Cannabis is an amazingly versatile medicine: the right dose/strain can help you relax at the end of a tough week, provide the focus and energy you need to power through your to-do list, or help you solve seemingly knotty issues in elegant, innovative ways.
But even a seasoned smoker can occasionally get the dose wrong - a problem which better labelling and strain information will, in time, resolve. Until that happens, the only sure-fire cure is simply waiting the high out. But fortunately, there are a few techniques to help you ride out the experience, and channel effects which may at first feel overwhelming into a positive experience.
1. Drink water
A dehydrated brain doesn't function properly: when you couple too-low fluids with cannabis use, brain cells lose efficiency; short-term memory and problem-solving abilities take an additional hit. If you've accidentally over-consumed, pour an ice-cold glass of H20. "Of all the tricks I've learned for keeping my mind sharp, from getting enough sleep to doing crossword puzzles," writes Joshua Gowin of Psychology Today, "staying hydrated may be the one I follow most closely, partly because it's so easy to get a drink whenever I'm thirsty." Don't be confused: it's not possible to "flush your system" of THC as some believe. But proper hydration clears the brain-fog that can set in with accidental overconsumption.
2. Avoid coffee
Contrary to what some party animals claim, coffee can't actually counteract the effects of booze, cannabis, or any other drug. While it might jolt a couch-locked person back into the land of the living, caffeine will subsequently "just make you do your high antics faster, with more energy," warns Sirius J of High Times. Even worse: the acidity of caffeine can cause acid reflux and an upset stomach, intensifying the paranoid sensation that there's something terribly wrong with your body. While the diuretic effects of caffeine do help you eliminate cannabis metabolites more quickly, the resulting dehydration can, as mentioned above, make your mental state worse.
3. Chew a peppercorn
Black pepper contains high concentrations of beta-caryophyllene, a terpene also found in cannabis. This can help tame too-intense effects by influencing the same cannabinoid receptors as THC. Try some freshly-ground pepper on some toast with cheese and jam, or simply chew on a couple of whole peppercorns. Even Neil Young swears by it: "Try black pepper balls if you get paranoid," the rocker and seasoned cannabis consumer told Howard Stern in an interview. "Just chew two or three pieces. I just found this out myself. Try it."
It's time to practice some basic meditation techniques: imagine your body as a rock - solid and immoveable. The longer you sit still, the more your physical and mental restlessness will subside. Light a candle - provided you're sure you're not so high you'll forget about it - and focus your attention on gazing into it. Candle meditation is a popular technique for a reason: if your mind races, simple continue to observe the subtle changes in the flame, and release your negative thoughts.
5. Take ibuprofen
If you consistently get too high, marijuana impairs your memory and brain cell function - a side effect some claim you can counteract by inhibiting the induction of a chemical called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2). Ibuprofen happens to be a non-selective COX inhibitor: when taken with cannabis, the "anti-inflammatory effects of the THC remain," writes Melissa Healy of the LA Times, but the lethargy and negative cognitive effects of long-term use are extinguished.
It's embarrassing how effective breathing techniques can be in quelling what may feel like an impending anxiety attack. Focus on your breath: Inhale sharply through the nose, with 1 short and 1 long inhalation. Tense your body and hold your breath for five seconds. Then exhale forcibly through the mouth. As you exhale, imagine all that tension and negativity leaving your body.
7. Try an antidote
Some companies claim to have developed an antidote to cannabis-induced bad feelings. The 2 oz. cannisters contain a "synergistic" blend of 20mg of CBD, plus ginger, citicoline, B and C vitamins, and a "variety of anti-anxiety herbs." The most intriguing ingredient here is the CBD, which according to one study study "blocks the anxiety provoked by delta 9-THC" - manufacturers say the product can calm you down within 10 to 25 minutes.
8. Have a nap
If you've tried everything on the list and you're exhausted from carrying the weight of the world on your pot-addled shoulders, fear not: sleep is your friend. Lie down somewhere comfortable, buckle in, and wait. Remember that no one has ever died of a marijuana overdose, and when you wake up you'll be able to laugh at all the fears and worries that, at one point, seemed patently life-threatening.