Ways to Counteract an Intense Cannabis Effect

3 years ago   •   2 min read

By Juana Know Staff

Whether you’re an experienced user or beginner, no one likes the effects of consuming too much cannabis. While you can’t overdose on cannabis, in the traditional sense, you can certainly experience some uncomfortable side-effects, such as feeling sedated or even having a panic attack.


The wrong dosage or mixture can cause an unpleasant kind of lethargy, and can be accompanied by a sour stomach. THC is generally thought to be responsible for the paranoia sometimes associated with marijuana use, and in high concentrations can be anxiety-causing.

How it happens

As hinted above, overindulging is one way to experience a too-intense effect from cannabis. This can be easy to do, especially when trying a new product. Edibles in particular can be slow to take effect, so it’s tempting to eat more. However, this can lead to feeling the effects all at once up to 3 hours later.

Your tolerance level and the speed of your metabolism can also affect absorption rate, making effects come on too heavily or suddenly. Consuming cannabis in any form on an empty stomach can also cause this problem.

Finally, mixing different forms of cannabis, such as edibles and concentrates, can compound psychoactive and/or sedative reactions, possibly leading to nausea, headache, and dizziness.

What to do

Remember, you’re not in danger, so don't panic. The essentials are staying hydrated and staying grounded. Ideally, you should be with people you know and in a comfortable environment. If you’re feeling sick, get some ice water or cold juice and park yourself somewhere comfy. Stick to grazing rather than eating a heavy meal to satisfy munchies so as to not further upset your stomach.

If you’re prone to anxiety or feel an attack coming on, try breathing exercises, talking to a friend, or distracting yourself with an engrossing but pleasurable activity. Binge watching your favorite show, cuddling a pet or partner, playing video games, or playing your favorite playlist are all great options.

Definitely, do not try to calm yourself with alcohol, as it could increase the concentration of THC in the bloodstream and amplify the negative symptoms. CBD is marijuana’s natural counterweight to THC, so if you have CBD drops available, they may just do the trick. If not, there’s sure to be a great alternative in your spice cabinet - black pepper.

Chewing peppercorns or even smelling ground pepper - think smelling salts, à la Downton Abbey - has long been a folk remedy, and now there’s science to back it up.

Peppercorns contain some of the same terpenoids as cannabis which bind to the same receptors in the brain. Ultimately, it works in much the same way as CBD by ameliorating the paranoia and anxiety sometimes caused by THC.

Preventing it in the future

Two keys to preventing an overly-intense reaction to cannabis are knowing your tolerance and taking it slow. With edibles, divide them into doses of about 10 mg each and wait at least an hour before deciding how you feel. It also helps to know your strain, whether it’s an indica or sativa, and the THC/CBD content.

Generally, a strain high in both CBD and THC should alleviate anxiety, while a high CBD-low THC hybrid is best for avoiding depressive symptoms, according to a 2018 study conducted by researchers from Washington State University.

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