It happens to the best of us. Just ask Washington Post columnist Maureen Dowd.
Dowd famously “became convinced that [she] had died” in Denver after she enjoyed w-a-a-a-ay too much of her legal caramel-chocolate candy bar in 2014.
Eating cannabis-infused goodies takes practice. There are a lot of variables (time of day, fullness of belly, potency of the treat, physical environment) to consider before taking your first bite.
But if you ignored the warnings – or you simply overestimated your tolerance – here are some tips to keep you from freaking out. Best to read this before you start to snack.
- Chill Out
The first thing to remember: Marijuana won’t kill you. This not to say your brain might tell you to do something stupid or harmful. Resist! Relax! Ignore the voices in your head. Know that there have been ZERO fatal cannabis overdoses in the recorded history of mankind. Zero. Also know that the uncomfortable feeling will pass over time. Give the 9-1-1 operator and the emergency room doctor a break. Chances are what you are experiencing is not life threatening. You’re feeling anxiety and paranoia. Even experienced marijuana enthusiasts get this sensation from time to time.
- Try the Neil Young Black Pepper Balls Method
“Try black pepper balls if you get paranoid,” legendary guitarist Neil Young shared on the Howard Stern Show a few years back. “Just chew two or three pieces. I just found this out myself. Try it.” This is not an old-wives’ tale; Young has science on his side.
- Suck on a Lemon
Citrus fruits contain the terpene limonene, which for centuries has been used as a way to combat THC-induced anxiety. When you suck on a lemon and hold the tart juice in your mouth, the mucous membranes and sublingual tissue absorb it and delivers it into your bloodstream.
- Stay Hydrated
Drink water. Drink a beverage loaded with electrolytes. And then drink more water. The goal here is to flush your system of THC. As if you have a cold or flu. A trippy, trippy flu.
- Listen to Music
What do you listen to when you want to relax? Classical? Reggae? Metal? (Metal, really?! How does that work?) Whatever it is, turn it on. Take your mind off of your discomfort, close your eyes, and groove. Just don’t go to the dark side of the moon, mentally.
- Take a Stroll (Just Make Sure You’re Dressed)
If you have the energy – and the coordination – put on your walking shoes and move. Often times, THC can overwhelm your thoughts and you may have difficulty keeping your mind from racing. Go for a slow walk in a comfortable place. Look at the trees. Feel the wind. Count how many seconds you can keep a smile on your face.
- Bust Out the Crayons
If you don’t feel comfortable going for a walk (or you can’t find your shoes or pants), don’t fret. You can stay indoors and channel your inner child. Buy yourself a couple of adult coloring books and a box of crayons and create art. Anybody can do it. Even while high.
- Talk About It!
That’s right. Share your experience with your friends and family. Not only will it be a possible learning experience for them, it will let those close to you know to remind you when to say enough is enough!
- Keep This Quote Handy
“The brain on marijuana will never deviate from its destined disposition, nor be driven to madness, marijuana is a mirror reflecting man’s deepest thoughts, a magnifying mirror, it’s true, but only ever a mirror.” – French poet Charles Baudelaire