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While marijuana is one of the least dangerous drugs out there, legal or otherwise, it’s not without its dangers. A “marijuana overdose,” as long is it’s not mixed with other substances, is not lethal like most other drugs. However, the line between an intense high and feeling too high is a fine one. If you’re smoking weed with others, you should always be conscientious and prepared to help a friend who got too high.
What does a bad high look like?
The first thing you need to think about is how to recognize the warning signs in a friend who got too high. They may just tell you that they’re feeling too high, but you should be prepared to help even if they don’t ask. Check in on anyone who has been smoking to make sure they’re doing okay, especially if you notice them acting strangely. They may become suddenly reclusive or relatively unresponsive, stop engaging in conversation, or just be looking off into the distance. On the other hand, they may say strange things, or seem agitated or distressed about something. Ask your friend some questions and try to engage with them a little bit to see how they respond—they may just be riding a nice buzz, off in their own world, but they may also be too far out there. If they’re having difficulty speaking or following a thought or basic conversation, it’s time to help them sober up.
What to Say to a Friend Who Got Too High
One of the most useful things you can do with a friend who got too high is simply to remind them that it will pass quickly; you might even know from personal experience and know what to do if you get too high. Although the effects of cannabis can last a while, an intense high will only have a short peak, after which your friend will be able to think more clearly and calm themselves down. The difficulty with being too high is that it can be so confusing and agitating that it’s difficult to self-calm, and your friend might be mentally spiraling and feeling like these bad feelings will never end. Give your friend reminders on how to calm him or herself down. You can do a guided meditation with one of the best relaxing meditation songs playing in the background, or just have your friend breathe deeply: in through the nostrils, out through the mouth.
Distract your friend.
Another thing you can do is force your friend to engage with something, distracting them from what’s going on in their head. Often, when someone is feeling too high, their thoughts are racing and they feel like they can’t focus. Giving them something to focus on, like engaging in conversation or even watching a TV show, will help stop their thoughts from racing around. This also helps pass the time more quickly. If they’re just sitting around, stuck in their own thoughts, time will seem to move much more slowly, and can exacerbate their stress. Playing a simple game, watching TV, or just talking will help the time to pass more quickly, allowing them to sober up without struggling with racing thoughts and worries alone.
Help them relax physically.
When you’re dealing with a friend who got too high, one of the first things you should do is check their heartbeat. While all kinds of anxiety can cause a high heart rate, a high heart rate itself can cause anxiety. Helping your friend relax and lower their heart rate will significantly diminish their distress. A change in setting can make a world of difference for someone who is too high, especially if your current setting is overstimulating. Get them somewhere away from people, motion, and loud noise if possible. Ideally, you should have them lie down somewhere comfortable, and turn the lights down or off. If you’re out in public, have them sit down in a car, on a secluded bench, or even in a public restroom —whatever you have to do to get them in a relatively calm environment.
You can use a wide variety of relaxation techniques to calm a friend who got too high. If you’re able, draw them a warm bubble bath and put on some soothing music or nature sounds. While strong stimuli like loud music, bright lights, and crowds can be really overwhelming for someone dealing with an intense high, light stimuli can be extremely beneficial. Pleasant aromas like lavender, sage, or lemongrass have a very calming effect on just about everyone. Background noise or music, like ocean waves or other nature sounds, will give them something to focus on besides their own thoughts, without overwhelming them.
Getting your friend to relax and ride it out is extremely important. But you can also help them sober up more quickly. One of the best ways to sober up from a high is to have your friend eat something. You should avoid foods that might upset their stomach, and they may not feel much like eating. Think of simple, carb-based foods that people might eat when they’re sick: plain toast and Saltines are foolproof options. You should also make sure that they are hydrated and nourished. Give them a vitamin and a glass of water, or Gatorade to boost their electrolytes. Just make sure to avoid anything caffeinated or anything too sugary, as those can elevate their heart rate even further and cause even more anxiety.
Make them comfortable.
Part of the reason that aromatherapy and soothing background noise is so calming is that it helps people feel at home and safe. Especially if the bad high started out in public, one of the best things you can do for a friend who got too high is to make them feel at home. Ideally, you should take them home, or to a place where you can control the environment and keep the outside world away from them. Wrap your friend up in blankets, make them a warm tea, and assure them that they’re in a safe place. A common feature of a bad high is paranoia, so it’s important to keep your own expression soothing and reassuring. Because of this confusion and paranoia that a bad high can cause, your friend might be liable to interpret sudden movements or frowns as signs that something is wrong. Make their environment as pleasant and stable as possible, and get them some privacy from the outside world.