ve prepared your cannabutter at home, you can use a 50:50 ratio of cannabutter and regular butter to lower the dosage for the first batch of edibles. With homemade edibles, it is difficult to measure the dosage, so go as low as you can. You can even use online edible calculators to get a rough idea of your homemade edibles. 

2. Know Your Body’s Tolerance to THC

Even if you take a smaller dose, you may still experience an intense high if your body has a low tolerance to it. It is the same as your friend who gets too drunk after a couple of beers. This is especially the case for people who don’t consume cannabis regularly. 

For first-timers, edibles are generally not recommended as they have no prior experience with cannabis. And the intense high of edibles can be overwhelming for many. So, get an idea of how cannabis feels with a joint or a vape — you will get an idea of your tolerance.

Use 2.5 mg edible dosage if you have low tolerance and higher if your body is tolerant enough. But it’s never a good idea to challenge your tolerance, so don’t be hasty. 

3. Be Patient

Speaking of being hasty, you need to be patient when consuming edibles. As mentioned earlier, cannabis takes a long time to show effects when you eat it instead of smoking or vaping it. It has to travel through your digestive system, get processed by the liver, and travel through the bloodstream to reach your CB receptors.

That can take anywhere from one to two hours, depending on various factors like your metabolism, age, strain, and other factors.

Many new users mistake this long onset for their edibles not being potent enough. They usually end up eating more edibles so they can get high faster. Do not do this. If you don’t feel high yet, do not reach for another brownie — it will hit soon. 

4. Stay Hydrated and Well-Fed

Depending on various factors, edibles can take varying amounts of time to kick in. One such factor is how hydrated you are and how much food you’ve had beforehand. If your stomach is empty, the edibles may show effects quicker but can give an intense high. 

So, it is always a good idea to keep yourself hydrated and well-fed before you consume cannabis. A full stomach will make sure the edibles are processed at an easy pace, leading to a slow buildup of high instead of a sudden surge — the latter can be overwhelming. 

Additionally, staying hydrated will also keep your mind at ease and prevent dry mouth, which can prevent uncomfortable feelings like nausea, dizziness, anxiety, etc. 

5. Use a Buddy System

Did you know that you’re never supposed to dive without a dive buddy in scuba diving if you’re inexperienced? A similar principle applies to edibles. Sure, you can consume edibles on your own once you have enough experience, but for new users, it’s always a good idea to have a buddy around. 

It’s like having a designated driver for your body and emotions. In case you experience an uncomfortably intense high, you know that you’re not on your own. Your buddy is here to help you navigate the high, talk to you, calm you down, and help you sober up faster. 

6. Be Comfortable

Similarly, you shouldn’t consume cannabis if you’re not comfortable — this applies to both your physical environment and mental state. If you are in an uncomfortable place, where you may worry about cops catching you or feeling uncomfortable, being high can only amplify your anxious thoughts.

And if you’re not feeling mentally well — whether you are feeling low, anxious, or uncomfortable — you should first clear your mind before consuming cannabis. Again, cannabis can amplify your negative emotions just as well as it amplifies your hunger — that’s a recipe for a bad trip. 

7. Avoid Mixing Edibles with Alcohol or Other Substances

It might be a night of partying, but you should never consume cannabis with other substances or alcohol. It might sound fun at the moment, but alcohol and other substances can interact negatively with cannabis.

For example, alcohol can amplify the high or uncomfortable symptoms associated with it. For example, alcohol can amplify the sedative effects of cannabis since it is a depressant. It can also increase the rate of absorption of THC by enhancing its solubility in fat cells of your body — the result would be a more intense high that will last longer. 

Can You Overdose on Cannabis?

Can You Overdose on Cannabis?

When you’re experiencing a bad trip with cannabis edibles, it is easy for your emotions to get carried away with the wind. It is natural to feel anxious and think about the worst-case scenarios — the worst of which is an overdose. 

So, can you overdose on cannabis edibles?

Yes and no. THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis, can induce a fun high when you consume it in a normal, recommended amount. But when you consume too much of it, you may experience a bad trip or green out. That’s technically an overdose.

However, there hasn’t been a single case of cannabis causing a lethal overdose. Cannabis and its cannabinoids are not toxic to humans even though they may induce uncomfortable experiences when you consume too much of them.

In the worst case scenario where you consume too many edibles, you may experience symptoms like:

  • Altered perception
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Weakness or dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea or vomiting, etc.

None of these symptoms are lethal and will likely not last more than a few hours. Nonetheless, if you think you have consumed too much cannabis and start to feel such symptoms, you should reach out to a healthcare professional. 

Summary: Cannabis Edibles: How To Fix A Bad Trip

Cannabis edibles are potent, take a while to kick in, and last a lot longer than smoked cannabis. For most people, this is not a problem — edibles are fun. But once in a while, you or your friend may experience a bad trip. 

In that case, you must learn to recognize the symptoms of a bad trip and how to sober up fast. Some of the most effective ways of sobering up include the following:

  • Calm down
  • Drink a lot of water and consume black pepper, pine nuts, or lime
  • Distract yourself 
  • Consume some cannabis
  • Be patient

Moreover, you can also prevent this experience from repeating itself in the future. To do so, always start with a low dose, know your tolerance, and be patient with edibles. Plus, you must be well hydrated and fed and consume edibles in a comfortable environment. 

Cannabis is not toxic and will not kill you. Yet, a bad trip can be scary enough to scar you for the day. In any case, it’s best to not let emotions take over. Follow the tips mentioned above to help yourself or your friend get out of a bad trip. And stay tuned to know more about consuming cannabis responsibly. 


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