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Wednesday November 3, 2021

By Erin Hiatt

Someone using CBD tincture Health/Science

Maybe it happened when you tried a new-to-you higher potency strain. Or maybe you decided to give dabbing a whirl, or you loved the flavor of that edible so much that you really did eat the whole thing. Hopefully you’ve avoided the dreaded green out, when some consumers experience nausea, dizziness, vomiting, or even mild hallucinations after consuming too much weed. 

But even if you haven’t fallen into a green out, being too high can be a really uncomfortable experience. In addition to some physical discomfort, if you’re too high you may experience an accelerated or irregular heartbeat, sweats or chills, tingling and numbness, paranoia, have difficulty forming sentences, and more. Not fun.  Is there anything you can do?

Can CBD Help When You’re Too High?

Luckily, the non intoxicating cannabinoid CBD — the yin to THC’s yang — can be a handy tool to help bring down an intense high. As CBD has become even more visible to mainstream consumers, researchers are learning more about how the compound may interact with a cannabinoid like THC.

Gummies containing both cbd and thc
Combining CBD with your THC can make for a much smoother high.

One 2018 review article published in Frontiers in Pharmacology reported that CBD may help lessen the intensity of a high by not binding to either CB1 or CB2 receptors (to learn more about the endocannabinoid system and how this works, check out this great by piece by PotGuide contributor Abby Hutmacher). Instead, CBD may act more like a THC blocker, interfering with its ability to bind to CB1 receptors, which may reduce the effects of THC and increase other circulating cannabinoids.

Now that we know how it might work, let’s take a look at how to use CBD when you get too darn high.

CBD Products to Help Control a High

If you’re feeling too high you’re going to want some relief stat, so this scenario calls for a consumption method with the quickest and most effective bioavailability.  

  • Sublingual CBD: when you take CBD by placing it under your tongue, bioavailability may go up to as high as 75 percent (as opposed to oral administration at 4-20 percent, which also has to pass through your digestive system)
  • Smoking/Vaping CBD: this method is less predictable and has a wide bioavailability, ranging from 2-56 percent. You may have to go back a few times to achieve relief when smoking or vaping CBD
  • Buccal/Oromucosal: this method involves placing medicine inside the cheeks or on the gums. It is thought that this method provides more active cannabinoids than sublingual administration
  • Transdermal: reports on this are completely anecdotal, but transdermal CBD may work well to tame a high because it bypasses first-pass metabolism and lasts for 8-12 hours

Theoretically, you could try anything around your house with CBD; gummies, topicals, or drinks. But these methods are tricky to dose, and may not deliver the effects of CBD as they promise (especially true of the drink category). Based on what we’ve learned so far, I’d put my money on sublinguals for the most direct and efficient CBD delivery and the surest way to help you feel less high.

Have you ever used CBD to combat an uncomfortable high? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Jordan Nix (license)


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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