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How to Sober Up from Weed: Get Rid of High Fast Using Science

Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)

Written by: Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)

Updated on December 31, 2023

How to Sober Up from Weed Get Rid of High Fast Using Science

When you consume too much weed or try out a very potent strain for the first time, you might get too high. Habitual cannabis users often ask questions like: ‘How do I get unhigh,’ ‘How do I sober up from a weed high’ or ‘How do I get rid of a high.’ Getting rid of a weed high can be very important for various reasons.

For some people, a heavy cannabis high may cause many unpleasant effects and some serious medical consequences. Acutely, a weed high can reportedly spike heat rate and significantly impair the user’s sense of judgment. Perhaps this explains why weed abuse and overdose are linked with many instances of road traffic accidents and domestic violence globally.

Getting ‘unhigh’ can help ease up the unwanted effects of a weed high. But how do you get sober quickly and safely? Read on and learn the science behind a weed high and the best methods to sober up quickly.

How Does a Weed High Feel Like?

Weed affects people differently, and the level of high you get from a particular strain depends very much on the strain’s THC content, method of consumption, and how your body metabolizes cannabis. The experience might vary significantly. Some may be very sensitive to weed high, others may be less sensitive.

Generally, the typical feeling of a weed high is described as ‘desirable’ and ‘pleasant.’ In essence, the high weed gives is different from consuming drugs like heroin and crack. If you are a habitual consumer of a potent weed strain, you are most likely to experience a different high every other time. Typically, the feeling you get from a weed high include:

  • Intense euphoria
  • Increased hunger
  • Relaxed sense of self
  • Increased rush of creativity
  • Altered perception of time, space, and place
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Exaggerated perception of sound, touch, and colors

These feelings are not peculiar to every strain of weed and also depend largely on the users’ body chemistry. In addition to these effects, a few other ‘unpleasant’ and ‘undesirable’ effect of weed high has also been reported. These unwanted effects are mostly initiated by consuming large doses of a potent weed strain over a short period.

With large doses of weed, it is easier to tip the balance and experience unwanted feelings of a weed high. The most reported ‘unwanted’ effects include:

  • Palpitation
  • Increased pulse and heart rate
  • Impaired memory
  • Changes in mood
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

The Chemistry of a Weed High

Weed is made of a group of compounds described as ‘cannabinoids.’ This class of compounds has a complex chemistry and interacts with living cells in different ways. THC, a psychoactive cannabinoid, is largely responsible for weed high. On consumption, weed is metabolized in the liver with THC absorbed into the bloodstream. THC is transported to the brain where it interacts with the endocannabinoid system – a network of lipoids, enzymes, and receptors primarily responsible for many regulatory functions. THC and other cannabinoids bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

On bonding, THC interferes with the endocannabinoid system in a series of complex processes that ultimately slow down communication between cells of the nervous system. The effect on the body is a rush of relaxation and calmness. This state of calmness lasts for as long as the boding remains intact. Bonding time varies significantly and depends on the potency of the weed strain measured as a percentage of THC. If bonding remains for too long, the prolonged state of relaxation might initiate a series of unpleasant effects including difficulty concentrating and acute loss of memory.

How Long Does a Weed High Last?

Typically, a weed high can last for about 30 minutes to 12 hours. While this is a lengthy timeframe, the exact time depends on the dose and quantity of weed consumed. Potent weed strains contain high levels of THC. Consuming large quantities of potent strains may prolong your high significantly. Also, the body’s metabolic rate and response to THC play an important role in determining the length of a weed high.

In individuals with a high metabolic rate, weed is processed faster on consumption and THC is quickly released into the bloodstream. Weed high typically alters your sense of judgment and ability to concentrate on safety-sensitive activities. As safety advice, the Colorado Department of Transportation recommends a 6-hour wait before driving or operating heavy machinery after consuming weed.

How To Get Rid of Weed High?

Although weed high is often described as ‘desirable,’ there might be multiple valid reasons to quickly end it and sober up. As earlier noted, a heavy high might tip the balance and initiate multiple ‘unwanted effcets’ not desirable by the user.

There are many safe methods to end a weed high quickly. Here are the best methods you should try.

Give it Time

Perhaps the simplest of all, giving the high enough time to reduce is considered the safest method to sober up quickly. Rather than trying to use medications or other remedies, allowing the high to normally resolve is best for many people. It involves simply waiting out the THC bonding time of the weed strain. On average, a weed high might take between 30 minutes and 12 hours. The exact time depends largely on the strain’s potency and how long it takes for the THC interaction with receptors of the endocannabinoid systems to automatically reverse.

Before this reversal starts, maximum bonding occurs, and the high peaks about 1-2 hours after consumption. Eventually, all highs end, and the feeling – whether desirable or unwanted – ends.

Monitor Your Dose and Strains’ Potency

The magnitude of high you get from weed is a direct measure of the strain’s potency and dose. If you are using a strain for the first time, you should start with a small dose and increase it steadily over time. At a high dose, there is a high likelihood that your high might not wear off easily. So, the first step to getting sober quickly from a weed high is to not consume a high dose in the first place.

Learning about the potency of the weed strain before consumption might also be helpful. Highly potent strains have a high THC content. Knowing the THC content level beforehand provides a helpful guide on a safe dose for you. You should start with edibles with a THC level of 10% or lower. After taking a small quantity of these products, stay calm and grade effect over 15 minutes to fully understand the level of high more quantities might produce.

Stay Calm and Relaxed

If you have consumed a high dose of weed, you may likely experience unwanted side effects like paranoia, difficulty concentrating, and palpitation. These side effects are distressing and can cause many users to panic. Ending the high almost immediately might not be possible, however, relaxation has been reported to help. All you have to do is stay calm and practice any relaxation technique you know.

You may try self-hypnosis, breathing exercises, or progressive relaxation. For breathing exercises, all you need to do is take multiple deep breaths in slow succession. With progressive relaxation, you can tense different muscles in your body and slowly release the tension over time. These techniques generally help you stay calm as the high wears off.

Get Distracted

Distractions help you pass time as your weed high peaks. It helps you adequately manage any onset of paranoia and anxiety that might set in by redirecting your focus away from the symptoms. All you have to do is get engaged in activities that require your attention. These activities are limitless and can be your favorite hobby. You can consider:

  • Listening to music
  • Cleaning
  • Taking a leisure walk
  • Watching a movie
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Painting
  • Doing your Landry

As these activities progress, your focus is redirected away from your high as it wears off eventually.

Stay Hydrated, Avoid Alcohol and Coffee

Drinking a lot of water might help you ease your ‘high’ quickly. There is evidence suggesting that water momentarily increases the metabolic rate, prompting the body to clear out THC faster. The high you get from edibles seems to wear off quickly with a lot of water. On the other hand, grabbing a glass of alcohol while trying to sober up may only complicate your symptoms. Alcohol is known to dull the senses and induce an altered sense of time and space. The acute effect of alcohol might complicate your symptoms and prolong your journey to soberness.
Clinical evidence also suggests that alcohol increases the levels of THC in the bloodstream. With increased levels of THC, bonding time with the endocannabinoid receptors is prolonged and you can expect your high to continue for a while. Both coffee and alcohol appear to be poor choices of beverage to sober up from a weed high. Your best option? Water.

Avoid Folk Remedies and Stimulants

Many stimulants and folk remedies out there have not been proven to ease up a weed high. Instead, these substances may further complicate your symptoms. Although stimulant drugs are prescribed in the management of ADHD, they are not known to improve concentration in a weed high. These drugs may cause hallucinations if used without the supervision of a medical professional. Combined with weed, stimulants may significantly increase the risk of paranoia, delusions, and suicidal ideation. Folk remedies are traditional options of therapy based solely on natural products and food products. Remedies like black pepper, lemon, and soursop, although popular, have not been proven to reduce the unwanted effects of a weed high.

Consult a Medical Professional

Seeking the assistance of a medical professional might be important, especially in situations of possible weed overdose. Emergency care may be needed in the event of a weed overdose, with delusions, hallucinations, and memory loss the likely clinical presentations. Weed overdose is also common in people who use weed recreationally. If you find yourself panicking, extremely agitated, confused, and depressed for many days after a weed high, it is advisable to seek professional assistance. Depending on other factors, you might be sedated while the high wears off.

Bottom Line

Perhaps the simplest way to sober up quickly after a weed high is to simply wait it out. It is safe, simple, and guaranteed to work. Not consuming too much of a highly potent weed strain in the first place is your best bet to not getting too high. You might also want to watch your weed consumption habit. Contrary to popular belief, weed can be addictive. The pleasant effects of a weed high prompt the brain reward systems to crave more and more. You can also consider discussing your consumption habits with a medical professional.

Dr. Adil Maqbool (MD, MRCP)
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