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We’ve all been there – your palms begin to sweat, breathing becomes a chore, and your face is flushed and red. You, my friend, are way too high. Maybe that last dab was too much or maybe you should have stopped halfway through that brownie. Whatever the case may be, you’ve overdone it and the anxiety is setting in. Just about anyone who regularly smokes weed can attest, being high is great, yes, but being too high is no fun at all. There are several ways to find yourself in this situation, but once you’re there, the resulting experience can be bad enough to discourage even the most seasoned of stoners from ever wanting to pick up the pipe again.

So, what are you going to do about it? There are several tricks in the book to help you come down when you’ve pushed it too far. Some of them are more practical than others. The obvious remedies like drinking a glass of water or eating a light snack are helpful first steps. Simple distractions like taking a walk, playing video games, or watching a good movie can also be effective ways of bringing your mind back down to earth. Then you have the more obscure methods for coming down such as taking a cold shower or, as Neil Young would recommend, popping a couple of black peppercorns to help curb the discomfort.

Seriously, there are a ton of ways to approach it and just about everyone has their go-to method that they swear by. If you ever find yourself in this situation (and trust us, you will) the best thing to do is find a remedy that works for you and stick to it. However, one particular method that doesn’t get talked about all that much might just be the answer you’re looking for when you’ve passed the point of no return – CBD.

Wait… Using cannabis to reverse the effects of cannabis? Sounds a bit peculiar, doesn’t it? Well, it’s been said that using CBD when you’re too high is quite an effective way to bring you back home. So, we’ve decided to dive into this theory and look into the facts and see if we can come up with a solid answer to the question.

The Relationship Between CBD and THC

CBD, or Cannabidiol, can be found in varying amounts in just about every strain of cannabis there is. Over the last few years, it’s become somewhat of a cultural sensation. Unlike THC, CBD isn’t psychoactive. Therefore – in strains where the CBD is isolated from its THC counterpart – there is a lack of the euphoria associated with strains that are high in THC. However, CBD is an effective anxiety-reducing compound. This makes it accessible to those who are looking to cannabis as a way to relieve stress and anxiety without getting completely ripped.

That said, CBD and THC do work together in ways that are quite appealing. For instance, while CBD can reduce the paranoia that THC can create, it also increases the pain-relieving qualities. In the book Smoke Signals, author Martin A. Lee writes, “CBD interacts with THC in complex ways, diminishing certain effects (the munchies, sleepiness, the high) while augmenting others…” He goes on to say, “Cannabidiol balances the buzz and softens the euphoria–or, in some cases, the dysphoria–induced by THC, which, in concentrated form, can make people feel very loopy and weird. CBD is the yin of THC’s yang.”

You see, THC interacts with the CB1 receptor in the brain. The end result? The user gets high. THC’s goal is to work that CB1 receptor into a nice, comforting bliss. Because of this, CBD was considered a villain to THC for many years. Its presence in the marijuana plant was perceived only as a reducer of the effectiveness of the THC. This led cultivators to only diminish its presence in the plant and increase the levels of the THC that users wanted. However, one of the results of this yin and yang relationship was that CBD was perceived as a useful tool for coming down from a wicked high.

Why THC Makes Some People Anxious

Whether or not marijuana is going to help anxiety or be the cause of it depends on quite a few different factors. Because weed can alter your feelings, perceptions and your mood, your mental state and the environment you’re in when using will have a big impact on how you react. Cannabis and anxiety can go hand-in-hand for some users. They may not have an enjoyable or relaxing experience at all. In fact, Their experience could be the exact opposite. For some, the high from THC will induce symptoms of anxiety or heighten any existing anxiety.  Oftentimes this is because they are using it in a situation that isn’t pleasant, or they feel the need to try to conceal the fact that they are high.

Also, when looking at the relationship between THC and anxiety, it’s not always just about your situation and state of mind. There’s some research showing that it can be problematic with long-term use. Meaning that, while might be relaxing in the short-term, with chronic use, it can make anxiety worse.

Many cases of THC overconsumption stem from THC edibles. For decades, consuming edibles meant taking a considerably large chance. Most people’s experience with edibles throughout history was from a product that was made based on nothing more than guesses in some stoner’s kitchen. However, with the legalization and legitimizing of the cannabis industry, we now can test our products more freely – bringing some consistency to the edibles being made. That is all to say that administering THC through the liver is quite different than absorbing it through the lungs.

Carolina Vasquez, Chief Scientist of Kushy Punch explains, “When your liver metabolizes THC it is transformed into another molecule called 11-Hydroxy-Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or delta-11. This is a simple reaction, with only one bond changing from the left to the right. This molecule is very strong compared with THC. The effects are similar, but the sedation is higher, and the lifetime of that molecule can be seven, sometimes as long as 12 hours. Simply put, edibles are stronger, and they last longer.”

Regardless of whether you got there by ripping that homemade gravity bong just a little too hard or eating an entire sleeve of Cheeba Chews, the fact is, you’re too high. So, let’s take a look at a frequently cited study done on the effects of CBD and THC and see if CBD can be your miracle cure.

How Does CBD Affect Anxiety?

In 1974, the European Journal of Pharmacology published the results of “Cannabidiol interferes with the effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in man” the first study into the effects of THC and CBD in a controlled setting. It looked something like this: Eight groups of people, each given either a placebo or 30 mg oral THC and a placebo. Then 15 mg, 30 mg, or 60 mg of oral CBD. Using heart rate as an indicator, the study found that 30mg and 60mg doses of CBD could reduce an elevated heart rate induced by THC. And psychological analysis showed that CBD use resulted in an overall reduction in anxiety and paranoia caused by THC overconsumption.

However, while being widely cited, other studies have shown to contradict the findings in this report – finding little evidence that CBD consumption brings your heart rate back down when you’re too high from THC consumption. But they did show that CBD can counteract the paranoia and anxiety that accompanies overconsumption. One nonbeliever in the theory of CBD as an effective method of relief from THC overconsumption is Dr. Jordan Tishler, CEO of Inhale MD and an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“It turns out that normally, cannabis has a fair amount of THC and a tiny little bit of CBD, but that tiny little bit has enough to tame that THC reaction,” he said. “The flaw in the logic is, ‘If little works, then more must work more’ and that’s not true. We have studies that show [that] while THC does need a little bit of CBD to behave the way we want it to, CBD does not mitigate the intoxication.”

Another valuable opinion on the matter comes from Project CBD, an organization committed to the distribution of CBD information. They compare it to a “dimmer switch.” Their research focuses on the fact that CBD has a way of reducing any unwanted activity in the brain’s endocannabinoid system. Also known as the ECS, the endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors and the compounds that bind to them. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD attach themselves to the receptors to induce a wide range of varying effects including both euphoria and anxiety. But cannabinoids from a marijuana plant aren’t the only compounds that interact with this system. Our bodies produce their compounds that are similar to weed. These are known as endocannabinoids.

Multiple medical conditions are characterized by underwhelmed or overwhelmed endocannabinoid systems. Introducing these ECS receptor sites with cannabinoids can correct this inadequacy and have therapeutic effects. CBD has shown to regulate the receptor signaling associated with THC, which is why their co-existence has become so important in the field of cannabis therapeutics. In this way, CBD can certainly reduce some of the anxious, paranoid side effects associated with THC overconsumption.

Can CBD Help You Come Down When You’re Too High?

The truth is, we’re really only beginning to discover the effects of CBD and how they relate to THC. Though, one thing that has come to light in recent years, CBD has a far more compelling spectrum of applications beyond simply blocking the effects of THC. In terms of whether or not it can bring you down when you are too high, as much as we’d like to say that we have a solid answer to that question, it is still up for debate. Because it is molecularly similar and targets the same receptors in the brain, CBD can actually block some of the psychoactive effects of THC, which is a reason to believe it can help. However, we aren’t quite able to confidently say that it will reverse the effects of THC overconsumption.

Our recommendation is to give it a try. Many people have claimed to experience some form of relief from being too high after using CBD. That said, always take care when using any cannabis products. Don’t go popping CBD capsules like candy just hoping that it helps you come down. Seriously, if you are way too high, you should probably try consulting the list at the beginning of this article in conjuncture with trying a little CBD. Hopefully, it works out well.

If you do try it and it works for you, leave a comment below and let us know about it or feel free to share some of your other go-to methods for coming down when you’re too high. We’d love to hear them.

Christopher Wright

Meet Christopher Wright, aka Blue, successful radio host and creator of Cannabis Talk 101. As well as CEO of Cannabis Talk Network. For over a decade now, Chris has had his hands in all faucets of the Cannabis Industry. From medicinal marijuana dispensaries and cultivations to controversial cannabis activism, Chris is a pioneer for the cannabis movement.