Friday October 23, 2020
By Andrew Ward
You can have too much of a good thing, and cannabis certainly proves that point. While you can't overdose on marijuana, ill effects can arise if a person consumes beyond their body's limit. The results can be quite uncomfortable in several ways. In some instances, it may even lead to developing a cannabis-related illness like the oft-debated cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS).
However, a person does have options when they overdo it with their cannabis consumption. Peppercorns are a remedy commonly employed to varying success. Another option is cannabidiol, better known as CBD.
The fact that CBD can tone down the effects of a THC high is often downplayed. This downplaying is rightfully so, as CBD has more important medicinal uses. CBD has shown its ability to treat many severe medical conditions while addressing the everyday needs of people. As such, it only makes sense that offsetting THC's effects would fall lower in the pecking order of importance.
While it may not be the most important aspect of it, CBD's ability to offset THC's effects is a fact that consumers, from veterans to cautious newcomers, might do well to be aware of.
Can I Get Too High on Weed?
It is possible to get too high when consuming tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid that produces psychoactive effects. Some consumers may find themselves in this position through deliberate mass consumption of products, often highly concentrated items like dabs or edibles. Others may end up in a similar predicament by overestimating their threshold with said items, or misjudging the dosing of a product. Newcomers may be most susceptible, as their low tolerance could result in overconsumption more easily, even when using lower potency items like cannabis flower. The good news is that you cannot die from consuming too much cannabis despite what any propaganda has tried to state.
"A fatal overdose is unlikely, but that doesn't mean marijuana is harmless," answered a Center for Disease Control (CDC) webpage on the matter. Overconsumption signs may be difficult to recognize at first because of their similarity to typical THC effects. Rather than headiness, a person may start to feel high levels of confusion or anxiety. Paranoia and panic could play a part in increasing heart rates and higher blood pressure. Other adverse mental side effects include delusions and hallucinations. In some cases, a person may begin to experience nausea or vomit as well.
Using CBD To Offset Negative Effects of THC Overconsumption
Recent research has begun to verify previous lab studies and anecdotal findings that have long-asserted that CBD offsets THC's adverse effects. In doing so, a better understanding of how CBD interacts with the body has been unearthed.
An October 2019 Journal of Neuroscience article on CBD and the side effects of THC was the first to detail some of the mechanisms at play behind the CBD-THC interaction. Researchers at the University of Western Ontario concluded that CBD might prevent THC-induced ill effects in consumers. Their research appears to indicate that CBD can offset the adverse THC effects by blocking the ERK pathway, a cellular protein chain, in the brain's hippocampus from becoming overstimulated by THC.
The study, which used rats, found that subjects given high doses of just THC displayed higher anxiety and sensitivity to fear-based learning, and an overstimulated ERK pathway. Whereas those who were given both cannabinoids acted similarly to the control group (those given no cannabinoids at all).
Furthermore, Roger Hudson, a Ph.D. candidate, and the study's lead author, told Science Daily in 2019 that the results found that CBD alone had no effect on the brain’s normal ERK functions. This suggests that CBD use will not damage or reduce normal ERK performance.
"We completely reversed the direction of the change on a molecular level," said Hudson. He added, "CBD was also able to reverse the anxiety-like behavior and addictive-like behavior caused by the THC."
Additional research is required to understand how individual mechanisms come into play. The University of Western Ontario team's next plans after the publishing was to assess how THC can be formulated with fewer side effects. It is believed its creation could improve CBD-therapy and its efficacy.
Additional Options To Offset The Effects Of A THC High
The CBD buzz of the past few years has often downplayed its effectiveness in counteracting THC's potentially adverse effects. That said, the cannabis community has known about using CBD for some time.
PotGuide writer Abby Hutmacher noted back in 2016 how CBD could do the trick. Among possible remedies, she indicated that CBD had been far from the only option on the table. While less of a guarantee to reduce any effects, a person may be able to lessen their ills by working out or eating. So too can sleeping in some cases, depending on the dosage and the length of sleep.
The Wrap Up
Various home and DIY remedies serve as possible options for taming a rogue THC high. However, lab research has often suggested that CBD may be the best option when overconsuming THC. Additional analysis is required to understand how CBD achieves its effect fully. That said, current understanding indicates that it may be useful to have some CBD products around when consuming cannabis (ideally something fast-acting). It might just bail you out of an otherwise uncomfortable next few hours.
Have you ever used CBD to combat an uncomfortable high? Share your experiences in the comments below.