By Seasoned Stoner
If you’re reading this because you just did an Internet search for “Will I die from too much weed,” this article is for you.
First and foremost, you’re not going to die. You’ll be pretty uncomfortable for a while, but you will not die. In fact, no one has ever died from too much weed. They have, however, died from doing stupid shit while they’re high, so let’s get into some survival basics.
I’ve watched enough survival shows to know that there are five core things you need to focus on: assess your situation, get water, find/make shelter, make fire (signal for help), and find food.
Assess your situation.
Ok, take a breath and assess your situation. Did you smoke too much? Thankfully, when you get too high from smoking, you’ll feel a little better within the next hour or so. Did you eat an edible with an unknown dose? Here’s where things get tricky.
That edible will be working it’s magic for however long it takes to digest the food in your stomach. So if you ate it on an empty stomach, you’ll probably experience your high fast, and will be over relatively fast (probably within a few hours). If you ate on a full stomach, that high can be slow and drawn out. Years ago, I ate a pot brownie (unknown dosage and WAY too much since I “wasn’t feeling it” right away) after sharing a pizza with a friend. I tripped out and couldn’t get off her couch for about 10 hours. How long this feeling lasts will differ person to person, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to make this ride a little less bumpy.
Find some very cold water to sip on. Besides combatting cotton mouth, the familiar act of sipping and swallowing can help you concentrate and alleviate other stresses taking over your head. Go grab some water now. Seriously, I’ll wait.
While it’s not always possible (if you find yourself somewhere other than home), you can also take a cool shower to focus your mind and reset your nervous system.
Find a nice quiet spot and evaluate your shelter situation. If you’re at home, you’re golden. At a friend’s house? Let them know what’s going on and see if there’s a quiet area you can hunker down in. At a crazy party or festival? If you’re unable to find a quiet area, is Ubering home an option? Do not attempt to drive.
The only reason I’d recommend leaving your safe zone is to go on a walk. I’ve noticed that a change of scenery and a little exercise can clear your head. However, don’t walk around any areas that are unknown, and make sure you have a phone on you. I don’t want you wandering off and getting lost.
Make a fire (signal for help).
OK, to be clear, I’m NOT telling you to start a fire. But part of the reason survival experts recommend making a fire is so you can signal for help. Is anyone around? They may not know you’re quietly losing your shit, so go ahead and let them know what you’re going through. Chatting might make you feel better, but at the very least, you’ve got someone on your team to help you through the next few hours.
When it comes to food, very little foraging is necessary to find food to mellow out your high if you’re near a fully-stocked kitchen. Here are some foods that can help (it’s all about them terpenes!):
- Lemon has the terpene limonene which has anti-anxiety properties. Add some lemon juice and maybe even some of the peel (just be careful with sharp objects), into some of that cold water you’re sipping on.
- Black pepper has the terpenes myrcene and beta-caryophyllene which both have sedative qualities. Add some pepper to a snack or even pop some peppercorns in your mouth to suck on. It might be a little unpleasant, but it instantly wakes up your brain a little.
- Pine nuts have the terpene pinene that has been known to offer mental clarity. So grab a handful of pine nuts and go back to your safe zone.
The Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder, actually wrote about a cannabis-anecdote in his Natural History, Book XXIV:
“The gelotophyllis [‘leaves of laughter’] too, is a plant found in Bactriana, and on the banks of the Borysthenes. Taken internally with myrrh and wine, all sorts of visionary forms present themselves, and excite the most immoderate laughter, which can only be put an end to by taking kernels of the pine-nut, with pepper and honey, in palm wine."
Even Pliny knew what’s up (but I don’t recommend mixing it with wine).
If you happen to have any high CBD products lying around (Care By Design 18:1 Sublingual Drops are my fave), CBD has been known to lessen the effects of a THC high for some people. However, the BEST medicine is sleep, and CBD can be stimulating.
Go the F to sleep.
This isn’t a classic survival tip, but you’ll feel so much better in the morning after you’ve had some sleep. For me, it can be impossible to sleep when my mind is in a panicked lock-down. But try, and then try again, and then try some more. But if you feel yourself losing it, get up, get a glass of cold water with lemon, and try again.
Extra tip: Dampen a washcloth with cold water and put it on your forehead. It’s just as comforting as you remember it.
Just remember: many people have been where you are now. You’ll be fine. And in a couple of days (ok, maybe weeks), you’ll have a hilarious story to tell. Like that one time I panicked thinking the steam coming off of my fence was fire… five different times in the course of an afternoon. “No, this time, it’s DEFINITELY fire.”