While I realize this next statement is an obvious one, I feel the need to state it nonetheless – the best solution for a bad cannabis trip caused by too large a dose is preventing it altogether. I encourage you to educate yourselves before embarking on your first edible experiences, as a simple, five minutes, read can save you an unpleasant ride in a psychological rollercoaster. Luckily, I’ve written a piece just about that – How to consume edibles – a beginner’s guide.
Also worth disclaiming – I am not a physician. This post must not be treated as anything other than a summary of a veteran user’s set of actions to be taken to relieve the negative sensation of a bad trip. If you feel whatever you’re experiencing is too much for you, or you have real concerns for your health, go seek medical assistance! It’s best to be safe than awkward.
Before I dive into the ways to deal with a bad trip, let’s just take a minute to describe what sensations one might experience when undergoing such a psychoactive journey. The answer is multicolored. There are endless blog posts and snippets in the webosphere that detail people’s experiences. Symptoms of a bad trip will vary but there are commonalities to the scenario – extreme dizziness, numbness, vomiting, shortness of breath and a pale face are a few of the possible physiological features. Psychologically, the story can become very challenging with potential feelings of disassociation, paranoia and losing a sense of reality. More importantly, you will likely feel scared, sometimes on the verge of panicking, as you may believe whatever is happening is there to stay for the long haul (it won’t! but you might think so).
But now – to the topic at hand. You’ve ingested too big a dose or you’ve and you’re starting to feel anxious – here’s what you should do –
First thing to remember
You will not die! Well, you will, eventually, but most likely not due to a toxic cannabis dose you’ve just ingested. It is extremely hard to ingest a lethal cannabis dose. Even if one tries intentionally to overdose on THC they will have to ingest the equivalent of hundreds of joints in a fairly short timeframe (minutes). This may be very different for kids who may ingest cannabis by mistake (or by design). If a kid ingested cannabis you must seek immediate medical treatment. However, for you adults, try to remember – this will pass.
A very basic rule of using edibles is noting when the edible was ingested. Whatever bad psychological thriller you may be experiencing, you need to remember it’s very temporary. It might leave a mark but it most likely won’t damage you. On the rare occasions I’ve experienced a bad trip, I found that information around timing is my dearest comrade. Remember, no matter how potent the edible you’ve ingested is, it too shall pass. Keep your eyes on the watch as your sense of timing will be skewed – making you think 10 minutes is actually much longer. Remember that there’s no true sense in panicking in the first 8-10 hours after ingesting the edible. If 10 hours passed and you’re still in a bad place, start worrying. Anything before that – ride it out. It too shall pass!
If you have someone in your vicinity who can offer support – seek it. Let them know you’re experiencing a bad trip and ask them to stay and help you go through it. This can be through logistical support – food, water or a bucket for throwing up. More important they should provide emotional support and give you a protective hug. Describe what you’re feeling and whether you’re scared and allow them to comfort you and remind you this is very temporary
There is no standardized answer to this part. Understand what context might be best for you and engineer it – either yourself, if you must, or by asking a friend to help out. For me, I find that, at times, the best thing is to fall asleep with no sensory stimulus whatsoever, while other times, a lot of light and a funny sitcom served as a much better solution. You will know what increases your distress and what brings about a comfortable distraction.
Nibble on sugary foods and sip cold beverages
Many users find that slowly sipping cold beverages or water helps wake up the body. Additionally, healthy sugary foods such as fruits or granola can be very comforting and charge you with positive energies. That said, you need to remember that your body is in distress and therefore you shouldn’t be consuming anything that will interfere with the healing process such as caffeinated or alcoholic beverages or junk food. There’s a lot of initial chatter about nourishment that can serve as an antidote to the bad trip. While I couldn’t find any conclusive evidence to that assumption, two foods definitely stand out – lemon and black peppercorns. If you have those around, give them a try. Why not…
Try to go for a walk or take a shower
Many of the bad trips are caused by the convergence of a really potent dose and tiredness. In fact, if you’re tired, I’d advise not going the edible route as the potential for an unpleasant experience increases significantly. If you can move around or be supported to move around try to go outdoors for a short walk or hop in the shower. For me either bring about an immediate destressing sensation.