If you’re someone who has ever consumed too much cannabis and experienced distress, you’re not alone. It can happen to anyone, at any time, but it is especially likely for those who are new to cannabis. Finding the right dosage is key to feeling good and sometimes during experimentation, over consumption can happen.
This is why we always tell our patients our mantra when it comes to consumption: Start low and go slow.
For instance, if you’re just starting out using cannabis, consider taking half the recommended dose, waiting to see the effect, and then taking more if you need to. It’s easier to increase your dose than to deal with the impact of too much too soon.
But don’t worry, we’ve rounded up some of the best tips and advice in the cannabis industry on what to do if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable.
Leafly is a go-to media outlet for all things cannabis and they share how EMTs and doctors treat over consumption in this article. According to Leafly, “Too much THC can lead to feelings of paranoia, anxiety or helplessness. It’s OK. Doctors say to lie down, ride it out. It just takes time.” According to Dr. Eric Lavonas, an emergency physician and medical toxicologist at Denver Health Medical Center, most of the over consumption cases he sees are from edibles. He explains that a common scenario is when “a first time consumer eats an infused candy or cupcake but doesn’t feel the effects. Out of frustration, they then consume more edibles, not realizing the first dosage is already working its way through their system and that all of that will hit them shortly.”
Treatment will vary based on the symptoms. According to Kristi Koenig, EMS medical director for California’s San Diego County, paramedics could administer medication for sedation if a patient were severely agitated. She added in Leafly, “If the patient was experiencing nausea and vomiting, paramedics could give intravenous fluids for hydration and anti-nausea medications.”
A public education campaign sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project, Consume Responsibly reminds us that marijuana is virtually non-toxic to healthy human cells and organs so consumers don’t need to worry about dying purely from a marijuana overdose. But you can still overdo it and cause a negative experience.
An increase in heart rate, dryness of the mouth, and/or feelings of paranoia or anxiety can be overwhelming. These symptoms are temporary, the website says, however, and will usually go away within 15 minutes to one hour for flower that was smoked or vaped, slightly longer for concentrates. For edibles, you may feel the effects anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on the person and particular edible.
They suggest that if you consume too much cannabis, take it easy. Lay or sit down, close your eyes and relax. Tell the other people you’re with that you’ve overdone it and ask them to keep an eye on you. If you feel like you need medical attention, ask someone to take you to the emergency room or to call 911. Stay safe and do not drive yourself!
A cannabis friendly travel company, My 420 Tours provides a variety of tips if you may have over consumed. The first tip? Stop consuming anymore cannabis. Here are their other tips:
- Have a meal! Start eating and drinking non-infused foods and beverages so that digestion takes longer and releases the cannabinoids in smaller amounts.
- Stay hydrated by drinking more water. It seems obvious but drinking water can flush out your system and just make you feel better.
- Try terpene therapy. By applying counteracting terpenes, you can reverse the process. “Lemon juice and peppercorns work if you take too much, they reverse the terpenes in the cannabis,” explains Warren Bobrow, author and cannabis infusion alchemist. Options like Lavender, Lemon Juice and/or Black Pepper/Peppercornshelp relax the body and potentially minimize the effects of cannabis terpenes on the body.
- Have a cup of coffee. It may help you focus and get rid of any fogginess you may feel.
- Consider taking a shower and a nap. A quick change in temperature can help you “snap out of it.”
- Take a dose of CBD. It may help mellow you out and bring your mind and body back to homeostasis.
- Distract yourself.
If you are a Mary’s Medicinals fan, here’s something that may pique your interest. Mary’s Nutritionals, a subsidiary of Mary’s Medicinals, offers a product called Mary’s Rescue Tonic, that was developed to “reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of cannabis over consumption.” Mary’s Rescue is formulated with a blend of clinical-grade nutrients and calming plant-based ingredients designed to reduce anxiety, relieve paranoia, and help restore the user to a more grounded state of mind.
While we always recommend starting low and going slow when it comes to cannabis dosage, if you take too much, draw from these tips to help you through the experience. Remember, take what you learned and apply it for the next time you consume. Find the right personalized dose for you so you can truly benefit from the power of cannabis.